When Massabesic decided to play a junior varsity hockey schedule this winter, school officials figured there would only be a handful of players to fill out the roster.
"Last year we had 13 skaters and we graduated nine, so we expected only four skaters back," Coach Loren Brooks said. " We were hoping to get five or six newcomers."
The Mustangs ended up with a lot more than a handful of players.
"We actually ended up having 19 kids, which if we knew in preseason we were going to have, we probably would have played a varsity schedule," Brooks said.
Massabesic had to announce its intentions of not playing a varsity schedule before the season began to retain the option of returning to varsity competition next season.
"The only restriction we have is if they dropped out in the middle of the season, then it would have been a two-year restriction," Maine Principals´ Association associate director Michael Burnham said. "But they gave plenty of notice and they can return next season."
For this season the Mustangs are sticking to their 14-game junior varsity schedule. They already have played junior varsity teams from Kennebunk, Portland, Scarborough and Thornton Academy.
Only four seniors are on the roster, which also includes two players from Old Orchard Beach and five girls with youth hockey experience.
Brooks, who has been involved with the Massabesic program off and on for 17 seasons, expects at least three players will move up from youth hockey next season to join the team.
"Skill-wise, we´re all over the place," he said. "The kids are having fun and we´re definitely planning to going back to (a) varsity schedule next year."
This season Massabesic has returned to the Biddeford Ice Arena for practices and games.
For the past few seasons, the Mustangs skated out of the MHG Arena in Saco.
"Kennebunk moved to UNE´s new arena, so we moved into Kennebunk´s slot at (Biddeford)," Brooks said. "It´s more convenient for us."
JACK ORNE of Camden Hills was named Western Class B forward of the month for December.
Orne, a junior, totaled seven goals and seven assists to help the Windjammers get off to a 4-0 start.
Kyle Megathlin, a senior from Greely, was named the defenseman of the month after scoring four goals with five assists to help the Rangers start 4-0.
Red Smith, a senior from Yarmouth, and Nick Allen, a senior from Leavitt, shared the award for goaltender of the month.
While he didn´t register a victory in December, Smith did compile a 2.60 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
While compiling a 2.00 goals-against average, Allen posted a 2-1 record for the Hornets.
Jarod Lavallee, a freshman forward from Greely, and Jet Magri, a freshman goalie from Camden Hills, shared the rookie of the month award for December.
While playing center and wing, Lavallee scored three goals, added an assist and compiled a plus-minus rating of plus-6 in four games.
In the first month of his high school hockey career, Magri went 3-0 and posted a 2.00 goals-against average.
THE PARITY in girls´ hockey is evident among the state´s top five teams. Greely, York, Lewiston and Leavitt/Edward Little all have two losses, and Scarborough (8-1-1) experienced its first loss Saturday to York, in overtime.
Throw in Falmouth (7-4) as a spoiler and you could name six teams that will be competing for the state title, which will be settled Feb. 16 at the Colisee in Lewiston.
"Who is going to the Colisee this year is anybody´s guess," said York Coach Jeff Hird after his Wildcats´ 2-1 victory against Scarborough. "I think we just proved that."
Lewiston (10-2) is on a roll after a 2-2 start, including a 6-1 win over Leavitt/Edward Little last week, avenging a previous loss.
Wednesday the Blue Devils will play at home against Greely at 7:30 p.m., and Scarborough will play Leavitt/Edward Little at Auburn at 6.
-- Staff Writer Kevin Thomas contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Hugh Grygiel, Falmouth, senior: Grygiel scored two goals as the Yachtsmen won the Dudley Cup with their 3-1 win against Greely. He also opened the scoring with a first-period goal in a 3-1 win against Lewiston. After seven games, Grygiel has eight goals and four assists for a team-high 12 points.
Ryan Bonnvie, Falmouth, freshman: Stopped 47 of 49 shots in his first two varsity starts to notch 3-1 wins against Greely and Lewiston.
Peter Lajeunesse, Marshwood, junior: Had a goal and two assists as the Hawks edged Kennebunk 3-2 for their third consecutive win.
Garrett McDonald, Scarborough, junior: Scored a total of four goals to help the Red Storm roll to wins against Cape Elizabeth and Marshwood/Traip Academy.
AREA TOP FIVE
4. Thornton Academy
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Olivia Drew, York, senior: The Wildcats handed Scarborough its first loss as Drew made 41 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Red Storm.
Tifany Gagne, Biddeford, senior: In a key game for the Heal point standings, Gagne scored two goals in a 4-1 win over Gorham/Bonny Eagle.
Alyssa Hulst, Scarborough, sophomore: Hulst recorded five goals and an assist in two games for the Red Storm, who continue to lead the West.
Rachel Litif, Gorham/Bonny Eagle, senior: Litif continues to pace the Rams to their best season, scoring six goals and adding two assists in two games.
AREA TOP FIVE