Finding time for hockey, and making an impression
At this time last season, J.P. White was filling water bottles for the Falmouth High boys´ hockey team.
Now he´s playing right wing on the Yachtsmen´s top-scoring forward line.
White, who was named the Maine Sunday Telegram´s most valuable player for soccer after leading Falmouth to its second consecutive Class B state championship last fall, is playing hockey in high school for the first time. He served as a team manager during the first half of last season while fulfilling his school community service requirement.
"I wanted to play last year but I really didn´t have the time to commit to it," he said. "I was still trying to figure out soccer stuff and I couldn´t really afford to take off the time to play hockey."
That soccer stuff is now settled.
Recently, White received early-decision acceptance to Hobart University, which has a top-flight Division III soccer program.
This winter, White has time to commit to hockey, and it hasn´t taken him long to find his niche.
"He plays extremely well away from the puck," Coach Devon Barton said. "He sees the ice incredibly well and I think a lot of that transfers over from soccer. He goes where the puck is going."
White is no stranger to the game. He played a highly competitive level of hockey until he entered high school, when he opted to train year-round for soccer.
"He does have a hockey history with a lot of kids on the team because he did play youth hockey with them," Barton said.
At first the transition from soccer to hockey wasn´t easy.
"When I first started out, I had to get my hockey legs back," White said.
"It´s a whole different group of muscles, and I didn´t really realize that until I got back out (on the ice)."
White still has to work on his stick skills.
"It´s challenging but it´s just working on it every day in practice and going out in focusing," he said.
In his first 10 games with Falmouth, the top-ranked team in Western Class A, White has three goals and four assists while playing on a line that includes left wing Hugh Grygiel and center Kris Samaras, the team´s leading scorers.
THE TOP five teams in girls´ hockey are about as close as it gets.
The proof is in games played between Scarborough, Greely, York, Lewiston and Leavitt-Edward Little.
Only five of the 12 games were decided by more than one goal, and three featured empty-net goals.
There also has been one tie and two games decided in overtime. All of those teams´ defeats have been to each other, except for York´s 1-0 loss to Falmouth.
Leavitt-Edward Little has split with Lewiston, beat Greely 2-1, lost to York 1-0 and lost to Scarborough 2-1 in overtime.
SCARBOROUGH MAY feature the best girls´ record in the state at 10-1-1, but Coach Caitlin Cashman wasn´t thrilled with the 2-1 overtime win over Leavitt-Edward Little last week.
The Red Hornets outshot Scarborough 16-10 in regulation and controlled the pace.
"Score-wise, it looks really good," Cashman said. "But Leavitt outplayed us. I mean it´s great to have a W, but we have to be more mentally prepared when we come into a game like this."
THE FALMOUTH boys will spend next weekend on Cape Cod playing top-flight competition in the Nate Nickerson Invitational at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center.
The Yachtsmen are scheduled to take on Moses Brown of Providence, R.I., at 5 p.m. Saturday. Barnstable, the host team, will then play a perennial powerhouse, Catholic Memorial of West Roxbury, Mass., at 7 p.m.
The consolation game of the four-team tournament is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday with the championship game to follow.
The exhibition games come during a lengthy break in the Falmouth schedule.
Last Saturday night the Yachtsmen beat Kennebunk, 15-0.
Falmouth is scheduled to play Thornton Academy for the second time this season at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at Family Ice in Falmouth.
-- Staff Writer Kevin Thomas contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mitchel Donovan, Greely sophomore: Donovan scored two goals and had five assists in a 13-0 win against York. He also assisted on three goals during a 6-1 win against Gardiner.
Steven Comar, Thornton Academy senior: Scored three goals to lead the Trojans to a 7-4 win against Gorham.
Spence Cowand, Gorham senior: Scored 4:15 into overtime to lift the Rams to a 5-4 win over Marshwood-Traip.
Cameron McLain, Cheverus senior: Scored two goals to spark the Stags to a 4-1 win over Brunswick.
AREA TOP FIVE
4. Thornton Academy
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Paige Tuller, Greely, senior: In key close victories against Lewiston and York, Tuller scored the eventual game-winner. She also had an assist in the Lewiston win.
Sarah Hutcheon, Falmouth, freshman: In two lopsided wins, Hutcheon recorded six goals and one assist.
Sam Nablo, Scarborough, senior: Nablo played strong defense in two close Red Storm wins, adding two assists.
Katie Roy, Cheverus, senior: Roy scored four goals, including the winner in overtime against Brunswick.
AREA TOP FIVE