WATERVILLE — Almost all night, the lion’s share of opportunities and possession of the puck in the attacking zone in a clash of Class B North’s No. 1 and No. 2 boys hockey teams went to Messalonskee.

The goals, unfortunately for the Eagles, went to their opponents.

John Bapst scored three late goals Saturday to claim a 3-0 victory over Messalonskee at Colby College’s Alfond Athletic Center. The result sent the Eagles to their first defeat of the year and saw the Crusaders leapfrog them for first place in the Heals.

Messalonskee (9-1) dominated the first period, controlling the puck in the John Bapst zone for all but a brief stretch and nearly scoring a shorthanded goal on a shot that hit the post with four minutes left. The period would end scoreless, though, as the Crusaders’ Gavin Bartlett made 12 saves to keep the Eagles off the board.

Messalonskee began the second period in similar fashion and nearly scored just 15 seconds in when Will Durkee launched a shot off the post. Yet the Eagles, despite pressuring the John Bapst (8-2) goal for much of the frame, went another period without a goal as their possession failed to produce another clear-cut scoring chance.

Midway through the third period, Messalonskee began to get more of those chances, and the Eagles nearly scored with 10 minutes to play when Bryce Crowell missed from close range. Then, midway through the period, Bartlett made a full-body stretch to produce a sprawling save on Garrett Card to once again keep the game scoreless.


With 4:40 left, John Bapst made Messalonskee pay for its failure to convert as Will Bourgeois scored a power-play goal to put the Crusaders on top. Bapst would score again 1:27 later on a laser from Nate Tibbits before Lucas Gagnon scored an empty-netter for the final score with 14 seconds left.

The game marked a stark contrast to every previous contest this year for Messalonskee, which scored four goals or more in each of its nine prior contests. The Eagles entered Saturday averaging nearly seven goals per game and had scored 24 goals in their past three games.

The win was John Bapst’s third in a row, a streak that began with an 11-0 win over Camden Hills last Friday. The Crusaders have scored 31 goals over their past four games en route to overtaking Messalonskee for the top spot in B North.

Bartlett finished with 27 saves for John Bapst, which allowed 35 shots on goal in the win. Hunter Hallee registered 16 saves between the pipes for Messalonskee, which allowed 24 shots on goal.

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