Denis Collins, who led the Bangor High School Rams to a 13-5 season and the third seed in the Eastern Maine Class A playoffs in his second season, has been chosen as the league’s Coach of the Year in a vote among the coaches.
Junior center Parker Sanderson and senior goalie Chris Howat, two of the keys behind the Rams’ success, were selected to the EM Class A first team, and seniors Connor Griffin and Wyatt Frost, junior Zach Papsadora and sophomore Cam Dickson were chosen to the second team. Junior Zeb Tuell was an honorable mention pick.
Griffin, Frost, Papsadora and Tuell were forwards and Dickson was a defenseman.
Collins, whose Rams reached the semifinals only to lose to eventual EM champ St. Dominic of Auburn 2-1 in overtime, called his coach of the year honor “very nice.”
“I feel good about getting it,” said the 51-year-old Collins.
“[Scarborough’s] Norm Gagne won the award in the west. He has done such a great job and has won so many state championships in his 30 years of coaching [at several schools]. It’s nice to get the award alongside him.”
Howat was one of four finalists for the Travis Roy Award given to the state’s best senior player in Class A. Thornton Academy’s C.J. Maksut won the award.
Howat and his Rams limited opponents to two goals or less in 13 of their 18 regular season games and he had a .920 save percentage.
“He was very consistent this year and was more confident and more focused than ever,” said Collins.
Sanderson, who played for Houlton-Hodgdon a year ago, led the Rams in scoring with 17 goals and 10 assists in 18 regular season games.
“He is the closest thing to a natural goal-scorer that we had,” said Collins. “And he was also able to spot the open player.”
Griffin had nine goals and nine assists and Collins said he was “tenacious, fast, a hard worker and a great leader.”
Papsadora, who had 10 and 8, had a quick shot and good speed according to Collins. Frost supplied good skills, a solid work ethic and was an effective leader “on and off the ice” and Dickson had “good hands and good ice awareness.”
Tuell’s speed and work ethic were his top attributes, according to Collins.