The Bangor High School hockey team didn’t get off to the start it wanted with a 3-2 home loss to two-time defending Eastern Maine Class B champ Messalonskee of Oakland.
But the Rams have bounced back with five straight wins entering a Wednesday night showdown with 7-1 Lewiston at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
It is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Maine Class A final won by Lewiston 5-1.
“We’re on a pretty good roll right now,” said senior center Cam Dickson. “It’s a big game. We’re all excited.”
Bangor’s seniors have never beaten Lewiston.
The major question mark entering the season was could the Rams replace the 44 goals and 45 assists produced by Travis Roy Award winner Parker Sanderson, Zach Papsadora and Zeb Tuell last season.
The Rams have responded by scoring 33 goals through their six games and have exhibited exceptional balance.
They have eight players with three or more goals led by sophomore center Trevor DeLaite’s five goals. He also has five assists to share the team scoring lead with senior defenseman Justin Courtney (4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points).
“I’ve been surprised by our scoring depth,” said Courtney. “Everyone has contributed on our top three lines.”
Every line has at least two players who have scored three or more goals.
Center Jordan Tracy, the top returning scorer with 14-18-32, has 3-3-6 and is flanked by Nate Bach (0-3-3) and Nick Graham (3-1-4) on an all-junior line. DeLaite is between juniors Andy Elston (2-4-6) and Sam Kenney (3-3-6). Dickson (4-3-7) is surrounded by juniors Owen Trundy (4-4-8) and Jake Fournier (3-5-8).
“All three of their lines are hard-working,” said Brewer coach Dave Shedd whose Witches dropped a 6-4 decision to the Rams.
“We’ve played very well offensively,” Bangor coach Quinn Paradis said.
The Rams have allowed only 13 goals despite being without injured senior defenseman Kyle Farley and Galen Perry in recent weeks. They are expected back later this season.
Courtney heads up the defense corps and is paired with sophomore Ben Crichton (0-2-2). Junior Sam Huston (1-1-2) is paired with senior Ryan Gagne, (1-2-3) and sophomore Cam Cota is teamed up with freshman Nick Cowperthwaite.
“The defensemen have done a real good job staying between the [face-off] dots and forcing everything to the outside,” said Dickson.
“We’ve got a lot of depth on defense,” said Courtney.
Senior Rye Powell has been steady between the pipes and promising freshman Derek Fournier has backed him up.
Shedd said the Rams are “very focused.”
“They have a lot of determination and drive. I couldn’t get over how hard they go to the puck,” said Shedd. “They’re more of a blue-collar team than they’ve been in the past. They’re unselfish, and I was impressed with their work ethic. They also have quite a few leaders.”
Powell said the team has unlimited potential.
“I’m curious to see how good we’re going to get as we continue to evolve,” he said.
Paradis said the Rams have to do a better job on special teams and stay out of the penalty box.