Lewiston’s Leah Landry and St. Dominic’s Lucy Frenette battle for control of the puck during Saturday’s game at Auburn’s Norway Savings Bank Arena. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Editor’s note: The Sun Journal previewed Franklin- and Kennebec-county teams as their seasons were starting last month. Now, we are previewing the Androscoggin, Oxford and Cumberland teams.

If there is one thing Lewiston girls hockey coach Ron Dumont knows about the Blue Devils as they begin the 2021 season it’s that they enjoy playing hockey.

“Although circumstances this season will not allow for the pursuance of any playoffs or a state title, this team just loves the sport and they love to compete,” Dumont said. “So, they are very excited for the season to begin and to measure themselves against new opponents.”

The Blue Devils return the majority of the team that went 20-0-1 and won the 2019-20 state championship. The team, though, will miss not having forwards Adri Roy, Emily Anctil and Gemma Landry along with goaltender Camree St. Hilaire.

Sophomore Kim McLaughlin is stepping into the vacation goalie position, and Dumont said it might take her a few games adjust to being the number one goalie this season.

“We are breaking in a brand new goalie, I think Kim did outstanding, you have to be aware of that,” Dumont said after Saturday’s game against St. Dom’s/Gray-New Gloucester/Winthrop. “For the first time out, she was fine and we will see them a couple of more times.”

A different and interesting opponent on the Blue Devils’ schedule this season is North Yarmouth Academy, which normally plays a prep hockey schedule but can’t do so this year because of restrictions for out-of-state travel. The Lewiston boys will also play NYA.

ST. DOM’S/GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER/WINTHROP

The shortened season still means something, and every game counts to the Saints. They are off to a good start, having knocked off Lewiston 3-2 on a late goal by Isabella Webster, her second of the game, in the season opener on Saturday.

“Given the set of circumstances: one, the fact we are able to play is great, and two, we are treating the 12 games like it was the regular season,” St. Dom’s coach Paul Gosselin said. “The record matters, the work ethic matters. We are going to treat it like it’s a normal (season), and we are going to go after it.”

After finishing with an 11-8 record last season, which ended with a loss in the regional semifinals to Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland, St. Dom’s believes it will again be competitive in 2021. The Saints didn’t lose much from last year’s team, and Gosselin believes they will should finish above .500 again.

“I think our record will be positive, we would do well even a normal year,” Gosselin said. “Even though there’s no playoffs, we will be right in it with the other three teams at the end.”

St. Dom’s finished second to Lewiston in the North region last year. Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland was third, while Yarmouth/Freeport finished fourth.

EDWARD LITTLE/LEAVITT/POLAND 

The Red Hornets have a nice balance heading into the new season: They have number of returning players along with a number of newcomers to the squad.

Coach Dana Berube hopes the roster can come together after a successful season in which the Red Hornets made a deep playoff run.

“We add nine new players to our program this year,” Berube said. “We are returning many of our varsity players who made key contributions to our team that played in the North regional final last year.”

The Red Hornets lost to Lewiston in the regional final.

Goaltending has been a strength of the Red Hornets the past few seasons with Maranda Guimond manning the crease. Guimond wrapped up her high school career by being chosen as the the Becky Schaffer Award winner as the most outstanding girls hockey player in the state.

Berube said he has been happy with how the team has been practicing so far.

“Almost all returning varsity players have continued to improve in all aspects of their abilities from last season,” Berube said. “Our new goalie (Mckenzi Horton) is inexperienced but continues to improve every day in practice. Freshman (forward) Kylee Spugnardi will be a solid new addition to our lineup.”

MT. ARARAT/LISBON/MORSE

The Eagles return every player from last year’s team that finished 10-7-1 and advanced to the North regional final before falling to Yarmouth/Freeport.

Coach Jeremy Saxton expects the freshman class to make an impact this season.

“We have gained three exceptional freshman to the roster,” Saxton said. “We look forward to competing with the top of the North division teams this season. ”

The freshmen joining the team are forward Sarah Moore, Allie Hunter, who will see time at both forward and defense, and defenseman Caragh Beasley.

Saxton said the Eagles are ready to build off last year’s winning season.

“As the program grows, the players’ excitement for each season intensifies,” he said.

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