WATERVILLE — After a close loss earlier this season at Sukee Arena, the Messalonskee High School hockey team was looking for some payback against Class B North leader Waterville on Tuesday night at Colby College’s Alfond Rink.

Andrew Roderigue, Nick Denis and the rest of the Purple Panthers had other plans.

Waterville (13-1-1) blitzed the Eagles (8-4-2) in the opening period with the only four goals of the frame and rolled from there to earn a 7-2 victory. Roderigue and Denis each scored a pair of goals in the opening period for the Purple Panthers, who also defeated Messalonskee 6-5 on Jan. 6 in a starkly different game.

“We needed to score a quick one and not let them get started,” Roderigue said. “I thought if we scored the first one, we’d get a lot of momentum.”

Matt Jolicoeur, Justin Wentworth and Michael Oliveira each had goals as well for Waterville, while Cody Pellerin had three assists. Jared Cunningham and Brandon Nale were responsible for the two Messalonskee goals.

“They came on real fast in that first period. You get up four goals like that real quick and, I mean, after that you take the last two periods and it’s a 3-2 game,” Messalonskee head coach Joe Hague said. “Unfortunately, that’s not how you add them up.

“…We just need to go back to the drawing board and figure out where we need to tighten up on the (defensive) zone and tighten up in the neutral zone and just stop the bleeding somehow. It’s one loss in five games but … it’s just tough to lose a rivalry game.”

Tuesday’s game started with a furious pace, as each team had promising two-on-one opportunities in the first 40 seconds that were dismissed by nice saves from Waterville goalkeeper Nathan Pinnette (26 saves) and his counterpart, Messalonskee freshman Amber Kochaver (30 saves).

Roderigue — a high-scoring defenseman who entered the game tied for the team-lead in goals with 19 — gave Waterville the lead for good just 1:04 into the game when he sniped the top, stick-side corner of the net on a shot just inside the blue line. Less than four minutes later it was Roderigue again, this time going low on the same side of the net to double Waterville’s advantage.

“Everyone started clicking and we started moving the puck well,” Roderigue said. “The first and second period we really didn’t let them cross the blue line.”

Penalties on each side over the next few minutes slowed the pace of the game until it was Denis’ turn to make his mark.

He had been serving a slashing penalty alongside teammate Michael Oliveira, who went to the box for hooking shortly after Denis’ penalty to give Messalonskee a five-on-three opportunity.

Just as Denis’ penalty released, an errant centering pass slid in the neutral zone, where the Purple Panthers’ senior forward managed to beat Nale to the puck. Denis held off Nale on one side and then lifted the puck into the top of the net, over the right shoulder of Kochaver to make it 3-0 with 4:30 to play in the first.

Denis’ second score came just 1:20 later and under similar pressure, as he tucked the puck into the bottom corner of the goal as he was falling to the ice to give the Eagles a commanding 4-0 advantage.

“We came out skating real well, were moving the puck and we worked hard,” Waterville head coach Dennis Martin said. “You can tell when the guys are hungry. In a rivalry game like this, you’ve got to come to play. Messalonskee, they’re still the champions and they’re a good hockey team.”

Messalonskee finally got on the scoreboard 2:50 into the second period when Cunningham converted on a five-on-three chance, but the Eagles could not get the deficit to less than three goals from there.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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