Lilly Gish, left, and Charlotte Cloutier are the backbone of the defense for the Lewiston High School varsity girls hockey team. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Lilly Gish and Charlotte Cloutier have been teammates for the past eight years, whether it’s travel hockey with the Maine Gladiators or the past four years at Lewiston High School.

The two senior defensemen and captains have never been defensive partners until this season.

Coach Ron Dumont found out quickly this season that they were a perfect match for each other on the ice.

“They are a pairing that just plays off each other and they are a perfect pairing,” Dumont said. “They have done everything you can ask from them when they are on the ice. I don’t worry too much.”

What makes them a perfect pairing? Gish is a more offensive-minded, goal-scorer defenseman, while Cloutier plays more of a defensive defenseman role, which made them want to work on the strength of the other to make each of them a better player.

“I have definitely grown playing with Lilly,” Cloutier said. “She’s more offensive, but that pushed me to be more offensive because it made me more offensive.”


Gish has 21 points (seven goals and 14 assists), and Cloutier has 18 points (three goals and 15 assists) this season. Each has played in 16 games.

For Gish, the opposite playing styles allowed the partners to create chemistry quickly this season.

“I think Charlotte is more defensive-minded and I think that allows us to have a good balance,” Gish said. “We read each other pretty well and we know when either of us needs to be more offensive in a certain play. I think we know how to read each other.”

Splitting them up was never in consideration for Dumont because he didn’t feel they would gain anything more by it.

Dumont said reading a situation on the ice is a strength for both as the Blue Devils coach said they each have a high hockey IQ. Just like a football quarterback going through his progressions looking for the open receiver, both Cloutier and Gish make quick decisions with the puck.

Dumont teaches the kids that there are usually four options to get the puck out of the defensive zone.


“They are very intelligent kids in school (both in the top 15 in their class), but their hockey IQ is good too,” Dumont said. “They read the play, and they know where to put the puck. It’s clean, it’s where it’s supposed to be and (we don’t) get bogged down in your (defensive zone). It’s boom-boom and your out.”

Cloutier said the first thing she does when it comes to making the correct decision is to make sure she can see her surroundings.

“I have always been taught there’s always more than one option,” Cloutier said. “You always have options; you just have to keep your head up and look for them. I think this team this year, we work with each other really well making (good choices all over the ice).”

Gish says Dumont gives her and Cloutier a little leeway to make the correct decision.

“Coach goes over certain plays that we should have in our minds,” Gish said. “On the ice, I don’t think we strictly stick to them. I think we know when we should do certain plays and we just have to read (the situation). Whatever the best scenario is, go with that. I think practicing certain plays helps.”

How they make plays has caught the attention of junior defenseman Ava Geoffroy.


A play, in particular, Geoffroy said Gish likes to do in practice and games is flipping the puck off the glass in the defensive zone to get it to one of the forwards in the neutral zone.

“Seeing things we do in practice that we want to put in games, seeing them do it on the ice, like try it out and even if they don’t do it very well the first time, makes me want to try it out myself, things we are working on,” Geoffroy said. “Just because they are brave enough to actually put it in play, even if they know they are going to make mistakes, they still do it.”

Gish said they want to instill in the younger defensemen that it’s okay to try things and make errors in practice.

“I think both Charlotte and I being leaders on the team, I think people look up to that, and guiding the younger ones in practice and letting them know it’s okay to make mistakes in practice and trying things is OK,” Gish said.

That communication helps Geoffroy feel at ease.

“I think them being captains and taking charge also helps me a lot with talking to the girls,” Geoffroy said. “Just the team itself, having people accepting, open, kind to you is helpful. I think it helps me open myself up, too. Them being captains, they are really good at it.

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