Camden Hills puts second straight KVAC Class B championship on iceWindjammers beat Messalonskee; host Maranacook/Winthrop in playoffs Feb. 25
Rockport — The Camden Hills ice hockey team has concluded another sensational all-around regular season and now has its sights set on upcoming single-elimination regional playoff encounters.
However, the Windjammers had a little business to take care of first — namely, to make sure the best team in Eastern Class B, undefeated Messalonskee of Oakland, understood Camden Hills would be a challenge if the teams eventually meet again down the road for the state title.
On Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewston, Camden Hills (13-4-1, second in Western Class B) defeated Messlonskee (18-0, first in Eastern Class B) 8-2 for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship.
The Windjammers also beat Messalonskee 5-4 in double-overtime in last year's league finale. Camden Hills lost to Messalonskee 7-2 in the teams' lone regular-season meeting this season.
Now, Camden Hills will participate in the Western Class B playoffs. Last year, the Windjammers finished as the regional runners-up.
Additionally, Camden Hills split its final two regular-season games, both at the Midcoast Recreation Center, as the Windjammers beat Kennebunk 3-2 Feb. 19 and lost to Yarmouth 6-5 Feb. 20 in a makeup game.
In the final Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Western Class B, Camden Hills (13-4-1, 109.4522 points) finished second and Gorham (15-3, 125.9414 points) first in the 10-team region. The top seven qualify for the playoffs.
The regional playoffs will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The top-ranked team, in this case, Gorham, will have a bye in the first round.
That day, No. 2 Camden Hills will host No. 7 Maranacook/Winthrop (7-11, 57.1759 points) at 3:20 p.m. at MRC in a quarterfinal playoff game.
Also, No. 3 Greely of Cumberland (8-7-3, 105.5941 points) will host No. 6 Cape Elizabeth (7-10-1, 76.0417 points) and No. 4 Yarmouth (11-6-1, 100.8102 points) will host No. 5 Kennebunk (10-7-1, 82.4614 points) in quarterfinal games.
In the semifinals on Friday, Feb. 28, the Yarmouth-Kennebunk winner will play at No. 1 Gorham and the survivors of Camden Hills-Maranacook/Winthrop and Greely-Cape Elizabeth will meet at the Colisee in Lewiston. If they win, the Windjammers will play at 6 p.m. Feb. 28.
The regional championship game will pit the overall survivors against one another on Tuesday or Wednesday, March 4-5, back at the Colisee.
This season, Camden Hills outscored opponents 114-49 in 19 games, including the league championship encounter. The Windjammers also beat Maranacook/Winthrop 5-1 and 8-0 during the regular season.
Last year, Camden Hills outlasted Messalonskee 5-4 in double-overtime in the league finale. This year, there was no such drama on the ice as Camden Hills took care of business early and defeated an opponent the Windjammers just might meet, if all goes as planned, in the state Class B championship game in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, the KVAC game was tied 1-1 after one period before the Eagles led 2-1 early in the second. However, the Windjammers then scored seven unanswered goals to earn the victory.
For the Windjammers, Grayson Szumilas finished with a hat trick (three goals), while Jack Orne, Jonah Cameron, Simon Lydon, Kieran Lydon and Nick Czuchra all tallied one goal.
Orne and Simon Lydon added two assists apiece and Szumilas, Cameron, Kieran Lydon, Nick Bennett, Parker Lawson and Chase Matteo all one for the champs.
Veteran Camden Hills coach Karl Enroth said the Eagles opted to only play their best players early in the game, instead treating the contest more as a scrimmage in preparation for the regional tournament. Many high school athletic coaches, in many sports, opt not to play certain players for fear of them getting hurt and not being available for the regional tournament and state championship runs. Ultimately, coaches have different philosophical approaches to league championship games.
“In the spirit of sportsmanship and championship competition it was rather disappointing that Messalonskee decided to stop playing their best players in the second period and then had those players not dress and watch the game from the stands during the third period," Enroth said. "For our Camden Hills hockey team, no way are we going to jump on a bus, travel two hours and not compete the right way, especially in a championship game that people are taking the time to travel to and pay admission to. We showed up, we competed, we won. What Messalonskee decided to do with this hockey game is on them, not us."
Enroth said he and the Windjammers now turn their focus to the regional playoffs.
On Saturday, Camden Hills outshot Messalonskee 42-21, including 17-4 in the second period and 16-5 in the third. The Eagles held a 12-9 shot advantage in the first period.
Jet Magri (13 saves) and Zach Hand (6 saves) played in goal for Camden Hills and Ben Weeks (8 saves) and Elija Twell (26 saves) between the pipes for Messalonskee.
The Windjammers had one minor penalty for two minutes and the Eagles five minors for 10 minutes.
Camden Hills was 1-of-5 and Messalonskee 0-of-1 in power-play opportunities.
The game was competitive early. To start the second period Messalonskee changed its goalie as Tuell replaced Weeks in net. Messalonskee took a 2-1 lead on an early Dan Congdon goal at 14:02, his second goal of the game. Camden Hills responded several minutes later on Szumilas' goal to tie the game 2-2.
Camden Hills then received a power-play opportunity and Orne quickly capitalized on the man advantage with a wrist shot to give the Windjammers a 3-2 lead. Messalonskee decided to sit its top two lines for the rest of the second period and played its third and forth lines from that point, Enroth said.
Camden Hills took advantage and scored two more goals to lead 5-2 after two periods. Messalonskee's top two lines did not come out on the bench for the third period and the Eagles started the period with their third and forth lines. Camden Hills scored two quick goals in the first minute of the period to lead 7-2.
Camden Hills played its third and fourth lines throughout the remainder of the championship game.
The individual scoring included:
CH 1-0 at 11:54, goal — Szumilas (assist Orne). Szumilas skated right and shot far left past Weeks.
M 1-1 at 6:32, goal — Congdon (assists Kalib Bernatchez, Jake Dexter). Congdon shot from the low slot.
M 2-1 at 14:02, goal — Congdon (assist Dexter). Congdon scored on a wrist shot from the slot.
CH 2-2 at 11:39, goal — Szumilas (assist Orne). Szumilas scored from net front.
CH 3-2 at 10:36, power-play goal — Orne (assist S. Lydon). Orne scored on a wrist shot from the high slot.
CH 4-2 at 7:40, goal — Cameron (assist K. Lydon). K.Lydon and Cameron, on a 2-on-1 rush, attacked the net. K. Lydon skated down the left side and slipped a pass across the low slot to Cameron, who skated down the right side and shot into the net.
CH 5-2 at 5:29, goal — S. Lydon (assist Szumilas). S. Lydon scored on a one-time shot from mid slot.
CH 6-2 at 0.24, goal — Szumilas (assists Bennett, S. Lydon). Szumilas knocked in a rebound from the low slot.
CH 7-2 at 0.58, goal — K. Lydon (assists Cameron, Lawson). K. Lydon scored from the net front.
Ch 8-2 at 5:12, goal — Czuchra (assist Matteo). Czuchra jammed a loose puck into the net from the right post side.
Camden Hills-Yarmouth game
In the Windjammers' regular-season finale Feb. 20, Yarmouth beat the Windjammers 6-5 at MRC.
Yarmouth outshot Camden Hills 35-33, as the Windjammers led 10-9 in the first period and the Clippers 13-10 in the second. Both teams took 13 shots in the third period.
Jet Magri made five saves in the first and second periods and Zach Hand 24 saves in the second and third periods in goal for Camden Hills. Nick Allen made 28 saves for Yarmouth.
Camden Hills had three minor penalties for six minutes and Yarmouth two minors for four. The Windjammers were 2-of-2 on the power play and Yarmouth 2-of-3.
"We had a team letdown in the final 2:30 of the first period and the opening minute of the second period, letting up four straight goals in a short time span and that ultimately cost us the game," Enroth said. "Yarmouth’s first line of Murray, Dearden and Grant are very skilled offensive players that play extremely well together and they blitzed us hard in that time frame, especially freshman Bobby Murray.
“Goalie Zach Hand gave our team a big boost tonight coming into the game cold in the second period as he had to make some really tough saves right away and he kept our team in the game when it was getting away from us.
“We fought very hard to get back into the game but sometimes you expend so much energy trying to come back that it makes it tough to sustain it and get that go-ahead goal. Credit to Yarmouth freshman Bobby Murray and his linemate senior Isaak Dearden who both teamed for four of their six goals."
Orne started a first-period scoring spree between both teams as he scored two goals in just just under one minute to give the Windjammers a short-lived 2-0 lead.
The Clippers scored seven seconds later as Murray gained possession of the puck from the center circle faceoff and quickly attacked the Windjammer net for a goal. Camden Hills got that goal back at 4:18 on Szumilas' rush down the right wing. In the final 2:30 of the first period the Clippers exploded for three straight goals, with Murray leading the scoring charge as he added two more goals to secure the hat trick in the first period.
Camden Hills took a late penalty in the first period and the Clippers quickly converted on the power play in the first minute of the second period to lead 5-3. Camden Hills made a goalie change as it put Hand in net. Hand immediately came up with a key save as he stopped Murray on a breakaway and then stopped the rebound opportunity from another Clipper forward.
The Windjammers settled down and started to get their offense going while Hand kept the Clippers from adding more goals in the second period with several key saves. At 8:46, Lawson converted on the Windjammer power play to cut his team's deficit to 5-4.
In the third period both teams skated hard with back-and-forth action as both looked for that all-important next goal. Camden Hills earned a power-play opportunity at the eight-minute-mark and Orne scored to tie the game 5-5.
The action again intensified as both teams desperately tried to net the go-ahead goal in the final minutes. With just under 1:30 remaining in the game Dearden gained possession of the puck in the neutral zone and found Murray, who skated hard down the right wing. Murray skated in on Hand and fired a hard, accurate shot top shelf for his fourth goal of the game.
Camden Hills called a timeout to prepare for the final minute. The Windjammers got the puck deep in the zone and pulled Hand for the extra attacker. Camden Hills had a couple near chances to score from the slot area but the puck slid wide of the net on both chances and time expired.
The individual scoring included:
CH 1-0 at 8:52, goal — Orne (assist Szumilas, S. Lydon). Orne scored on a shot from the mid slot.
CH 2-0 at 7:56, goal — Orne (assist Grayson Szumilas). Szumilas created a turnover in the right corner and found Orne in the low slot, as Orne shot past Allen.
Y 2-1 at 7:49, goal — Murray (assist Dearden). Off the center ice faceoff following a Windjammer goal, Murray blitzed in from the blue line point, gained possession of the puck, skated past a Camden Hills defenseman and shot past Magri.
CH 3-1 at 4:18, goal — Szumilas (assist Josiah Simko). Szumilas received a breakout pass from Simko, skated down the right wing side and fired an off-angle shot past Allen.
Y 3-2 at 2:38, goal — Murray (assist Dearden).
Y 3-3 at 2:11, power-play goal — Pat Grant (assist Max Watson). Watson, from the center point, fired a shot/pass in the direction of Grant at the low left post side and Grant deflected the puck into the net.
Y 4-3 at 1:15, goal — Murray (assist Dearden). Murray scored on a shot from the low slot.
Y 5-3 at 14:26, power-play goal — Brian Travers (unassisted), Travers scored on a shot from the blue line point.
CH 5-4 at 8:46, power-play goal — Lawson (assist Orne). Lawson scored on a low-angle shot from just outside the right faceoff circle.
CH 5-5 at 7:41, power-play goal — Orne (assists Lawson, Szumilas).
Y 6-5 at 1:24, goal — Murray (assist Dearden). Murray received a support pass from Dearden in the neutral zone and skated down the right wing side and fired a hard wrist shot from the right fac off dot top shelf past Hand.
Camden Hills-Kennebunk game
The Windjammers earned an exciting 3-2 win over Kennebunk on Feb. 19 at the MRC.
“Hard-fought hockey game," Enroth said. "The team definitely made it difficult on themselves tonight with some undisciplined penalties. We just kind of hung in there, played hard, got some fortunate bounces, and made enough plays to squeak out a 3-2 win."
The coach said Magri "was solid in net," and "the defense and penalty-kill units came up big tonight."
Kennebunk led 26-24 in shots. Magri made 24 saves and Mike LeBlanc 21 for Kennebunk.
Camden Hills was whistled for seven minor penalties and one major for 24 minutes, while Kennebunk finished with three minors for six minutes.
The Windjammers were 0-of-3 and Kennebunk 0-of-7 on the power play.
Camden Hills jumped to a 1-0 lead on Orne's goal. The Windjammers played much of the next eight minutes shorthanded but were able to kill off the penalties successfully. Camden Hills got back to even strength in the final five minutes of the opening period and received another Orne goal.
In the second period Kennebunk caught a break when a shot from outside the blue line deflected off a Camden Hills defenseman and ricochet into the net. Starting at the nine-minute mark of the second period, Camden Hills took three straight stick penalties (tripping, cross check, cross check) and again had to work hard to kill penalties, including a 5-on-3 Kennebunk power-play advantage.
Despite heavy pressure around the Windjammer net Kennebunk could not score on its power-play opportunities.
With just under a minute remaining, Szumilas scored to give Camden Hills much-needed breathing room heading into the third period. Kennebunk applied pressure in the third period but the Windjammer defense and goalie Magri played tough around their net and were able to fend off the pesky Rams for much of the period.
Bryce Fraser scored for Kennebunk with 25 seconds remaining to make it a one-goal game. The Windjammers then cleared the puck out of their defensive zone and kept the puck to the outside to prevent the Rams from having a chance to tie the game in the final seconds.
The individual scoring included:
CH 1-0 at 14:06, goal — Orne (assist Noonan). Orne received a stretch pass from Noonan, skated down left wing side, cut to middle and shot past LeBlanc.
CH 2-0 at 3:49, goal — Orne (assist Szumilas, Lawson). Orne scored on a one-tiimer from the right faceoff dot.
K 2-1 at 12:52, goal — Joe Mooney (unassisted). Mooney's shot from outside the blue line point deflected off defenseman into the Windjammer net.
CH 3-1 at 0:52, goal — Szumilas (assists Orne, S. Lydon). Szumilas skated hard to left post side and one-timed the puck into the Ram net.
K 3-2 at 0:25, goal — Bryce Fraser (assist Mooney). Fraser score on high slot shot high.
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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