Cunningham, Messalonskee seek first Class B state hockey title against Gorham on Saturday

Posted March 06, 2014, at 7:34 p.m.
Last modified March 06, 2014, at 10:28 p.m.
Messalonskee High School's (right) Chase Cunningham finds some open ice ahead of Brewer High School's Gehrig White during a game on Jan. 22 at Penobscot Ice Arena in Brewer.
Terry Farren
Messalonskee High School's (right) Chase Cunningham finds some open ice ahead of Brewer High School's Gehrig White during a game on Jan. 22 at Penobscot Ice Arena in Brewer.

There is only one thing Messalonskee High School of Oakland senior right wing Chase Cunningham has yet to accomplish during his remarkable high school hockey career: win a Class B state championship

But he will get one last crack at that title on Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

Cunningham has set the school record for points (248), and he and his Eagles, losers to Greely of Cumberland Center in the last two state finals, will take on 17-3 Gorham in the 1 p.m. title game.

Gorham will be making its first appearance in a state final. The Rams dropped down to Class B this season from Class A. Messalonskee is in its third season in Class B since moving down.

The Class A state final between 12-7-1 St. Dominic Academy of Auburn and defending state champ Falmouth, 16-5, will follow at 6 p.m.

St. Dom’s hasn’t won a state championship since notching back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.

Cunningham, who has 32 goals and 47 assists this season, said he would like nothing more than to cap his career with a state crown.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Cunningham. “We’re going to have to play our best game of the year. Gorham is a good team, and they definitely earned [their Western Maine title]. We’re going to have to work hard.

“It’s going to be a good game,” predicted Cunningham.

Cunningham’s accomplishments include back-to-back 79-point seasons.

“I’ve played with great players for four years now, and I definitely couldn’t have done it without them and the coaches,” he said.

“Chase is smart and he has a lot of skills,” said Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse. “He has deceptive speed and great hands.”

Two of the primary helpers this season have been his linemates, younger brother Jared Cunningham (28-42) and senior Dan Condon (28-31). Senior Josh Towle switches off with Condon on the top line and whoever isn’t with the Cunninghams is on the productive second line with Kalib Bernatchez and Jake Dexter.

The game pits a Messalonskee team that has averaged 6.85 goals per game against a Gorham club that has allowed just two goals in its last four games and 10 over its last 10.

“Gorham has a real good team,” said Latendresse. “They have a lot of talented players. This is going to be our biggest challenge of the year. They’re a fast team that likes to pressure you. Their top line is very good. It’s one of the better lines I‘ve seen this year.”

Latendresse was referring to the all-senior line of Jared Wood, Shawn Sullivan and Tucker Buteau. Wood had two goals, including the third-period game-winner in the 4-2 win over Greely in the Western Maine final, and Sullivan had the late winner in the 1-0 semifinal win over Kennebunk.

Dylan Turner, one of four captains, anchors the defense corps in front of goaltender Justin Broy, another captain. Broy stopped 44 of 46 shots in two Western Maine tourney wins.

Dylan Burton (9-40) has headlined a stellar defense corps in front of senior goalie Ben Weeks.

In the Class A game, the Saints will look to do something rare: beat a third straight postseason opponent that swept them during the regular season.

The Saints avenged regular-season losses in beating Lewiston 4-2 in an Eastern Maine semifinal and Bangor 3-1 in the final.

Falmouth beat the Saints 3-1 and 5-4 during the regular season.

The Saints feature the line of Austin Roy (7-9) between Chase Hainey (16-9) and Brad Berube (12-21) along with RW Caleb Labrie (19-11) and C Cam Stewart (9-11) and goalie Caleb Dostie. Senior Avery Jones (3-5) is the top point-getter among defensemen.

Falmouth has been led by Travis Roy Award semifinalist Andre Clement (6-19) along with Isac Nordstrom (19-20), Brandon Peters (14-9), Tyler Jordan (13-11), defenseman Jake Grade (9-8) and goalie Dane Pauls.

 

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