Messalonskee skates by Brunswick
Coming into Wednesday’s contest against former Eastern A rival Brunswick, the Eagles were enjoying a resurgence with an 8-1 mark.
After Messalonskee ( 9- 1) rolled to a 6- 1 victory over Brunswick at Sukee Arena behind three goals from Sam Dexter, Dragons coach Mike Routhier feels the Eagles are definitely playing well at this new level.
“They have one of the top lines in the state and play well,” said Routhier, whose squad will host Gray- New Gloucester/Poland on Saturday at 8: 30 p. m. “ Messalonskee had four goals on fastbreak transition. We knew they liked to fly out of their zone and stretch the defense, but we miss-positioned ourselves and had a lot of structural deficiencies tonight.”
Dexter 2, Dragons 0
Dexter took a lead pass from Chase Cunningham and let loose a hard wrister from the top of the face-off circle, beating Brunswick netminder Jason Blier (21 saves) fivehole for a 1-0 lead at 8:26 of the first period. The Messalonskee senior took just over five minutes to net his second goal, this time breaking in behind the Brunswick defense off a lead pass from Travis St. Pierre and slipping a backhanded shot into the cage for a 2- 0 edge through a period.
Brunswick found a little bit of momentum near the end of the period, firing five straight shots on Eagles’ netminder Nate DelGiudice, and early second- period chances by Tyler Niven and Dylan Towle gave the Dragons a shortlived 11-10 shot advantage.
Messalonskee warmed up moments later as Dexter and St. Pierre hooked up for a second time midway through the second frame, with Dexter streaking in alone on Blier before sending a wrister under the crossbar for a 3-0 Eagles lead.
“We just weren’t communicating enough, which has been a common theme for us this year,” said Routhier. “We need to start working better together.”
St. Pierre earned his third of four assists at 11:47 of the middle period. The defenseman sent a long pass out of his own zone to Billy Blake to begin a 2-on-1 break. Blake’s pass was on the tape to James Varney, whose hard wrister beat Blier, who came out of his net to try to cut down the angle to no avail.
Brunswick received a gift at 4:35 of the third period. Skating shorthanded, Towle fired a shot on net. DelGiudice made the stop, but while trying to keep the play moving, he put the puck into his own cage.
Ryan Maciejewski, who was closest to the puck when it crossed the goal line, was credited with the goal to get the Dragons to 4-1 with 10:25 remaining.
But, Blake scored just 22 seconds later off a nice setup from Josh Towle shortly after the Eagles’ power play ended, and Jake Dexter finished Brunswick off with 2: 39 remaining, with Varney and Josh Towle each picking up an assist.
“As a whole, we played much stronger in the third period compared to the other two periods, so that is something to hopefully build off of,” said Routhier.
DelGiudice had 22 stops in the victory. Messalonskee finished one of four on the power play, while Brunswick failed on its five attempts with the man advantage, managing just two shots.
Messalonskee 6, Brunswick 1
At Sukee Arena, Winslow
Brunswick - 0 0 1 — 1
Messalonskee - 2 2 2 — 6
First period — 1. (M) Sam Dexter (Chase Cunningham), 8:26; 2. (M) Sam Dexter (Travis St. Pierre), pp, 13:46.
Second period — 3. (M) Sam Dexter (Travis St. Pierre), 6:06; 4. (M) James Varney (Billy Blake, Travis St. Pierre), 11:47.
Third period — 5. (B) Ryan Maciejewski, sh, 4:35; 6. (M) Billy Blake (Josh Towle, Travis St. Pierre), 4:57; 7. (M) Jake Dexter (James Varney, Josh Towle), 12:21.
Shots on goal — Brunswick 9-7-7 — 23; Messalonskee 10-9-8 — 27.
Saves — (B) Jason Blier 21; (M) Nate DelGiudice 22.
Power play opportunities — Brunswick 0-5; Messalonskee 1-4.
Records — Messalonskee 9-1, Brunswick 5-5-1.
Next for the Dragons — Saturday at Sidney J. Watson Arena against Gray-New Gloucester/Poland, 8:30 p.m.