HALLOWELL — Cony/Monmouth entered Saturday night four places ahead of Bangor in the Eastern A boys hockey Heal point standings. Yet in a very real sense, Bangor represents where Cony/Monmouth wants to be.
Bangor used its speed, skills and hustle to cruise to an 8-2 victory over Cony at The Bank of Maine Ice Vault. Despite five power-play opportunities for Cony, Bangor enjoyed a 49-14 advantage in shots on goal.
“When we played position and worked hard, we did OK,” said Cony coach Chad Foye, whose team is now 4-2-0. “They’re a really good team, obviously, and they make you look foolish when you’re out of position and you don’t stop and start on the puck. That’s what good teams do to you. They’re a little faster than we are. They’re used to playing at that pace and we’re not quite there yet. We’ve just got to learn from it and move on.”
Bangor (3-1-0) was just a step quicker all over the ice in the first period, outshooting Cony, 17-5. Trevor DeLaite scored from the circle right after a face-off just 2:39 into the game. Just 2:01 later, Cam Dickson drilled one into the top left corner of the net to make it 2-0.
“We run a depth of three lines and five to six defensemen, which is a big help when it comes to the playoffs,” Bangor coach Quinn Paradis said. “Overall, we’re a fast team. With 16 juniors and seniors on the team, everyone’s playing for ice time.”
The back-breaker came with about a blink of an eye on the clock. Cony was unable to get the puck out of its zone, and paid for it when Sam Kenney flew in and floated the puck across the line just before the horn. The official time of the goal was 14:59, but the goal came so late that play did not resume before the intermission.
The second period was barely five minutes old before Bangor upped its lead to 5-0 on a pair of goals by Jake Fournier. The first came when Dickson was alone in front but set Fournier up perfectly, and the second came with Bangor short-handed.
The rest of the second period featured a 5-on-3 goal by Cony’s Connor Perry, and some chippiness. With 6:02 remaining in the period, Cony’s Spenser Buck was whistled for charging after leveling a Bangor player. Bangor defenseman Sam Huston quickly skated to the scene, making sure to brush past Buck. Bangor later picked up a two-minute penalty plus a misconduct for hitting from behind, and went two men down after a hit to the head near the boards.
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary,” Paradis said. “Cony was fighting to get back, and trying to get under our skins to get a power play, and it worked.”
Cony got within 5-2 when Anthony Brunelle scored from Cameron Wilson 23 seconds into the third period. But there were three penalties called the rest of the way, and all were on Cony. Bangor converted all three chances, with Nick Graham, Dickson and DeLaite doing the honors. There were no incidents aside from some jawing after the whistle.
“I think that stuff happens,” Foye said. “It happens on both sides. You’ve got a big lead and someone hits you, you don’t like it. You get behind, you try to make something happen, and go a little too far hitting — that’s hockey. I think the refs controlled it, and did what they had to do.”
Of greater concern to Foye is that his team keeps improving. One third of the way through the regular season, he sees no need to push any panic buttons.
“It’s the sixth game of the year,” Foye said. “It’s still early in the season and we’ve got to work on getting better. I can panic all I want, but that’s not going to make us better. What’s going to make us better is thinking straight and thinking clearly and moving forward. So we’re going to concentrate on that.”