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Northern edition Coaches of the Year

Sports

Northern edition Coaches of the Year

Boys' Team

DERON BARTON—Falmouth Hockey

For pushing all the right buttons, getting his charges to believe that the past wasn't prologue and for guiding the Falmouth program to a long awaited championship, Barton gets our nod as Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys' team.

Barton has long been involved with hockey and had plenty of success himself, but like the Yachtsmen, also was familiar with agonizing defeat.

Barton grew up in Boxboro, Mass., and was a two-time captain for Acton-Boxboro Regional High School, which produced an abundance of college talent, but could never get over the hump to win a championship. Barton was a state scoring champion as a senior and went on to play at Merrimack College. He began coaching after graduating, served as the coach of the fledgling Freeport program, then spent several seasons coaching girls on the Maine Select team before taking over the Falmouth program in 2011.

After reaching the regional final his first season (the Yachtsmen lost, the sixth straight time they had been denied a win shy of the state game), Barton had another strong team this winter.

Falmouth struggled early, winning just two of its first four games, and Barton, with the blessing of his captains, decided to bench goalie Dane Pauls in favor of a freshman. The Yachtsmen rattled off 12 straight wins, Pauls regained his confidence and eventually returned to the starting position, but a home loss to Scarborough and a tie versus two-time defending Class A champion Thornton Academy sent Falmouth into the playoffs on anything but a roll.

That proved to be a blessing in disguise as Scarborough had to handle the expectation of being the favorite. After the Yachtsmen downed Biddeford and Gorham in their first two playoff tests, they faced the Red Storm in a memorable regional final. In the third period, Falmouth appeared destined for another gutwrenching loss, but this time, the Yachtsmen were the team that rallied, scoring a pair of late goals to win, 4-3. Falmouth earned a trip to its first ever Class A state game and there had its way with Lewiston, 4-0, to win a title for the very first time.

“This championship began the day last season ended,” Barton said. “I told the returning players to set goals. They all wanted to win a championship. We had to focus on playing as a team.”

Barton, who still plays regularly, is the president of Barton Mortgage in Portland. He and his wife, Liz, have four children. He plans to coach for the foreseeable future.

That means Falmouth will likely find itself atop the heap again and soon. Deron Barton, our Coach of the Year of a boys' team, proved to have the Midas Touch and we'll never look at the Falmouth boys' hockey team as snakebitten or cursed again. Only as champions.

2011-12 winner: Adam Smith (Yarmouth basketball)

2010-11 winner; Adam Smith (Yarmouth basketball)

2009-10 winner: Marc Halsted (Yarmouth hockey)

2008-09 winner: Barry Mothes (Greely hockey)

2007-08 winner: Craig Sickels (Freeport basketball)

2006-07 winner: Adam Smith (Yarmouth basketball)

2005-06 winner: Jorma Kurry (Falmouth indoor track)

2004-05 winner: Scott Rousseau (Falmouth hockey)

2003-04 winner: Barry Mothes (Greely hockey)

2002-03 winner: John Maloney (Yarmouth basketball)

2001-02 winner: Scott Matusovich (Yarmouth hockey)

Girls' team

NATE GUERIN—Greely Hockey

Greely managed to become the first repeat girls' hockey state champion since the Maine Principals' Association began sanctioning the sport. It didn't come easily, but the Rangers wound up on top and as a result, Guerin earns our nod as Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls' team.

Guerin was born in Portland, but grew up in Michigan where he played high school hockey. After studying at the University of New Hampshire (where he played intramural hockey), Guerin got into coaching as an assistant in Ohio. After returning to Maine, he became an assistant at Greely under Heather Geoghan and got the head job for the 2010-11 season.

Last year, the Rangers peaked for the playoffs and enjoyed an emphatic run to their first championship. This season, with a roster again deep in talent, Greely passed every regular season test but three, close losses to Lewiston and Leavitt/EL and a tie against Scarborough. The Rangers featured a balanced offensive attack, strong defense and clutch goalkeeping as Guerin pushed the right buttons.

As the top seed for the playoffs, Greely handled Brunswick in the semifinals and Leavitt/EL in the regional final to return to the state game, where a Scarborough squad every bit the Rangers' equal stood in the way.

Through 45 minutes, Greely did everything but score and the Red Storm had no luck lighting the lamp either and the game went to overtime scoreless. Then, 3:44 into OT, Mary Morrison (from Etta Copenhagen) scored and the Rangers were champions for a second straight year.

"I was hopeful coming in,” Guerin said. “We had good goalkeeping and defense and were super motivated.”

Guerin lives in Portland, plays men's league hockey, teaches chemistry at Scarborough High School and while he enjoys working with girls, hopes to again coach boys' hockey at some point.

First, he'll look to guide Greely to a three-peat, a distinct possibility. Nate Guerin, our Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls' team, has helped the Rangers reach and stay at the pinnacle, no easy feat.

2011-12 winner: Jay Lowery (Yarmouth basketball)

2010-11 winner: Mark Ouellette (Greely Alpine skiing)

2009-10 winner: Rob Hale (Greely swimming)

2008-09 winner: Billy Goodman (Greely basketball)

2007-08 winner: Nick Nash (Yarmouth basketball)

2006-07 winner: George Conant (Falmouth basketball)

2005-06 winner: John Keyes (Falmouth swimming)

2004-05 winner: John Folan (Greely track)

2003-04 winner: Jim Seavey (Greely basketball)

2002-03 winner: Jim Seavey (Greely basketball)

2001-02 winner: Eric Austin (NYA basketball)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.