Numbers, and expectations, are up yet again for the Winslow girls team.

“I expect us to be competitive,” Winslow coach Eric Lachance said. “I expect us to be in the mix. We still have our main core coming back.”

The Black Raiders opened practice this week in preparation for the season opener Nov. 25 against Scarborough. Winslow finished 10-4-3 last season and reached the Eastern Maine semifinals.
Lachance said 17 players came out this season. He had 13 players last season. The Raiders return seven players, including defenseman Sarah Fowler and center Jen Poulin.

“We have a lot of new players, inexperienced players,” Lachance said. “But we’ve seen great improvement in the first week of practice. From what I’ve seen, a lot of these new players should fit right in. The biggest thing is to get them comfortable.”

Lachance added that Fowler and Poulin will be “the backbones of the team.”

Winslow native Jasmine “Jazz” Webber, who played hockey at UMass-Boston, is working with the team this season. Webber played forward and defense at UMass-Boston.

“She’s a phenomenal skater,” Lachance said. “It’s great having her work with us. We have a very hungry team that is willing to learn. Once we get them comfortable we will start to apply systems.”

• • •

Skowhegan coach Joseph Hague resigned, citing family commitments.

“I just couldn’t give the kids my all,” he said. “I love coaching, but I have a 2-year-old at home and I wanted to spend more time with my family.”

Hague, a Belgrade resident, went 20-27-1 in three seasons with the Indians. 

Skowhegan athletic director Randy Jarvais said the job hasn’t attracted much interest

“We have not interviewed anyone yet,” he said. “Hockey coaches in this area I don’t think are terribly plentiful. It’s hard in our situation because our practices are early morning, at like 4:30. It’s hard to get players and coaches to commit to that. It’s a hard thing.”

• • •

There are a few changes to the hockey landscape this season.

Messalonskee and Skowhegan are dropping from Eastern A to Eastern B because of enrollment.
Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said last season he hoped the school would petition the Maine Principals’ Association to stay in Class A.

The newcomers will join Sukee Arena co-tenants Winslow and Lawrence in Eastern B.

“It gives it a little bit more of a rivalry,” Latendresse said. “It’s going to be interesting. I think Brewer is still the cream of the crop, but I know this is one of the deepest teams I’ve had.”

Elsewhere, Westbrook jumped to Western Class A from B.

• • •

The Gardiner Area High School hockey program is bracing for a long season on the road.
School athletic director Jeff Turnbull said Wednesday the Tigers will practice at Kents Hill and Rockport this season but will play all their games at their opponents’ home rinks.

“It just made the most sense,” Turnbull said. “We’ll spend more on travel this season but less on home ice costs. I just thought it was the way to go.”


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