WATERVILLE — For Tom Tibbetts, as well as the entire Kennebec hockey team, it was a much-needed statement.

 Tibbetts, a senior, scored three of his team’s four goals in the second period, and the Waterville/Winslow co-op sank Old Town/Orono 6-4 in the Class B North regular-season finale Tuesday afternoon at Alfond Rink. The victory should be enough to lift the RiverHawks (14-4-0) into one of the top two spots in the Heal point standings, which would give them a bye to the regional semifinals.

“It was definitely a statement game for us,” Tibbetts said.

Kennebec’s Kyle Gurney collides with Sam Henderson of Orono/Old Town during a Class B North game Tuesday at Colby College in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Dave Leaming

But it was a statement in other ways, too, for Kennebec.

The team lost second-leading scorer Cody Ivey for the remainder of the season in a 4-1 loss at Hampden Academy on Saturday. Ivey suffered a broken collarbone and — coupled with an injury to Chris Williams — left Kennebec down three forwards against Old Town/Orono (13-5-0), which entered the day as the top team in Class B North.

“That was probably our most emotional game of the year,” Kennebec coach Jon Hart said. “In terms of it being time to show up or go home, that was kind of our motto today. We hit some adversity, and I told them it was going to happen. That’s our league.”

There was plenty of on-ice adversity to come for the RiverHawks against the Black Bears.

They were a half-step slow throughout an opening period but somehow emerged tied at 1-1, thanks to Tibbetts’ first of the day with less than two minutes remaining in the stanza.

The middle period was a different story entirely. The RiverHawks scored four times prior to the 11-minute mark, with Tibbetts and Brandon Mason potting goals just 1:26 apart to build a 3-1 lead at the 2:16 mark.

Tibbetts completed his hat trick with a shorthanded breakaway at 9:01, and then Nate Newgard had an easy tap-in in the crease to make it 5-1 at 10:53.

“It wasn’t my best year personally,” said Tibbetts, who now has 13 goals. “But the end of the year is what counts the most. We knew this was going to be a big game for us.”

The Black Bears were not to be outdone, however.

Three times in a span of 2:24 they beat Ben Grenier (30 saves) to close a furious middle period that made it a 5-4 game through 30 minutes. Tanner Evans, Sam Henderson and Trent Lick each scored in the onslaught — and the buzzer to end the period couldn’t have come at a better time for the RiverHawks.

“We had a 5-1 lead and we did not want to give up that four-goal lead,” Tibbetts said. “We knew we had to come out hard in the third, and we did.”

If the second period was wide-open, the third was buckled down in both directions.

Kennebec goalie Ben Grenier reaches high for a save during a Class B North game against Orono/Old Town on Tuesday in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Dave Leaming

Brock Jolicoeur added insurance for Kennebec only 2:30 into the final frame, and Grenier was a perfect 13 for 13 over the last 15 minutes to secure the victory. Of Old Town/Orono’s 13 shots in the period, only three were generated from between the faceoff circles.

“I think our kids made a statement today (for Ivey),” Hart said. “‘We’ve still got your back.’ That’s what this is all about. It’s a team sport, and we play better when we play as a team.”

Tyler McCannell opened the scoring for Old Town/Orono midway through the first period. Aidan Rand made 23 saves for the Black Bears.

 

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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