Defenseman Travis St. Pierre spent his first two seasons at Messalonskee High School in Oakland before transferring to Kents Hill last year.
But he returned to Messalonskee for his senior year and the Eagles are glad he did.
Workhorse St. Pierre, the line of James Varney between Chase Cunningham and Sam Dexter, and goalie Nate DelGiudice guided the 18-3 Eagles to their first regional hockey championship and they will face 14-4-2 Greely of Cumberland Center in Saturday’s 1 p.m. state Class B final at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
In the Class A game at 6 p.m., 19-1-1 Thornton Academy of Saco will look to defend its state title against 15-6 St. Dominic of Auburn.
St. Pierre is “one of the top three defensemen in the state, any class,” said Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse. “He can do it all. He reads plays, he’s patient and he’s poised with the puck. He makes everyone around him better.”
St. Pierre has impressive numbers, racking up 42 points in 21 games on seven goals and 35 assists.
But he is equally adept in the defensive zone.
“He is a great defensive defenseman,” said Latendresse who plays St. Pierre over 30 minutes of a 45-minute game. “He plays with his head up all the time and makes real good decisions.”
“He makes their whole team go,” said former Old Town coach Brett Hale.
“I’m glad I came back,” said St. Pierre. “I liked Kents Hill. The hockey was real good there. But it was different being away from all of my buddies and being at a smaller school.”
Latendresse also said St. Pierre and fellow senior Dexter have been outstanding leaders.
They will need that leadership and exceptional performances from St. Pierre, Dexter’s line and DelGiudice to beat an impressive Greely team.
“They’re the hardest-working team I’ve seen in high school hockey,” said Latendresse. “And they’re deep. They can rotate three lines, if not four.
The drop-off from line to line isn’t that big. Their defensemen are solid and their goaltender (Kyle Kramlich) is young but he’s done a great job.
“We’re going to have a full plate on our hands,” added Latendresse.
Greely beat Messalonskee 3-1 on Feb. 18 in Falmouth, outshooting the Eagles 36-18.
“Chase Cunningham didn’t play that game. We’ll be a much different team on Saturday,” said Latendresse.
Cunningham has scored 25 goals and dished out 44 assists while Dexter has an eye-opening 47 goals and 30 assists and Varney has 17 & 22.
Dexter is a senior while Cunningham and Varney are sophomores.
“We’ve got to take care of the puck and play real well in our (defensive) zone,” said Latendresse.
Senior DelGiudice has a 1.56 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage and is coming off a stellar 35-save performance in a 5-2 upset win over two-time Eastern Maine Class B champ Brewer.
Greely had nine players with at least 12 points during the regular season.
The Rangers have been paced by Kenny Richards, Ted Hart, Pete Stauber, Reid Howland and Ben Hackett.
Howland and Hart each had three goals in their two playoff wins.
Freshman Kramlich had a 2.28 GAA and a .887 save percentage during the regular season.