January 21, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY NOTES: Skowhegan responds with victory

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Skowhegan hockey team opened the season with nine consecutive victories to establish itself as a legitimate playoff threat in Eastern A.

KENNEBEC JOURNAL/MORNING SENTINEL TOP 10

1. Scarborough
2. Falmouth
3. Lewiston
4. Bangor
5. Greely
6. Thornton Academy
7. St. Dominic
8. Messalonskee
9. Biddeford
10. Cheverus

WEEKLY HONOR ROLL

• Winslow forward Brody Thompson had a goal and an assist in a 6-3 loss to Gardiner.
• Messalonskee forward Chase Cunningham had three goals and three assists in an 8-3 win over Winslow.
• Messalonskee forward Jared Cunningham had two goals and four assists.
• Winslow forward Alex Berard had two goals and an assist.

The Indians suffered their first loss Saturday, losing to the Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop cooperative team 4-1, and coach Jeff Fowler said he was eager to see how his team would respond.

Just fine, it turns out.

Skowhegan blew open a close game with five third period goals to skate past Mt. Ararat/Lisbon 7-2 on Monday morning at Sukee Arena.

“We had a jump in our step,” Fowler said. “We rebounded nicely.”

Fowler made a few changes for Monday’s game in an effort to kick start the offense, which was struggling of late.

The Indians (10-1-0) averaged 5.5 goals a game in their first six games but just 2.5 in their last four.
Fowler moved third-line center Brett Whittemore up to skate with Trey Michonski and Kyle Demchak. Cam DesPres, Chase Nelson and Kristian Carrier comprised another line. The Indians also received production from their third line of Anthony Paul, Tristan Libby and Grant Benson

“We were dipping in production,” Fowler said. “We had to get our offense going.”

Skowhegan got it going Monday against an Eagles team that is fighting for an Eastern A playoff berth.
Demchak scored two goals and Paul added a goal and an assist.

“We played well,” Fowler said. “It was nice to see us rebound like that.”

• • •

After Messalonskee suffered its first defeat of the season, a 5-4 overtime decision to John Bapst on Jan. 12, coach Mike Latendresse decided to shake a few things up.

“The problem was we were just too comfortable,” he said. “When you’re 8-0 you think you are the best, but you are not.”

The Eagles didn’t play during the week but had several practices. Each one forced them to step out of their comfort zone.

“Every day in practice I changed the lines,” Latendresse said. “The theme of the week was change. I played guys in different positions, changed the lines and worked on new systems. The guys got it. I think it will help us in the long run.”

Messalonskee (9-1-0) bounced back with an 8-3 win over Winslow last Saturday.

Latendresse played everybody and sat standout forwards Chase and Jared Cunningham the last six minutes of the third period.

“It was a good way to bounce back,” Latendresse said. “We had a good week in practice. We worked hard. Having a week off, it allowed us to work on different parts of our game. We were able to get back to basics, to get back on track. We worked on new things, new combinations and new systems.”

• • •

The Winslow girls have just three games remaining and will need to win at least two of them to have a shot at an East Division playoff berth.

The top five teams will qualify for the playoffs. Winslow (3-9-3) is in seventh in Heal points, but it isn’t far behind No. 6 Brunswick (5-10-0) and No. 5 St. Dominic (6-9-0).

“It’s going to be a dog fight,” Winslow coach Chris Downing said. “To win out would definitely secure a position and we have the capability to do that. If we win two out of three, a lot will depend on how the other teams do. It will be interesting to say the least.”

Winslow, which tied Portland 1-1 on Monday, will play at Greely (11-2-1) on Saturday. The Black Raiders will then play Yarmouth/Freeport (5-9-1) on Jan. 30.

“We’ll play to the final whistle,” Downing said.

• • •

It didn’t take long for the refurbished “Icernator Zamboni,” which the Bank of Maine Ice Vault debuted Dec. 22, to impact a game.

(Continued on page 2)

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