WATERVILLE — Messalonskee will play for its first state championship in eight years this weekend.

The second-seeded Eagles completed a season sweep of Hampden Academy on Thursday night at Jack Kelley Rink, downing the No. 4 Broncos 3-1 in the Class B North boys hockey regional final. Senior Will Durkee figured in all three goals for Messalonskee with a goal and two assists.

Messalonskee (18-2-1) will play B South champion Cape Elizabeth at 10:30 a.m., Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The Eagles last won the regional championship in 2015 and went on to win the Class B state title that season, their second of back-to-back state championships.

“It feels really good. We’re excited for the next three periods,” Durkee said. “We’re really deep, we come to practice every day and work hard, and people hold each other accountable.”

Messalonskee won both regular season meetings against Hampden (12-8-1), including a 6-0 shutout on Jan. 23, and outscored the Broncos 16-5 in three games this winter.

The Eagles handed junior goalie Hunter Hallee all the support he would need in the first minute of the second period. Senior Bryce Crowell took advantage when the Broncos backchecked too deeply in front of their own net, leaving Crowell all alone to collect a loose puck and fire it past Hampden netminder Aaron Donovan (34 saves).


For the final two periods Thursday, Messalonskee didn’t have the shot production it had in a scoreless opening period when they hammered 15 shots at Donovan — but they were much more effective.

Eight of the 11 Messalonskee shots in the second period, and eight of its 12 in the third, generated from between the two faceoff dots in the offensive zone.

The Messalonskee lead doubled with Durkee’s power-play goal 5:16 into the third period.

Off a second period in which they mustered only three shots on goal — and all of them from high in the zone without any traffic driving the net in front of Hallee — it was a backbreaker for the Broncos.

Messalonskee’s Tyler Hansen, right, gets called for the high stick as he tries to deflect the puck past Hampden goalie Aaron Donovan in the second period of the Class B North championship game Thursday at Jack Kelley Rink at Colby College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We gained a lot of momentum from that,” Durkee said. “It kind of gave us that extra edge, really.”

“I think we shut them down and covered everybody,” Messalonskee junior defenseman Grayson Podey said. “We clogged the neutral zone and didn’t allow them to make any passes. We forced them to dump everything in.”


With a penalty kill that went a perfect 4 for 4 for the Eagles, backstopped by Hallee and his 26 saves, there was little Hampden could get going.

“We’re at 90 or 92 percent on the PK this year,” Messalonskee coach Dennis Martin said. “We pressure the puck. We try and put pressure on guys and get them to make mistakes.”

Only seconds after Tyler Hansen was stonewalled on a breakaway by Donovan, Garrett Card handed Messalonskee the clincher on a breakaway of his own with 1:13 remaining in the third period.

Nine seconds later, Hampden’s Lucas Cousins spoiled Hallee’s bid for his second shutout of this postseason to account for the final score.

“Our coach said from Day 1 that we wanted to play (in the regional final) here in our own building and be the home team,” Podey said. “We just went out and got it done.”

“With all the returning guys we had, we knew we were going to be pretty good,” Martin said. “As a group, they work so great as a group and there’s good leadership. It’s been everybody buying into ‘we’ve got to work.’ We set a goal, and that’s what we have.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.