WINSLOW — Neither a long layoff nor the Brewer Witches could slow the Messalonskee boys’ hockey team in an Eastern Class B semifinal Saturday evening.

And that was clear from the get-go before a large crowd at Sukee Arena.

Brandon Nale and Jake Dexter each scored four goals – including first-period hat tricks – and the top-seeded Eagles took another dominant step forward in its quest for a second straight Class B state title with a 12-1 win.

“We were ready to go,” Messalonskee Coach Joe Hague said. “We had the foot on the pedal and we kept going.”

Jared Cunningham had a goal and seven assists as the Eagles (18-1) – playing their first meaningful game in about two weeks – shook off any rust and put this one away early.

The Eagles, whose only loss was to Class A Bangor, will play No. 2 Waterville or No. 3 Winslow in the regional final at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Maine.

“We like to get out to a fast start,” Cunningham said. “We want to get the lead and never look back. We don’t like to come from behind.”

The Eagles (18-1) haven’t been in that situation much this season, and Saturday was certainly no exception. They erupted for four goals in the opening 10 minutes before No. 4 Brewer (9-8-3) answered with its lone goal, by Zach Duncan.

“We played really, really well,” Nale said. “We got the start we wanted.”

Nale scored his first goal at 4:27 when fired a shot past Brewer goalie Tyler Friel from the high slot. The goal came just 31 seconds after Friel robbed Nale on a breakaway.

“I had to bury that one,” Nale said. “He had just stopped me, so I wanted that one.”

Nale pushed the lead to 2-0 on a great individual effort along the right dasher. He stole the puck off the boards, skated into space and ripped a low shot inside the far left post.

Dexter scored a pair of goals about a minute apart later in the period, the second right after a Brewer timeout, and the Eagles were well on their way to their fourth straight trip to the Eastern Maine final.

His first goal was a one-timer from the slot after a he took a nice centering pass from Nale.

“I’ve had a few of these games, but this felt good,” Dexter said.

Messalonskee carried a 6-1 lead into the second period, and Nale struck again just 2:20 into the second.

“It went quick,” Hague said. “We just got rolling and didn’t stop.”

The Eagles scored five more goals in the third, including goals from Shea McCann and Dylan Burton. Messalonskee goalie Elija Tuell finished with 18 saves.

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