BREWER, Maine — It was Seniors Night for the Brewer High School Witches Wednesday night at the Penobscot Ice Arena, and things couldn’t have gone better for the 13-member senior class.
Senior goalie Drew Baker made 32 saves and seniors Riley Kenney and Zac Duncan scored the first two goals as the motivated Class B Witches posted an impressive 3-0 win over Class A archrival Bangor.
Brewer improved to 9-6-1, and the Rams fell to 8-6.
Kenney collected his first goal of the season at the 3:44 mark of the first period, and Duncan extended the lead 9:05 later.
“It feels very good,” said Baker, who made a number of high-quality saves and also benefited from a thorough defensive performance from his hard-working teammates.
“I just tried to stay at the top of my crease and made sure my glove was out because Bangor’s players have hard shots,” said Baker.
Junior right wing Jack Watkins added an insurance goal midway through the third period, just moments after Bangor had two glorious opportunities to reduce the deficit.
Baker first stopped a Nick Boudreau breakaway by absorbing Boudreau’s shot in his chest.
“I had to stay with him. He couldn’t go left or right. I had to get to the top of the crease and cut the angle down,” said Baker.
Seconds later, Dan Webber carried the puck down the left wing on a two-on-one with Boudreau and tried to beat Baker to the short side, only to have the goalie get his blocker on the shot.
“I had to make sure I stayed with the puck,” said Baker.
“[Baker] played out of his mind tonight,” said Bangor senior defenseman Nick Cowperthwaite.
Kenney opened the scoring by wristing a screened shot along the ice from the right point just inside the far post to the right of junior goalie Zach Alden, who was playing in place of senior Derek Fournier. Fournier is nursing a tender knee.
“I just kept it low and tried to get it to the front of the net to create a rebound,” said Kenney. “The goalie never saw it coming.”
Duncan expanded the lead by stealing the puck from a Ram who tried to stickhandle out of the defensive zone and beating Alden to the glove side with a 17-foot wrist shot from the middle of the slot.
“I saw the opportunity to put pressure on him because we don’t want to let them skate with the puck,” said Duncan, who lifted the Ram player’s stick from behind and then turned and found himself alone in the slot.
“I used one of my linemates, Marty Hewes, as kind of a screen. I stood behind him and saw the opening,” said Duncan, who also had an assist on Kenney’s goal.
Baker preserved the lead by making a short side save off Ram leading scorer Kodi Legassie, who skated on to Josh Sherwood’s drop pass in the left circle.
The Witches killed off a five-minute Bangor power play in the second period and sewed up the win in the third when Watkins tapped the puck around Ram near the offensive blue line and broke in alone on Alden.
“I snuck it in five-hole,” said Watkins.
Alden finished with 17 saves.
“This was awesome. I feel like we played to our potential,” said Duncan. “We worked all week on getting to the puck, forechecking hard and making sure we won all the battles.”
“This was not one of our better games. We got outplayed by Brewer,” said Bangor coach Quinn Paradis, whose Rams also hurt themselves by missing the net.
“They played real well defensively,” said Cowperthwaite. “We couldn’t get around them to put the puck in the net. They shut us down. We had a couple of breakaways, but we couldn’t capitalize. This was one of the worst games we’ve played all season.”