January 9

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS HOCKEY: Cunningham makes Messalonskee history

Forward breaks school scoring record as Eagles cruise to victory

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WINSLOW — Just a minute and change into an Eastern B game Thursday night between Winslow and Messalonskee a section of Plexiglas near center ice at Sukee Arena broke, forcing a 10-minute delay.

When play resumed, spectators witnessed another convincing Messalonskee victory, as well as a record-setting performance by standout forward Chase Cunningham.

The shift senior had two goals and two assists to become the all-time leading scorer in program history with 193 points as Messalonskee beat Winslow 10-0. Former defenseman Nate Ponitz held the previous mark of 192.

“It’s pretty emotional,” Cunningham said. “It’s been on my mind for a long time. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I just didn’t want to stop until I got it, and I wanted to do it here.”

Cunningham did just that with 6 minutes, 33 seconds left in the game, when Dylan Burton took a pass from Cunningham and beat Andrew Beals with a shot to the far post. Cunningham has 79 goals and 114 assists.

“I don’t even remember what happened after the puck went in,” Cunningham said. “It was a relief. I’m glad it’s over because I was trying too hard in the third period.”

Added Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse: “It was a special moment for Chase and the team. The guys were pretty emotional.”

Brandon Nale scored a hat trick and an assist for the Eagles (7-0-0). Burton finished with a goal and three assists while Jared Cunningham had a pair of goals.

The Eagles have scored with ease this season, piling up 38 goals in their first six games. And they scored with ease Thursday, scoring four goals in a four-minute span midway through the opening period to erase any doubt of the outcome. Chase and his brother Jared Cunningham each scored twice in the spurt.

With Messalonskee leading 3-0, Chase Cunningham forced an offensive zone turnover and beat Winslow goalie Andrew Beals with a high shot to the glove side with 6 minutes, 44 seconds left in the period. He Cunningham scored again 15 seconds later to make it 5-0.

Winslow (3-3-0) regrouped after the first period, but it wasn’t enough to get back into the game against the two-time defending Eastern B champs.

Andrew Beals had 45 saves for Winslow.

“Hopefully, we can keep this going,” Chase Cunningham said. “It was a good win and we’ll move on.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640bstewart@centralmaine.comTwitter: @billstewartkj
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