The Bangor High School Rams have earned the top seed in Eastern Maine Class A hockey with a stingy defense, solid goaltending and balanced scoring.
Justin Courtney, a semifinalist for the Travis Roy Award, is one of four senior defensemen who have helped limit opponents to 2.06 goals per game. The other seniors are Kyle Farley, Galen Perry and Ryan Gagne. Junior Sam Huston and sophomore Ben Crichton are the other regular defensemen.
Perry and Farley each missed time with injuries but are back healthy for the Rams as they prepare for a 6 p.m. Saturday semifinal against No. 5 Brunswick at the Colisee in Lewiston.
Bangor has given up more than three goals in a game just twice — in a 6-4 win over Brewer and 4-3 loss to Lewiston — and has limited opponents to two goals or fewer 10 times.
“We’ve played together [for a long time] including travel hockey with the Maine Freeze. We know each other quite well and we have a lot of depth on defense. That’s why you’ve seen low-scoring games. And we have a great goalie in Rye Powell,” said Courtney.
Up front, the Rams have seven players with at least seven goals and eight with 13 or more points.
Sophomore center Trevor DeLaite leads the way with his 27 points followed by junior left wing Sam Kenney (10 goals, 13 assists), junior left wing Jordan Tracy (8-13), junior right wings Jake Fournier (11-8) and Owen Trundy (7-10), senior center and co-captain Cam Dickson (7-7), junior right wing Andrew Elston (5-9) and junior left wing Nick Graham (12-1).
“We don’t look to one guy to score a bunch of goals. We run three lines and any one of them could be our top line on a given day,” said Bangor coach Quinn Paradis, who noted that the power play has improved dramatically in recent weeks.
Farley (2-9) and Huston (2-8) are the other defensemen who have double-digit points.
Powell has a .912 save percentage.
“He has had a phenomenal year,” said Paradis.
“They don’t have any weaknesses,” said Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau, whose Blue Devils split one-goal games with Bangor this year after beating the Rams in the EM final 5-1 a year ago. “They can skate, they’re strong defensively, they’re strong physically and they keep coming at you.”
No. 2 Lewiston will play No. 3 St. Dominic of Auburn in the other Class A East semifinal at 8 p.m. Saturday while the matchups in Class A West are No. 1 Falmouth vs. No. 4 Noble/Wells at noon and No. 2 Scarborough vs. No. 6 Thornton Academy of Saco at 2 p.m.
In Class B East, No. 2 Presque Isle will battle No. 3 Waterville at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sukee Arena in Winslow, followed by No. 1 Messalonskee of Oakland against No. 5 John Bapst of Bangor at 8 p.m.
The Class B West semifinals are set for Friday in Lewiston with No. 2 Camden Hills taking on No. 3 Greely of Cumberland at 6 p.m., followed by No. 1 Gorham against No. 5 Kennebunk at 8 p.m.