Chad Foye identified two key goals for the Cony High School hockey team after becoming its head coach late last year.

“Making the playoffs was a big goal and we wanted to create a winning atmosphere,” Foye said.

Each goal played into the other, and the Rams accomplished both in a drastic turnaround season.

Cony finished 15-5-0, earned the fourth seed in Eastern A and won its first playoff game since 2002.

For leading the Rams to their first winning season since 2009, Foye has been named the Kennebec Journal Hockey Coach of the Year.

“We tried to increase communication and improve skills,” Foye said. “We also wanted more accountability. I had seen them play a few times the year before, and I thought they had a good season. They were one or two plays away from winning a lot more games. But it was still going into a little unknown.”

It took little time for the resurgent Rams to open some eyes. They opened the season 4-3-0 but won 10 of their final 11 regular-season games to storm into the playoffs with high expectations.

The Rams edged rival Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop 3-2 in overtime in the quarterfinals.

“That was huge,” Foye said. “That was real satisfying. We had lost to MHW twice. It was nice to have a third chance with a local team and come out on top. We knew with the schedule we had that making the playoffs was a good possibility. The kids really worked hard. Every one of them wanted to play more as a team. We stuck together, and it made my job easier.”

The players, said senior captains Galen Casey and Dakota Bowie, enjoyed the experience.

“It was a new experience,” Casey said. “He’s a really good coach. He put a new focus on things. He likes intensity and he had everything quick and upbeat. It was a good change. He got us ready for game situations, especially in practice. We went up-tempo.”

Added Bowie: “He wanted to make us sure it wasn’t just one person, that the team wasn’t one person. We had to work as a team and not individuals. It was pretty fun. I wish I could’ve had him for a couple of years. We had a pretty good run and had a lot of good moments.”

Foye took over a team that finished 4-13-1 in 2010-11.

He said his biggest challenges, aside from playing games at Kents Hill because of the collapse of the Kennebec Ice Arena, was implementing different systems and having players “hold each other accountable.”

“We wanted them to be accountable to the team, not just to yourself,” Foye said. “We didn’t have a lot of undisciplined play. The kids stuck with the systems and just didn’t quit. They really had that never-say-die attitude.”

Cony had nine seniors on its roster, which creates another challenge for Foye next season.

However, Foye said he hopes this successful season will generate more interest in the program.

“We still have a ways to go before we can compete with Lewiston and St. Dom’s. But we took the right steps this year. We’re moving in that direction.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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