ORONO, Maine — Bangor High School senior left wing Josh Sherwood didn’t play the first half of last season for the Rams hockey team because he was playing soccer for club team Seacoast United.
“I wanted to play soccer in college but then I realized I wasn’t going to go any further so I might as well have fun in high school and play a sport I love,” said Sherwood, who returned to the hockey team for the second half and is off to a fast start this season, including a pair of goals in Saturday night’s 7-2 win over arch-rival Brewer in the annual Fill the Alfond game at Alfond Arena.
“I missed hockey way too much. I’m Canadian and it’s in my blood. Coach [Quinn Paradis] took me back with open arms. I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m having a blast this season. I’m having a great year. The team chemistry is amazing … the best ever in my four years,” added Sherwood, who now has five goals and two assists in six games.
Class A North first team center Nick Boudreau had a hat trick and an assist and senior left wing David Brown had a pair of goals for the Class A Rams, who improved to 6-0 while Class B Brewer fell to 1-6, including two losses to Bangor.
Boudreau and Brown each have a team-high eight goals on the season.
Jacob Henry made 14 saves for Bangor.
Senior Trey Baker scored both Brewer goals. Tyler St. Lawrence made 27 saves before Cody Munroe came on for the final few minutes and made two more stops.
The more experienced and talented Rams carried the play throughout the game but the Witches did an effective job clogging up the middle of the ice and frustrating the Rams by congregating effectively in front of St. Lawrence.
But three late second-period goals 4:22 apart broke the game open as the Rams built a 5-1 lead.
An unattended Brown opened the scoring 1:44 into the game with a well-placed wrist shot off a Boudreau pass but Baker answered when the puck rolled off his stick after he was checked and it trickled between Henry’s pads.
But Sherwood gave the Rams the lead for good with a scintillating individual effort as he sped down the left wing, circled a defenseman and beat St. Lawrence across to the far post before flipping the puck home with 23 seconds left in the period.
“You always like to get a goal at the end of a period. I saw an opportunity, I was able to get around their defenseman and get to the far side and I buried it,” Sherwood said.
“That goal really pushed the momentum our way and paved the way for a big second period. Josh is a great player. He really adds depth to our team and intangibles in the locker room,” said Boudreau, who started the decisive three-goal flurry in the middle period with a power-play goal from the left faceoff circle off a Dan McCarthy pass with 5:48 left in the period.
“I waited for a second and used the traffic in front [as a screen]. I put it blocker [near] side,” Boudreau said. “It was a relief to get that two-goal lead and we started to roll after that.”
Brown tipped home an Anthony Caccese wrister from the point 3:34 later and Sherwood capped the flurry with a nifty move in front before roofing an in-tight wrister.
“I really had to get the puck up [quickly],” Sherwood said.
Boudreau sandwiched two third-period goals around Baker’s second.
Brewer coach Lance Ingerson said he was pleased with his young team’s performance.
“I was happy with the way the guys played,” Ingerson said. “We collapsed for a couple of minutes in the second period and it hurt us. Against a good team like Bangor you can’t fall apart like that.
“Our goal is to make every team earn every foot of the ice. We worked as hard as we could and for a team that is as young as ours, they did well,” Ingerson said.
“Bangor has a lot of depth and it’s hard to play against a team with so many guys who can play consistently well,” Brewer center Baker said.