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High school ice hockey

Four games in six days for Camden Hills — no problem

Windjammer train rolls down ice past Messalonskee, Gardiner, Riverhawks, Capital Region
By Ken Waltz | Mar 02, 2021
Photo by: Zack Miller Camden Hills' Charlie Griebel, left, prepares to take a shot against Capital Region on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. The Windjammers won their final four games and seven of eight this winter.

Rockport — The Camden Hills hockey team put a stellar regular season on ice with four games in six days — all victories — and the Windjammers look forward to the "pod" playoffs and an opportunity to secure a tournament championship.

The Windjammers won their final four games in six days to cap a 7-1 record in the pandemic-shortened and -altered campaign.

Next up is the high school rink "pod" tournament at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell.

The Windjammers had pent-up energy from a 4-2 loss to Cony of Augusta and expended it on Capital Region on Wednesday night, Feb. 24.

The Windjammers rolled to an 8-0 victory over Capital Region, made up of student-athletes from Winthrop, Maranacook of Readfield, Lawrence of Fairfield and Spruce Mountain of Jay, at the Midcoast Recreation Center.

Watch video and see nearly 65 photos below from the Capital Region game.

Click to watch livestream of first period of the Capital Region game.

Click to watch livestream of second period of the Capital Region game.

The Windjammers followed that with a 2-1 overtime victory over Waterville-Winslow on Thursday, Feb. 25, 8-0 win over Gardiner on Saturday, Feb. 27 and 3-2 victory over Messalonskee of Oakland on Monday, March 1, with those games at the Ice Vault.

For the "pod" playoffs, Camden Hills play Cony on Monday, March 8 at 8 p.m. and Waterville-Winslow on Wednesday, March 10 at 4 p.m. and, if the Windjammers advance, for the "pod" championship against Gardiner, Messalonskee or Capital Region on Friday, March 12 at 4 p.m., with all games at the Ice Vault.

"We appear to be peaking at the right time," said Camden Hills coach John Magri, adding, "we are chomping at the bit to face Cony on Monday March 8 in the first game of playoffs."

March 1 game

Back at the Ice Vault in two 23-minute periods, the Eagles grabbed a 2-1 first-period lead, but the Windjammers responded with two second-half goals to secure the win.

Charlie Griebel scored at 21:56 in the first period and Jakob Johnson at 20:08 and Camden Powell (Levi Guay assisting) at 15:21, on the power play, of the second for the visitors.

Tyler Hanson netted Messalonskee's goals at 12:56 and 8:48 of the opening period.

Jackson Bernier (3 saves on 3 shots) and Will Gardner (28 saves on 30 shots) played between the pipes for the Windjammers and Mitchell Grant (46 saves on 49 shots) for Messalonskee.

Coach Magri said Messalonskee has the most sound goaltending of Windjammer foes this season and traditionally has capitalized on the power play "so we take them very seriously as an opponent. I felt we came out flat in the first period. Too much waiting and watching rather than forcing play and we weren’t first to 50/50 pucks."

That changed when Griebel "took a rip of a shot from off angle that hit two posts and found the back of the net" about a minute into the game. "An early goal like this goes a long way in breaking down a goalie that is expecting to have a solid performance in net," the said said.

The Windjammers faced adversity when, 10 minutes into the first period, Bernier could not get up from a low save and had to be removed from the game due to a knee injury, the coach said. Gardner took over in net.

Messalonskee scored two goals to take a 2-1 advantage. The Eagles played the entire period floating a player deep in the neutral zone, the coach said.

"This is a strategy out of a middle school street hockey playbook and becomes instantly useless and frustrating as we just pulled a defenseman into the neutral zone to baby sit the hanging player and the game became four-on-four play in the Messalonskee end of the ice," Magri said. "At the end of the first period, we were somewhat disappointed in our play. We outshot Messalonskee 18-14 but we were down one goal."

The Windjammers made adjustments to its personnel and roles so they could capitalize on Messalonskee’s plan and Camden Hills "also came out for the second period ready to play some gritty, hungry hockey. We dominated offensive zone time," the coach said.

Johnson tallied the equalizer when he "wheeled and dealed through most of the Messalonskee team to bring himself tight with the Messalonskee goaltender and he placed a puck between the goaltender's legs that found the back of the net" to tie the game. Five minutes later Powell put the winning goal in on a feed from Guay.

"Last season, many game-winning goals were Powell from Guay," Magri said. "They have a knack for getting it done."

The Windjammers dominated zone time and outshot Messalonskee 31-13 in the second period.

A five-minute major penalty on Camden Hills gave Messalonskee a five-on-four player advantage for the final four minutes, including six-on-four when the Eagles pulled their goalie in the final seconds.

Magri said he did not believe the major penalty was warranted and in the game's final seconds the Messalonskee goalie, who had been skating to the bench to give the hosts another player advantage, threw his stick at a puck headed into the Eagle net to redirect it. The coach said a penalty shot for Camden Hills, or a delay of game, should have been called, but was not.

Thus, the final 15 seconds saw Messalonskee with a six-on-four player advantage in the Windjammer end of the eice. "Will Gardner took a barrage of shots in the final minutes of the game and came up big for his team holding the one-goal lead," Magri said.

Feb. 27 game

The Windjammers were back at the Ice Vault for two 23-minute periods and made quick work of host Gardiner, as Griebel netted three goals and Guay, Nolan Delehey, Elias Libby, Cam Brown and Johnson one. Guay added two assists and Owen McManus, Johnson, Powell and Griebel one to pace the victory.

Gardner stopped the 21 shots he faced in goal for a 1.000 save percentage for Camden Hills, while Max Dearborn turned in a yeoman effort as he stopped 49-of-57 shots (.859 save percentage) for Gardiner.

"Although most of the shots in the second period were easy to field, Will made some key saves in the first 13 minutes of the game when all nine shots he took in the first period occurred and we were only on the board for 10 shots," Magri said. "Will kept the game even when the team needed him to. Will also made some key saves in the second period to keep Gardiner off the board, including two [on] close, hard slap shots that took him on the mask for one and the collar bone on the other. He simply squared to those shots and took them head on which really says a lot about his style of play. He is going to get in front of that puck for his team."

Camden Hills tallied three goals in the first period and five in the second.

In the first period, Griebel scored at 10:36, on assists from Johnson and Guay, while at 6:53 Guay tallied a goal on a McManus pass. The third even-strength goal of the period came at 6:13 when Griebel converted Powell's assist.

In the second period, Libby scored unassisted at 19:16, Delehey converted assists from Guay and Griebel at 17:23, Griebel scored again, from Guay, at 16:54, Brown made the most of a Johnson pass at 12:40 and Johnson capped the scoring on the power play at 3:19.

The coach said the game was fairly even for the first 13 minutes.The teams nearly equal shots and endured one penalty.

"Gardiner was very disciplined in their approach, just throwing pucks from their own zone and the neutral zone deep into the Camden [Hills'] end and running a hard forecheck," Magri said. "It wasn’t complex but it was frustrating and kept the game at an even, back-and-forth pace. About 13 minutes in the Camden [Hills'] players really started to click with each other and the systems we have in place, which inspired a jump in their step that began to create a pace of play that Gardiner just could not keep up with."

He said defensemen Johnson, Delehey, Libby and Owen Hotchkin "played a close-to-perfect game disrupting all zone entry at the blue line and putting physical pressure on all puck carriers. This resulted in a majority of the Gardiner shots on goal actually being clears or long low shots from the blue line or beyond."

The coach added the Windjammer forwards played hungry and dominated the neutral and offensive zones with "grit, speed, and dizzying playmaking that just simply gathered more and more momentum and precision as the game went on," the coach said. "Charlie Griebel was a force on the ice not only offensively but defensively also. He had all facets of the game on hyperdrive, including a huge physical presence which was really not a part of his game in his early high school career. He was a presence everywhere. Levi Guay also brought his tenacious play off style of play to the game, which is hard to contain once he is operating in that mindset. Camden Powell has also become, of late, the engine that sets the work tone and pace of the game as he fills multiple roles on multiple forward lines and special teams to inject his game play where needed. Rory Carlson is also asked to fill multiple roles as he provided the high speed forecheck on the right side of the Griebel, Guay line while also logging minutes on the blue line."

The coach said the freshman forward line of McManus, Emmet Marshall and Brown "has continued to play above their years and deliver on a game-to-game basis. Considering their age, their contributions are exceeding expectations."

Feb. 25 game

Griebel scored in overtime to put the Windjammers in the win column, but the play of goalie Bernier proved the key to the victory, said Magri.

In the game of two 23-minute periods and one OT, the Windjammers got two goals from Griebel and an assist from Guay to nail down the win.

Bernier made saves on 14-of-15 shots (.933 save percentage) in his work between the pipes, while Adam Sirois made 18 saves on 20 shots (.900 save percentage) in goal for the hosts.

The Riverhawks took a 1-0 lead at 7:03 of the first period when Nate Newgard scored, on an assist from Brandon Bearce.

Griebel scored, from Guay, with 16:11 left in the second half and converted the game-winner at 4:07 of the extra period.

Magri said the game was hard-fought, with few penalties, and "a ton of flashy highlights."

The Riverhawks scored first after a "defensive letdown" that allowed them to take multiple rebounds on Bernier until a "messy puck" got past Bernier, the coach said.

The second period brought multiple scoring opportunities for the visitors, "but the Riverhawk defensemen blocked a lot of pucks and their goaltender did a good job getting in front of the pucks that got through. Eventually, Guay connected with Griebel for the tying goal."

Even though Griebel and Guay put Camden on the scoresheet and led the squad to another victory, "the real story in this game was Bernier’s stellar performance in the net to keep the game tight and the prolific effort that the freshmen invested into this game," the coach said.

Among the freshmen, Hotchkin "played a tight, physical, textbook game" on defense until halfway through the first period when he was sidelined with injury, the coach said. Additionally, Billy Kurzius "seemed to feed off of the ever-present work ethic and grit of veteran linemate Camden Powell and was forechecking like a player twice his size."

The freshmen line of Marshall, Brown and McManus "really set the bar for work ethic in this game, but in the overtime period they were simply a force to be reckoned with," Magri said. "Forechecking like madmen, monopolizing all minutes in the opposing teams end, creating multiple scoring opportunities and basically wearing the Riverhawks down to the point of exhaustion where they took a timeout simply to rest their top players."

He added, "This was a team effort. I truly feel that the freshmen line of forwards wore down and chewed up the Riverhawks defense and goalie in the OT period and served them up in a broken-and-tired state to Guay, Powell and Griebel, so that they could execute on a fast break that pushed Griebel in on the Riverhawks' goalie all alone and capitalized on the breakaway by placing the puck in the net."

Feb. 24 game

“This game was senior night,” coach Magri. “We really needed to shake off the loss to Cony and get back on track making a statement with well-executed hockey. I asked the team to come out of the locker room like a freight train and put the game out of reach in eight minutes and then build from there.“

And with the team’s five seniors — Gardner, Griebel, Guay, Caroline Contento and Delehney — playing key roles, that is exactly what the Windjammers did.

Among the Windjammer seniors playing their final home games, Gardner earned a shutout in the net, while Griebel and Guay finished with a goal and two assists, Contento logged abundant ice time and “played gritty and tough in the net-front areas” and Delehey “put in another huge effort on defense protecting the shutout from any possible spoiler-goal crossing the goal line for Capital District," the coach said.

About eight minutes into the first period the hosts had three goals and closed the first period with a 7-0 advantage.

The teams played two 23-minute periods.

On Wednesday, Gardner saved the 10 shots he faced for a 1.000 save percentage in work between the pipes. Thomas Thornton finished with 16 saves on 24 shots for Capital Region (.666 save percentage).

In the first period, Griebel scored the hosts’ first goal on the power play, with assists from Guay and Camden Powell, at the 19:35-mark.

The offensive onslaught continued as Guay scored, from Griebel, at 16:38, while Owen McManus netted the puck at 16:23, Cam Brown from Emmett Marshall at 10:38, Billy Kurzius from Jakob Johnson at 8:15, Powell from Elias Libby at 6:10 on the power play and Rory Carlson at 5:07.

In the second period, Johnson scored on the power play, with assists to Guay and Griebel, at 20:13 to complete the hosts' impressive offensive performance.

The Windjammer freight train rolled down the tracks early as the hosts took advantage of an early power play when Griebel was fed a puck in the high slot from Guay and Powell. Then, in a 15-second span, Camden Hills had two more goals, including one by McManus, who was fed a puck in the high slot off a hard forecheck by linemates Marshall and Brown.

That same line struck gold again six minutes later when Brown put a goal in from a feed from Marshall. Kurzius scored his first varsity career goal off a beautiful pass from Johnson. Brown got on the board with six minutes left on a feed from the point by Libby. The final goal of the opening period was notched by Carlson unassisted.

“In the second period we played great heads-up hockey and I was able to roll/use the entire bench with equal play time,” Magri said. “I was very impressed that we could run six defensemen and four lines, often having five freshmen on the ice at once, and still keep Capital District scoreless. “

Capital Region at Camden Hills ice hockey
Camden Hills hosts Capital Region on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport. (Video by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Capital Region at Camden Hills on Feb. 24 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
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