February 25

Eastern Class B hockey: Waterville turns back Hampden

The Purple Panthers move on to the semifinals with a 5-2 win.

By Travis Lazarczyk tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — With 22 shots in the first period, it looked like the Waterville boys’ hockey team had a chance to romp over Hampden Academy in their Eastern Class B quarterfinal Tuesday night.

It didn’t happen that way.

The Purple Panthers outshot the Broncos 47-26 and never trailed, but they still needed a pair of late goals to put the game away and take a 5-2 win at Colby College’s Alfond Rink.

“We came out focused. We tried to get nerves out early,” Waterville Coach Dennis Martin said. “We played really well.”

Waterville (11-7-1), the No. 3 seed, will face No. 2 Presque Isle at 5 p.m. Saturday at Winslow’s Sukee Arena. No. 6 Hampden ends the season at 8-9-2.

“We knew we had to jump on them in the first period,” said Waterville’s Andrew Rodrigue, who scored two goals and assisted two others.

Waterville led 3-1 after two periods, but the Broncos cut into the deficit at 7:08 of the third when Riley Eastman scored a power-play goal. The third period was Hampden’s best offensively. The Broncos had 15 shots over the final 15 minutes and controlled play more than they had the entire game, but at the 9:45 mark the Panthers got the insurance goal they needed. Tom Samson scored with assists from Dalton Henderson and Rodrigue to give Waterville a 4-2 lead.

Rodrigue scored an empty-net goal with 12.1 seconds left.

All the first period scoring came in a 36-second flurry. Rodrigue’s power-play blast from the circle to the right of Hampden keeper Ryan Manning gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 10:02.

“The puck was in the corner and I put it right out front,” said Rodrigue. “It went five-hole. It was a tough angle shot.”

“It was real big to get that first goal. That got us going. We took a lot of shots, got a lot of pucks on net,” Martin said.

Twenty-five seconds later, Waterville had a 2-0 lead on Michael Oliveira’s goal. Eleven seconds later, the Broncos got a goal back when Dylan Cray scored.

Oliveira scored Waterville’s second power-play goal at 11:41 of the second, tipping in a pass from Rodrigue in front of the left post.

Waterville peppered Manning throughout the first period, outshooting the Broncos 22-3.

“We did really well with our forechecking and our defensive zone coverage,” Waterville’s Nick Denis said. “We took quick shots, and it paid off.”

Kane made 24 saves for the Panthers and assisted on Rodrigue’s empty-net goal.

Travis Lazarczyk can be contacted at 861-9242 or at:

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

Twitter: TLazarczykMTM

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