Poland/Gray-New Gloucester/Leavitt/Oak Hill’s William Keach wins a faceoff with Greely’s Lucas Martin, left, during a Feb. 3 game at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Will Keach was second-to-none for the Poland/Leavitt/Oak Hill/Gray-New Gloucester boys hockey team in the second month of 2024, and opposing coaches took notice.

On Tuesday, The Leavitt Area High School senior was named the Forward of the Month for February by the Class B South Hockey Coaches Association.

In a news release announcing the monthly awards, the coaches association called his offensive production in February “particularly impressive.”

Keach compiled 10 goals and 16 assists in seven games — all wins for the Kings.

After not recording a point in the Kings’ first game of the month — an 8-0 win over Brunswick/Freeport on Feb. 2 — he finished the regular season with multiple points in each of the team’s final six games. Among the highlights were a three-goal, four-assist showing at Greely; three assists at home against Kennebunk/Wells; and an eight-point output (three goals, five assists) in the regular-season finale against the Mt. Ararat co-op.

Keach was B South’s scoring leader during the regular season, racking up 23 goals and 25 assists for 48 points.

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The Kings are on a 13-game winning streak and have earned the second seed in the Class B South playoffs. They open the postseason Wednesday against seventh-seeded Kennebunk/Wells (5-13-0) at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Cheverus/Yarmouth senior David Swift was chosen as the Defenseman of the Month, Kings senior Ian Guerin and York senior shared the honors of Goaltender of the Month and Cheverus/Yarmouth sophomore forward Hakon Yeo is the Rookie of the Month.

Guerin went 4-0 during the month, with a 2.0 goals-against average and 17.25 saves per game.

MEN’S HOCKEY
CMCC TO NATIONALS: After winning the NorthEast Collegiate Hockey Association Colonial Conference championship Sunday, Central Maine Community College punched its ticket to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 3 national tournament.

The Mustangs captured the NECHA Colonial Conference title with a 7-1 win over Worcester Polytechnic Institute to earn their berth in the ACHA nationals. Several players from area high schools contributed points in the conference final: James Sicurella (Winthrop) and Jack Keefe (Edward Little) scored goals, while Nate Marcotte (Oak Hill) had a goal and an assist, and Luke Pomerleau (Lewiston) set up Marcotte’s goal.

CMCC begins pool play on Thursday, March 7, at Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri. The 12th-seeded Mustangs have been slotted into Pool D along with No. 4 Missouri, No. 5 Air Force and No. 13 Michigan State. They open pool play against Air Force, then face Missouri on March 8 and Michigan State on March 9.

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The winners of each pool advance to the Final Four, which takes place March 11, with the national championship scheduled for March 12.

MEN’S SOCCER
NEW BATES COACH: Maine native Ben Brewster has been hired as the new head coach of the Bates College men’s soccer team, the school announced last week.

Brewster graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School in 2010, then embarked on a four-year career at Bowdoin College from 2010-13 before graduating in the spring of 2014.

“My wife, Becky, and I are thrilled to be joining the Bates community, and moving home to Maine,” Brewster said in a Bates College news release announcing his hiring.

“Ben’s experience as a successful student-athlete in the NESCAC, as well as his impressive soccer acumen and his ability to inspire and lead, makes him the perfect person to take Bates men’s soccer into the future,” Bates Director of Athletics Jason Fein said in the release.

After graduating from Bowdoin, Brewster continued his playing career with the Seacoast United Phantoms of the Professional Development League in 2014, the Tulsa Roughnecks of the United Soccer League in 2015, and the PDL’s San Francisco FC in 2016-17.

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He started his transition into coaching in 2016 when he became the varsity boys head coach at The Bay School of San Francisco in 2016.

Brewster joined the collegiate coaching ranks a year later, following his former Bowdoin coach, Fran O’Leary, to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he spent the past seven seasons. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2019.

“Ben is one of the top young coaches in the country and I am certain the progress Bates soccer makes in the coming seasons will add credence to this statement,” O’Leary said in the Bates news release.

Brewster replaces Noah Riskind, a 2016 Bates graduate who led the program for two seasons before announcing his departure in December with the intent to seek other professional opportunities. The Bobcats went 9-16-5 under Riskind, including 3-11-1 last fall.

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