Conventional wisdom took a year off this season in Maine high school girls’ hockey.

In a sport where teams try to build toward success over a few years as the players grow and mature, some teams have found another way — win with youth.

There’s no better example than St. Dominic Academy. The Saints’ success (16-2 regular-season record and No. 2 seed in North region) has come on the back of a roster that is more than half freshmen.

But it’s not just St. Dom’s that has had to lean on first-year high schoolers.

Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill — the defending state champion — has received nearly one-third of its scoring output from a freshman defender, Bree Bergeron, and has seen major contributions from two of her classmates.

Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland made the playoffs this year thanks to some freshmen help.

Much has been written about St. Dom’s freshmen class. There was some fanfare for the first-year players coming in, and rightly so. They stormed out of the gates with a high-octane offense and shut-down defense, and only lost twice to Northen No. 1 Greely, which went undefeated.

Saints coach Paul Gosselin said from the first day of preseason practices that he wasn’t worried about relying on so many freshmen — many of whom had played together on travels teams growing up. The first-year core came with built-in chemistry, and that extended throughout the whole team, with many of the girls playing together on the St. Dom’s girls’ soccer team.

“They’ve jelled really well, and they’re working great as a unit,” Gosselin said.

St. Dom’s has eight freshmen on its roster of 15 players, and six have seen substantial ice time, including three of the Saints’ most dynamic offensive players (Bugsy Hammerton, Kristina Cornelio, Avery Lutrzykowski), and their top defensive pairing (Izzy Frenette and Emma Theriault).

All five can skate well, and they can all score — including the two defenders.

Freshman Dasha Fons has played valuable minutes as part of the other defensive pairing, with her sophomore sister, Katya.

Gosselin said his freshmen are “a very motivated group” to match success this year with their talent.

Blue Devils coach Ron Dumont — whose team could face St. Dom’s in the North regional semifinals — heaped a lot of praise on the Saints’ newest players, complimenting their skill, speed and hockey sense.

Those are traits that Dumont has in one of his own freshman, Bergeron. He estimated Bergeron scored 20 goals during the regular season.

“Bree, obviously high hockey IQ. The kid came in as a player,” Gosselin said. “There’s a lot of pressure on her.”

After Dumont lost much of last year’s championship team to graduation or transfer, the Blue Devils have had to lean on Bergeron for both scoring and help on defense.

That defensive corps includes fellow freshman Katie Lemieux and just one other person — sophomore Anna Dodge.

“Based on our numbers, if you don’t pick up those two we’d have a lot of holes on the defense,” Dumont said.

Lemieux is more of a defensive defenseman, according to Dumont, but is also a good passer.

The Blue Devils’ small group of defenders has played in front of sophomore goalie Meagan Gosselin, who Dumont said is similar to a freshman in that she didn’t play much a year ago. Yet Gosselin was named an assistant captain this season.

The Blue Devils have another freshman carrying the load, with Jessica Clavet — the team’s lone player from Monmouth — centering the second line.

The Red Hornets have a first-line freshman in Brianna Doucette. Taylor Callier was another important freshman forward before getting injured. Delaney Morneau and Madison Cote provide freshmen depth at forward.

Starting goalie Sarah Hammond is a senior, but hadn’t played hockey before this year. She has been steady in goal for the Red Hornets, while also mentoring freshman backup Kristen Jordan.

Brunswick, which the Blue Devils will see in the regional quarterfinals, has a lethal scorer in freshman Jenna Brooks, as well as linemate and classmate Rayna Sage.

“(Brooks is) a sniper in the real sense of the word,” Dumont said. “The two of them can get them on the board in a hurry, so you got to be aware of that.”

Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester has just one freshman on the team, but Kyaira Grondin has found her way onto the scoresheet more than one time for an up-and-coming team.

The South region also features contenders with freshmen on their rosters, but not to the extent of St. Dom’s and many of the North’s playoff teams.

“At least from this end, from what I’m seeing from the North side … freshmen are going to tell the tale,” Dumont said.

The first-year players failed to crumble during the 18-game regular season. It’s still yet to be seen if that will happen in the postseason.

“I think that’s probably every coach’s worry,” Gosselin said of the inexperience hurting. “We’ve had a few big games so far, and they have been nervous. Hopefully that’s helped them and that cause, and we’ll do our best to make sure that they’re ready for it.”

This season’s crop of freshmen proved to be up to the task of playing at the high-school level. And more than that, the first-year players have been looked at to turn a nose at experience and help carry a load beyond their years.

“What they may bring I think will make a difference,” Dumont said. “And you don’t usually see that.”

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