HALLOWELL — To become the best, a team must play the best and, at this point in the 2022-23 high school ice hockey season, the young Camden Hills Windjammers were happy to test their mettle against the region’s number one team.

On Wednesday, Dec. 28, the Windjammers again hit the road — they have not played an official regular-season game at home — to face Messalonskee of Oakland at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault.

The end result was a 6-4 loss to the Eagles, the No. 1 team in Class B North.

Camden Hills tallied two goals in the first period and one in the second and third, while Messalonskee had two in each period. The Windjammers held leads of 2-0 and 3-1.

For the Windjammers, Lucas Wyman, Bennett Gardner, Owen McManus and Aiden Asselton scored goals, while McManus had two assists and Blake Christie and Cam Brown one.

Quinn Hoppin finished with 42-of-48 saves in goal for Camden Hills.

Tatum Doucette netted two goals and Bryce Cowell, Garrett Card and Grayson Podey one for Messalonskee, while Crowell added two assists and Tyler Hanson and Bjorn Brickett one assist.

Hunter Hallee (20-of-22) and Mason Capeless (1-of-3) played between the pipes for the hosts.

The opponents finished with 16 minutes of infractions.

Veteran Windjammers coach John Magri said it was a “fast-paced” game and Messalonskee is strong offensively, but, “if they have a weakness it is their defense and goaltending. That is why their games are such high-scoring affairs. They are averaging 6.66 goals a game, but they are also suffering 4.66 goals-against. You are not going to shut Messalonskee out, you simply have to score more goals than they do. So far Messalonskee has been the only team the Windjammers have faced that have applied some kind of strategy to their play to not only counter our game, but develop their offensive attack. This was the toughest game we played so far this season.”

The coach said Messalonskee pressed freshman goalie Hoppin “with a bevy of shots and, although he had a couple of mental errors due to inexperience, he really turned in a workhorse performance stopping 42-of-48 shots. He grows a mile in experience every game we play, especially against offensive-minded teams like Messalonskee and Presque Isle. He is going to grow into a major force between the pipes for us in the last half of the season.”

Magri said the contest “was a good game as far as team investment. It was fast and we were leading at two different times during the contest. Messalonskee is a team that are opportunists. If you make a mistake they will capitalize on it and turn it into a scoring opportunity. We simply made too many mistakes. The scoring gap was two goals and we had way more than two turnovers or mistakes in the game. If you could get a couple of those back it is a different outcome. We are actually looking forward to playing Messalonskee again at home at the end of the season.”