BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School’s hockey team has received a ton of production from its top line of Parker Sanderson, Jordan Tracy and Zach Papsadora.
But the Rams have also received some important goals from its defense corps and will hope that trend continues at noon Saturday when the second-seeded Rams, 16-3, try to avenge last season’s Eastern Maine Class A semifinal loss to St. Dominic of Auburn, 12-6-1 and the third seed, at Lewiston’s Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Top seed Lewiston, 15-3-1, takes on No. 5 Brunswick, 11-7-1, at 2 p.m. in the other semi.
Meanwhile, in the Eastern Class B semis at Sukee Arena in Winslow, No. 4 Hampden Academy (12-7) will take on top seed and defending Eastern Maine champ Messalonskee of Oakland (16-2) at 4:45 p.m. with No. 6 Presque Isle (9-9-1) facing off against No. 2 John Bapst of Bangor, 13-5-1, at 7:15 p.m..
Bangor has received 23 goals and 28 assists from its defense corps, including junior Justin Courtney’s game-winner and empty-net clincher in the 8-5 win over Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop in their Tuesday quarterfinal.
“Our defensemen are a big part of our offense,” Bangor coach Quinn Paradis said. “We work on shooting a lot in practice.”
Courtney and sophomore Sam Huston each have seven goals and six assists; sophomore Sam Kenny has 4 & 5, junior Kyle Farley has 3 & 4, sophomore Owen Trundy has 2 & 4 and junior Galen Perry has three assists. Junior Cam Dickson was a defenseman until being moved to forward and he has 5 & 10. That scoring is a nice boost to the production of Sanderson (21 & 22), Tracy (14 & 17) and Papsadora (13 & 11).
“I think we have the hardest-shooting defensemen in the league,” said Sanderson. “They all have hard shots, they get them off pretty quickly and they keep them low.”
“We want to score as much as we can to help out with the offense,” said Huston. “The coaches have been working with us on keeping our shots low.”
“If we get the chance to shoot, we’re going to shoot,” said Courtney who noted that they also work on releasing their shots off quickly.
The defensemen also pointed out that having a group of talented forwards in front of them creates opportunities for them like it did on Courtney’s game-winner Tuesday.
“Their [MHW] forwards sunk low [to cover the Bangor forwards] and our forwards saw that and slipped the puck back up to us at the point,” said Courtney, who was open.
“They rarely miss the net,” said Papsadora. “We like to throw bodies in front of the net to create havoc for the goalie and when we get shots from the point, we try to deflect them in.”
The Rams will be looking for their third win of the season against St. Dom’s after posting 6-3 and 5-4 victories during the regular season.
“They’re a great young team,” said Sanderson. “We’re going to have to play smart defensively. We’re going to have to keep a guy high [in the offensive zone] so we don’t get trapped and allow them to get odd-man rushes.”