ORONO — Jake Dexter and Jared Cunningham felt right at home at Alfond Arena Tuesday night.

The duo, making their third and fourth career Eastern Class B championship game appearances, combined for 10 points as the Messalonskee High’s boys’ hockey team cruised to an 8-3 win over Winslow for its fourth straight state finals appearance.

Cunningham, a junior, finished with a goal and five assists, and Dexter, a senior, notched a pair of first-period goals to go along with two assists.

Brandon Nale, the other first-line forward, had three goals.

“We had about a three-minute collapse and they got a few points in, but overall I felt like we had good control of the game,” Messalonskee Coach Joe Hague said.

Messalonskee will play either No. 1 Kennebunk (15-2-2) or No. 6 Gorham (13-5-2) in the Class B state final at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston.


Kennebunk and Gorham play in the Western Class B final at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Colisee.

“We all like to play here. It’s just a privilege to play in this complex and we all love it. I think it brings out the best in us playing in this game,” Dexter said. “We know it doesn’t matter unless you go and get the big prize at the end.

“That’s all we want. This game is good to win but in hindsight we want something greater than this.”

Dexter gave Messalonskee the lead 2:22 into the game by finishing off a nice pass from behind the net from Cunningham.

“He was hot tonight and it was unfortunate we couldn’t score early,” said Winslow Coach Andy Dube of his goalie Andrew Beals, who made 33 saves. “He kept us in the game early.”

Dexter made it 2-0 with 3:48 left in the opening period, and 46 seconds into the second he and Cunningham combined to set up Nale for a 3-0 lead.


Will Weeks and Nale each added goals before the end of the second, and within the first 1:04 of the third goals by Dylan Burton and Cunningham gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

Throughout the Eastern B playoffs, the Black Raiders have shown plenty of fight and they tried to make the game interesting in the third.

Jimmy Fowler’s goal with 10:01 to play started a string of three goals in less than two minutes that cut Messalonskee’s lead to 7-3.

“The team didn’t quit. It’s tough to come out in the third period against a top team like that knowing what’s on the line, knowing how hard it is to battle back,” Dube said.

“This team showed a lot of heart, a lot of courage and a lot of effort to play hard the way they did.”

That would be as close as Winslow would get though. Nale added his third goal with 46 seconds to play.

“We got a little too confident in ourselves and we just kind of sat back a little bit,” Cunningham said. “We can’t do that, even against any team.

“They’re going to capitalize on your mistakes so you just have to go out there, you have to work hard and you have to stay within yourself.”

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