2018-01-12 / Sports Spotlight

Goalie leads team through roster transition

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Scarborough goalie Brandon Wasser, the only senior on the team with varsity experience, is being counted on this season to bring a calm, lead-by-example attitude to the young Red Storm team. (Courtesy photo/Michael Kelley photo) Scarborough goalie Brandon Wasser, the only senior on the team with varsity experience, is being counted on this season to bring a calm, lead-by-example attitude to the young Red Storm team. (Courtesy photo/Michael Kelley photo) With 12 seniors graduating and a change in coaching, the Scarborough boys’ hockey team knew this season would be one of transition. While many of the team’s top players from the 2016-2017 season graduated, the team does have a stalwart back in the net in senior Brandon Wasser.

Wasser, the starting goalie, is the only senior with varsity experience and the lone representative of Scarborough’s 2015 Class A championship team.

“We knew coming in we were going to be a really young team. Wass had a pretty big task of not only being our goalie, but being in that leadership role with 15 kids not having any varsity experience. We only have four kids who had any varsity experience last year,” said Jacob Brown, who transitioned from assistant coach to head coach this season after the departure of Norm Gagne, who is now coaching at Edward Little High School.

Brandon Wasser Brandon Wasser “He brings a level of calmness to the younger kids. I was nervous they would be nervous early on, but his calmness has calmed everyone else down, which was a big step early in the season,” Brown added.

Wasser said staying calm and keep- ing tempers in check while on the ice is important, especially for the position he plays.

“I’ve had a lot of coaches over the years and one of my coaches said goalies have to have a really short memory. Getting angry and showing that anger is not going to help anybody but the other team,” Wasser said Dec. 28, hours before making 29 saves in a 4-1 loss to South Portland/Freeport and Waynflete.

Wasser has been playing hockey for more than a dozen years, taking to the game as soon as he could skate.

“No one in my family played hockey before. I think I might be the only person in my family to have played hockey. What sparked my interest was I grew up watching the NHL and goalies like Henrik Lundquist (goalie for the New York Rangers) and for some reason I like the gear they wore and how they represented the team with the different colors and design on their goal pads,” Wasser said.

Goaltending, he said, was something he picked up pretty quickly.

“Not only was it fun for me to play, but I was good at it,” said Wasser, who is in his second year of starting after being the backup his sophomore year and playing in a handful of games freshmen year.

Brown said he is not only impressed with the play of Wasser, but also the attitude he brings to goaltending.

“With our team being so young, he sees a lot of shots on goal. He has stood tall in a lot of tough games early on. He doesn’t show his frustration or starts to point fingers. It has changed our culture in the lockerroom,” Brown said.

“When he comes up with a big save, it fires the team up,” Brown added. “He’s definitely the type of goalie players want to play for.

Wasser said this season is unlike any other he has had at Scarborough as he is now the player others look up to not the other way around.

“Usually I have had other people to look up to, but this year, I am the one people will look up to. Being a goalie, I try to focus on that as much as I can, so it does get tough to speak up and have my voice heard, but I take pride in leading by example, showing what it is like to play in a big game and playing your best hockey,” Wasser said.

Brown served the previous seven seasons as an assistant to Gagne, a 2017 inductee in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, who has won more than 700 games over his 40+ year coaching career at Gardiner, Waterville, Gorham, Lewiston, Scarborough and now Edward Little. Brown was a four-year varsity started for Gagne at Lewiston.

Brown said with the big turnover in players, it is a “great time to have a new staff come in.”

“I told the young kids it would be a process and I’d say we are right on track to where I thought we’d be. The kids are working hard to get better everyday,” Brown said.

Wasser, who would like to hockey in college, but will likely attend the University of Southern Maine and study information technology, said Brown has done a good job so far leading the team.

“We are really focused on getting better everyday and playing to the best of our abilities regardless of what the scoreboard said or the outcome of the game,” Wasser said.

Having lost four in a row, Scarborough (2-6) looks to get back into winning fashion in a Friday, Jan, 12 matchup with Massabesic/Bonny Eagle/ Old Orchard Beach (2-5)

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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