WATERVILLE — Scan down through the Waterville Senior High School hockey roster and you won’t find the name “Steady Eddie” anywhere. Search most box scores after games, and “Steady Eddie” still might not show up all that often.

But make no mistake about it: senior right wing Michael Bolduc is as important a component for the Purple Panthers as anybody who will suit up in purple and black for No. 1 Waterville when it opens its playoff run against No. 4 Hampden Academy in the Class B North semifinals Saturday night at Colby College’s Alfond Rink. Puck drop is slated for 8 p.m.

On a top line that features the state’s only 40-goal scorer in Justin Wentworth (42) and the state’s leading point producer in Jackson Aldrich (70), Bolduc stands out in his own right.

“He’s our ‘Steady Eddie,'” Waterville head coach Dennis Martin said. “Michael brings a lot to the table with his positive attitude and everything that he does. He’s the true (epitome) of being a team player. He does whatever needs to be done. He knows what his job is, and he does everything he’s asked with the right attitude.”

No. 2 Old Town/Orono meets No. 3 Brewer in the other semifinal Saturday night at 5 p.m. at Colby.

Bolduc has six goals and 22 assists for 28 points this season, more than double his output from a year ago, when he scored a key goal in the Class B state championship game. While it might be easy to point out the exploits of Aldrich or Wentworth, Bolduc isn’t simply there on the right wing by default.

Martin first experimented with the trio late in their sophomore seasons, putting them together full-time a year ago in Waterville’s run to the state title. And Bolduc has stayed on that right side this year, too, because he brings an element of defensive responsibility that makes production easier for his linemates.

“He’s the kind of player that makes the play happen,” Wentworth, a senior center, said of Bolduc. “He works hard, he’s great in the corners with the puck, he grinds hard, he goes through players. Like I said, he’s the key player that leads to that next play. That’s a huge part of it.”

Bolduc simply shrugs when asked what he brings to the lineup for Waterville (17-1-0), as understated a player as one can find anywhere.

“I know they’re very good, and they can put the puck in the net. They’re really good at that,” Bolduc said of his linemates. “I just try and keep my head up and give them the puck.”

Martin knows that Bolduc’s value goes far beyond deferring to his headline-grabbing linemates. Bolduc, whose first career goal as a sophomore came while shorthanded, is in Waterville’s short rotation of penalty killers and his ability to backcheck relieves pressure.

For a team that’s outscored its opposition by a 152-33 count this season, Bolduc is the steadying presence that allows Waterville’s playmakers to be a bit more freewheeling in the offensive zone.

“He’s always been our defensive specialist,” Martin said. “He’s out there doing his job. You’ll look at the scoresheet and you might not see him, but then he’s a plus-five for the day and he made a key defensive play or at a big turning point he was there to do something for you. That’s the type of player he’s been.”

Bolduc relishes the role.

“It’s all about working hard and getting to loose pucks,” Bolduc said. “I don’t know how many shorthanded goals I have, but it’s a couple, anyway. It’s the least I could do.”

Waterville swept the season series from Hampden (14-5-0) with wins of 12-3 and 4-1. In the season-opening win in December, Wentworth tied the school record with six goals in a game, while senior defenseman Andrew Roderigue enjoyed a seven-point night.

Bolduc, predictably, had two assists. His impact, however, likely went much deeper than that.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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