Gardiner goalie Sean Doyle tries to make a save as Messalonskee forward Jacob Thomas skates in during a Class B North quarterfinal hockey game earlier this season in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — After a season spent without fans and with only regional and bubble competition to look forward to, postseason hockey returned this winter.

And teams were happy to see it.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Brunswick boys coach Mike Misner said. “To be able to go to the Cross Insurance Arena and see the big crowds and be able to play in front of our own fans … was just a great, great experience, and it really just adds to the whole environment of everything.”

No team enjoyed more success on that postseason stage than Brunswick, which ended the regular season on a tear and translated that momentum into the Class B championship, the first in program history.

“As a coach, it’s excitement for the boys,” Misner said. “To see these guys who have worked so hard all season long for the better part of four months for one goal, and to see them reach that goal, it’s a pretty amazing thing.”

Brunswick started 5-4 but won the last eight games of the regular season to grab the No. 2 seed in Class B South at 13-4, with a road win over Cheverus/Yarmouth and a home victory over Edward Little providing the highlights.


“We had some points there after our loss against Camden Hills (to fall to 5-4) and towards the beginning of the regular season where it was looking a little rough,” Misner said. “We didn’t know what direction we were going to head, and then we kind of got on that run of games.”

Playoff wins over Gorham, Cheverus/Yarmouth (in five overtimes) and Greely put the Dragons on the doorstep of a championship, and in the final, Luke Patterson made 31 saves as Brunswick blanked Camden Hills 2-0.

On the path to the championship, Brunswick won games while allowing three and four goals and another while scoring only two, showcasing what Misner felt was the team’s biggest strength.

“We’re able to match up well with whatever team we’re playing,” he said. “If we’re playing a team like Greely that has a pretty potent offense, we can score and match that. Or if we go against a team like Camden Hills that’s going to be physical and grind it out more, we can be physical.”

Gardiner turned heads with its playoff performance as well. The eighth seed in B North following a 6-9 regular season, the Tigers found life in the playoffs, defeating No. 9 Maranacook 4-1 and then upsetting No. 1 Messalonskee 3-2 to reach the regional semifinals, where it lost to Camden Hills.

Connor Whitley had the game-winner in overtime for the Tigers against Messalonskee, while goalie Sean Doyle made 43 saves.


“The attitude in the locker room really changed after we beat Maranacook and realized we had to go up against Messalonskee. It became kind of somber, the kids started taking on the roles of ‘What can I do to help the team and help us move forward?'” coach Tyler Wing said. “When we got into that game, it was do-or-die for them. They knew they had to give it everything.

“When we put that final goal in in overtime, everybody kind of let out a big sigh of relief, like ‘We were able to do it. We came as a team and we put everything we had into the ice.'”

The team the Tigers beat spent the regular season rolling through Class B North. Messalonskee showed itself to be one of the region’s deeper teams, getting contributions from upperclassmen and underclassmen alike. Owen Kirk, Garrett Card, Will Durkee and Bryce Crowell were some of the top players all season for an Eagles team that went 10-2-1 during the regular season and outscored teams 65-33.

The co-op team of Cony, Monmouth, Erskine Academy, Mt. Blue and Richmond, led by Jacob Godbout and Jack Morrill, went 7-7-1 during the regular season and got the No. 7 seed in Class B North before falling to No. 10 Presque Isle in the preliminary round.

In girls hockey, Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Lincoln, led by high-scoring forward Sarah Moore, went 13-3-1 during the regular season and made the Class A semifinals as a third seed, beating Yarmouth before falling to Edward Little, while Winslow/Gardiner/Cony/Lawrence/Messalonskee/Brewer (7-7-0) and Brunswick (3-12-0) made the quarterfinals.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.