WATERVILLE — Moments after Hampden Academy outclassed the Kennebec RiverHawks in a Class B North game Saturday morning at Colby College’s Alfond Rink, RiverHawk head coach Jon Hart noted quite clearly his opinion of the Broncos.

“In my opinion, that’s as good as it gets,” Hart said of Hampden.

While current regional leader Old Town/Orono might take issue with such an opinion, after beating Class B South heavyweight Greely on Monday, Hampden still represents one of the rue contenders in B North.

The Broncos (6-0-3) are the only unbeaten team in a league full of very good teams at the top, and at least four of those teams residing north of Kennebec county. Hampden boasts size and speed up top, veterans on the blue line and very good goaltender in junior Cooper Ryan.

Among goalies who have appeared in more than four games this season, Ryan ranks third in the league with a 1.92 goals against average and second overall with a .921 save percentage.

“He’s a good kid, he competes, he wants to get better every single day,” Hampden coach Eric MacDonald said of Ryan. “He comes to work every day. He’s just a hard-working kid. He’s getting rewarded for it.”

That work ethic runs through the entire Bronco lineup.

Owen Cross leads the team in scoring with 21 points, including two goals against Kennebec on Saturday.

“We preach that we want to work hard in all three zones, we want to get pucks deep and make teams play 200 feet,” MacDonald said. “We want to forecheck as hard as we can and get turnovers. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Hampden sits third in the Class B North standings this week, behind Old Town/Orono and Camden Hills.

 

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With the loss to Hampden, Kennebec dropped to 2-8-1 this season. The RiverHawks, who host Old Town/Orono on Saturday night, have just one win in their last seven games.

Not everybody is buying that Kennebec is a two-win team, currently two spots out of making the playoffs.

“Not in my mind,” MacDonald said. “That wasn’t the team I saw (Saturday). They gave us everything we could handle. They’re a good team.”

Hart believes he has a group capable of surprising some teams late in the season, particularly in the playoffs.

“There’s nothing you can do but just keep working, make the playoffs and then nobody will want to play us,” Hart said. “There would be a lot of pressure on teams — look at our record. Our record is not indicative of what we’ve become.”

The biggest change to the Waterville/Winslow co-op this season has been moving Brandon Mason and Nate Newgard back to the blue line after both began the winter on the top line alongside senior Cody Ivey.

Three of the team’s projected top forwards in the preseason — Mason, Newgard and Zach Menoudarakos — are now all converted defensemen.

“We made some moves around, and since then we’ve been the better team in a lot of games,” Hart said. “We’ve had our scoring woes off and on this year, and I think (goalie Bryce Gunzinger) has played better as the year’s gone on. We’ve just got to keep moving in the right direction.

“I honestly do think we’re going to be fine.”

 

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Messalonskee’s Dylan Cunningham leads Class B North in goals with 20.

The senior, playing high school hockey for the first time since his freshman year, has been a boon to the Eagles’ top line along with Myles Hammond and Ben Hellen. Even without his seven assists (his 27 points rank fourth in the league overall), Cunningham would still sit sixth in Class B North’s scoring race.

Presque Isle’s Gage Letourneau (32 points) leads three Wildcats at the head of the league’s scoring class. Colby Carlisle has 31 points and Connor DeMerchant has 28 through nine games.

 

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The regular season for girls hockey ends next week.

Undefeated juggernaut Lewiston recently snapped Winslow/Gardiner/Cony’s four-game unbeaten streak, as the Black Tigers have all but secured the sixth and final playoff spot in the North region. Winslow/Gardiner/Cony wraps up the slate with road games at Edward Little (Saturday) and Cheverus (next Wednesday) before hosting Portland/Deering in the finale Thursday.

Should the seeds hold, the Black Tigers would be off to play either Yarmouth/Freeport or possibly Edward Little in the quarterfinals.

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