BRUNSWICK will have a new voice behind the bench this season. Mike Misner takes over as the Dragons new head coach.

BRUNSWICK will have a new voice behind the bench this season. Mike Misner takes over as the Dragons new head coach.

BRUNSWICK

A new voice in Brunswick, sights on the playoffs in South Portland/ Freeport/Waynflete, and moderate expectations at Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse are ingredients for an interesting and exciting season on the ice for local boys hockey teams.

Mike Misner has taken the reigns at Brunswick, replacing Bill Bodwell, with the Dragons returning a solid core of seniors. The Dragons hope to improve on the 3-14-1 mark and make the postseason after failing to advance last year.

Coach Joe Robinson likes what he sees out of this year’s squad and will look to the Freeport players to contribute to this year’s co-op team that finished 7-10-1 a year ago.

“We are looking to get into the playoffs and go from there,” said Robinson.

Mt. Ararat’s team just missed the postseason a year ago, and despite losing 12 seniors to graduation, coach AJ Kavanaugh believes his team still has the talent.

“I believe we can compete with the teams in our league on any given night,” said Kavanaugh.

Brunswick

After moving to Maine from upstate New York in 2008, Misner wasn’t sure where his coaching experiences on the ice was going to take him. Misner moved his family to western Maine and was fortunate enough to coach the Oxford Hills High School club team for three years.

While working on his Maine teaching certificate, Misner found himself shadowing a position at Brunswick High School in 2015. Luck was on his side as a social studies teacher was retiring, and Misner jumped at the opportunity and applied. Soon after he was hired.

While manning the hallways of BHS, Misner kept himself apprised of the hockey program, conversing with the kids in the classroom about the team and their ups and downs over the past couple of seasons. Following the 2016/17 season, the head coaching position opened up, and the kids urged Misner to apply. Misner interviewed for the position and was offered the job, replacing Bodwell behind the bench.

“The kids are excited of the new voice,” said Misner. “To this point we’ve only had a handful of practices and a scrimmage, but I think their enthusiasm is coming out and it should bring some excitement.”

So far the results have pleased Misner, with the players showing a positive attitude, eager to improve on their game thus far in the preseason.

“We’re going to work on what we struggle with and correct them,” said Misner. “We need to focus on ‘team’ this year. We get together off the ice as a unit and have team-oriented functions, like team dinners etc.”

Misner has a solid core of seniors returning this season that include goalie Riley Kirk, and defensemen Max Burtis, Andrew Eno and Quinn Solberg.

Misner notes that he and the coaching staff are making sure the players understand the importance of communicating with one another on the ice. He also recognizes that his team needs to take on some responsibility of their own, being flexible with his players in communicating and motivating them each and every day.

“We allow our players to be creative, their own person. We want them to make decisions on the ice,” said Misner. “At the end of the day, I don’t want to stamp out their creativity.”

Juniors Jack St. Pierre and Jacob Doring will be looked upon in making key contributions throughout the year as well.

Brunswick opens its season on Saturday on the road against South Portland/ Freeport/Waynflete at 7:30 p.m. The Dragons’ first home game is on Dec. 13 against Cony/Hall-Dale/ Monmouth at 7 p.m. at Bowdoin College’s Sidney J. Watson Arena.

South Portland/ Freepor t/Waynflete

Coach Robinson is looking forward to this year’s co-op team of South Portland/ Freeport/Waynflete and what they can accomplish during the season.

Despite losing all-state goalie Joe Grant, the team looks to build on last year’s campaign. Freeport sends nine student-athletes to the team that plays their home games at Troubh Arena in Portland. Junior forwards Atticus and Owen Patrick, as well as sophomore Devan Hannan, will play in the program. Freeport’s Alex Les (junior) and sophomore Liam McGibbon will both battle to fill the void in net. Joshua Bourgoin, Andrew Burns, Hunter Ingerson, Willets Meyer and Anthony Panciocco round out the Freeport players.

Robinson also expects contributions from junior Mitchell Adams, senior Aidan Schifano and sophomore Gus Lappin to improve on the Red Riots’ seventh-place finish in Class A South a year ago.

“We have a competitive schedule, but we are a talented and close-knit team, and that should help us hopefully get to the next level,” said Robinson.

After hosting Brunswick Saturday, the Red Riots visit Mt. Ararat/ Lisbon/ Morse at Watson Arena on Dec. 12 at 5:15 p.m.

Mt. Ararat/ Lisbon/Morse

One might think that losing 12 seniors is devastating to a program, setting it up for “total rebuild” mode.

That’s what coach Kavanaugh said, but doesn’t believe it to be true.

“You would think a program would be in total rebuild mode after losing 12 seniors and what they brought to the table,” said Kavanaugh. “That’s not necessarily the case here.”

The Eagles return their top two scorers from last season in Noah Austin and Sam Alexander. Austin has led the team in scoring the past two seasons and was a Class A Second Team All- State selection last year as a sophomore. Alexander garnered Honorable Mention honors.

Senior captain Cam Grant has looked good so far this preseason and provides leadership while anchoring the defense. Seniors Matt Lawrence and Cade Charron will also make key contributions on the ice. Lawrence brings experience to the defense with strong penalty killing play and Charron will be between the pipes. The junior saw some action last season in net, splitting time with senior Parker Lacey, including important games against Brunswick (5- 4 win) and St. Dom’s (4-2 loss) late in the season.

Kavanaugh notes that after losing so many players, an influx of new, younger players to the varsity program will be looked upon to play significant minutes.

“We’re not as deep as some teams, but our top-talent is solid,” said Kavanaugh. “We have some players stepping up to fill in that depth and we’ll do all right.”

Freshmen Noah Magda (defense) and Cal Davies (forward) are working their way in and with the mixture of returning players and newcomers. The third-year coach says the team is “motivated and the chemistry is there.”

Lisbon and Morse players add to the program’s numbers, allowing the Eagles to field a jayvee team as well. Along with Noah Austin, skaters Cam Poisson, Noah Buiniskas and Nick Austin all hail from Lisbon and will bring depth and experience to the Eagles. Four players from Morse skate in the program, with sophomores Josh Demers and Jacob McLaughlin contributing on the varsity squad.

“Class A is pretty tight. With some of the top teams coming back to the pack a little, we will compete with most teams,” added Kavanaugh.

The Eagles open the season Saturday in Auburn at Norway Savings Bank Arena against Leavitt at 8:40 p.m.


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