WATERVILLE — After 14 games away, Old Town/Orono’s Cam Tower is making up for lost time.

The senior defenseman scored a pivotal goal early in the second period, giving the top-seeded Black Bears the boost they needed en route to a 4-1 win over No. 4 Camden Hills in a Class B North boys hockey semifinal Saturday night at Alfond Rink. Old Town/Orono will face No. 2 Kennebec in the regional final on Wednesday at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena.

The Black Bears and RiverHawks split a pair of regular-season meetings by identical 6-4 scores, most recently in the regular season finale — a Kennebec win.

“We can’t wait (for the regional final),” said Tower, who finished with a goal and an assist against the Windjammers. “They’re a great team, and we’re excited for the challenge.”

Old Town/Orono, which boasted the league’s best power play at 31.8 percent efficiency in the regular season, went 2 for 7 with the man advantage. Four different players scored goals in the win, and freshman Colby Pawson finished with two assists as the Black Bears improved to 14-5-0.

Camden Hills saw its season end at 12-8-0.

Tower stepped out of the penalty box after serving a minor for tripping and beat Camden Hills goalie William Gardner (nine saves) off a partial breakaway for a 2-0 Old Town/Orono lead at the 2:41 mark of the second period.

“It’s been long and tough, a lot of hours working on (physical therapy),” Tower said. “It was a team effort, but it felt good to get that one in. It gave us a little bit of a boost.”

Tower broke his collarbone in a Dec. 27 game against Messalonskee. Saturday’s semifinal against the Windjammers was his first game back in the lineup.

“Having him back, just as it is, is big,” Black Bear Sam Henderson said. “Seeing him score was a confidence boost for the whole team. We all feel for him. It’s his senior year and we know he wants to be out there — to see him score that goal, it feels right. It feels like he’s back.”

“That was huge,” Old Town/Orono coach Chris Thurlow said. “That goal literally sent us flying. You should have seen the kids on the bench. That poor kid hasn’t played since Christmas. A senior captain, first game back to get that goal, I was so happy for him. I’m so proud of him.”

Just over two minutes after Tower’s goal, Tyler McCannel extended the Black Bears’ lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal. McCannel was left alone to swat home the rebound of a Henderson chance.

“When you get ahead 3-0, that’s a lot of momentum you shut down on a team,” Henderson said. “It hurts.”

Trent Lick handed Old Town/Orono a 1-0 lead after the opening 15 minutes.

The Windjammers inserted freshman goalie Jackson Bernier into the nets at the 8:24 mark of the second period. Bernier, in relief of Gardner, stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced.

Camden Hills, which managed only 15 shots in the contest despite their speed up and down the lineup, got some life with a Dylan Hastings goal only 77 seconds into the final period. But a rash of Windjammer penalties — four in the final period — and two missed chances from point-blank range off the sticks of Charlie Griebel and Bryce Tyler in the third period hurt the comeback hopes.

Old Town/Orono padded the lead with Chase Campbell’s power play goal as time expired in regulation.

Freshman goalie Aiden Rand made 14 saves for Old Town/Orono.

“We knew going in that they play a physical brand of hockey and like to take you off your game,” Thurlow said of Camden Hills. “The kids went out and executed pretty well today. We’re pretty happy.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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