Colby Carlisle, Connor DeMerchant and Gage LeTourneau have a special chemistry. Their skills helped Presque Isle High School’s top line produce 78 goals and 102 assists during the Class B North hockey regular season.
The trio also has posted four goals in two playoff victories that have earned the fourth-seeded Wildcats a spot in Wednesday’s 6 p.m. Class B North title game at Alfond Arena in Orono against two-time defending champion Old Town-Orono.
Both teams are 14-5-1.
DeMerchant, LeTourneau and Carlisle have been building their chemistry not only for three years at Presque Isle High, but since they started playing together when they were in kindergarten.
All three have broken the 100-point plateau for their careers.
“They’re one of the toughest lines in the state to stop,” Brewer High coach Lance Ingerson said. “They can read each other like the backs of their hands. You can tell they’ve played together since they were young. They complement each other and support each other.”
Carlisle, who had 27 goals and 35 assists during the regular season, centers the line with DeMerchant (20 & 36) on the right wing and LeTourneau (31 & 31) on the left side. DeMerchant is a senior while the other two are juniors.
“Colby is the engine that makes the line work. He is a phenomenal two-way player who digs along the boards and in the corners,” PI coach Dr. Carl Flynn said. “LeTourneau is speedy and he’s the flashy one. He scores highlight-reel goals. He is a natural goal scorer.
“Connor has a very good shot and is the third guy into the [offensive] zone who picks up loose pucks and takes them to the net,” Flynn said.
He said the three players, who are among PI’s captains, are students of the game who are wonderful to coach. They even provide suggestions for game plans.
Carlisle, DeMerchant and LeTourneau said they thoroughly enjoy being linemates and feel as though they are brothers.
“When you play with someone as long as we have, you get a feeling for what they’re going to do before they do it,” Carlisle said. “You can anticipate where they’re going to be before they even make a move.”
“We don’t have to look up to know where each other is,” DeMerchant said. “And we’ve gotten better every year. We’re a lot faster and stronger now.”
LeTourneau said the players’ constant communication also contributes to their ability to put the pick in the net.
“We usually give each other little tidbits to help us find ways to score,” LeTourneau said.
DeMerchant said it was cool to have all three of them surpass 100 points and wonders whether the feat has been accomplished previously.
“It has definitely been a fun experience to have all of us reach it in the same year,” LeTourneau said.
DeMerchant has 149 points, LeTourneau has tallied 131 and Carlisle has collected 129.
Carlisle pointed out that his dad, Doug DeMerchant, and his uncle, Darren DeMerchant, were two of the school’s first 100-point scorers.
“That makes it even more special,” said Colby.
Doug DeMerchant coached the group for several years.
“He taught us everything we know,” Colby said.
LeTourneau said they work out with Brian Morrison at County Physical Therapy to improve their strength and conditioning. They also spend time in Carlisle’s basement shooting pucks and talking about what they’re going to do in the next game.
“We’ve taken a big step from last year. I didn’t expect us to produce this much,” DeMerchant said.
Opponents make slowing down the Carlisle-LeTourneau-DeMerchant line a priority.
“Everybody watches us,” Carlisle said.
All three players participate in other sports. They helped Presque Isle capture the Class B soccer state title in 2018.
And while they enjoy other sports, they love being on the ice.
“We’ve all been focused on hockey since we were little,” DeMerchant said. “It’s our favorite sport.”