May 22, 2018
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Presque Isle hockey player cracks 100-point club and gets accepted to MIT

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Presque Isle senior hockey center Isaac LaJoie thinks this could be a great time to buy lottery tickets to see if his luck continues.

He learned on Saturday that he had been accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then notched five points on three goals and two assists in an 8-5 win over archrival Houlton-Hodgdon on Tuesday that made him the school’s sixth career 100-point scorer.

He has 51 goals and 49 assists in his four-year career.

“It has been a dream week,” said LaJoie. “[Getting into MIT] was an immense weight off my shoulders. I have been working toward that and I had been waiting to hear from them.

“It is something I’m very proud of. It’s a very prestigious school. It should be a good fit for me.”

MIT doesn’t have varsity hockey but LaJoie may elect to play for its club team, he said.

LaJoie was equally excited about his on-ice milestone.

“It was pretty crazy. There was a big crowd. There weren’t any basketball games, so I was able to do it in front of all my friends,” he said.

Accomplishing the feat at the expense of the Aroostook County rival added to it, he said.

“It was definitely a good team to do it against,” he said. “It was such a good game and it was our home opener.”

“It’s very neat especially when you grow up watching the players who are in the 100-point club. To be part of it is surreal,” added LaJoie.

He said he was fortunate to have played with two of those 100-point club members early in his career at Presque Isle: Dylan Collins and Brennen Shaw.

“When you’re around players like those two guys, it definitely makes you a lot better,” said LaJoie, who also was impressed with how consistent Collins and Shaw were throughout their careers and how each player’s number of goals and assists were roughly the same.

The 5-foot-8, 145-pound LaJoie is a captain as he has been in soccer and baseball. He is a striker in soccer and a catcher on the baseball team.

“But my favorite sport is definitely hockey,” said LaJoie, who began skating when he was 4 and started playing when he was 6. He played several years with older brother Matthew before Matthew switched to skiing.

Presque Isle coach Carl Flynn said the fact LaJoie plays three sports means he is in “phenomenal shape.”

“He may be little, but he has a strong upper body,” said Flynn.

Flynn said LaJoie isn’t as flashy as the other 100-point scorers but he has been consistent and unselfish.

“He passes more than your typical 100-point scorer,” said Flynn.

Flynn said LaJoie’s speed is his biggest asset and he’s good at protecting the puck, taking it wide and cutting with it.

LaJoie plays in all situations, although Flynn said, “We’re trying to limit his time on the penalty kill.”

“And he’s a great kid. He’s number one [academically] in his class,” said Flynn.

Orono coach Greg Hirsch called LaJoie an “incredibly well-rounded player.”

“He plays at both ends of the ice. He puts up points, but he’s also involved defensively,” said Hirsch. “Presque Isle has had a lot of success and he’s been a vital cog in it.”

Presque Isle won the first Eastern Maine Class B championship his freshman year and lost to Brewer in the EM title game two years ago before being eliminated by Lawrence of Fairfield in overtime in the quarterfinals last year.

LaJoie, the son of Peter and Nora LaJoie, feels he has improved with each season and his ice vision is the biggest area of improvement this season.

“But what really helps with that is having the same linemates as I did a year ago,” said LaJoie, who is flanked by Adam Flynn and Connor Shaw. “They’re real good linemates. It’s fun playing with them.”

They scored on their first three shifts against Houlton-Hodgdon on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats are 2-2 and LaJoie feels the Wildcats can make a deep playoff run.

“I think we’re going to have a great season,” said LaJoie. “Our offense is strong. Our defense is young, but the more games the defensemen play, the more experience they’ll get and the better the team will be overall. We’re always strong in the playoffs. Coach Flynn always tells us it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”

Brewer comebacks becoming routine

The Brewer High School hockey team is undefeated but the Witches certainly have made life interesting for themselves in two of their four wins.

The Witches’ sandwiched convincing 12-3 and 7-1 victories over Houlton-Hodgdon and Winslow around triumphs over Messalonskee of Oakland (7-5) and Falmouth (8-6) in which they spotted Messalonskee the game’s first three goals and fell behind Falmouth 4-0.

“I’m addressing it, but it’s a hard thing to put a finger on,” said Brewer coach David Shedd. “In the Falmouth game, there were a couple rough bounces that occurred in the slot. It wasn’t like we had any critical defensive breakdowns by any means.”

“The key is that there are 45 minutes to a game,” added Shedd. “After Falmouth went up with at least 38 minutes left, we prevailed. The key in the Messalonskee game — no different, 45 minutes. That’s what teams seem to forget. It’s a 45-minute game.”

The Witches still had 33:24 left when they fell behind Falmouth 4-0.

“We’ve got to work hard every shift and keep putting the puck in the net,” said senior left wing Tyler McCormick. “Turnovers have been a big thing and we’ve been working on [limiting them] a lot.”

“[Falling behind early] isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it doesn’t really worry me that much,” said senior center Joey Fowler. “We never give up. We always know we can come back because of our conditioning. That always keeps us in games.”

Shedd said the early deficits are a concern but noted that “I’ve seen it before.”

“I have faith in the guys. I just have to make sure I keep my composure and not start flipping on them and getting them upset so they get hard on each other.” said Shedd. “They need to keep trusting each other because our conditioning will prevail.”

The defending Eastern Maine Class B champion Witches will look for win No. 5 when they host the 2-0 Hampden Academy Broncos at 5 p.m. Friday at Penobscot Ice Arena.

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