It is hard to imagine ripping off a stretch of games where you go 10-0-2 and fly under the radar, but that has been the case for the Winslow High School boys hockey team thus far this season.

“We’ve had a long run of games that we’ve won but nothing big against a Messalonskee or a Waterville. I think the best team we had played and beat so far was John Bapst,” Winslow head coach Andy Dube said. “We had a huge lull of games up until a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like a quiet stretch of games for us.”

That all changed for the Black Raiders (11-2-2 Class B North) late Saturday night at Sukee Arena, as they got that signature win with a 6-5 victory in overtime over Messalonskee (8-5-2 Class B North).

“It was a real good win and a real good team effort,” Winslow senior Jacob Trask said. “We really played as a team. Everyone was firing on all cylinders.”

Winslow led 5-4 heading into the third period before the Eagles tied it on a goal from Brandon Nale, but Dameron Rodrigue delivered the game-winner in overtime for the Black Raiders off an assist from Trask.

“We haven’t had much success against Messalonskee over the years with the powerhouses they’ve had and it was fun to finally get a victory over them,” Dube said. “It was good to play a good game against a good, quality team and ending up with a win was definitely long overdue for us.”

Winslow’s victory over the Eagles leaves plenty to still be decided as far as playoff seeding goes in Class B North with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season. Waterville (14-1-1) has pretty much locked up the top seed with games against Camden Hills (13-2-0) and Presque Isle (3-11-0) all that remains on its schedule.

As of Monday afternoon the Black Raiders led the Windjammers by less than a Heal point, while Messalonskee was in fourth and still within striking distance of the second seed. John Bapst (9-5-1), Brewer (8-7-0) and Old/Town Orono (6-8-0) round out the top seven, although each will have a hard time getting into the top four given what remains of the season.

“Right now, Waterville is really good. Everyone is really good at the top but I feel like it’s a real close conference this year,” Trask said. “I feel like it could go any way really.”

• • •

The Gardiner Area High School hockey team is headed back to the playoffs for the first time in seven years and the Tigers are doing their best to make sure they are prepared when they get there.

“Coach (Sam Moore) has been talking to us. We have to treat every game like it’s our last,” Gardiner senior Logan Peacock said. “If we lose, we’re going home. We’re definitely going to be giving it our all.”

Gardiner (12-3-1 Class B South) has just two games remaining in the regular season: Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. vs. Maranacook/Winthrop at Kents Hill and Saturday at 4:10 p.m. against Cape Elizabeth at the Portland Ice Arena. While the plan is for the Tigers to treat them as playoff games, Moore has also made it clear to the team not to get let the moment become too big for them.

“I just approach it as it’s just hockey. You can’t let anything get to you,” Moore said. “Hockey is all about momentum. You have to go out and play your game and good things will happen. I’ve been trying to tell them (that) in the playoffs the only pressure there is is the pressure you put on yourselves. You just have to go out and perform.”

The Tigers — who as of Monday trailed York by about four Heal points for the top spot in Class B South and were more than 20 points clear of No. 3 York — got a good taste of pressure and adversity Saturday night against Kennebunk (7-8-1). The Rams, who play a touch schedule littered with Class A opponents, built a 4-0 lead by the midpoint of the second period as Gardiner looked to shake off the rust accumulated from two straight days without practice.

“We hadn’t been on the ice since Wednesday and we came out really flat,” Moore said. “They outshot us 16-4 in the first period,”

Penalties cost the Tigers throughout the second, but Gardiner managed to get a pair of shorthanded goals late in the period from Ryan Kelley off an assist from Peacock. Reid Cotnoir and Peacock went on to tie the game with goals in the third period before Tristan Hebert scored the game-winning goals in overtime to lift the Tigers to a 5-4 victory.

“They got a couple of five-on-three goals and really had us on our heels for awhile,” Moore said. “Then, it was the individual efforts from Logan and Ryan that really gave us a spark and gave us a lift going into the third.”

The goals from Peacock and Kelley have exemplified the persona the Tigers have taken on this season. Gardiner has made a living on the scoreboard this season by getting goals off dumping pucks into the attacking zone and chasing them down in the corners, as well as crashing the net to get the grind-it-out, second-chance scores.

“That’s been the plan since day one,” Peacock said. “We know we’re not the most talented team but we’re willing to put the most work in.

“…Now that we’re getting towards the end of the season everyone is buckling down and trying to get it done.”

• • •

Andrew Roderigue leads Waterville in goals this season with 23 and that mark has already earned him a place in the program’s record book.

His two scores in Saturday’s 6-1 win over John Bapst broke the previous record for goals in a single season by a Waterville defenseman of 22. Chad Hart set the previous mark in the 1999-2000 season and Casey Sprogis tied it the following year.

According to head coach Dennis Martin, the offensive ability of Roderigue and fellow defenseman Matt Jolicoeur have played a key role in the Purple Panthers’ high-scoring offense.

“It just opens the game up,” Martin said. “The guys move the puck so well and we rely on them to do a lot of things. They create too much space for everybody to cover.”

Roderigue and Jolicoeur are not the only ones who have picked up their play in the back end as of late either. Since giving up five goals in a win over Messalonskee on Jan. 9, goaltender Nathan Pinnette has allowed more than two goals only once — a 5-1 loss to Class A Lewiston — in the last eight games. That stretch also included wins over Yarmouth (12-3-0 Class B South) and Messalonskee.

“The first Messalonskee game is when he started getting his confidence,” Martin said. “He saw a lot shots that game. He’s just getting better and getting more confident.

“…He works hard every day. He’s challenging the shooters and he’s there when we need him. He doesn’t see a lot of action but when he does he’s done a heck of a job so far.”

• • •

The Kents Hill boys hockey team has put together a competitive season thus far thanks to some added depth on the roster, according to head coach Doug Friedman. The Huskies (13-9-2) have skated four lines this winter and are coming off a strong week in which they recorded wins over Berwick (6-3), Pingree (7-5) and Academie St. Louis of Quebec City (6-2).

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have been contributing,” Friedman said. “We’ve had much more balanced scoring. It’s not just one line or one or two players. It’s a variety of players on any given night and that has helped us to win some games we didn’t win last year.”

Seniors Connor Cassidy (14 goals, 20 assists), Matt Henderson (nine goals, 19 assists) and post graduate Ryan Spillane (nine goals, 15 assists) have led the Huskies statistically this season, but Friedman said Will Lafford — who has five goals and 13 assists — has led by example.

“He’s been outstanding keeping the team together through tough times and he’s been a leader,” Friedman said. “He’s been a big key to our success.”

In net, senior Billy McLaughlin boasts a .888 save percentage in 786 minutes while sophomore Jaxon Friedman has stopped 156 of the 186 shots he has faced in 471 minutes in net.

Kents Hill returns to the ice Saturday at 6 p.m. when it hosts Proctor, and after that the Huskies will have three more games remaining in the regular season.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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