The Bangor High School hockey team has a two-time All-Class A North goaltender, a deep defense corps and two new volunteer coaches with a ton of experience.
And while head coach Quinn Paradis doesn’t expect his team to surrender many goals, offense will be his team’s question mark and that will determine how far his Rams go this season as they seek a first-ever regional title.
“If you can hold teams to two or three goals a game, you have a great chance to win. But you have to be able to put the puck in the net,” said Paradis, who is in his eighth season as the head coach after serving as the interim in the 2012-13 season.
Joining Paradis are volunteer coaches Greg Hirsch, father of senior goalie Jake Hirsch, and Guy Perron, father of the Rams’ Marc-Andre Perron.
Hirsch is a former UMaine goalie who guided Orono High School to two Eastern Maine Class B titles and five regional championship game appearances in 18 seasons behind the bench.
Perron, who is fighting cancer, is 18th on UMaine’s all-time scoring list with 146 points on 62 goals and 84 assists. He was a two-year captain and had two stints as an assistant coach at UMaine, was the women’s head coach for two years and also coached Bangor High from 1992-94.
Bangor opened the season with a 3-0 loss to Edward Little of Auburn but the third goal was an empty-netter. EL is the preseason favorite to win Class A North.
“We had plenty of chances but we couldn’t finish. Their goalie played real well. They scored off a couple of our mistakes,” Paradis said.
Bangor was without senior forward Daniel McCarthy, who is expected to be one of the team’s top point-producers. McCarthy, the Class A state runner-up in cross-country who will run for Georgetown next fall, has been bothered by a sore foot, according to Paradis. He is expected to play in Wednesday’s 6:10 p.m. game against Brewer at the Penobscot Ice Arena.
“He would have helped us big time against Edward Little,” said Paradis, who has compiled an 85-38-2 regular season record at Bangor excluding last season’s COVID-19 pod season.
“We’re having a little bit of trouble scoring right now but we’ll be able to fix that. The young guys will step up and help put the puck in the net,” said senior forward Cooper Ireland, one of the team’s co-captains along with goalie Hirsch.
Ireland and senior Cam Legassie are expected to join McCarthy as the offensive catalysts.
“We’re going to need our sophomores to grind out some goals,” said Paradis, referring to Ty Walker, Miles Randall and Mike Moscone.
Senior Cole Neale and junior Mike McLean, who has been moved up front from defense, will also receive plenty of ice time and will have the opportunity to provide some supplemental scoring.
Hirsch has been one of the state’s premier goalies.
“He has been unbelievable,” said Ireland, noting that Hirsch has kept them in a number of games in which they could have been trailing by lopsided scores.
And Hirsch said he expects to be well-protected this season.
“This might be the best group of defensemen I’ve ever had at Bangor,” said Hirsch. “We’re pretty deep. I’m not worried about any of them out there. They can all do the job pretty well.”
Seniors Jonah Baude and Isaac Bonenfant; junior Josh Ryan and sophomores Jackson Guimond and Richie Trott will be patrolling the blue line for the Rams.
“They’re all solid, they are skilled and they can all shoot the puck,” Paradis said.
Ireland and Hirsch are among the Rams riding the momentum of their 7-3 football season. Bangor earned its first home playoff berth since 2014 and won seven games for the first time since 2011.
“We want to make it as close to the football atmosphere as possible. We had fun and we know if we want to be good, we’re going to have to work for it,” Ireland said.
“I think we’re going to have a real good season,” Hirsch predicted.