The past few years of high school hockey have treated fans to a bevy of return trips, as teams from the East and West have received second or third chances, either for repeat or redemption.
For the first time in a while, though, Class B will have a straight rematch.
Defending state champion Greely High School of Cumberland (16-4-0) powered its way through the Western Class B field again and is looking to win its third state crown in five years, while Messalonskee of Oakland (18-2-0) again sliced through Eastern B for its second consecutive regional crown since dropping into Class B from Class A.
In 2012, the Rangers topped the Eagles, 6-2, in the final game of the season. In one meeting since then, on Feb. 2, Greely doubled up Messalonskee 8-4 behind a hat trick from Ted Hart.
But don't think for a second the Rangers are taking the Eagles lightly.
"Messalonskee's a good team," said Hart, who hopes to eclipse older brothers Brian and Kevin in titles won with the Rangers, told The Forecaster. "It's the fourth time we've played them in two years. The way we're playing right now, I feel good about our chances. I'd have bragging rights in the family if I could get two. We just have to do what we did tonight. We played well in all three zones, especially the defensive zone."
"Messalonskee is dangerous," Greely coach Barry Mothes added. "They're playing a nice team game. They share the puck smartly and move it smartly. We're expect a very, very tough game, a quick game. It's fun to play a really good, quick game. It's fun to have a couple more practices and come to the rink for one more game."
Greely has won 10 consecutive games officially, though if the team had not forfeited a pair of games due to an ineligible player, that streak would currently sit at 14. The Rangers' two other losses this season came to Class A finalists Lewiston and Falmouth.
The Eagles are no slouches, either. They've won 18 of the 20 games they've played this season, and their only two setbacks were the loss to Greely and a 5-4 loss to East No. 2 John Bapst on Jan. 12 in Bangor, a loss eventually avenged in the Eastern B final by a 7-2 mark.
Leading the way this season for Messalonskee has been the top line of Chase Cunningham, Jared Cunningham and Josh Towle — none of whom are seniors.
The line combined for five goals and four assists in Tuesday night’s win over John Bapst. Chase Cunningham had three goals and two assists, while Jared Cunningham and Towle each had a goal and an assist. The five-point night gives Chase Cunningham 34 goals and 40 assists on the season, while Jared Cunningham now has 32 and 35.
"They (the Cunninghams) are very special," Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse, a former University of Maine forward, told the Bangor Daily News. "They are both extremely smart and extremely skilled. They do a lot of very good things. Jared has more grit at times."
The Eagles will need their top line to be in top form Saturday if they hope to reverse last year's outcome.
"And we’ll definitely want to win a lot more on Saturday," Chase Cunningham told the BDN.
The Class B game begins at 1 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.