STANDISH — Bonny Eagler Spencer Shields hammered Lake Region netminder Ethan McMurray for five goals on Saturday afternoon, April 29, spearheading a solid, 11-6 W for the Scots. Shields went ballistic in the second quarter, hashing the stretch’s total complement of points, four, and prying open a decisive 6-2 advantage for his boys at the half.
“Spence got five; he’s been our backbone this year,” said Bonny Eagle head coach Andrew Slefinger. “Spence has the ability to pick up on what goalies do. It’s just a natural gift that he has, and clearly he was able to find that weak spot every single time.”
The score ping-ponged through the opening minutes: The Lakers struck first, Cam LePage besting Scots keeper James Conley less than two minutes in, but Bonny Eagle responded 40 seconds later – Tanner McClure did the honors – and again two minutes after that, when Dylan Cobbett put the home team on top 2-1. Laker Zeke Tocci then evened the score shortly before the first quarter ended. The action, it seemed, might prove tight for the full game.
“These guys, they’re young,” said Lakers head coach Josh Plowman of his lineup; “we’ve got five freshmen starting, three sophomores starting, two juniors starting, and we have one senior on our bench that plays. And we’re coming off a pretty tough loss against Fryeburg. So trying to rebound against Bonny Eagle – [the boys] kind of have the mindset that, ‘Bonny Eagle’s the biggest school in the state; we’re a small, Class B school.’ So they’re nervous, going into it, but we’ve got good athletes, and they came out fired up, ready to play.”
But 3½ minutes into the second, Shields found his groove. After curling around the back of McMurray’s cage, Shields notched his first of the day from maybe 15 feet out-left; a minute and a half later, he returned to roughly the same spot and tallied another, this one on a top-down shot to the far post. 4-2.
“One of the biggest things we talked about after the first quarter was the amount of ground balls we were unsuccessful at picking up,” Slefinger said. “Looking at the statistics, we were pretty much even in that first quarter; second quarter, we came out, we out-ground-balled them 12-5. I’ve told these guys all year long that ground balls lead to transition, and transition leads to goals.”
Shields continued to batter McMurray from the outside-left for the remainder of the second, scoring two more. When the teams returned for the downhill half, Laker Hunter Rouso needed all of eight seconds to chip the first chip off his boys’ deficit, beating Conley for 6-3. Shields promptly answered, however, grabbing his fifth of the day to maintain the lead he’d single-handedly pried open.
Slefinger added further words of praise for Shields: “He’s one that stays after with the bucket for an extra half hour, just working on his placements, and it’s shown the past couple games,” Slefinger said. “That first game, he got five; second game he got a couple; and today he got five. So he’s doing pretty well for himself.”
To Lake Region’s credit, they evened out the action as the third and forth quarters unfurled, regrouping mentally and elevating their play to match the Scots’ once again. The teams traded points for the rest of the contest. Bonny Eagle added four more before the final buzzer (two by Alex Dyer and one apiece by Chandler Doustou and Anthony Breton), while the Lakers added three (a hat trick for Brandon Sargent). The Lakers, however, needed to do much more than merely match their hosts if they hoped to pull out a win. Ultimately, the day went Bonny Eagle’s way.
“We matched them goal-for-goal, pretty much, in the second half,” Plowman said, “but second quarter they went up four on us, so they were up four on us, and from that point forward, they’re up regardless of who scored.”
“The best thing we could’ve done,” Plowman said, asked what his kids needed to do to overcome their deficit, “was just settle down on offense, settle down on defense, run our systems. Versus being down by four and, ‘OK, this is our comfort level, being down by four.’”
“I knew, going into the season, Josh has worked extremely hard on this program, building it from almost nothing,” Slefinger said of Bonny Eagle’s expectations for their Lake Region opponents. “I’m really surprised to see how far they’ve come. They’re a competitive team; a couple ground balls either way, and this game could’ve been a totally different score … Their [extra-man offense] is extremely lethal, and it shows. They went 4-9. So he’s doing a lot of good things up there, and that program’s in the right direction.”
Beyond Shields, Slefinger lauded a couple of his other boys as well. “I’ve got these new guys coming through: Alex Dyer, freshman, he’s really starting to come through; Anthony Breton; they’re starting to get some confidence going; Jon Merrill. I thought Wyatt Blanchette at faceoff did pretty well for us – but it’s tough when he wins the faceoff and we don’t help him out on the wings and end up losing that ground ball. He takes it hard on himself. He works his tail off every day in practice.”
Plowman also offered positive words for a few of his players. “Brendan Bass was a good asset for us at the faceoff; kid works his butt off in practice, works his butt off in the game. If there’s someone you’re looking to to go all out, all the time, it’s him; he can be dog-tired, it doesn’t matter.”
“Zeke Tocci came up big for us,” Plowman said. “He’s our only sophomore; he’s one of our leaders. He definitely helped us out, too.
“And Ethan McMurray, he’s a freshman; he plays like an upperclassman, though. We’re excited to see what he does, the next four years.”
Bonny Eagle jumped to 1-1 on the result, while Lake Region slipped to 0-2. Both programs are works-in-progress, though the Scots are a bit further along in their development. Happily, under Plowman’s tutelage, the Lakers are taking impressive strides. The bout with Bonny Eagle was clearly a winnable matchup for them, an observation that becomes particularly noteworthy when considering the Scots manhandled Lake Region 18-5 last year.
Bonny Eagle traveled to Windham on Monday the 1st and Massabesic on Friday the 5th. They host Cheverus on the 9th. Lake Region hosted St. Dom on Wednesday the 3rd; they drop in on Wells on Saturday the 5th.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Alex Dyer scored twice for the Scots in their win over Lake Region on Saturday.
Spencer Shields amassed five goals for Bonny Eagle in their victory versus visiting Lake Region.
Zeke Tocci, just a sophomore, is a critical component of the Lakers’ lineup.
Paul Vigna preps to engage the action at Bonny Eagle on Saturday.
Freshman Ethan McMurray turned a number of key saves in the bout, keeping the score close and giving the Lakers a fighting chance.
Bonny Eagle’s Dylan Cobbett clashes with Lake Region’s Hunter Rouso.