Brunswick’s Elena Palmer celebrates after scoring a goal on Winslow/Gardiner/Cony/Messalonskee goalie Emma Michaud in a Feb. 24 game at The Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Whether it was waiting 15 minutes until puck drop to get into the rink, players changing into their skates on the bleachers instead of the locker room, or wearing a mask while playing, high school hockey players and coaches had to adjust to plenty of modifications this season because of the pandemic.

“The biggest challenge for me personally was not having that time with the team before and after games,” said Brunswick girls hockey head coach Mike Routhier. “It was more of a rush in and rush type of deal.”

Three Dragons were recognized for their play at the end of the season, with Elena Palmer and Hannah Wilkoff being named to the all-conference team, and goalie Hanna Wentworth earning a spot on the all-state team.

“Those three deserve all the credit they can get,” said Routhier. “They were fantastic for us this season.”

The Dragons were fortunate to avoid any stoppages once their season got going.

“I let them know at the end of the season that I was proud with their commitment to the team during this trying year and the fact that they can exhibit this kind of flexibility in a situation like this will bode well for them later on in life,” said Routhier, whose team finished 3-7.

Limited ice availability also presented challenges to midcoast teams. With Sidney J. Watson Arena at Bowdoin College closed to the public, Brunswick and Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon teams became nomads for the season. With no true home rink to get accustomed to, the programs utilized The Colisee in Lewiston, Casco Bay Arena in Falmouth and Travis Roy Arena in Yarmouth.  

The Brunswick girls ice hockey team either practiced or played a game at seven different rinks this season.

Winslow/Gardiner/Cony/Messalonskee defenseman Grace Bilodeau clears the puck from in front of the net and away from Brunswick’s Elena Palmer during a Feb. 24 game at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

 

“Obviously in a year that wins and losses weren’t at the forefront of our minds, it was a very productive season for us,” said Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon boys head coach A.J. Kavanaugh. 

The Eagles worked around a midseason pause and got in 12 games, the maximum each team was allowed this season. 

“It was beneficial for a lot of our younger players to gain varsity level playing experience, but with our stoppage in the middle, the final two weeks of the season felt like an NHL type schedule,” said Kavanaugh. “It just attests to the kids toughness and resilience to battle night in and night out.”

The Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon girls team enjoyed a standout season, going 9-3 to break the program record for win percentage in a single season. 

“I’ll look back on this year with nothing but good memories aside from the modifications,” said Eagles head coach Jeremy Saxton. “From breaking the school win percentage record to sending our five seniors who mean so much to this program on a good note, this year was a blast for us.”

Gardiner junior Chase Kelley, left, and Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse sophomore Bryce Poulin collide during a Feb. 18 game at Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Saxton aded that the Eagles five seniors — Ema Hawkes, Bre Hunter, Abbie Lucas, Lexie Saxton, and Maddie Young — played a major part of program’s continued success.

Hawkes and Saxton were also named to the all-conference squad.

“While I’ll miss our seniors, I am very excited about the direction the program is heading in,” Saxton said. 

The Yarmouth/Freeport girls ice hockey team was able to have a normal practice schedule in its home Casco Bay Arena.

“At one point it felt like a normal season aside from the masks,” said Yarmouth/Freeport head coach Dave Intraversato. 

Lizzie Guertler and Rosie Panenka of the Clippers were named to the all-conference team. 

Among the 12 games they played, the Clippers earned their first win in program history over a tough St. Dominic’s team.

“To have the ability to get our freshman that invaluable varsity experience was a big thing for us and we played our best hockey at the end of the season,” added Intraversato. “I’m excited to see where the next few years take us.”

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