Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Paul Betit email@example.com
Teams well-acquainted with each other will play for the Class A and B boys' hockey state championships today at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
C.J. Maksut, right, starred in last year’s Class A state championship game, and he’ll try to lead Thornton Academy to a second straight title tonight.
Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
Kyle Kramlich is only a freshman, but he and his Greely teammates are one win away from the school’s second boys’ hockey state championship.
TODAY'S STATE HOCKEY FINALS
WHO: St. Dominic Academy (15-6 ) vs. Thornton Academy (19-1-1)
WHEN: 6 p.m. today
WHERE: Androscoggin Bank Colisee, Lewiston
ST. DOM'S TOP PLAYERS: F Spencer Martin (9 goals, 13 assists), F Danny Nadeau (9-9), F Cody Rodrigue (12-9), Chris Finley (10-7), D Cam Hainey (6-11), G Christopher Austin (2.00 GAA), G Grant Carrier (2.35 GAA)
THORNTON ACADEMY'S TOP PLAYERS: F C.J. Maksut (29-26); D Bryan Dallaire (15-36), F Andrew Carignan (20-20), F Nick Chen (17-17), F Robbie Downing (17-16), G Joe Ferrante (1.20 GAA);
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Saints must play the same shutdown defense that has allowed them to limit opponents to a total of three goals in three playoff games. Special teams play, a strong point for the Trojans' throughout the playoffs, could be a deciding factor.
WHO: Messalonskee (14-4-2) vs. Greely (18-3)
WHEN: 1 p.m. today
WHERE: Androscoggin Bank Colisee, Lewiston
MESSALONSKEE'S TOP PLAYERS: F Sam Dexter (47 goals, 30 assists), F Chase Cunningham (25-43), F James Varney (17-22), D Travis St. Pierre (7-35), D Dominic Dexter (1-12), G Nate DelGiudice (1.56 GAA)
GREELY'S TOP PLAYERS: F Mitchel Donovan (13-16), F Kenny Richards (11-10), F Ted Hart (8-13), F Pete Stauber (7-13), F Reid Howland (10-6); G Kyle Kramlich (2.28 GAA)
KEYS TO THE GAME: Greely, making its first appearance in a state final since 2009, has used its depth up front to overwhelm most of its opponent, so Messalonskee must slow the tempo and maintain possession of the puck. If the Rangers can play up-tempo, it could be a long game for Messalonskee.
-- Paul Betit
Greely and Messalonskee, which played one game against each other during the regular season, meet for the Class B title at 1 p.m. The Class A final at 6 p.m. matches two teams that have already clashed twice this winter -- St. Dom's against defending champion Thornton Academy.
Western Maine champions Greely and Thornton were the top seeds in their regional tournaments, but Messalonskee and St. Dom's both had to knock off top-seeded teams in the Eastern Maine finals.
Thornton (19-1-1) has beaten St. Dom's (15-6) twice this season. On Jan. 4, the Trojans skated to an 8-1 win at the Colisee. On Jan. 28, Thornton won 6-2 at Biddeford Ice Arena.
But the Saints have improved, especially defensively. They have allowed a total of three goals in their three playoff victories, including a 1-0 win over top-seeded Lewiston in the regional final.
"Their commitment to the defensive end, jumping on all loose pucks, and their compete level was fantastic," Thornton Coach Jamie Gagnon said. "They have three lines that can skate. Their skating game is fantastic. They've got two good goaltenders, who have both been fantastic in the playoffs, and they've got some defensemen who push the rush as well. They obviously showed the other night they can play some shutdown defense."
The Saints have won 24 state championships but are seeking their first since 2000.
"We've changed our D-zone coverage, and (opposing players) have to work harder to get to the net," St. Dom's Coach Steve Ouellette said. "We're blocking more shots, (and) there are (fewer) seams for guys to go through."
Thornton has the state's most potent offense. The Trojans have outscored opponents 77-14 while reeling off 11 consecutive wins.
"The most critical thing, if you look back at those games, is where we've been getting our contributions from," Gagnon said. "We've had contributions from throughout the lineup. Some nights, a particular line may be focused on by an opponent, and another line will step up and contribute. All year long, we've gotten contributions up and down the lineup."
"They've got guys who can finish, but if we limit how many opportunities they get on odd-man rushes, things like that, I think we'll be in (the game) for three periods," Ouellette said.
CLASS B: Greely (14-4-2) is 16-1-1 this season against Class B opponents, including a 3-1 win over Messalonskee (18-3) late in the regular season at Family Ice Center in Falmouth.
"Greely is a very good team, and they showed it in that game," Messalonskee Coach Mike Latendresse said. "They overwhelmed us with their speed and their work ethic.
They can come at you with three very solid lines. They've very deep as a team, and they're very well-coached."
Messalonskee, which upset No. 1 Brewer in the Eastern Maine final, is making its first appearance in a state final.
"They're not completely unlike York or maybe Yarmouth," Greely Coach Barry Mothes said, referring to his team's first two playoff opponents. "They have a number of fast-skating talented forwards (who) move the puck forward and skate well and make plays, so I feel we can play that type of game. I'm expecting an up-tempo game, (and) we enjoy those kind of games."
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: