Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Paul Betit email@example.com
Numbers may be down, but that hasn't kept the Bonny Eagle boys' hockey team from getting off to one of the best starts in the 28-year history of the Western Class A program.
Jon Gatti, Portland senior, goaltender: Gatti stopped 25 of 26 shots to lead the Portland-Deering co-op team to a 4-1 win against Cheverus. He also stopped eight shots to post his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 win against Westbrook.
Josh Bagley, Bonny Eagle junior, forward: Scored four goals and had four assists in a 12-2 win against Westbrook.
Nate Crepeau, Biddeford senior, forward: Had two goals and two assists in a 4-2 win against Cape Elizabeth.
Garrett McDonald, Scarborough junior, forward: Had four goals and three assists to spark a 7-1 win against Gorham.
AREA TOP FIVE
4. Thornton Academy 5. Portland
Sarah Kurland, Greely, junior: Kurland recorded four goals and four assists in three games, including a goal and assist in a 2-2 tie with unbeaten Scarborough.
Alyse Bazinet, Falmouth, junior: Bazinet played stellar defense as well as setting up the game-winning goal in a 1-0 upset of York.
Olivia Drew, York, senior: Drew made 64 saves on 68 shots in three games, including 17 stops in a 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Leavitt/Edward Little.
Alyssa Hulst, Scarborough, sophomore: Hulst scored five goals in two games to help keep the Red Storm the only undefeated team remaining.
AREA TOP FIVE
The Scots were 4-0 going into Wednesday night's game against Noble-Wells in Rochester, N.H.
"Everybody plays," said Mark Whitman, in his fifth season as head coach at his alma mater. "We set some goals at the beginning of the year and it's to play as a team. The team effort is going to win you games. We can't go individuals anymore. The players have accepted their roles and that's a good thing."
Bonny Eagle has just 11 skaters available for most games.
Last June, the Scots, who have just one freshman on the roster, lost three players to graduation.
After that, another player signed up for a junior hockey team and a fifth player switched to swimming.
Connor Shields, one of the senior forwards, has been out since the start of the season because of a knee injury. He could return by the end of the regular season.
Whitman rolls two offensive lines and two sets of defensemen.
"We've got some pretty good-sized defensemen," he said. "Two of them are actually forwards converted to defensemen because of our numbers. We actually have only two true defensemen, but they're (all) coming along. They're getting there."
The Scots' early-season success has a lot to do with their conditioning.
"I feel this is one of the best-conditioned teams that we've had," he said. "They all basically play hockey year-round."
Continued success will hinge on Bonny Eagle's approach to the game.
"It's just quick puck movement and absorb the hits to make the play," Whitman said. "No matter what's thrown at us, we've just got to accept our roles and be in the spots we're supposed to be, and everything will take care of itself."
CAMDEN HILLS has gotten off to the best start in the six-year history of the varsity program.
The Windjammers are 4-0 heading into games against Gardiner on Thursday and eavitt on Saturday.
"The key is some of our returning players have already established themselves as scorers at the high school level," said Karl Enroth, who is in his fifth year as coach of the Windjammers. "We've had other guys step up and kind of bring their game to another level, and the freshmen are kind of holding their own. We've got pretty good balance."
Jack Orne, a junior left wing; Grayson Szulilas, a junior center; and Stephen Hand, a senior center, rank 1-2-3 in scoring in Western Class B.
They are among only eight players returning from a team that played in the quarterfinals of last year's regional tournament.
The 12 first-year players on the team include 10 freshmen.
"We were pretty raw to start the season, but guys have kind of played into their roles and are just doing their jobs," Enroth said.
The Windjammers have outscored their first four opponents by a combined 28-14 margin.
"I thought we would be good offensively. I knew we had the potential, but we've been playing pretty good two-way hockey," Enroth said.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: