Despite losing two-thirds of his top line, four defensemen and All-State goalie Derek Fournier, sixth-year Bangor High School hockey coach Quinn Paradis was optimistic entering Friday night’s season-opener against Lawrence/Skowhegan/Maine Central Institute.
Bangor is still looking for its first Class A North championship after losing to eventual two-time state champ Lewiston 6-0 in the regional final a year ago. The Rams wound up 12-8.
Last year’s leading scorer Kodi Legassie (13 goals, 16 assists in 18 regular season games), who transferred to Bangor after spending his first two seasons at Bangor’s John Bapst High School, has decided to spend his senior year playing at Hebron Academy, according to Paradis.
Legassie was on a high-powered top line with second-leading point-getter Josh Sherwood (11 & 12) and No. 4 scorer Dan Beal (9 & 6).
Sherwood is also gone but Beal is back as is junior Nick Boudreau (12 & 4), who was third in points.
Junior Zach Cowperthwaite and sophomore Jacob Munroe are the only seasoned defensemen. Munroe had 3 & 1 a year ago and Cowperthwaite had three assists.
Senior Zach Alden, who played 150 minutes, will replace the graduated Fournier (1.86 goals against average, .918 save percentage) and had looked good, according to Paradis.
“We’re happy where we are. Every team loses players. We’re in good shape. We have a good feeder program. Our JV team was very strong,” said Paradis. “We have a hard-working, blue-collar team. We’re going to outwork teams.”
Paradis believes all three of Bangor’s lines are capable of scoring and that there is good balance up front.
Beal will play with senior Alex Inman and sophomore Ben Brook; Boudreau will be flanked on a line by junior Reid Higgs and sophomore David Brown and seniors Charlie Budd (3 & 7) and Ben Lane (2 & 5) will be joined on a line by junior Hunter Neale.
Boudreau, Beal, Budd, Lane and Munroe are the only returnees who registered more than three points a year ago.
Senior Ethan Scripture, who appeared in 13 games, has been moved from forward to defense. Junior Nevin Daviault and sophomores Zach Burpee and Anthony Caccese will also be on the blue line along with Scripture, Cowperthwaite and Munroe.
Paradis expects Lewiston (20-1) and St. Dominic Academy of Auburn (9-11) to be among the frontrunners again along with Bangor and he said an improved Edward Little of Auburn (5-14) team could be a team to watch.
The big change in Class B is the merger between defending two-time state champ Waterville and rival Winslow. Waterville went 20-1 in winning its second straight Class B state title to go with 20 previous state championships in Class A. Winslow has 11 “B” state crowns.
Former Waterville player Jonny Hart will coach the team, known as the Kennebec RiverHawks.
The RiverHawks will debut at Bangor’s Sawyer Arena against John Bapst (3-14-1 last year) on Saturday at 5:10 p.m. Chris Tanis is the Crusaders’ new coach.
Old Town-Orono (16-3-2), which lost to Waterville 6-5 in overtime in last year’s Class B regional final, will host Messalonskee of Oakland (5-12-1) at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena in Orono at 10 a.m. Saturday and rivals Brewer (12-7-1) and Hampden Academy (14-6) will square off at Brewer’s Penobscot Ice Arena on Saturday at 6 p.m.
In the other Class B North openers, Camden Hills (4-13-2) traveled to Aroostook County to play Presque Isle (9-10) on Friday night and will then will play Houlton/Hodgdon/Southern Aroostook/Katahdin (9-9-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.