The undefeated Brewer High School Witches cruised in the Eastern Maine Class B hockey playoffs, outscoring their two opponents 18-0.
But they won’t be overconfident and they don’t expect to have an easy time in Saturday’s state final when they face Western Maine champ York in a rematch of last year’s final won by Brewer 3-1.
Game time is 1 p.m. at the Colisee in Lewiston.
That will be followed by the Class A final at 6 between Eastern Maine champ Lewiston, 17-1-2, and Western titlist Thornton Academy of Saco, 18-3.
Brewer is 19-0-1 and has won 18 in a row, while York is 15-5 and has won 12 of its last 13.
York, the No. 2 seed, upset top seed Greely of Cumberland Center 6-4 in the WM final on Wednesday.
“A lot of us expected to play Greely, and we were shocked when we heard York won,” said Brewer senior defenseman Jake Valley. “York lost some key players (off last year’s team) and we lost some key players. We’re both good teams. It should be a tight game.”
“If they beat a team like Greely, they deserve to be here,” said Brewer senior center and captain Evan Nadeau. “It’s not a mistake. There are a lot of games in a season where a team could fall, but they’ve made it all the way through. To get this far, they have to have talent and we have to respect that.”
Senior right wing Lucas Lamond added, “York was really good last year and I assume they’re really good this year, too.”
Brewer junior right wing Tyler White was not surprised York won.
“They’ve been on a roll. I’m glad its a rematch,” he said.
The Witches are looking to continue the trend of getting off to fast starts in the playoffs. They jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead in their 8-0 win over Lawrence of Fairfield in the semifinals and scored five goals during a span of 4:50 in the first period of their 10-0 victory over Houlton-Hodgdon in the final.
“We’ve been coming out strong and we’ve really stressed getting on the board early or at least getting some hits in,” said Nadeau.
“We want to come out skating hard and put pressure on them right away,” said Witch junior center/defenseman Joey Fowler.
Fowler has been “very valuable,” according to Brewer coach Dave Shedd, who uses him to center the third line and will drop him back on defense if anyone gets hurt or if he wants to spell one of the regular four defensemen (Michael Shedd, Jake Valley, Brody Valley and Jake Caron).
“He’s extremely fast. He’s probably our second fastest skater behind Tyler White. And he’s one of our special teams (standouts). He kills penalties and plays on the power play,” said Shedd.
“I think it’s pretty good. I get plenty of ice time. I’m happy,” said Fowler. “I played a little defense in youth hockey, so it isn’t much of a transition going back and forth. It keeps everyone fresh.”
The Wildcats are going to have to figure out a way to contain Brewer’s top two lines, which are comprised of six players who have scored at least 15 goals.
Nadeau (21 goals, 31 assists) centers the top line between White (34 & 22) and Jacob Chapman (19 & 14). The second line is centered by Kyle Alexander (22 & 20) and he is flanked by Lamond (20 & 11) and Spencer Valley (15 & 12). Shedd (1 & 15) and Jake Valley (5 & 6) anchor the defense corps in front of goalie Adam Cossette.
York is led by Anthony Figlioli (28 & 21), Craig Decato (20 & 28), Jared Clauson (12 & 10) and Dillon DellapasQua (4 & 14) along with defensemen Conor O’Brien (14 & 16) and Wes Warner (1 & 14) and goalie Alex Ahrikenchikh (15-5, 1.87 goals-against average, .920 save percentage).
The Lewiston-Thornton Academy game will feature five Travis Roy Award finalists in Lewiston’s Cam Poussard, a goalie, and forwards Sam Cloutier and Colt Steele along with TA forwards Sam Canales and Jon Pate. The Travis Roy Award is given to the state’s top Class A high school senior.