WATERVILLE — There is an identity crisis in central Maine this month.

Two of them, actually.

As the Kennebec RiverHawks entered Wednesday night improbably seeking their first win, and  the Cony/Hall-Dale/Monmouth Rams had picked up two of them in three games without being able to put their finger on “how,” the Class B North boys hockey matchup at Colby College’s Alfond Rink came with plenty of question marks.

Seems neither team, as it skates toward the quarter pole of the season, knows all that much about what they’ve got. Kennebec coach Jon Hart believes his team is closer to last season’s regional finalist than it is to being a league also-ran, while Cony’s Shawn Johnson wishes he had answers for what his young squad has done right.

Running through the problems for both teams is easier than pinpointing solutions.

For Kennebec, the RiverHawks have a top line — which is more than virtually any winless team in the state can say. Then again, what they really have is two-thirds of a top line in center Cody Ivey and left wing Nate Newgard, a pairing that has already auditioned two right wings in four games this season. Brandon Mason and Zach Menoudarakos have each taken a spin on that right side.

Which brings us to one of the pressing pre-Christmas concerns for Kennebec. Both Mason and Menoudarakos have also spent time on the blue line, as Hart desperately seeks the right mix for patching together a serviceable defensive corps. Against the Rams on Wednesday night, the RiverHawks struggled in transition on the defensive side of the puck, with players falling down, weak sticks trying to slow the oppositions and far too many sloppy turnovers allowing Cony to get restarted time and again.

Averaging eight goals against per game through their first three sounds bad for the RiverHawks, but it’s not as bad as the parade to the penalty box in the third period of close games against both Yarmouth and Presque Isle last week — each of which ended in the Clippers and the Wildcats winning going away.

“I’m mad,” Hart said prior to faceoff Wednesday. “But that’s OK. I coach better when I’m mad.”

The RiverHawks looked like an angry team against the Rams, and scoring three goals on 15 first-period shots looked like the team was “turning the corner,” as Hart had predicted they would.

Which turns the focus to Cony.

There’s a reason Cony allowed those 15 first-period shots — many of them of the Grade A variety, generated from right between the faceoff dots — and six of them inside the contest’s first two minutes.

It’s far too easy for attacking players to get to the Ram net these days, part and parcel for a team that graduated experienced back end performers last spring. It’s left sophomore goalie Matty Shea vulnerable, as Shea was on Ivey’s backdoor tap-in midway through the first period or Menoudarakos’ similar goal early in the second.

All of the issues in Cony’s own zone don’t fall to the defensemen, though. There’s inconsistency in the team’s top two lines, both in personnel and in performance. Senior Zack Whitney is Cony’s most complete player, but skating a period as the team’s top line center Whitney was dropped back to reinforce the Rams’ blue line in the second. It leaves a gaping hole, and lack of a finishing punch, up front.

Even after entering the night fourth in the Heal point standings in the 12-team region, Johnson was at a loss to explain what has gone well for Cony early in the year.

“The Brunswick game is a good example,” Johnson said of a 4-1 win Friday night. “It’s not like we dominated them or outplayed them the whole time, but we were able to get some goals in.”

Reminded that, ultimately, that’s the whole point of the game, Johnson smiled.

“We never really know until we get out there,” he said.

Talk about an identity crisis.

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