Believe it or not, there was a time Ben Bragg had difficulty concentrating on his task.

“I got yelled at a lot by the coaches,” Bragg said. “It was tough to focus.”

Bragg often forgot to open the door to let his teammates get off the ice and back onto the bench. That was Bragg’s job as Scarborough High’s third-string goalie his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“They’d be skating over, yelling, ‘Let me in, let me in.’ I was pretty bad at it,” Bragg said. “I was always watching the game.”

Once Bragg got on the ice, however, as a starter in his junior and senior years, his focused peaked. He not only watched the game but played a major role in it.

Bragg mastered the position this season and was named the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Athlete of the Year in boys’ hockey after leading the Red Storm to their first Class A state championship.

He posted a 1.33 goals-against average during the year, helping a young Scarborough team become contenders. In the playoffs Bragg shined, including a 32-save performance in the Red Storm’s 2-1, double-overtime win over St. Dominic in the championship game.

Five of those saves came in the first 1:20 as the Saints peppered Bragg with quality chances. Then came a sensational save he made sliding over to snuff a two-on-one chance.

“Obviously they got some pretty good goaltending,” said St. Dom’s Coach Steve Ouellette.

Bragg help Scarborough soar in what looked like a rebuilding season.

“I knew it would be a different team from the last few years,” Bragg said. “We were younger. A state championship wasn’t in my head at all.”

But with Bragg, the Red Storm remained competitive.

“Ben helped build our confidence and success in the defensive zone,” said Coach Norm Gagne. “He was our rock back there. If we had a breakdown, more times than not Ben had the team’s back.”

Championship thoughts began drifting into Bragg’s head when he held Falmouth to one goal in a 3-1 regular-season victory Jan. 10. The Yachtsmen came in averaging seven goals a game.

“That gave us the confidence we needed,” Bragg said.

It’s just what Bragg likes about being a goalie – the team depending on him. It’s why he first strapped on the pads when he was 10.

“Knowing you’re the one who can affect the game the most, I like that,” Bragg said. “It’s a unique position. That’s why I stuck with it.”

Bragg hopes to keep playing and plans to try out for a couple of junior teams next month.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

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Twitter: KevinThomasPPH