The Bangor High School hockey team has suffered some significant graduation losses, including All-Eastern Maine Class A first team center Johnny Warren and second-teamers Darren Casey-Covell, a right wing, and defenseman Chad Kelley.
Warren (14 goals, 13 assists) and Casey-Covell (16 & 8) were their top two scorers.
But fifth-year head coach Ted Taylor and his players are optimistic about the season.
Bangor is the only Class A team in the eastern Maine area now that rival Brewer has dropped to Class B.
“We have a lot of our goal scorers back and a good senior group. We have 10 seniors, three freshmen and a great mix of juniors and sophomores,” said Taylor. “The team speed is good and our size is good. There’s a good attitude and we have talent. This should be one of our better teams.”
“We’re pretty deep this year. We have a lot of chemistry already and I’m excited about that,” said senior defenseman and tri-captain Nick George, who was a first team All-Eastern Maine selection.
“We like to win and we showed that in the fall with football and soccer. Now we’re looking to do it,” said senior left wing and tri-captain Nate Lewis, referring to the fact the Bangor football team reached the state Class A championship game and the soccer team got to the Eastern Maine final.
The Rams went 14-6 last season, including a heart-breaking 4-3 decision to eventual Class A state champ Waterville in the EM semifinals.
“We played four lines last year and we’re looking to do the same thing this season,” said Lewis. “We’ve only been able to do that the past couple of years. We’ve got some young, talented freshmen who have really stepped up.”
In fact, there is a freshman on three of the four lines, including the top two lines.
First-year man Zeb Tuell will be the right winger on the first line with junior center Joey Seccareccia, who had 11 goals and 6 assists a year ago, and Lewis, who scored six goals. Another freshman is left wing Zach Papsadora, who will be on a line with sophomore center Nic Cota (9 & 11) and seasoned junior right wing Phil Frost.
An all-senior third line features Cody McInnis (6 & 9) on the left wing with Ryan King at center and Jacob Turmel on the right side. The fourth line involves the other freshman, right wing Carl Farnham, who will be with sophomore left wing Connor Griffin and senior center Noah Frost.
George (5 & 8) and junior Adam King (2 & 11) will be the workhorses on an evolving defense corps that has been good in the corners and in one-on-one battles for the puck, according to Taylor.
George is currently paired with converted forward Devin Lyshon and King is with Josh Couturier. Lyshon and Couturier are both seniors.
Senior Scott Farnham and junior Tyler Shanklin make up the third defense tandem in front of senior goalie Zach Hamilton. Sophomore Chris Howat backs up Hamilton.
Hamilton went 13-5 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
Taylor said Lyshon has shed 20 pounds and has made a smooth transition to defense.
“He’s one of our smartest players and he sees the ice well. He also has a great shot,” said Taylor, who also looks for an outstanding year from Hamilton.
“He should be a top goalie this year,” said Taylor.
“I want to be more consistent,” said Hamilton. “I want to play every game as well as my best games last year.”
Bangor has added former John Bapst High School assistant and current major leaguer Matt Stairs to its coaching staff.
“He’s going to be a great help. He has a lot of hockey knowledge and he loves what he does,” said Taylor.
“He’s a great coach. He works us hard,” said Hamilton.
“I like him a lot,” said George. “He knows a lot about the game and he has friends in the NHL and that will help.”
Bangor opens at home at Sawyer Arena against St. Dominic of Auburn on Saturday at 4:40 p.m.