At this time last season, J.P. White was filling water bottles for the Falmouth High boys’ hockey team.
Now he’s playing right wing on the Yachtsmen’s top-scoring forward line.
White, who was named the Maine Sunday Telegram’s most valuable player for soccer after leading Falmouth to its second consecutive Class B state championship last fall, is playing hockey in high school for the first time. He served as a team manager during the first half of last season while fulfilling his school community service requirement.
“I wanted to play last year but I really didn’t have the time to commit to it,” he said. “I was still trying to figure out soccer stuff and I couldn’t really afford to take off the time to play hockey.”
That soccer stuff is now settled. Recently, White received early-decision acceptance to Hobart University, which has a top-flight Division III soccer program.
This winter, White has time to commit to hockey, and it hasn’t taken him long to find his niche.
“He plays extremely well away from the puck,” Coach Devon Barton said. “He sees the ice incredibly well and I think a lot of that transfers over from soccer. He goes where the puck is going.”
White is no stranger to the game. He played a highly competitive level of hockey until he entered high school, when he opted to train year-round for soccer.
“He does have a hockey history with a lot of kids on the team because he did play youth hockey with them,” Barton said.
At first the transition from soccer to hockey wasn’t easy.
“When I first started out, I had to get my hockey legs back,” White said. “It’s a whole different group of muscles, and I didn’t really realize that until I got back out (on the ice).”
White still has to work on his stick skills.
“It’s challenging but it’s just working on it every day in practice and going out in focusing,” he said.
In his first 10 games with Falmouth, the top-ranked team in Western Class A, White has three goals and four assists while playing on a line that includes left wing Hugh Grygiel and center Kris Samaras, the team’s leading scorers.
THE TOP five teams in girls’ hockey are about as close as it gets.
The proof is in games played between Scarborough, Greely, York, Lewiston and Leavitt-Edward Little.
Only five of the 12 games were decided by more than one goal, and three featured empty-net goals.
There also has been one tie and two games decided in overtime. All of those teams’ defeats have been to each other, except for York’s 1-0 loss to Falmouth.
Leavitt-Edward Little has split with Lewiston, beat Greely 2-1, lost to York 1-0 and lost to Scarborough 2-1 in overtime.
SCARBOROUGH MAY feature the best girls’ record in the state at 10-1-1, but Coach Caitlin Cashman wasn’t thrilled with the 2-1 overtime win over Leavitt-Edward Little last week.
The Red Hornets outshot Scarborough 16-10 in regulation and controlled the pace.
“Score-wise, it looks really good,” Cashman said. “But Leavitt outplayed us. I mean it’s great to have a W, but we have to be more mentally prepared when we come into a game like this.”
THE FALMOUTH boys will spend next weekend on Cape Cod playing top-flight competition in the Nate Nickerson Invitational at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center.
The Yachtsmen are scheduled to take on Moses Brown of Providence, R.I., at 5 p.m. Saturday. Barnstable, the host team, will then play a perennial powerhouse, Catholic Memorial of West Roxbury, Mass., at 7 p.m.
The consolation game of the four-team tournament is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday with the championship game to follow.
The exhibition games come during a lengthy break in the Falmouth schedule.
Last Saturday night the Yachtsmen beat Kennebunk, 15-0.
Falmouth is scheduled to play Thornton Academy for the second time this season at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at Family Ice in Falmouth.
– Staff Writer Kevin Thomas contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: