Brewer High School senior center Spencer Valley and Messalonskee High School of Oakland junior left wing Chase Cunningham have been named the Co-Players of the Year in Eastern Maine Class B hockey by the league’s coaches.
Gene Fadrigon, who led John Bapst High of Bangor to its first berth in the EM Class B championship game, was selected the Coach of the Year.
Valley, who had 32 goals and 18 assists, called his honor “pretty cool.”
“I’m pretty happy about it. And it’s a good thing that Chase won it, too. He’s a great kid. I’m glad to share it with him,” said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Valley. “It would have been pretty neat to play on a line with him in the Seniors game this weekend but he’s a junior. He’s a [great] playmaker.”
The East and West B senior stars will square off at 4 p.m. Saturday in Lewiston.
Cunningham guided the Eagles to their second straight EM Class B championship, notching 34 goals and 40 assists.
Valley and Cunningham were chosen to the All-EM Class B first team along with Orono center Matt Cloutier and goalie Mike Brown, both seniors; John Bapst senior defenseman Kurt Massey and Brewer senior defenseman Brody Valley.
The second team was composed of Messalonskee forward Jared Cunningham and defenseman Dylan Burton, John Bapst forward Jacob Fletcher and goalie Jaron Leonard, Lawrence of Fairfield forward Tyler Boudreau and Houlton-Hodgdon defenseman Jim Fitzpatrick. Boudreau, Fletcher, Leonard and Fitzpatrick are seniors while Cunningham and Burton were freshmen.
The all-senior third team is composed of forwards Cooper Antone (Hampden Academy), Adam Flynn (Presque Isle) and Trevor Francis (Orono); defensemen Jordan Nutting (Lawrence) and Zach Williams (Orono) and goalie Patrick Spaulding (Brewer).
The All-Rookie team is made up of Cunningham and Burton, Brewer’s Dylan Severance, John Bapst’s Nate Reese, Winslow’s Jacob Trask and Houlton-Hodgdon’s Cam Clark.
Messalonskee won the EM Class B sportsmanship award.
“Spencer was a big presence on the ice. He controlled the puck and must have figured in nine of every 10 goals they scored,” said Orono coach Greg Hirsch. “He logged a ton of ice.”
“He was the real deal,” said Fadrigon. “He was big and strong and could really take over a game.”
Brewer coach Dave Shedd said Valley was a great leader on and off the ice.
“He was tenacious on the puck. He’d go into the corner and he would always come up with the puck,” Shedd said. “He had a lot of speed, he was unselfish and he always stepped up when we needed a big goal.”
Valley said he worked hard on his shot in the offseason and it paid dividends for him.
“I always idolized [former Brewer teammate and sniper] Tyler White. I worked on my snap shot and it helped out a lot,” said Valley, who had a quicker release on his shot this season.
He said one of the highlights of his career was the fact “we only lost around 10 games in my four years. I was always on a winning team. It was a great experience.”
Cunningham, according to Hirsch, had “great hands and was a smart hockey player. He had a lot of hockey sense.”
“Chase had a great season, statistically, but he also has a great work ethic that you don’t see from a lot of top players,” said Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse. “He elevates everybody around him. He’s quick, he thinks a lot about the game and has great hands. If he gets close to a goalie, he’s a very good goal scorer.”
Cloutier finished with around 40 points, according to Hirsch.
“He was elusive and was one of the fastest players in the league,” said Hirsch. “He carried us offensively. He scored his 100th career point this season.”
Hirsch called Brown “one of the most fundamentally sound goalies I’ve had at Orono. He was our backbone. He kept us in games.”
Massey was a solid, reliable defenseman who had six goals and 12 assists for the Crusaders.
“He was surprisingly fast [for a big man],” said Fadrigon.
Brody Valley missed a healthy chunk of the season with mononucleosis but made an impact, according to Shedd.
“He was very skilled and he read plays very well. He had keen instincts and he could change a game with one big hit,” said Shedd.
Fadrigon’s Coach of the Year award was his sixth. He won it four times with Old Town High School and this is the second time he has won it with John Bapst.
“He did a fantastic job with that team this year,” said Hirsch. “He really brought them along.”
“It’s always a challenge to coach against him because you know his team is always going to be very well prepared,” said Latendresse.
John Bapst finished 14-6-1, 12-3-1 in its last 16 games, and was the only EM B team to beat Messalonskee.
The 68-year-old Fadrigon said he was “honored” by the award but added that “it’s a group project, not just me.”
“I was surrounded by three good assistant coaches [Josh Landers, Andrew Casey and his grandson Tyler Fadrigon]; the administration at John Bapst was awesome and we have a strong boosters club. And I have a wife [Betty] who allows me to do things I like to do.
“The most pleasing point about the award is we were on a mission to be a closely knit group and, as we went along, the kids bought into what we were doing. We ended up doing pretty well. It was a real fun year,” he added.