Old Town High School senior center Cody Cross, who racked up 20 goals and 42 assists in just 19 games and led the Coyotes to an 11-win season after they won five games in the previous two seasons combined, has been named the Eastern Maine Class B hockey Player of the Year.
His coach, Brett Hale, was named the Coach of the Year and Presque Isle won the Sportsmanship Award.
Cross headlined the EM Class B first team. He was joined by Brewer center Evan Nadeau, Houlton-Hodgdon center Ben Ward, Presque Isle defenseman Jacob Buck, Lawrence of Fairfield defenseman Matt Woodbury and Houlton-Hodgdon goalie Malik Abouleish.
All are seniors and they are among the 19 seniors who will represent the East in the East-West Senior All-Star game at the Midcoast Recreation Center Rink in Rockport on Saturday night at 8:10.
Old Town freshman goalie Nathan Colannino was named to the second team as well as the All-Rookie team. He was accompanied on the second team by forwards Tyler White of Brewer, Isaac Lajoie of Presque Isle and Devan Belanger of Lawrence and defensemen Matt Youngblood of John Bapst High School in Bangor and Kam Lincoln of Houlton-Hodgdon.
The third team is comprised of forwards Cody Briggs of Houlton-Hodgdon, Joey Pate of John Bapst and David Wilcox of Old Town, defensemen Jake Valley of Brewer and Dalton Thompson of Winslow and goalie Josh MacFarline of Presque Isle.
The all-rookie team is comprised of Colannino, forwards Tyler Seeley of Presque Isle, Jacob Fletcher of John Bapst and Cameron Grenier of Winslow, and defensemen Brandon Ward and Jimmy Fitzpatrick from Houlton-Hodgdon.
The awards and all-league teams were chosen by the coaches.
Cross was honored by his award, saying, “It’s so cool to be one of 200 or so players and to be considered the best one. But I would have rather played in a state championship game.”
He credited linemates Wilcox and Trevor Francis for his success.
“When you play with two great players, you’re going to put up points,” said the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Cross.
Old Town went 11-7-1 this season including a berth in the EM Class B semifinals.
“He made their team go,” said Houlton-Hodgdon coach Joel Trickey. “He’s a very talented kid. He’s big and he’s a strong skater with a heck of a shot.”
“He could do it all,” said Presque Isle coach Carl Flynn. “He’s a playmaker who sees the ice really well. He was very unselfish with the puck and he became a physical force who used his body to his advantage.”
Hale called him an “incredible player” with a terrific work ethic.
The 38-year-old coach, in his fourth year at Old Town, said his Coach of the Year Award was a “team award.
“I was happy that the program had such a good year,” said Hale, who led the Coyotes to their first postseason berth in more than 15 years.
“Brett is a very focused coach who works his players hard,” said Brewer coach Dave Shedd. “His team plays with discipline and he’s a great guy.”
Trickey added, “He has done a great job.”
Nadeau had 22 goals and 32 assists to lead Brewer to a 19-1-1 season and the Eastern Maine Class B title.
“His spirit, work ethic and moves are phenomenal,” said Shedd. “He’s irreplaceable. He made me a better coach and a better person.”
Hale added, “The league won’t be the same without Evan Nadeau.”
Ward had 17 & 18 for the Black Hawks, including seven shorthanded goals.
“He played with great hustle and great tenacity,” said Hale. “He was their catalyst. He had a great shot and great speed.”
Abouleish concluded an exemplary career with a solid performance for the EM Class B finalists.
“He’s a very good goalie with a great glove hand,” said Shedd.
“He covered a lot of the net and added the ability to shoot the puck to his repertoire,” said Flynn.
Buck had 3 & 13 and was rock solid on the blue line.
“He was solid defensively his entire career,” said Trickey. “He isn’t flashy but he always makes solid plays and rarely made a mistake.”
Woodbury was a dynamic offensive-minded defenseman who could rush the puck end-to-end.
“He had incredible poise and was a great stickhandler and passer. When the puck was on his stick, you knew something was about to happen,” said Shedd.
Colannino and 34-goal scorer White headed up the second team.