In the winter, as Messalonskee High School’s ice hockey goalie Ben Weeks does his best to keep opponents from scoring. In the spring, when he’s on the attack for the Eagles’ lacrosse team, Weeks knows all the soft spots a goalie tries to hide.

“Shooting angles, I know a lot better. I knew where to take my shots,” Weeks, a junior, said.

Weeks had 32 goals and 15 assists in the regular season for the Eagles. In two playoff games, Weeks added three goals and two assists. For his efforts, Weeks is the Morning Sentinel Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.

With the graduation of 2012 Morning Sentinel Player of the Year Nate DelGiudice, Messalonskee had a scoring void to fill.

“We have a mantra at our school, when the big player graduates, the next player steps in,” Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan said. “Ben is a very talented lacrosse player. This year he broke out.”

Added Weeks: “I knew I was the only returning starter (on attack). I knew I’d have to step up big-time.”

Weeks learned the game from a cousin, Joe Heim, who came to Maine from Pennsylvania in the summer of 2006 to work as a raft guide on the Kennebec River. Heim was killed in a car accident in West Forks in mid July that summer.

“(Heim) came up one summer and played the game with me every day,” Weeks said. “He instilled the love of the game.”

Weeks scored seven goals in Messalonskee’s second game of the season, a 10-7 win over Mt. Ararat. That game, coupled with his status as the Eagles’ most experienced scorer, led Weeks to spend the season with the opponent’s top defender draped all over him.

Sheridan designed plays to make the attention Weeks received from defenses work in the Eagles’ favor.

“We’d set up certain plays where we’d use that. He’d use his defender as a pick to get open. Ben got very good at doing that,” Sheridan said.

Weeks’ shot is a rare combination of quick and hard, Sheridan said.

“That’s something you don’t see a lot of,” Sheridan said.

Weeks said his experience playing goal in ice hockey helps keep him poised in lacrosse. As soon as he steps on the field, Weeks is looking for his opponent’s weakness.

“Right when I get on the field, I’m looking for who’s their strong defender, who’s their weak defender,” Weeks said.

This summer, Weeks is playing in the indoor league at Sukee Arena, and Sheridan has lined up games with out of state teams.

“We’ll get a chance to see how (Weeks) does against other competition,” Sheridan said. “He’s got a lot of potential to go to the next level.”

Weeks would like to play college lacrosse, but now, he’s focused on his final season at Messalonskee.

“We’ve got to work hard all the time,” Weeks said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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