Lawrence High School sophomore goalie Kyle McLain acknowledged feeling nervous before making his first varsity start last Saturday against Skowhegan.

“Yeah, I was at first, but after the first shot I settled in,” he said. “It was nerve-racking at first, but I knew I had to keep my head up and just watch the puck. I wanted to do my best to keep the puck out of the net.”

McLain did, stopping 25 Skowhegan shots in a 4-3 victory.

“He played pretty well,” Lawrence coach Dave Richard said. “We’ll need him this year.”

McLain stepped into a starting role after Brad Mackenzie moved to defense because the Bulldogs need help along the blue line.

“We asked (Mackenzie) to come out of the goal and he’s doing it without hesitation,” Richard said. “You can’t ask any more out of him. Kyle was a backup all last year but now he’s being asked to step up in a bigger role.”

Mackenzie, who last played defense during youth hockey said the transition is “interesting.”

“It’s completely different playing defense,” he said. “You have to work a lot more. It’s different not being the last line of defense anymore.”

* * *

Waterville opened with a 6-0 loss Saturday to defending Eastern A champ Lewiston.

The opener is the start of a grueling stretch for the Purple Panthers, who play at St. Dominic on Wednesday before hosting defending Class A state champ Thornton on Saturday.

“Lewiston beat us 11-0 in the first game of the year last season,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said, “and we came back and finished strong. We aren’t throwing in the towel yet. We just have to regroup and move on.”

Waterville has plenty of room for improvement, particularly on the forecheck, Martin said.

The Blue Devils outshot the Panthers 57-7.

“They took it to us,” he said. “They outworked us and outplayed us. We didn’t come to play, and when you get outshot 57-7, you have to make some adjustments.”

* * *

First-year Skowhegan coach Jeff Fowler said he was eager to return to the high school game.

Fowler, a Winslow native, previously coached the Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop co-operative team before resigning two years ago. He coached a youth hockey team last season.

“It feels good, after a year off,” he said. “I love coaching. I love working with young hockey players.”

The Indians (0-1-0) will compete for an Eastern A playoff berth despite playing a Class B schedule.

* * *

Messalonskee goalie Nate DelGiudice had an unusual experience in goal Saturday in the Eagles’ 4-0 win over Winslow. The senior faced just 17 shots, well below the 45 he averaged a game last season.

“Our defense is really improved,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “Our (defensemen) played really, really well.”

The addition of Travis St. Pierre, who played at Kents Hill last season, bolstered the Eagles defense this season. Dominic Dexter also played a strong game. Defensemen Kalib Bernatchez and Tyler Simpson also contributed.

“We have good balance back there,” Latendresse said.

Added DelGiudice: “It was nice. The defense didn’t allow many shots. That first game is always the biggest because it sets the tone for the rest of the season.”

* * *

The Renegade Network — the brainchild of Vassalboro native Kevin Bernatchez — enters its fifth season broadcasting hockey games live on the internet.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “We look forward to it every year, and we’re doing more.”

Bernatchez said more than 20 games will be shown live on www.renegadenetwork.org. this season. Bernatchez and crew will broadcast mostly games from Sukee Arena, but will expand its coverage to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee after the New Year.

The games will also be re-broadcast on Time Warner Channel 9 every Monday at 8 p.m.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

 

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