High school ice hockey

Windjammers one goal better than Wildcats in home rink shootout

Camden Hills earns pivotal win in quest for top playoff spot in Class B North
By Zack Miller | Feb 03, 2020
Courtesy of: Molly Cole Camden Hills' Ben Wells (5) and Levi Guay, left, work against Presque Isle goalie Brandon Poitras on Feb. 1 in high school ice hockey at the Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport. The Windjammers beat the Wildcats 7-6. Presque Isle's Noah Roy is behind.

Rockport — Heal Points are at a premium for the Class B North ice hockey standings as the regular season enters its final weeks and Camden Hills gained valuable ground — make that ice — on securing the No. 1 seed on Saturday night, Feb. 1 for when playoffs arrive later in the month.

After two straight road victories, the Windjammers returned to home ice to face an offensive threat in Presque Isle — whom Camden Hills bested 4-2 in the first game of the season on Dec. 6 — as a win for either squad would boost their resumé, and the hosts were the ones to squeak out a 7-6 victory.

Camden Hills led 4-3 after one period and 7-6 after the second.

"Presque Isle is the highest-scoring team in the league," said Windjammer coach John Magri. "They had just moved into first place and beat Messalonskee [of Oakland Friday, Jan. 31] by a score of 7-2.

"We had established this game for ourselves as an important game to earn a win to establish who we were in the league, coming into the postseason in less than 30 days. Missing senior Nick Tausek due to his prolonged recovery from injury sustained in the first Waterville game, and without senior captain Jason Greenleaf due to serving a game misconduct from our most recent contest with Cony, we were looking at a depleted cast of core forwards to step up and deliver for us in all three zones, and that is what they did."

Levi Guay led the Windjammers with two goals, while Charlie Griebel, Camden Powell, Quinn Brown, Jakob Johnson and Ben Wells also scored. Guay (3), Andrew Orne and Noah Quesnel tallied assists.

Gage Letourneau and Colby Carlisle led the Wildcats, as the players registered hat tricks. Connor Demerchant (3), Carlisle (2), Letourneau, Cameron Levasseur and Noah Roy recorded assists.

Goalie Jackson Bernier finished 17-of-23 in save opportunities (.739 percent) for Camden Hills, while Brandon Poitras was 21-of-28 (.750 percent) for Presque Isle.

The Windjammers were 1-of-4 (25 percent) on power plays, while the visitors were 4-of-9 (44 percent).

Camden Hills had nine penalties for 18 minutes, while the Wildcats had six penalties for 23 minutes.

"Presque Isle is a 'scoring' team, [as] they average just shy of six goals a game, so you either have to shut down their offensive onslaught or simply score more goals than they do," said Magri. "They also have the best power play in the league, so special teams would be crucial against them."

The hosts did not start out on the right skate, as Johnson received a penalty for roughing less than minute into the contest, but the right skate came down soon after, as Guay "took a puck end-to-end on a penalty kill and scored a shorthanded goal 1:13 into the first period."

"[Guay's] goal really set the tone for us on the ice and on the bench," said Magri.

The momentum was short-lived, however, as Letourneau knotted the score a minute later on a power play.

"[Letourneau, Carlisle and Demerchant] are their power play, [and] their game," said Magri. "Every goal involves one to three of these guys. They don’t really shoot or snipe the goalies, [but] they execute, set up plays with a 'scalpel,' capitalize on letdowns, and mostly find themselves putting pucks in empty nets on the blind side of the play. We knew we were going to have to thwart that all night if possible."

The minute that followed also saw a goal, this time from the Windjammers, as Guay snaked through the Wildcats' defense unassisted to give the hosts the lead.

After a hooking penalty on the Windjammers, Presque Isle's power play capitalized for the second time to tie the score.

"Frankly, their power play is deadly," said Magri.

The tie was short-lived, as Griebel "used his speed, and put a puck past Poitras" 15 seconds later, as the Windjammers regained the advantage.

"Three minutes later, down low in the [Presque Isle] end, Guay put on a puck-handling exhibition, working the puck up and down the wall and behind the net, for at least 30 seconds of possession, and keeping three [Wildcats] defenders from making contact with his stick, or the puck, when he finally came around the net, in what seemed like a wraparound attempt," said Magri. "Instead, he fed sophomore Powell in front, who unleashed a one-timer, and gave Camden Hills our only two-goal spread of the night, [but] that would not last long."

The Windjammers were back in familiar territory not long after the goal, as Presque Isle went back on the power play in a 5-on-3 advantage, and, again, scored, as the first period ended with a 4-3 Camden Hills advantage.

"The start of the second period [we] killed off the remainder of our penalties to find ourselves on a power play, when [Presque Isles'] Colby Bonville was given a five-minute major penalty," said Magri. "This actually resulted in a shorthanded goal [for the Wildcats]. This was a heavy blow, as we lead the league in shorthanded goals and had yet to give one up prior to this strike by [Presque Isle].

"Two-and-a-half minutes later, [we] answered with a power-play goal when Brown patiently walked the puck back and forth across the blue line looking for a lane to the net, and when he saw one, he stepped into the slot and let a shot go that found all net in the top corner, which put [us] up again by one goal."

The Windjammers and Wildcats traded goals for the rest of the second period, as the hosts regained the advantage for the sixth, and final, time with one period to play.

The final period did not see a goal registered, despite the Windjammers six more minutes of penalty time and Presque Isle's hot power play, as the hosts hung on for the victory.

"Guay was a force out there in this game," said Magri. "A lot of minutes, [and] a lot of work as he is a key penalty killer, and he turned in two goals, three assists, [for] five points for the night, bringing that special level of investment to a game that goes a long way in elevating his teammates.

"Wells is always a force in thwarting our opponents with his speed, size and tenacity, but lighting the lamp with a goal consistently the last few games is making him a much bigger threat coming into playoffs.

"Griebel, as expected, contributed to the scoring, but he also turned in a game where he played a fierce physical game in all three zones for all three periods, which was just a great thing to see.

"Quesnel has been elevating game by game recently making his style of play another weapon for us, as he is fast, quick-handed and plays on the edge of chaos, and productive. He is going to peak at the most important time in the season.

"Powell was a new addition to the team, and he has elevated gradually to a spot on the line with Guay and Wells, and he has added a level of fight and grind to that line which paid benefits with a net-front goal.

"As always, senior defensemen Orne and Brown provided topnotch protection in our own end, while contributing to the offense with a goal and an assist."

"We have been solid defensively most of the year, so it has been a positive development for our efforts in practice to pay dividends in scoring 15 goals in the last two games."

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Camden Hills (8-3-2, 66.4043 points) is third, while Hampden Academy (10-0-2, 69.5062 points) is first in the 12-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

Camden Hills players at their bench. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills' Ben Wells (5), Levi Guay (8), Andrew Orne (16) and goalie Jackson Bernier, along with Presue Isle's Colby Carlisle, right, and Gage Letourneau. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills' Charlie Griebel, right, and Presque Isle's Caleb Levesque (15), among others. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills' Ben Wells (5), Nolan Delehey (12) and Levi Guay. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills' Charlie Griebel, left, and Camden Powell, right, along with Presque Isle's Brandon Poitras, left, and Caleb Levesque. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills players converge after a goal. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills players converge after a goal. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills' Charlie Griebel, right, and Nolan Delehey in front of the bench. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills fans behind the glass react to another goal. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
A puck is fired on the net among a slew of Camden Hills and Presque Isle players. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills' Ben Wells in front of the bench. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
Camden Hills players come together. (Courtesy of: Molly Cole)
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