LEWISTON — Lauren Ratsep’s smile shined brighter than most Saturday night.

Ratsep, who spent three years attending school and playing hockey at Hebron Academy, transferred to St. Dom’s last fall. She joined four-year starter Sophie Goulet, and Lewiston transfer Marisa Zamrock on a girls’ hockey team that played in the Eastern final one year ago.

Saturday, Ratsep — with a hat trick and an assist — Goulet, Zamrock and Kayla McLellan led a potent Saints offense and Nicole Keaney stopped 17 of the 18 shots she saw between the pipes as St. Dom’s earned its first Maine Principals’ Association girls’ ice hockey state title with a 6-1 victory over York at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“We get to raise a banner, and that’s always exciting,” St. Dom’s coach Don Boucher said. “

Ratsep netted a goal in each period to register the hat trick. Zamrock scored twice, and Kayla McLellan added a goal and two assists. For Ratsep, the win was validation of a tough, offseason decision to transfer to St. Dom’s.

“I would never have experienced something like this if I’d stayed at Hebron, this is amazing,” Ratsep said. “I’m just so happy I got to be with all these girls and work together and make it here. It was worth it.”

York’s long season ended a game to soon for the Wildcats’ liking, but the team took consolation in the fact that all but two of its members will have another kick at the can next year.

“They had too many weapons,” York coach Kevin Banfield said. “We tried to take (Zamrock) out of some plays, and we did, but they had too many good skaters. But we’re happy with the season overall, and hopefully we’ll have another shot next year.”

For Zamrock, the third time — like her first — was a charm.

The talented forward skated Saturday in her third consecutive girls’ hockey state title game, in her first season with St. Dom’s. Shaking off the effects of an injured finger, she netted the game’s opening goal and added a dagger in the second period, too.

“This is her third state championship,” Boucher said. “She really came out to play tonight, and you could obviously see that her experience carried us through parts of the game. This is a girl who didn’t practice the last two days, and when we got to the third period, we sat her out for about five minutes, she just couldn’t go any more. She had to ice her fingers, but after that, she was fine. It was good for us to see the motivation on her part.”

St. Dom’s was one of the state premier girls’ hockey schools throughout the 1990s and 2000s, when the sport was still considered club level. Cross-river rival Lewiston won the first MPA-sanctioned title in 2009, and defeated St. Dom’s to reach the final last season, losing to Cheverus.

This time, it was the Saints’ title to lose. Having added Zamrock from Lewiston, and senior Lauren Ratsep from Hebron Academy, to a team that advanced to the Eastern final last season, St. Dom’s was a force all season long.

“The last three or four games, we’ve always come out flat,” Boucher said. “That was our biggest focus in this one, the first five minutes, stay focused, keep it simple, and everything would come after that.”

After Zamrock’s first, Ratsep muscled her way to the front of the cage and stuffed the puck through York keeper Olivia Drew to give the Saints a 2-0 cushion.

“A goal is a goal, no matter who scores it,” Ratsep said. “That one set the momentum to get things going.”

Ratsep added another early in the third on a power play to push the Saints’ advantage to 3-0.

York’s best chance to score in the first two periods came during a minute span of the second period, during which all three of the Saints’ top players — Zamrock, Ratsep and Goulet — committed overlapping minor penalties.

Goulet went off first, at 7:08, followed by Ratsep at 7:36 and finally Zamrock went on a matching call with Gabrielle Boualavanah at 8:08 of the middle frame, giving the Wildcats a full minute to move the puck in the Saints zone without having to shadow or worry about the St. Dom’s triumvirate of talent.

But even that didn’t matter.

The Saints’ depth shone, and Keaney showed her prowess between the pipes with four solid stops on the sequence, to keep York at bay.

“She definitely came up big on key scoring chances on the penalty kill,” Boucher said, “and our defense stayed strong in the front.”

And with the trio’s return to the ice, so, too, returned the pressure on Drew. After Zamrock weaved her way to the front of the cage and misfired on a shot, she curled from behind the cage, took a feed from McLellan and ripped the puck low through Drew.

At 4-0, the win was in the bank. McLellan made it 5-0 2:02 into the third, and Ratsep picked the puck off and added a shorthanded goal to cap her hat trick at 9:24.

Nicole Heroux snapped Keaney’s bid for a shutout between the final two St. Dom’s goals, sneaking one by her at 6:35.

But that was all York could muster.


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