Messalonskee celebrates with fans after defeating Hampden in the Class B North championship game last season at Jack Kelley Rink at Colby College in Waterville. Morning Sentinel file

If at first you don’t succeed, well, wait ’til next season.

For the Messalonskee boys hockey team, next season is finally here. After winning the Class B North title in 2022-23 and coming just one game shy of a state championship, the Eagles (18-3-1 last season) are hoping to finish the job in 2023-24.

“I see us being very competitive,” fourth-year coach Dennis Martin said.

While Messalonskee loses scoring aces Bryce Crowell and Will Durkee, the Eagles return 14 players from last season, including junior and top scorer Owen Kirk (21 goals, 22 assists), who will form a No. 1 line with seniors Tyler Hansen and Andrew Beckwith. 

Martin also has confidence in the rest of his offense, which features senior Garrett Card and sophomores Tatum Doucette, Christian Salvadori, Alex Beckwith, Logan Baron and Colby Hardy.

“We should be pretty solid up front,” Martin said. 


Seniors Bjorn Brickett and Grayson Podey, sophomores Denny Martin and Liam McFadden and freshman Parker Grant make up the defense.

Senior goaltender Hunter Hallee, who had a 1.85 goals-against average last season, returns, backed up by freshman Nathan Kirk. Sophomore forwards Seth Hansen and Grady Tibbetts round out the roster.

Practice has been running well, Martin said, as members of the new lines get used to playing together. 

“We’ll come around,” Martin said. “We’re starting to get there.”

Cony/Hall-Dale/Erskine/Winthrop/Monmouth goalie Landon Foster, left, kick saves a shot by Messalonskee junior forward Garrett Card during a game last season at Bonnefond Ice Arena at Kents Hill School in Readfield.  Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Cony managed only two wins last season, but if enthusiasm counted in the standings, then first-year coach Doug Dieuveuil alone might be worth a few extra W’s in 2023-24. Dieuveuil is looking to take the veteran-laden Rams out of the doldrums. 

“I think the boys are fired up and ready to go,” said Dieuveuil, who was an assistant for the Waterville-Gardiner-Winslow co-op team last season. “This is a team that I think is ready to compete and it looks like they’re focused right now, which is awesome.”


The Rams have players from Hall-Dale, Monmouth, Winthrop, Erskine, Maranacook, Richmond and even Oceanside, a mere hour from Augusta. 

Senior Landon Foster, who caused a stir last season when he made 70 saves in a 4-1 loss to Messalonskee, returns in goal. 

“He saw a lot of rubber last year,” Dieuveuil said. “He has that grit and determination. I’ve seen him play like that the whole time I’ve known him. He’s someone who can definitely steal a game for you.” 

Seniors Luke Johnson and Brandon Smith (Monmouth) will lead the defense, while sophomore Cooper Clark, juniors Zach Waddell, Caleb Lerette (Hall-Dale) and Ben Platt (Hall-Dale) and senior Ray Dineen will look to guide the offense. Dieuveuil is counting on plenty of underclassmen to fill any holes in the lineup.

“It’s a solid young core that we have coming up,” said Dieuveuil, who will be aided by a five-person staff of assistants. “They’re ready to play, and it shows in practice.

“We’re working on our team chemistry every day. It’s going to be crucial. We have individuals coming from all over the central region, so it’s (about) getting to know each other, spending time with each other, doing the right things on and off the ice …  It’s a culture piece, and that’s really what I’m looking to build.”


The Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow co-op, which went 6-13-0 and reached the Class B North playoffs, has a new name — the WGW Tigers — and new jerseys, as the orange and black traditionally worn by Gardiner and Winslow is now accented with a touch of Waterville purple. 

“They look good,” second-year coach K.C. Johnson said.

WGW also will have plenty of new players, as the Tigers graduated about a dozen athletes from last season. Senior Aiden Paradis (Gardiner) returns in goal, backed up by sophomore Noah Robertson (Waterville). Seniors Chris Wastella (Waterville) and Donnie Gurney (Winslow) will guide the defense, aided by senior Jac Crochere (Gardiner) and sophomores Brett Lambert (Waterville) and Landon Getchell (Gardiner). Gurney was a Class B North all-star last season, and Paradis was an all-rookie selection.

Seniors Gavin White (Gardiner) and Peyton Young (Gardiner) and juniors Austin Gould (Gardiner), Ben Foster (Waterville) and Anthony Malcolm (Gardiner) will lead the forward lines, supported by sophomores Asher Nagy (Gardiner, transfer from North Yarmouth Academy), Salmon Vigue (Winslow), Cooper Tardiff (Waterville) and Ewan Barnicoat (Gardiner) and freshman Remington Lamoreau (Gardiner).

“We’re a young group,” Johnson said. “We’re going to try to find out who we are this year and grow as the season progresses. They enjoy being on the ice right now, so that’s a good thing.”

Black Tigers goalie Lily Berard blocks a shot during a Nov. 17 girls hockey practice at The Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

On the girls side, the Black Tigers — who represent Winslow, Gardiner, Cony, Messalonskee, Erskine, Lawrence, Maranacook, Mt. Blue and newcomer Waterville — return most of their players from last season, when they went 14-6-0 and reached the state semifinals.


“We certainly hope to get where we were last year and hopefully take that step to get to the next game this season,” third-year coach Bill Boardman said. 

A trio of sophomores — Katie Berard (Gardiner), Molly Hambrick (Mt. Blue) and Leah Michaud (Mt. Blue) — will comprise Boardman’s top line, while senior Abby Allen (Maranacook) and junior Sophia Sullivan (Winslow) also will figure into the offense. Berard led the Black Tigers with 40 goals as a freshman last season, while Michaud moves up front after playing defense last season. 

Seniors Evelyn Rousseau (Erskine) and Hannah Daignault (Winslow) form the top defensive pairing, while sophomore Madelyn Martin (Waterville) also is expected to make an impact.

Senior Lily Berard (Gardiner) and sophomore Zoey Gilbert (Messalonskee) are in goal.

Ten of the Black Tigers’ 26 players are either freshmen or sophomores, Boardman said, but most of them have been playing since they were youngsters.

“Molly, Katie and Leah, that top forward line, are all sophomores, but they have a lot of hockey experience,” Boardman said. 

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