Messalonskee’s Will Durkee (3 gets past Hampden Academy defenseman Zach Wilson and shoots on goalie Aaron Donovan during the first period of a Dec. 21 game at Colby College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

After a successful 2021-2022 campaign, the Messalonskee boys hockey team is off to a strong start this season.

The Eagles, who finished 10-3-1 last year, are 4-0-0 and have scored 24 goals for an average of six a game.

“We’re coming out and getting better every game,” Messalonskee head coach Dennis Martin said. “They’re starting to get used to working with each other and working hard and doing all the little things (on the ice).”

Depth is the key for Messalonskee this season. The Eagles have three lines that have the ability to score at any time. Bryce Crowell (five goals, six assists) and Owen Kirk (four goals, four assists) have been the early offensive leaders for the Eagles.

“We’re pretty balanced; our three offensive groups are going pretty good,” Martin said. “We’ve been getting scoring from each one of the lines. We get playing, we get going just one group after another coming at you in waves. Shift by shift (success with the scoring) is how we’ve been going, which is a good thing to have.”

Martin said the team’s defense needs to improve, as it has allowed 16 goals in the four games.

“We’re giving up too many goals. We’ve given up 16 goals in four games, that’s too many goals,” Martin said. “The biggest thing we have to work on is our penalties, we take too many penalties. We’re averaging seven penalties a game and seven is a lot of penalties. That’s almost a period in the (penalty) box. We’ve talked about working on that part, but I also don’t want us to stop our aggressiveness. We’re an aggressive team, we get after it pretty good. Our mindset is to outwork the opponent and just get after them.”


Messalonskee hosts Brewer/Lawrence at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.


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Winslow/Gardiner/Cony/Lawrence/Messalonskee/Maranacook/Erskine/Mt. Blue’s Katie Berard, left, and Brunswick’s Lisi Palmer pursue the puck during a Nov. 28 girls hockey game in Brunswick. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal


The Black Tigers girls hockey team — comprised of players from Winslow, Gardiner, Cony, Messalonskee, Erskine Academy, Lawrence, Maranacook and Mt. Blue — are off to a 4-3-0 start.

A 4-3 victory over Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse on Dec. 30, has been a highlight to the season thus far.


“So far, I’m very pleased with the way things have gone,” Black Tigers head coach Bill Boardman said. “We’re seven games in, two of our losses were to the (Penobscot) Pioneers and our old teammate Jordin Williams, but I’m very pleased with where we’re at in this point in time. We had a big win over Mt. Ararat last weekend, who was undefeated when we went down to play them. It was good to come away with that win.”

Boardman gave credit on the defensive end to senior goaltender Emma Michaud, who is having another strong season. In seven games, Michaud has already made 203 saves, an average of 29 per game.

“Emma Michaud, in net, has been solid,” Boardman said. “We knew she was good, but she’s even better this year. And our defensive play has been very strong. We’re hanging in every game that we’re playing, whether it’s a win or a loss. A couple of those were one goal losses, to the Pioneers and to Cape (Elizabeth). I think we were in those games because of her play. Our defense has been very strong.”

Offensively, the early standout has been freshman Katie Berard, who already has 24 points (16 goals, eight assists).

Cony/Hall-Dale/Winthrop/Monmouth’s Cooper Clark topples Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow’s Ewan Barnicoat during a Dec. 12 boys hockey game in Hallowell. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“Katie is very solid for us, and she’s certainly putting points on the board,” Boardman said. “She’s a freshman, and she’s got some skills. As long as she stays healthy, I think she can make a run at being the leading scorer in the state, perhaps. She’s just a solid player.”

The Black Tigers will host York/Traip Academy/Marshwood on Saturday at 6:40 p.m. at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell.



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The Cony boys hockey team — also comprised of players from Hall-Dale, Winthrop, Monmouth Academy and Erskine Academy — are 1-3-0. But considering the turnover the Rams had from last year, it’s a good start for head coach Shawn Johnson.

“So far, so good,” Johnson said. “I just have a completely different team than what I’ve had. We lost 17 people off last year’s team, it’s crazy. I have a totally new group, coming from different places. And we’re young, we’re very young. I’m playing a lot of freshmen, a lot of sophomores. But overall, they’ve gone a great job. They’re working really hard. They’re positive. We know we’re going to take some lumps here and there. They know that,  but they try so hard. I’m really proud of them.”

There have been bright spots for the Rams. Cooper Clark has scored six goals for Cony.


“He’s a freshman coming in, and it’s hard to put three goals a game in for the first two games, that was pretty impressive,” Johnson said. “I’m psyched. That’s part of the youth movement that I have with this team. To have a young kid do that, that was pretty cool, I’m definitely proud of him.”

The key for the remainder of the season, Johnson said, is for the group to take small steps forward in every game.

Messalonskee High School’s Jack Hammond (6) celebrates with fans and teammates after scoring on Hampden Academy goalie Aaron Donovan during the first period of Dec. 21 game at Colby College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“Every team we play is good,” Johnson said. “Some of them are senior-laden, bigger, stronger, faster at times. We just have to take each game one at a time. But as I told the kids, if we lose games, it doesn’t mean we’re losers. They do a lot of good things and are learning a ton, even if we’re losing. They’re starting to learn that they can’t take time off during a game. They need to play three full periods to keep in with these teams, because there isn’t a team we play that’s bad. It’s just a learning process on how to win, not just packing it in. But they’re doing great with it. They’re young and they’re eager.”


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Around the state: There are just two undefeated boys teams in Class B: Messalonskee and Brunswick (5-0-1). … It’s been a tough start for the new Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow co-op team, which is 0-5-0. The co-op has scored nine goals in five games, but just three in its last four games. … Thornton Academy (7-1-0) and Scarborough (5-1-0) are threatening to pull away in Class A. The two sit first and second, respectively, in Heal points, well ahead of third place Bangor (2-2-1). … On the girls side, Yarmouth/Freeport (8-1-0), which plays in A North, had its eight-game win streak snapped this week with a tough 3-2 loss to A South power Cheverus/Kennebunk/Old Orchard Beach/Windham. The teams meet again on Jan. 28.

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