Lewiston native Lauren DeBlois skates with the puck during a Providence College game this season. Providence College Athletics

Lewiston native Lauren DeBlois credits her freshman campaign at Providence College to her teammates.

“I think going in, we have a great of upperclassmen that took our freshmen class under their wing and showed us the ropes right from the start,” DeBlois said. “They were always helpful. Whenever we needed help, they were always there. They made it a very easy transition for the underclassmen going (into the season).”

DeBlois transition from prep hockey to NCAA Division I hockey couldn’t have gone any smoother. The 19-year-old defenseman scored six goals and had 17 assists in 36 games for the Friars. Her 23 points ranked third on the team. She was also named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team, ranking fifth among the league’s rookies in scoring, and had back-to-back Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors Feb. 17 and 24.

DeBlois earned the the trust of Friars coach Matt Kelly early in her rookie season.

“It’s a learning curve when a young kid comes into your program, sometimes they are relearning the entire game on what’s expected them at the next level,” Kelly said. “I thought she did a tremendous job of learning how to be successful at this level, both in the classroom and on the ice. She puts in a lot of work into being successful, being a good student and putting a ton of extra work into her craft on the ice as well. Obviously as the season went on, she kept getting better, better and better.”

Kelly used DeBlois in all situations this season. She took regular shifts 5-on-5, on the power play and on the penalty kill.

DeBlois had to learn on the job quickly.

“The pace of the game, every game is wicked fast and every shift you have to be 100 percent locked in,” DeBlois said. “Learning how to navigate through that and being focused for every little thing that is thrown at you throughout the year, I feel like I got better at that, which helped (my) game.”

Lewiston native Lauren DeBlois tapes her stick in preparation of taking the ice. DeBlois is a freshman at Providence College and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team. Providence College Athletics photo

DeBlois said she had some ups and downs through the season. She did have a five-game pointless streak from Oct. 25-Nov. 15. She bounced back with six points over the next four games, including a four-point (one goal and three assists) effort against crosstown rival Brown University in a 10-0 win on Nov. 30.

Kelly said that one DeBlois had early success was that she already had developed a Division I-caliber shot prior to reaching Providence. Deblois spent the previous four seasons at the New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire. Prior to New Hampton, she played one season at Lewiston High School.

DeBlois thought the Friars forwards did their job this season giving her a shooting lane.

“At the college level, there’s no bad goalie, everyone can save a shot from the point,” DeBlois said. “I think all the (defensemen) can speak to this, all the forwards did a good job of getting in front of the net and creating traffic. As a goalie, it’s very difficult to see a puck from point. Once we got that habit down, pucks started going in.”

Kelly said the Friars coaching staff had to urge DeBlois to not hesitate to fire her shot on goal. It clicked for DeBlois in the final month of the season, and she racked up five goals in February.

“One of the power play units she was on, she has a really incredible shot,” Kelley said. “We kept saying to her keep shooting, keep shooting. Fortunately with enough of that shooter’s mentality, she started to put some pucks into the net and really got our power play going.

“It’s typical with young kids, they start producing, scoring some goals, getting assists here and there, their confidence naturally grows. You could see it down the stretch with her. She started to get more confident and play even better, which is great to see.”

Kelly expects freshmen to hit their stride after the Christmas break, and he said DeBlois really took that to heart.

Being a key contributor on the power play helped DeBlois finish the season strong.

“(I started) gaining confidence on the point and shooting on the power play,” DeBlois said. “Getting those passes (from my teammates), they put them right on your stick and right in your wheel house and things went in our direction.”

The Friars’ season ended when they lost to the University of New Hampshire in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

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