WATERVILLE — The Waterville High School Purple Panthers won the state Class A hockey championship two years ago and the Eastern Maine A title last year.
But Brewer High School’s defending Class B state champion Witches made a statement on Monday night, using four third-period goals to upend the Purple Panthers 6-2 in a mutual season opener at Alfond Arena on the Colby College campus.
Lucas Lamond broke a 2-2 tie 1:15 into the third period, linemate Kyle Alexander made it 4-2 4:28 later and Jacob Chapman and Spencer Valley added insurance goals at the 7:13 and 10:57 marks, respectively.
The line of Alexander (2 goals, 1 assist) between left wing Lamond (1 & 3) and right wing Valley (1 & 2) combined for four goals and six assists.
Tyler White had the other Brewer goal while Tim Locke and Kyle Bishop scored for Waterville.
“Our line worked well together and we’re going to keep getting better, too,” said Lamond. “This was a good win. It showed teams in Class A and B that we’re back and ready to go.”
“Our coaches push us real hard in practice. We might not like it but it definitely showed in the third period,” said White. “Waterville couldn’t keep up with us.”
“Usually, the third period is our period, but it wasn’t in this game,” said senior left wing Locke. “They kept the intensity up and we kept slowly going downhill. It seemed like we were out of gas.”
Alexander and White staked the quicker Witches to a pair of one-goal leads in a free-wheeling and frenzied first period, but Locke and Bishop equalized.
The teams played much better team defense in a scoreless second period, but Alexander made a nifty play from behind the net to set up an unattended Lamond early in the third to trigger the four-goal flurry.
“That was pretty easy,” grinned Lamond. “Kyle went around the back of the net, went to the backhand and somehow put it in front. The goalie (Cody Thibodeau) slid across to follow him and I had a wide-open net. All I had to do was shoot it.”
Alexander scored off a faceoff play when Valley slid it over to him in the middle of the slot.
“(Valley) drew a couple of guys over to him and passed it over to me,” said Alexander, who one-timed it past Thibodeau.
Chapman made it 5-2 on the power play off a two-on-zero after White maneuvered around a Waterville defenseman at the defensive blue line before racing down the ice.
White put his pass right on Chapman’s stick, and there was nothing the helpless Thibodeau could do.
Valley sewed it up by spinning around in the right circle and wristing the puck past Thibodeau.
“We lost our focus in our end,” said Waterville coach Dennis Martin, who was without all-state defenseman Matt Lee (concussion). “We got running around. Brewer had more desire and more effort. They do a good job buzzing guys around the net, and we didn’t pick up the men.”
Alexander opened the scoring by jamming home a rebound, but Locke answered with a slap shot into the far corner past Brewer goalie Patrick Spaulding.
White made it 2-1 by swatting home a rebound off the boards, but Bishop scored shorthanded with a breakaway backhander.
Spaulding, an Old Town High School transfer, overcame a shaky start to turn in a solid 23-save performance. Thibodeau finished with 16 stops.