There are varying opinions on how hockey coaches construct lines and how long they stick with them before making changes.

Some prefer to pair their top talent to create a true top line. Others, like Cony coach Chad Foye, prefer balance.

“We like to spread it around,” Foye said.

The Rams (1-1-0) feature two strong lines. Dallas Clark centers one line with wingers Keiffer Cantara and Dakota Bowie. Galen Casey centers the other with wingers Austin Davis and Dylan Cheever.

The latter, Foye says, gives Cony some speed.

“Austin, Dylan and Galen all have speed,” Foye said. “We like to utilize that. Dallas, Keiffer and Dakota are playing well together.”

Clark played wing last season but Foye moved him to center this season.

“Dallas is just really good in the defensive zone,” Foye said.

Foye added he plans to stick with the line combinations for the time being.

“I prefer to stick with the same lines for awhile,” he said. “Everybody is different, but I don’t like changing lines real quick. I want to give them enough time to get to know each other.”

* * *

After starting the season 2-0-0, Gardiner received what coach Jeff Ross called “a bit of an awakening for us” with a 6-2 loss to defending Class B state champ York last week.

“It was a good gauge for us, definitely,” said Ross. “I think we feel good of what we can do and where we are, but we have to eliminate some of our mistakes. We know we have a few things to tighten up.”

The Tigers (2-1-0), who compete in Western B, play perennial power Greely (2-0-0) on Thursday.

“It’s tough,” Ross said. “But we want to play with the big boys. It’ll still be a good test for us. It will be good to see if we learned from our experience with York or not.”

* * *

Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop (2-2-0) is riding a two-game winning streak after opening the season with consecutive losses.

A big part of the turnaround has been moving senior Jason Laporte — one of the Hawks’ top returning point scorers — from forward to defense.

“We moved him back to (defense) because we were having a hard time moving the puck out,” MHW coach Andy Dube said. “Jason moves the puck really well. He actually offered to move back there and he’s made a huge difference.”

LaPorte scored 12 points last season, which tied him for second on the team.

He now helps lead the defense with Ian Palmer and Zach Bessette.

“(LaPorte) has really helped solidify us back there,” Dube said.

* * *

Messalonskee entered the season with lofty expectations as an Eastern B title contender.

The Eagles, who dropped from Class A this season, feature enough talent and depth to challenge two-time defending Eastern B champ Brewer.

Messalonskee received its first look at Brewer last Wednesday, losing 7-5 in a game it led 3-0 and 5-3.

“They are a great team, a very talented and very skilled team,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “But I felt good about what we accomplished. We didn’t play well enough to win, but it was a chance to see where we’re at against the best in the state, or at least the best in the East.”

So where does Messalonskee (2-1-0) stand?

The Eagles led the Witches 3-0 late in the second period and then 5-3 in the third. However, Brewer rallied for the victory with a strong finish.

“I’m happy with where we’re at,” Latendresse said. “We have room for improvement but we’ve played really well. Our players understand what we’re trying to accomplish. We want to be in a better position later in the year.”

Messalonskee will host Brewer on Jan. 28.

* * *

Games of the week: Cony (1-1-0) at Waterville (0-3-0), at 6:10 p.m. Wednesday at Colby. The Rams hope to bounce back from a 4-2 loss to MHW while the Purple Panthers hope to rebound from a difficult stretch to open the season. Also, Lawrence (1-1-0) plays Winslow (0-2-0) at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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