LEWISTON — Greely captured its second consecutive Class B boys’ hockey state championship Saturday by turning back a challenge from Messalonskee.
Aiden Black, Reid Howland and Ted Hart scored as the Rangers pulled out a 3-0 victory in a rematch of last season’s state final at the Colisee.
“Messalonskee played a very, very good hockey game,” Greely Coach Barry Mothes said. “They’re a good hockey team. They’re well-coached. They made us work as hard as we could, and I know (their players) left it all out there, too.”
The outcome was in doubt until the final minutes.
“It was one of the best games we’ve been involved in all season, a true final kind of game,” Mothes said.
“You couldn’t ask for much more than what we did other than score a goal or two, here or there,” Messalonskee Coach Mike Latendresse said.
Black, a junior forward, snapped a scoreless tie when he scored his 11th goal of the season 7:28 into the second period. Goalie Ben Weeks kept Joe Saffian’s close-in shot from going into the left side, but Black was there to sweep the rebound into the right side of the net.
Earlier in the second period, Weeks stopped the high-scoring Hart from scoring on a breakaway.
At the other end of the ice, goalie Kyle Kramlich had his moments, too.
Less than five minutes into the second period, Kramlich stopped Jared Cunningham, the Eagles’ leading scorer, from cashing in on a breakaway.
With less than four minutes left in the period, Kramlich stopped Joshua Towle from scoring on a shot from the bottom of the slot.
Late in the period, Chase Cunningham pinged a shot from the left circle off the far post during Messalonskee’s second power play .
“If we score at least one (goal) in the second period, it’s a different game,” Latendresse said. “You’ve got to give it to their goaltender. He really played well. He was the difference.”
Kramlich, who allowed a total of three goals in two games during the Western Maine tournament, made 17 saves.
Less than six minutes into the third period, Howland scored his 24th goal during a scrum in front of the Messalonskee crease to make it 2-0.
The Eagles (18-3) kept coming. With six minutes left, Kramlich came out of the crease to stop Chase Cunningham on a breakaway while Messalonskee skated short-handed.
Hart completed the scoring when he shot the puck into the open net from just outside his own blue line for his team-high 35th goal of the season.
“This game was hanging in the balance until we got that empty-net goal,” Mothes said.
Greely held a 10-2 edge in shots in a scoreless first period. The best chance for either team came with less than two minutes left when Kyle Megathlin broke in alone while the Rangers were killing off the game’s first penalty, but Weeks kept his backhander from going in the right side.
It was the third state championship in five seasons for the Rangers (17-4).
“This is huge for me,” Megathlin said. “I’ve worked for four years. The first couple of years were a little rough but the past two years, to win state championships, were unreal.”
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: