Cool champions: Camden Hills puts league title on iceOn-deck: Windjammers to battle York in regional playoff March 1
Winslow — The young Camden Hills ice hockey team will enter the upcoming Western Class B tournament with positive vibes and a championship under its belt.
That is because the Windjammers (14-4) outlasted Messalonskee of Oakland (16-2) 5-4 in double-overtime Saturday night, Feb. 23 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game at the Sukee Ice Arena in Winslow.
Camden Hills will enter the Western Class B tournament next week as the second seed and the Eagles will start the Eastern Class B playoffs as the number one team.
If they keep winning, the two squads would meet again in the state final in the coming weeks.
The Windjammers will play a Western Class B semifinal playoff contest with York on Friday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
Camden Hills split two regular-season games with York, but does not play Messalonskee during the season. The Windjammers won 9-3 and lost 6-3 to York this season.
The Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings also have been finalized.
In Western Class B, Camden Hills (14-4, 108.5031 points) finished second, while Greely of Cumberland (14-4, 134.9537 points) finished first in the seven-team region. The top five teams qualify for the playoffs.
The quarterfinal playoff will see No. 4 Yarmouth (6-10-2) and No. 5 Cape Elizabeth (7-10-1) square off on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The semifinals will be Friday, March 1 at the Colisee, with No. 2 Camden Hills and No. 3 York (8-10) meeting and No. 1 Greely facing the Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth winner. The survivors will battle in the regional championship game.
James Annis scored the game-winner off an Evan Neilson assist in the second overtime to give Camden Hills the win.
For the Windjammers, Stephen Hand, Chase Matteo, Jack Orne, Grayson Szumilas and Annis scored goals, while Cal Robbins, Orne and Szumilas added assists.
Camden Hills led 25-23 in shots on goal, including 10-7 in the first period and 8-6 in the second.
The Windjammers were 0-of-4 on the power play and the Eagles 2-of-5. The Windjammers had five minor penalties for 10 minutes and the Eagles four minors for eight minutes.
Jet Magri made 19 saves in goal for Camden Hills and Elija Tuell 21 saves for Messalonskee
"[It was] kind of a strange game," said Windjammer coach Karl Enroth. "It started out as a friendly [game] and kind of turned into a intense battle between two teams trying to win. Competition and sports will do that.
"[It was a] good game for us in terms of playing a tough opponent and overcoming some adversity. The players hung tough and just played hard throughout the entire game. It just shows when you do that you give yourself the best chance to win a game like this."
Messalonskee and Camden Hills played an even first period with the teams trading goals halfway through the stanza. Camden Hills tallied a goal with two seconds remaining in the period to lead 2-1 at the break.
In the second period, Messalonskee scored at the midway point to tie the game 2-2. Camden Hills responded a few minutes later to take the lead 3-2 at the conclusion of the second period.
Messalonskee started the third period on the power play and scored in the first minute to tie the game 3-3. With just over five minutes remaining, Camden Hills took the lead again 4-3.
With 3:30 to play, Camden Hills was whistled for an interference penalty on the Messalonskee goalie which was created by a push from behind by an Eagle defender, said Enroth. Camden Hills wanted an explanation of the penalty and instead was assessed another two-minute bench minor penalty to go two playes down for a full two minutes, the coach said. Messalonskee scored a power-play goal about a minute later to tie the score 4-4.
Camden Hills remained tough while playing hard to kill off the remaining penalty time to set the stage for the dramatic overtime action, Enroth said.
In the first OT, both teams played "go-for-broke" hockey trying to tally the winning goal. "Both goalies and their best friend – the posts – prevent either team from scoring despite numerous close calls by both teams," Enroth said
About three minutes into the second OT, Annis gained possession of the puck, skated hard down the left side boards and put a wrist shot on net that beat Tuell for the game-winner.
The individual scoring included:
First period – Dom Dexter, Mess, 8:09 (Corey Foye assisting). Dexter skated hard through the high slot toward the net, received a pass from Foye and deked past Magri. Hand, CH, 6:42 (Robbins assisting). Hand skated in on a breakaway, faked a forehand and slipped a backhander into the net. Szumilas, CH, 0:02 (unassisted). Szumilas scored on a wrist shot.
Second period – Kalib Bernatchez, Mess, 7:46 (unassisted). Bernatchez scored on a wrist shot. Matteo, CH, 10:05 (Orne and Szumilas assisting). Matteo skated hard to the goal and knocked in a net front rebound.
Third period – Chase Cunningham, Mess, 14:19 (Jake Dexter assisting). On the power play, Cunningham skated onto a loose puck in the neutral zone, raced toward the net and scored on wrist shot. Orne, CH, 5:33 (unassisted). Orne skated straight in on the net and scored on a wrist shot. Josh Towle, Mess, 2:51 (unassisted). On the power play, Towle scored on a wrist shot from the mid slot.
First overtime – No scoring.
Second overtime – Annis, CH, 4:47 (Neilson assisting). Annis skated hard down the left side boards into the offensive zone and shot top left corner past goalie Tuell.
Recent ice action
After finishing a sensational regular season with a loss, Camden Hills has its sticks and pucks set on performing its best in the regional playoffs.
While the Windjammers lost to York 6-3 in a Feb. 20 game at the Midcoast Recreation Center, Camden Hills now has its focus on the postseason.
Camden Hills experienced a hectic finish to its schedule with several makeups and regularly-scheduled games held in a short span of time. The Windjammers started the season 12-0 and then finished 2-4 over their final six games.
Camden Hills faced York, a team it will battle in the upcoming regional tournament, on Feb. 20 in a regular season-ending game at MRC.
Derek Neal tallied four goals and the Wildcats grabbed the momentum early with three quick scores en route to the win.
For Camden Hills, Orne tallied two goals and Szumilas one, while Neilson, Simon Lydon and Robbins chipped in assists.
Camden Hills dominated in shots on goal at 46-33, including 20-11 in the second and 19-11 in the third. However, York held a 15-7 edge in the first when the tone was set.
Zach Hand made 27 saves in goal for Camden Hills and Jared Posternak 43 stops for York.
Camden Hills finished with three minor penalties for six minutes and York one minor for two minutes.
York was 1-of-3 on the power play and Camden Hills 0-of-1 in the same scenario.
"We started the game flat and did not bother to check Derek Neal, one of the best goal scorers in [Maine] high school hockey," said Windjammer coach Enroth. "Allowing Neal the time and space to shoot in the prime scoring areas of the ice really hurt us tonight."
Enroth added, "We tried hard to get back into the game during the second and early part of the third periods, but playing catch-up hockey seldom works out, especially against a veteran goalie and a playoff-tested team like York."
The coach said it has "been a hectic schedule this last week of the regular season and we are looking forward to some practice time to regroup and renew. [It is] disappointing that we lost [against York to finish the campaign], but, all and all, it's been a solid regular season."
Neal scored a natural hat trick and York jumped to a 3-0 lead. In the second period Camden Hills found its legs and dominated play but only scored one goal on 20 shots as Posternak denied several Camden Hills scoring attempts.
Camden Hills tallied an early goal in the third period to cut its deficit to 3-2. The Windjammers continued to skate hard to tie the game but several close scoring attempts did not find the back of the net. York earned two goals in a 41-second span halfway through the period to grab a 5-2 edge.
Camden Hills got a shorthanded goal to cut the visitors' lead to 5-3. The Windjammers pulled their goalie in the final minute to use the extra attacker but York quickly scored on the empty net on a long clear to seal the hosts' fate.
The individual scoring included:
First period — Neal, York, 12:11 (Wes Warner and Jared Clauson assisting). Neal scored on a backhander from the side of the net. Neal, York, 3:32 (Alex Janetti assisting). Neal scored on a wrist shot. Neal, York, 0:50 (Zach Franklin assisting). On the power play, Neal scored on a one-timer from left faceoff circle.
Second period — Orne, CH, 8:40 (Lydon assisting). Orne scored on a wrist shot from the slot.
Third period — Szumilas, CH, 14:24 (Neilson assisting). Szumilas skated across the slot and scored on a high wrist shot. Franklin, York, 8:10 (Neal assisting). Franklin deflected in a shot from Neal. Neal, York, 7:31 (Nick Walsh and Franklin assisting). Neal scored on a snap shot from the top of the slot. Orne, CH, 3:39 (Robbins assisting). With his team shorthanded, Orne received a breakout pass from Robbins, raced in on net and shot past Posternak. James Orso, York, 1:19 (unassisted). Orso blocked a shot attempt off the faceoff and shot from the York end of the ice into the empty net.
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