Friday, December 20, 2013
The high school hockey playoff races are intensifying as teams scramble to gain berths or improve positioning.
Here’s a look at how the Eastern A playoff field is shaping up ...
Lewiston started slow, losing three of its four games, but boy has it rebounded.
The Blue Devils have gone 11-0-1 in their last 12 games to take over the top spot in the conference. Bangor (11-3-1) is close in second, but this race is Lewiston’s to lose. St. Dominic (10-5-0) also rebounded from some early season struggles and sits in third place.
The top three appear to be set with only the order to be determined.
So where does that leave the rest of the league?
Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop (8-7-0), Cony (11-3-0) and Edward Little (9-5-1) are chasing the fourth and final home ice berth.
The three separated by a mere eight Heal points, which sets up a potentially thrilling end to the season.
Cony hosts EL on Thursday at Kents Hill.
The Rams have won seven straight and are headed to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
The other race to keep an eye on is the one for the eighth and potentially ninth spots.
Skowhegan (5-8-2) will qualify for the playoffs should it finish in the top eight. If it does, the field would expand to nine teams. Skowhegan is playing primarily a Class B schedule, but the Maine Principals’Association granted it playoff eligibility because of an scheduling mishap.
The Indians, as of Monday night, were in eighth place.
Should Skowhegan qualify as the eighth seed, it would play a preliminary game against No. 9.
Waterville (4-12-0) and Mt. Ararat/Lisbon (5-8-1) are battling for that ninth spot. The two are separated by less than a point.
The Purple Panthers play Bangor and Lewiston, and a win in either would clinch a playoff berth.
The question is: Would it also knock Skowhegan out?
“We just need to keep winning,” Skowhegan coach Jeff Fowler said.Tweet
Gary Hawkins has worked at the Kennebec Journal since 1980. His primary beats are baseball, boys basketball, girls and boys soccer and golf.