BANGOR, Maine — When Derek Fournier was 9 years old, his youth league team was looking a new goalie.
“The goalie got to wear the most gear, so I figured I’d be the most protected,” Bangor High School’s junior goalie said Monday. “And it looked cool. That’s also why I’m a catcher in baseball.”
Fournier fell in love with the goalie position, and he has followed last season’s All-Eastern Maine Class A first-team selection with another quality season this year capped by his 40-save performance in a 1-0 overtime victory over No. 1 Lewiston last Wednesday.
He had made 46 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Blue Devils earlier this season.
The 9-7-2 Rams earned the fourth seed for the Class A North playoffs and will entertain No. 5 Windham-Westbrook (13-5) in a quarterfinal at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday at Sawyer Arena.
Fournier has compiled a 2.04 goals-against average and a 0.925 save percentage despite battling a hamstring injury he suffered before the season and a dislocated kneecap suffered in January that sidelined him for a few games.
He said considering the injuries he’s had to deal with, “I’ve been happy with my season for the most part. I’ve done pretty well.”
“He is as good as they come in the state. He’s exceptional if he sees the puck, and he’s also real good if he doesn’t see it. He’s athletic, and he’s rarely out of position,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said.
“When we play better teams, I get more into it. I focus a little more because I know I’m going to get a lot of shots,” said Fournier. “And the team has done pretty well in front of me. They’ve let me see all the shots. I’ve just been trying to keep us in games.”
“He’s definitely been the key to our success,” said Bangor senior center and tri-captain Trevor DeLaite. “He’s our backbone. He’s the reason we competed with Lewiston in both games and won the last game. We know we can make a few mistakes in a game because he’ll save us.”
The 6-foot-1 Fournier has improved every year, according to Bangor coach Quinn Paradis.
“He is so sharp on his angles. He doesn’t give shooters much net to shoot at. He has great hand-eye coordination. He really sees the ice well,” said Paradis.
“He controls rebounds better than any goalie I’ve ever played with,” said Ram senior defenseman and tri-captain Ben Crichton. “He’s definitely the best goalie in the state.”
The 16-year-old Fournier said he has focused this season on covering his posts more efficiently and “getting out to the top of my crease quicker when a pass goes to the blue line. I try to take up as much space as I can.”
In other Tuesday night playoff action, No. 6 Cony/Hall-Dale/Monmouth, 12-6, will take on No. 3 Edward Little of Auburn, 10-8, in the other A North quarterfinal.
In a Class B North quarterfinal doubleheader at Winslow’s Sukee Arena, No. 6 John Bapst High of Bangor, 11-6-1, will face No. 3 Messalonskee of Oakland (11-5-2) at 5 p.m. followed by the matchup between No. 5 Brewer (10-7-1) and No. 4 Winslow (12-4-2) at 7 p.m.
No. 7 Old Town-Orono (6-10-1) will travel to Rockport for a 6:40 p.m. game with No. 2 Camden Hills (15-3).
Messalonskee won both regular season games against John Bapst, 6-0 and 10-1; Brewer, 9-1-1 in its last 11 games, split its two games with Winslow and Camden Hills beat Old Town-Orono 4-2 in their only meeting. Camden Hills has won nine of its last 10 games.