BREWER – In just five preseason games Orono/Old Town hockey passes the eye test.
“I really like what I see the team is very tight, they get along good. They’re just a unique group of kids,” head coach Dennis Collins said.
Collins described the Black Bears best, unique.
The program features kids from two rival high schools.
“The two schools things is definitely surprising we go to each other’s basketball games and stuff like that it’s amazing how well we work together,” forward Ben Allan-Rahill said.
“I mean as long as it’s not like you’re in the game you’re not really rivals,” forward Jacob Dubay said.
Allan-Rahill and Dubay are two of the more experienced and skilled players on the team, one that fell to Waterville in an epic overtime battle in the Class B North championship game last season.
“We have an attitude in there we learn from losses, wins we tend to celebrate and walk away and not take anything away from them,” Collins said.
It’s a motto the entire team has bought into, but for one player the learning curve has actually extended off the ice.
“The time difference was the worst part,” defenseman Antti Jarvikare said.
Imagine playing hockey at midnight, that’s what it feels like for Finnish exchange student Jarvikare.
“It’s really exciting, in Finland we don’t play high school hockey we just play club teams. It’s really exciting to play with the high school kids,” Jarvikare said.
“But on the level I have played the skill level is slightly higher,” Jarvikare said.
Jarvakare is a rare addition and is panning out to be one of many bright spots on a championship caliber team.
“We know that we went that far last year and I think we got a pretty good feeling that we got enough guys back that we can do it again this year,” Dubay said.