The calendar has flipped to February, which means the regular season has given way to the postseason. 

Regular-season records have been thrown out the window and replaced by seedings. Six teams from each side — East and West — have played their way into the playoffs, with the two top teams on their respective sides of the bracket receiving byes into the quarterfinal. 

While the West bracket will include the same six teams from last season, the East has a few newcomers. St. Dominic Academy, which played a JV schedule last season and wasn’t eligible for postseason play, returns to the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and will play Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester in the first round. 

“If we come to play we can definitely be competitive, and who knows?” St. Dom’s coach Paul Gosselin said. “It’s playoff hockey and anything goes. The fact that they’re actually in the playoffs is a motivator as opposed to a nervous issue.” 

The Clippers won both regular season meetings against the Saints, a 6-1 victory on Dec. 23 and a 3-0 decision on Jan. 21. 

For senior Jessica Boulet, a trip to the playoffs is a dream come true. The last time the Saints (7-11) were eligible for the postseason during the 2012-13 season, they were on the outside looking in. 


“It means everything to be back and to take my team to playoffs this year as my last year, I’ve never been before,” Boulet said. “It means a lot to finally be able to peak and be able to reach that point where everybody’s in it together. Even though there’s 11 of us we’re still going to have a good run.” 

If the regular season has shown anything, it’s that the road to the state championship game will likely go through Lewiston, and the Blue Devils (17-0-1) will have home-ice advantage throughout. The Eastern final and state championship will be held at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, where the Blue Devils finished 9-0-1. They are 14-0 against the East. 

Still, Lewiston’s not going to be taking any opponent lightly. 

“When you’re in these situations you need to be prepared because anything can happen,” Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said. “A whole season could slip away very quickly, not to demean what you did during the regular season, but you’re reshuffling the deck and you have to be prepared to play.”

Lewiston will host the winner of St. Dom’s and Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-NG.

The Blue Devils know just as well as anybody that success against a particular team during the regular season doesn’t mean much during the postseason. They dropped the first three encounters with Leavitt/Edward Little/Poland — this year’s No. 2 team in the East — last season before eliminating them in the regional final. 


Speaking of the Red Hornets (15-2-1), they’ve been playing as well as any team over the last month of the season. They finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 32-2.

“I think we’re really been climbing over the past couple weeks,” Red Hornets coach Shon Collins said. “I’ve seen a lot of positive things out of the girls. We seem to be in a good place from a team perspective and we’re in good shape right now.”

The Red Hornets have a first-round bye to the Eastern semifinals and will host the winner of Greely/Brunswick. They are a combined 3-0-1 against those opponents this season.

With the playoffs comes pressure. The one-and-done nature of the postseason is well-known, but nerves are hard to keep at bay, especially for those playing in their first playoff game. With their seasons on the line, teams turn to their upperclassmen, and there are plenty in the East. Among the six playoff teams are 41 upperclassmen, led by Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-NG’s nine. Lewiston and Leavitt/EL/Poland each have eight. 

“As upperclassmen and knowing it potentially could be your last game ever, you try to push the underclassmen to work hard and to make sure they know it could be your last game and it could be over,” Red Hornets senior Emma Martineau said. 

Dumont said he won’t hide his team from the pressure, the same approach he used at the start of the season.


“I don’t shield them at all,” Dumont said. “It’s not in my personality. They know exactly where they stand and they know what the stakes are.”

At the end of the day, all 12 teams in the playoff field are looking to raise a championship banner. 

“It’d be pretty awesome because I know there’s still a lot of people that don’t believe in us because they say Lewiston chokes every year, so it would be nice to win,” Lewiston junior Corinne Laberge said. 

“My expectations are, we’re going to go out and we’re going to give it our best and whatever happens at the end on the scoreboard is what happens,” Leavitt/EL coach Shon Collins said. “I think we have a group of girls that are capable of winning the state championship this year, but we have to go out and do the hard work.”

The champion will be crowned on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, at the Colisee in Lewiston.

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