AUBURN — If you're looking for the loudest tributes to Taylor Landry's game on the ice, don't go to opposing coaches or even the players unfortunate enough to draw the assignment of defending her.
Try sitting in the grandstands among the other team's fans and listen to the exclamations, gasps, even pained laughter every time No. 4 from the Leavitt/Edward Little cooperative team does her thing.
In the parochial, personally vested world of high school sports, compliments are dished to the other side sparingly as crumbs falling from a buffet table. But it seems impossible to watch Landry without applauding or otherwise acknowledging a burst of speed or a blistering shot.
"She has a great shot. Great speed. She's one of the fastest skaters I've seen on any team," Leavitt/EL coach Shon Collins said. "She is difficult to defend. It is difficult to find the proper gap between her and yourself."
Defending Landry is priority one — and probably two, three and four — for Lewiston when the Blue Devils and Red Hornets meet Monday night in the Eastern Class A semifinals at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Three weeks ago in a win over Cheverus, Landry reached a milestone touched by few players from either gender in Maine scholastic hockey history. She scored the 100th goal of her career, padding that total with four more in the 10-5 victory.
Remarkably, she reached that round number two-thirds of the way through only her junior campaign. Landry has averaged two goals per night since first taking the ice as a freshman.
"It's been a big season for me," said Landry, whose speed and intensity typically screech to a halt when she is asked to talk about herself. "The hardest part is trying not to get frustrated with (being the focus of every team's defensive game plan) and stay positive. My teammates help me a lot."
Another great tribute to Landry: Leavitt/Edward Little's most successful season in the three-year history of the joint endeavor — 14 wins, four losses, ranked No. 3 in Eastern Class A — has been far from just The Taylor Show.
Landry wears the assistant captain's 'A' on her shoulder with comfort. She sees seniors such as Shelbea Russell, Sydney Nadeau and Shaylin Collins as the team's leaders.
Small wonder, since she's been looking up at them for as long as she can remember.
"I was little when I started playing," she said. "A lot of the girls I've been playing with since we were tikes."
"Going into the playoffs definitely our chemistry is a lot different than last year," Nadeau noted. "We've clicked all year. It feels everybody wants to do something for the seniors."
Landry's fire burns as powerfully in the final minutes of a close game as it does immediately following the opening faceoff.
Even though the Red Hornets have accrued more depth than most opponents at this early stage in the development of Maine girls' hockey, Landry plays every other shift.
"Her attitude and her conditioning are great," Collins said. "The entire game she can go up and down the ice."
Her nose for the puck is such that the question is not if the opposing goaltender will find herself staring down Landry on a breakaway, but when, and how often.
"I look up and I try to find open ice and kick it. I push myself," Landry said.
Landry's accumulation of goals on the ice began with her habit of setting goals off it. One hundred pucks in the net was one of the lines on that personal checklist.
Tonight represents the primary team-oriented aspiration. Leavitt/EL's 2012 season ended in the semifinals against Greely.
"We all want the same thing. Last year we lost in the semifinals and that was tough, so hopefully we can go farther this year," Landry said.