H.S. hockey notebook: The Colisee won't host hockey state championships in 2022

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Dec. 21—Maine's high school hockey teams will play for state championships this winter, but not at The Colisee in Lewiston.

"We are currently working on finalizing our schedule for the ice hockey championships for both the boys and the girls," MPA Executive Director Mike Burnham said in an email to the Sun Journal. "These games will not be played at (The Colisee) this year as we could not reach an agreement with the new ownership to hold the games at that facility."

Darryl Antonacci took over ownership of the 63-year-old arena in March of 2020, a couple of days after the last time the MPA handed out state boys hockey championships (there were no hockey state championships in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Antonacci also owns the Maine Nordiques organization, which includes teams at the junior and midget hockey levels.

Antonacci couldn't be reached for comment.

The Maine Nordiques' North American Hockey League team has a home game scheduled for March 12 at 7 p.m., the same day as the 2022 boys Class A and B state championship games.

The Colisee had been the home of the girls hockey state championship since the MPA began sanctioning sport in 2008-09. The boys state games have been in Lewiston since 1994.

According to the MPA hockey bulletin, this season's girls hockey state championship will be played at Troubh Ice Arena in Portland on Feb. 19. The location of the boys state championship games is listed as TBD (to be determined).

Burnham said the MPA is still finalizing where the boys state finals will be played.

The boys Class A semifinals, which also have been at The Colisee for the past decade, are listed as TBD. The game is scheduled for March 8.

The Class B South regional final will be moving from Lewiston to Troubh Ice Arena, according to the MPA bulletin. The game is set for March 9.

The Class A quarterfinals and Class B South regional semifinals usually are in Lewiston will now be at the home ice of the higher seeds on either March 4 or 5.

The Class B North regional semifinals, which have been at Colby College, will also be a home game for the higher seeds on March 5. The Class B North regional final is still doesn't have a site for March 9. Alfond Arena in Orono is the normal site for the game.

Troubh will host the girls regional finals on Feb. 16. It also hosted the 2020 regional finals.

The Nordiques don't play at home on Feb. 19. The organization's midget teams don't play at home in February, according to the Maine Nordiques website.

The Lake Region/Fryeburg Academy/Oxford Hills Ice Cats pulled off a shocker Friday night, defeating the Scarborough Red Storm 7-5 at the University of Southern Maine Ice Arena in Gorham.

"A lot of people are probably taking a double-take at it when they saw the score," Ice Cats coach Wayne Neiman said.

Owen Galligan led Lake Region/Fryeburg Academy/Oxford Hills with five goals.

The Ice Cats' main focus for Friday's game was playing strong defense.

"(Scarborough) is a physical team, a fast-paced ream with a lot of talent," Neiman said. "What we tried to do is have layers, so when our guys were in the offensive zone, our defense played a lot more conservative, releasing off the blue line early. That way, when Scarborough got breakouts, we kind of shut it down and they weren't able to get the odd-man rushes or the breaks on our defense."

Neiman said his players did well of reading plays to get odd-man rushes on offense.

Two years ago, the Ice Cats lost 4-3 to Scarborough. Since taking over as head coach last year, Neiman has worked with the players on the mental side of hockey.

"(The kids) knew they have hung around (Scarborough) before in years past," Neiman said. "It always has been a mental discipline situation with the team. They would get themselves into penalty trouble. That's where games were lost. This year and last year, (since) taking over, there's a new philosophy to structure the mental aspect of the game for them. That's why when we play teams that are more physical, we are able to keep our mental composure and hang around in games."

The Lewiston boys hockey team has played only played one regular game so far this season.

The Blue Devils' season-opener against Biddeford/Massabesic/Old Orchard Beach postponed on Dec. 11. Then they suffered a 4-1 loss to South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport last Wednesday.

First-year head coach Jamie King said that coming into the season, he knew the Blue Devils would have bumps in the road early on.

"We talked a lot throughout the preseason; it's going to take time," King said. "We are young, we really need to focus on the basics, and things will start to come together. They are being positive. After the game, the senior captains (Evan Knowlton and Andon Cox) liked the progression of the game (on Wednesday). It's been a pretty positive atmosphere on the ice. They are willing to work to get some good results."

Lewiston's second game of the season, barring further changes, is against St. Dom's at The Colisee on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m.

After Christmas, Dec. 27-29, the Blue Devils play in the St. Dom's Christmas Classic at Norway Savings Bank Arena. For Lewiston, the tournament will be a series exhibition games against out-of-state opponents. The Blue Devils' third regular season game is scheduled for Dec. 31 against Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle.

King said the schedule allows Lewiston's favor to work on a few things.

"Having those extra weeks of practice is given us a little bit of more opportunities to run some system stuff; because this team is so young, a lot of these kids haven't been plugged into the system over the years," King said. "It's a lot of learning curve, but it will lead to positive results in the future."

Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland coach Dana Berube has liked the play of the team's second line so far this season.

"I thought our red line was very good," Berube said following Wednesday's 4-2 win over St. Dom's/Gray-New Gloucester/Winthrop/Monmouth. "Megan (Lachance), Molly (Sirois), and Gianna (Castagna), we thought they had a great game. They were playing gritty, and they gave us what we really needed tonight.

Berube said all three players can skate and help on defense.

"Molly, in particular, her back-check was incredible, and she bailed us out on a few (St. Dom's chances) and trying to keep (plays) simple, getting pucks to the front of the net," Berube said.

The Edward Little boys hockey team donated about 50 toys to the Lee Auto Malls Toys for Tots drive last Wednesday.

"We have done it every year since I have been here," Edward Little coach Norm Gagne said. "It's good team bonding, and we like to give back to our community because the community gives a lot to us. I think it's good for our players to learn that. It's a big part of being in the community, is to give back to the community, especially when they are doing so much for you."

Lee will send all the toys they collected to the Central Maine Toys for Tots. In 2020, 16,233 toys were distributed to 10,324 children.

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