Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Hyde boys hockey forward Noah Austin (11), here skating the puck up the ice during a game against “Battle of the Bridge” rival Brunswick, is one of five finalists for the prestigious Travis Roy Award, presented annually to the top Class A senior boys hockey player in Maine. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

Lisbon — When the winner of the Travis Roy Award, given to the best senior player in Class A high school hockey is announced on Saturday, Noah Austin is already a winner in most peoples books.

“He is a very special hockey player, and more importantly a very special young man who has a bright future ahead of him no matter what he chooses to do,” Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Hyde head coach AJ Kavanaugh said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

Austin, who plays for the Eagles’ co-op hockey team, is joined by Luke Chessie (Thornton Academy), Jacob Henry (Bangor), Donato Tocci (Portland/Deering) and Garrett Tracy (Falmouth) as finalists for the award that will be presented at the Class A All-Star banquet at 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn.

“It’s a true honor to be grouped with the other players,” Austin said. “The thought of being one of the top-five players in the state (Class A), it’s amazing.”

The Lisbon High School student/athlete had an impressive four years for the Eagles. He ranks first as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 164 points with 98 goals and 66 assists, while leading the team in scoring all four years.

“Noah’s work ethic has always set the bar for our program,” Kavanaugh said. “Whether it was with the overload of shifts he plays in a game, the amount of times he has told me ‘one more time, Coach’ during a drill so he can get one last rep in, or covering every single shift over a weekend for our annual Christmas tree sale fundraiser, Noah has always forced his teammates to get out of their comfort zone in order to try and match his effort and intensity.”

And Kavanaugh adds, “It is the example Noah has led by his entire career that has turned so many of his teammates into better hockey players.”

Austin has been playing hockey since he was 4-years old and has plenty of influences along the way. While playing on the Maine Gladiator travel team over the past few years, he has built relationships along the way, including those with players from the Class A State Champion St. Dom’s squad.

“I’ve known them for quite a while,” Austin said. “They’re always wanting me to play with them, but I can’t complain where I played.”

At first, playing on a co-op was something the senior wasn’t quite used to.

“It was different at first, maybe even a little awkward, but it was great to have my brother Riley and my cousin Nick on the team ahead of me,” Austin said. “We’ve played together all the way up through, but being able to meet some of the players on the high school team before I got there was a big plus. We added Hyde this year, and once the season started, we got closer as a team.”

Storied career

When he’s not lighting up the lamp on the ice, Austin also plays soccer (although he did not play this past fall due to a knee injury) and baseball for the Greyhounds. The senior-captain also just wrapped up being a partner on the Unified basketball team that made it to the South regional semifinals.

Austin will have many memories from his career on the ice, including some highlight performances earlier this season. Kavanaugh points to his short-handed goal against Poland/Leavitt/Oak Hill/Gray-New Gloucester in the season opener as a “quintessential Noah moment.”

“We were killing a 5-on-3 power play,” the Eagles coach said. “Deep in our own zone, Noah fought through two forecheckers to get the puck out. But he didn’t stop there. He picked up speed in the neutral zone, busted through three more defenders and finished off one of the prettiest goals you’ll ever see with a nifty deke, going ‘5-hole’ past the goaltender.”

Austin looked back at a couple of big games during the season that brought the Eagles to the postseason for the first time in 14 years.

“We had some close games. I know it was a loss, but the Lewiston game (a 5-2 loss on Jan. 12) really helped our confidence,” Austin said. “I think it kind of turned our season around.”

While Austin doesn’t get caught up in all of the stats he’s accumulated, his coach has a pair of vivid memories from Austin’s senior campaign.

“Noah had some huge games this year, including six points against Cony/Monmouth/Hall-Dale twice, and seven points against Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills,” Kavanaugh points out. “One thing I’ve noticed about him, is when he starts ‘feeling it’, there really is no stopping him. The only athletes I can relate that to are basketball players like Steph Curry or Kobe Bryant, when they had games that every shot seemed to go in. It’s not something you see from hockey players very often.

“Noah scored four goals in each of the last three games he played against the division rival Rams (Cony), and all three of those games felt like only the game clock would stop his momentum.”

Austin, who plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida to become a pilot, will miss skating on the ice — although maybe not the 5 a.m. practices — and his teammates.

“I’m going to miss my buddies and going to practices,” Austin added. “We have had some good times and have gone to battle together.”

Kavanaugh will miss him on the ice as well, but he also raves of the honor Austin has received being up for the prestigious Travis Roy Award.

“Noah’s willingness to help others is a huge contributor to his candidacy for the Travis Roy Award, and he does that both on and off the ice,” his coach said. “With so many young players this year, Noah was a coach on the ice helping the various linemates he played with throughout the season.”

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