Tyler White learned how to score goals from a good source: his older brother Eric.
The Brewer High School junior right wing, who has lit the goal lamp 32 times this season, used to shoot on his brother, the former Witch goaltender and current freshman second baseman on the University of Maine baseball team.
“Shooting on him my freshman year helped me a lot,” said Tyler. “He’d stop anything if I didn’t hit my exact spot. It was a big jumping point from bantams to high school hockey.”
The 17-0-1 Witches will begin defense of their state Class B championship on Saturday when they face fourth-seeded Lawrence of Fairfield, 8-9-2, in an Eastern Maine Class B semifinal at approximately 8 p.m. at Winslow’s Sukee Arena.
Second seed Houlton-Hodgdon, 15-3, and third seed Old Town, 11-6-1, will square off in the 5 p.m. opener.
White and linemates Evan Nadeau and Jacob Chapman have combined for 67 goals in 18 games in their second season together.
“Our job is to put up some good numbers,” said White. “Our second line has also done a good job doing that.”
Lucas Lamond, Kyle Alexander and Spencer Valley play on the second line and have scored 48 goals.
“I’ve been very happy with my season. I get bigger every year and (as a result) I’m able to shoot the puck harder,” said White, who has 18 assists to go with his 32 goals.
“He’s got the greatest hands I’ve ever seen,” said Old Town senior center Cody Cross. “He gets his shot off quickly.”
White and Chapman said they are blessed to have senior Nadeau centering their line.
“Evan sets everybody up. He makes it so much easier for us,” said Chapman. “And Tyler has an awesome shot.”
Chapman said the line has “good chemistry” and they know where each other is all the time.
The Witches beat the Bulldogs 6-0 and 8-4 during the regular season.
“In playoff hockey, anything can happen,” said Nadeau, who has 19 goals and 27 assists.
“We can’t be cocky,” said Chapman, who has 16 goals and 12 assists.
Brewer, which has won 16 straight, has received 19 & 17 from Alexander, 15 & 8 from Lamond and 14 & 8 from Spencer Valley.
Michael Shedd (0 & 12) and Jake Valley (6 & 4) head up the defense corps in front of goalie Adam Cossette (2.20 goals-against average, .885 save percentage) and Patrick Spaulding (2.00, .893).
Lawrence, which beat Presque Isle 4-3 in overtime in its quarterfinal, features Devan Belanger, Connor Walsh, Tyler Boudreau, defenseman Matt Woodbury and goalie Brad MacKenzie. Woodbury got the game-winner against Presque Isle.
In the opener, Old Town will be making its first playoff appearance in more than 15 seasons and the Coyotes feature a high-powered line of Cross between David Wilcox and Trevor Francis.
Cross has had a memorable senior year with 19 goals and 41 assists. Wilcox has 23 & 12 and Francis has approximately 15 points because he missed a large chunk of the season with a shoulder injury.
“I never pictured us to be in the playoffs. It didn’t look good my freshman year,” said Cross, whose Coyotes went 5-30-1 in his sophomore and junior years. “We have great leadership. The locker room is so much better than it has ever been. We’ve got good classes coming up and a great goalie (freshman Nathan Colannino).”
Cross said he has been pleased with his season.
“I wish I had scored more goals and we had more wins, but 60 points is pretty good. It’s funny, when you start winning, the points start coming,” said Cross, a third team All-Eastern Maine Class B pick a year ago.
Peter Wilcox and Zach Madden spark the defense corps.
The senior-laden and battle-tested Black Hawks have exceptional scoring balance with six forwards notching at least 17 points.
Ben Ward centers one of the top two lines between Cody Briggs and Logan Holmes. The other prolific line features Parker Sanderson between Dylan Gard and Ian Gervais. Kam Lincoln and Jordan Brown lead the defense corps in front of top-notch senior goalie Malik Abouleish.
Houlton-Hodgdon won the two regular-season games, 8-1 on Dec. 14 and 3-2 on Feb. 7.