WATERVILLE — Messalonskee will play for its first boys’ hockey state championship in eight years on Saturday.

The second-seeded Eagles completed a season sweep of Hampden Academy on Thursday night at Colby College’s Jack Kelley Rink, downing the No. 4 Broncos 3-1 in the Class B North final.

Will Durkee figured in all three goals for Messalonskee with a goal and two assists.

Messalonskee (18-2-1) will play South champion Cape Elizabeth at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The Eagles last won a regional championship in 2015, when they completed back-to-back state championships.

“It feels really good. We’re excited for the next three periods,” Durkee said. “We’re really deep, we come to practice every day and work hard, and people hold each other accountable.”

Messalonskee won both regular-season meetings against Hampden (12-8-1), including a 6-0 shutout on Jan. 23, and outscored the Broncos 16-5 in three games this winter.


The Eagles took the lead in the first minute of the second period. Bryce Crowell was left alone in front of the net, collected a loose puck and fired it past goalie Aaron Donovan (34 saves).

The lead doubled when Durkee scored a power-play goal 5:16 into the third period.

Following a second period in which Hampden mustered only three shots on goal – and all of them from high in the zone without any traffic in front of Messalonskee goalie Hunter Hallee – Durkee’s goal was a backbreaker for the Broncos.

“We gained a lot of momentum from that,” Durkee said. “It kind of gave us that extra edge, really.”

“I think we shut them down and covered everybody,” Messalonskee junior defenseman Grayson Podey said. “We clogged the neutral zone and didn’t allow them to make any passes. We forced them to dump everything in.”

Messalonskee was a perfect 4 for 4 killing penalties, and Hallee finished with 26 saves.


“We’re at 90 or 92 percent on the PK this year,” Messalonskee Coach Dennis Martin said. “We pressure the puck. We try and put pressure on guys and get them to make mistakes.”

Only seconds after Tyler Hansen was stonewalled by Donovan on a breakaway, Garrett Card clinched the victory on another breakway with 1:13 remaining.

Nine seconds later, Hampden’s Lucas Cousins spoiled Hallee’s bid for his second shutout of this postseason.

“Our coach said from Day 1 that we wanted to play (in the regional final) here in our own building and be the home team,” Podey said. “We just went out and got it done.”

“With all the returning guys we had, we knew we were going to be pretty good,” Martin said. “As a group, they work so great as a group, and there’s good leadership. It’s been everybody buying into ‘we’ve got to work.’ We set a goal, and that’s what we have.”

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