Dominic Chasse of St. Dom’s skates down the ice during a game Wednesday at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

A love of hockey helped get Dominic Chasse onto the varsity team as a freshman at St. Dominic Academy, and on the ice for some major shifts.

Then when a major injury took him off the ice, the love and help of his Saints teammates kept him going through a dark time.

Now he’s returning that help as a sophomore this season, which has seen him stay healthy for the most part halfway through the campaign.

Chasse said it “feels great” to be healthy, though he did deal with a concussion early in the season that kept him out for a game.

That was a much shorter time period than when he broke his collarbone last season. He missed more than a month, and six of the Saints’ games, and they went 2-4 without him.

The loss was felt by Chasse too.

“It’s obviously tough when you’re team’s losing when you’re not there. You want to help the way you can. It was hard,” he said. “Most of (my teammates), they would text all week to ask how I was doing, so they gave me a community to be fine with.”

“It slowed his progress on getting more comfortable in the high school league,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Parker said. “But, you know, he made his way back and was a productive part of the team, and the team was really anxious to get him back.”

Chasse recovered, as did the Saints, who made it to overtime of the regional final.

The loss fueled the Saints, according to Chasse, who had a personal fire lit as well.

“I went in the gym a lot to get stronger because I knew that was one of my weaker points, was my physicality and how big I was, so I need to make that up in strength,” he said. “I shoot a lot of pucks. I skated a lot. Stickhandling, I worked on a lot too. And just my overall health, eating better.”

Chasse finished his freshman campaign with eight goals and five assists for 13 points, then had a goal and two assists in three playoff games. He then played with the Seacoast Spartans travel team in the offseason, which he said helped him a lot.

He’s already gotten off to solid start to this season, with seven goals and a team-leading nine assists, including five goals and two assists in Saturday’s win over Cony/Monmouth/Hall-Dale.

“He would draw two or three kids (Saturday) night, and all of a sudden he’d dish it out and open nets for some kids to bury the puck,” Parker said.

“Just like a lot of good hockey players, they’re going to draw attention, they’re going to draw maybe two guys or even three guys coming at you, so someone’s got to be open. So it’s a matter of having vision on the ice, and his teammates getting open for the passes, and that’s what’s been happening,” Parker added. “Kids are trying to cover him — and he’s a very good skater — but when he dishes it out usually his teammates are open and can do something with the hockey puck.”

Chasse credited linemate Will Fletcher for a lot of his assists, with a handful of Fletcher’s team-leading 13 goals coming off Chasse helpers.

“I split them up a little, and it’s like they’re almost like two brothers, and they like each other a lot, and they work well together,” Parker said. “I’m hoping that they actually develop an even closer relationship on the ice, to kind of mimic some of the star pairings of years past from St. Dom’s.”

Chasse said he grew up watching some of those great Saints from previous years, which is why he was a little nervous entering the program as a freshman last year. And it would be excusable if Chasse was a little timid near the boards after his return from injury, but he said advice from family and his team told him not to.

So he’s just gone out there and played his game since. And it’s worked. And save for a concussion and a missed game, he’s been able to be out there on the ice.

“I love everything about hockey. So, I mean, growing up watching it and playing it, and watching high school, it means the world to me to be able to play the game that I love for the whole season, or as long as I can,” Chasse said.

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