BREWER, Maine — The Brewer High School hockey program has been a model of consistency.
Over five seasons, including this one, the Witches have won three Eastern Maine Class B champion-ships under three different coaches: Steve Van Dolman, Bill Schwarz and David Shedd.
They were in Class A the other two seasons and reached the EM semifinals in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.
They won the state B title in 2007 and will try to claim another one on Saturday.
The Witches’ record over the five seasons is 90-18-4 and that includes a 6-1-1 mark against archrival Ban-gor and an 18-1-1 mark this season.
What is behind the program’s success?
“We’ve always had a good bunch of kids, we’ve always been fast and we’ve always skated hard,” said senior right wing Nick Risser. “And we always give 100 percent in prac-tice. We fight for every puck.”
“We have talented kids and we all grew up playing together in Brewer. We have a chemistry you don’t see on other teams because we’ve played together for so long,” said senior goalie Eric White.
White added that at every level of hockey in Brewer, they have always been encouraged to forecheck ag-gressively.
“We grew up playing offense. We’ve been told if we score enough goals, we’ll win,” said White.
“It’s a lot of fun to play this way,” said junior right wing Lucas Lamond.
“Everyone loves to score but we also remember the defensive points of the game as well,” said senior defenseman ant tri-captain Chris Lopez.
“We’ve always been fast and everyone can pass,” said senior left wing Jamie Williamson. “We al-ways work on one-touching the puck in practice.”
Lopez said it boils down to “hard work and great coaching” and they have had close-knit teams which has also been beneficial.
Success breeds success and Ris-ser said the Witches go into every game “expecting to win. We’re confident and we have confidence in each other.”
The Witches have overwhelmed teams with their depth this season.
They scored 18 goals in their two Eastern Maine Class B playoff wins and their third line produced seven of them. They combined for four goals and four assists in the 8-1 win over Presque Isle in the champion-ship game.
Most third lines are checking lines, but that isn’t the case for the Witches.
“They have really stepped up for us,” said White. “It’s wonderful to have depth like this.”
Shedd alternates four players on the third line: Lamond, sophomore Joey Fowler and freshmen Spencer Valley and Kyle Alexander.
“The coaches just tell us to go out and work hard,” said Lamond. “We try to do our part and give the other lines some rest while also creating some offense.”
Shedd said some of his leaders suggested that he use just the top two lines in the third period of scoreless tie with Lawrence several games ago but he sensed his top two lines were tired so he put his third line out and they responded with the go-ahead goal.
“Ever since that game, I use all three lines one after the other,” said Shedd.
The players have been impressed with the job done by Shedd and assistants Rob Bergman and Gary Gonzales this season.
“They’ve done a wonderful job. They keep us in line, show us what’s right and wrong and get us to skate hard,” said Risser.
“[Shedd] shoved discipline into our skulls so we don’t play short-handed the whole game,” said White.