LEWISTON — Before Monday’s first girls’ hockey practice of the new winter season, Grace Dumond got a little inspiration over the weekend.
With Dumond in attendance, the Lewiston boys’ soccer team won another state championship — their third in four years — to add to the school’s ever-growing recent haul. Not to mention the boys’ hockey team is the three-time defending state champion.
“I went to the boys’ (soccer) game, and I think that just made it even that the stakes are even higher for us, and I think that everybody knows it,” Dumond said. “I’m really excited to get going.”
The Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill girls’ hockey team had a chance to add to that total when Dumond was a freshman last year, but the Blue Devils lost in the regional final. Now much of that core is back for another go at the program marking its own place on the map of titletown.
“Losing regionals obviously is not the ideal situation, but I think that we’re back this year and ready to go, better than ever,” Dumond said.
“I know for me, personally, this year, I want it more than I ever have. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted something so bad in my life,” Dumond added. “I think that that really motivated us, and pushed us to go out here today — I mean, when we were skating Sara (Robert) was yelling like, ‘Let’s go. This is what’s going to make us better.’ And I think that that’s really a motivator for all of us.”
“Coming here, first day, it’s been, I feel like it’s a different vibe, and we’re really into it, so hopefully it will be a better outcome this year,” senior captain Katie Lemieux said.
Monday was the opening day of preseason practices for girls’ hockey programs around the state. For the Blue Devils, that meant hitting the ground running — or, to be more exact, hitting the ice skating at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“Today’s practice, actually I didn’t do a lot of skills-type things, which you normally do with a tryout to see what they can do or not. I kind of already had an idea, so we’ve already gotten into playing game-type stuff — the 3-v-2s and, you know, that type of stuff, right off the bat,” head coach Ron Dumont said. “So I think that helps, and that puts you ahead, already, a few steps. And we don’t have much time to get ready. I mean, here we go, we have our first scrimmage on Saturday, so you got to move along. I think we got a real good group, and I think from a year ago we have even more options.”
The Blue Devils welcome in another talented freshmen class, which jumped right into the fray on the first day.
“Honestly, we were such a young team the past three years that these girls have already been through this,” Lemieux said. “So the incoming freshmen are just great hockey players, so we really knew what we were coming into, and that we were all driven to practice hard.”
Dumont said he likes the opening practice to be hyped up — and he said Monday’s was, even without him giving much of a speech. He just wants to see the hard-working practices continue, knowing what they’ll mean later on.
“I mean, we’re going to settle in. They’re going to know. And I’m chattering a lot to them — and it’s more little cues to do things quickly to set a, I don’t know if it’s ‘standard’ I want to use, but, you know, to understand that that’s how we’re going to practice every day. As best we can,” Dumont said. “But there’s nothing lazy about this, and every day you’re trying to improve and take another step to where you ultimately want to go. And what you do here is going to matter in two or three months, believe it or not. Especially in the conditioning.”
Ron Dumont, head coach of the Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill girls’ hockey team, runs drills on the first day or practice at the Colisee on Monday afternoon. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Head coach Ron Dumont explains a drill to the Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill girls’ hockey team on Monday during the first practice of the year at the Colisee. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)