June 24, 2018
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Brother-sister acts featured in Tuesday night ‘B’ hockey quarterfinal twinbill

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

BREWER — It will be a unique family night at the Penobscot Ice Arena in Brewer on Tuesday.

An Eastern Maine Class B hockey quarterfinal doubleheader will be held, and all four teams have siblings on the roster.

Two of the teams have a brother and sister on their roster and another has two brothers and a sister.

Josh Kocik is a senior defenseman for Hampden Academy and twins Rachel and Joe Kocik are sophomores. Rachel is a defenseman and Joe is a goalie.

Mike Brown is Orono High School’s senior goaltender and his freshman sister, Makayla, is a winger.

Presque Isle senior left wing Adam Flynn has been joined on the team by freshman sister Jillian, the team’s No. 1 goalie.

There aren’t any brother-sister combinations on the Brewer team but there are three Valley boys. Brody and Gabe Valley are brothers and Spencer is their cousin.

Third seed Brewer will host No. 6 Presque Isle in Tuesday’s 5 p.m. game with No. 4 Hampden Academy taking on No. 5 Orono right after at approximately 7:10.

There are 16 high school girls hockey teams in Maine but none north of Winslow. There are girls youth league teams but a lot of girls elect to play on boys teams which makes the transition to boys high school hockey easier.

“That’s definitely a special situation,” said Jillian Flynn referring to the odds against having three sets of brothers and sisters playing together on the same night at the same rink.

And the Flynns are coached by their father, Carl, who is in his eighth season at Presque Isle.

“To be able to coach the two of them is every parent’s dream. It has been a pretty special year,” Carl Flynn said.

“My parents [John and Linda] always joked about having half a team by ourselves,” said Josh Kocik.

“Joe and I have always played together because we’re the same age, but it’s really nice having all three of us together,” said Rachel Kocik, who said she patterns her game after older brother Josh.

“I’ve always looked up to him,” said Rachel, noting that it’s a natural tendency because they play the same position.

Joe and Rachel played primarily for the junior varsity last year.

All three girls said their brothers have been supportive as their teammates.

“It has been a lot of fun. Mike has been nice to me. During practice he gives me tips and stuff,” said Makayla. “He helps me out with a lot of things in hockey. He keeps an eye on me.”

Jillian Flynn said it has been “great” playing with her brother, and being with him when he collected his 100th career point this season was a highlight.

“That will be something we’ll always remember. It was nice to share that moment together,” said Jillian who considers her brother a “great captain and a great player.

“He would do anything for anybody on the team,” she said.

That’s not to say Adam avoids letting her know if she makes a mistake.

“He’ll skate over and stare at me. He has this look that tells me I did something wrong,” joked Jillian, who is the more outgoing of the two, according to their father.

“I very rarely talk to her on the ice,” said Adam. “I give her that stare. It’s how we communicate.’

Adam said it has been “really neat” to have her on the team and she has been well-received by his teammates.

He does look after her, and he said he and his mates will step in if they feel an opponent is threatening her.

“But she’s one of the toughest people I’ve ever met so that’s not an issue,” said Adam.

“We go to school and practice together and we talk about hockey all the time. We have a great relationship,” said Jillian.

The Flynns have played street hockey and pick-up hockey together. Because of the age difference, they hadn’t been teammates unless, from time to time, Adam’s team needed a goalie and she would fill in.

From an early age, Jillian has been a goalie. She is also a goalkeeper on the Presque Isle High School girls soccer team.

That means Adam always had somebody to shoot on.

It’s the same for the other siblings.

“When there is a stick-and-puck, we’ll always shoot on Joe. And we all love to play street hockey,” said Rachel, the older of the twins by 10 minutes.

Stick-and-puck is basically a time allotted to play pick-up hockey at a local rink.

“Having Josh and Rachel shoot on me has made me a better goalie,” said Joe Kocik. “I’ve faced a lot of shots [from them] over the years.”

“It’s nice having someone to pass to and to shoot on,” said Josh. “And we all get along pretty well.”

Josh and Rachel have occasionally been paired together on the blue line this season but not regularly.

“Rachel has been coming along well,” said Josh. “I think she’ll have a bigger role next season.”

Rachel said her brothers have been “very encouraging.”

Makayla Brown’s decision to play hockey this season was heavily influenced by her brother.

“I almost played basketball but Mike convinced me to play hockey. He said he had been looking forward to playing with me for a lot of years,” said Makayla. “And I definitely made the right decision.”

“We get along real well, a lot better than most brothers and sisters,” said Mike. “It has been different having her in a locker room with a bunch of guys. I’ve been on other teams with girls, but never with my sister. It has been a lot of fun.”

The Flynns have a rink in their front yard and Adam and Jillian will go out and hone their skills.

“They work with each other,” said Carl Flynn. “Adam was working on deking [faking] earlier this month. He was trying a couple of moves [on Jillian] to see how they would work. But it was beneficial to her as well.”

Adam said he has been proud of how his sister has progressed this season as a freshman goalie adapting to high school shooters for the first time.

“She has had a great year,” said Adam.

The Flynns had an interesting situation in practice recently.

At the end of practice, the team holds a shootout also involving coaches.

Each player or coach skates in alone on a goalie and if they score, they move on. If they don’t, they’re eliminated.

“It came down to my dad, me and Jillian,” said Adam Flynn who wound up winning.

When the Kociks aren’t on the ice, you can often find them parked in front of a TV.

“We love to watch hockey,” said Rachel.

Hockey is a common topic of conversation among all of the brother-sister acts, they all said.

Hampden Academy also has two sets of brothers in Will and Ryan Manning and Mike and Sam Ward and Orono has the McKaig brothers, Conor and Seamus.

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