Jeromey Rancourt celebrates during a game this season for Plymouth State. Kim Bownes/Plymouth State Athletics

Though it’s a road game, Jeromey Rancourt is going to have a homecoming of sorts Saturday as a member of the Plymouth State University men’s hockey team.

Rancourt, the former Lewiston High School and Twin City Thunder standout, had an assist in the Panthers’ 8-4 win over Salem State in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference championship last Saturday. Next up is the NCAA Division III tournament, which Plymouth State (19-5-2) opens against the University of New England (21-3-1) at the Alfond Forum in Biddeford on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Rancourt said he and the New Hampshire-based Panthers will have plenty of support in the stands for the game.

“Going back home (to play in Maine), it’s special,” Rancourt said. “When I found out it was UNE, that we are going there, I was really excited for the fact my family gets to see me play. My mom has definitely made the trip to Plymouth, but extended family can come to watch. It adds a little more excitement on my end, personally.”

The winner of Saturday’s game will take on Utica College (25-2-1) — the second-ranked team in the most recent United States College Hockey Online Division III poll — March 19 in Utica, New York.

Rancourt said there are similarities between Plymouth State and Lewiston High School in terms of championship success and team bonding. The Panthers have won five MASCAC championships since 2009-10, and this is their fifth NCAA tournament appearance in that time frame. In high school, Rancourt, the 2017 Travis Roy Award winner, won two Class A state championships with the Blue Devils, in 2016 and 2017.


“I told my mom the other day, this is the best decision I have ever made, to come to Plymouth,” Rancourt said. “So many of these guys will be friends for life. Being here with the team, we are super close. Each person has a personal connection to each other.”

Jeromey Rancourt, a former Lewiston High School and Twin City Thunder standout, is in his sophomore season with Plymouth State University. Kim Bownes/Plymouth State University Athletics

Rancourt, a sophomore, has 12 goals and four assists in 25 games, which is tied for sixth on the team in scoring.

He’s also on the Panthers’ power-play and penalty kill units. He relishes the opportunities he’s been given this season.

“I think having a consistent mindset of you can be replaced at any point of time in those situations,” Rancourt said. “I think that’s where that comes from. I really want to give what I have, just like another (player) is going to do. Like I said, the culture we have built here, every one is buying into the same program, and everyone is buying into the same system.”

Plymouth State coach Craig Russell said Rancourt has been impressive in his first full season of college hockey. Last season, during which Rancourt played in five of the Panthers’ eight games, was shortened because of the coronavirus.

“I thought the worst-case scenario he was going to be a solid third- or fourth-line center, play on the penalty kill — do everything that he does — provide secondary scoring,” Russell said. “But I think the way he started this season, he’s become a guy that was inserted into more of a crucial rule early on. You never expect first-year players (to play) crucial roles, really.”


Rancourt said that the five games he played in last season were eye-opening.

“I got a little prelude of what to expect for this season, what kind of competition I would be facing,” Rancourt said. “Last year, I felt like everybody on this team wanted to come back hungry and excited to play — we knew we would get a full season. Over the summer, I really wanted to get stronger, faster and overall more confident. Confidence is a big piece, and I think we are all confident about what we can do.”

Russell said Rancourt’s biggest strength is at the faceoff dot, where he has won 73 percent of the faceoffs he has competed for this season.

Jeromey Rancourt, right, Plymouth State University skates with the puck up the ice during a game against Framingham State this season. Kim Bownes/Plymouth State University Athletics

During a regular season game against Salem State on Dec. 4, he went 14 for 14 on faceoffs and had a hat trick in a 12-1 win.

“I have played center for a number of years now; I have never been the one to play wing,” Rancourt said. “Since high school, (former Lewiston coach) Jamie Belleau put me at center, I basically have stuck at that position. It’s a lot of faceoffs, a lot of repetition, and reading guys before the draw in different situations.”

Rancourt added that going against former Twin City teammate Andrew Kurapov in Thunder practices in 2019-20 also helped him get better at faceoffs.

Russell said that the way Rancourt works and studies the game will help him continue to improve during the next few seasons.

“The way he plays the game, the way he understands the game, he’s always asking questions during practices and games,” Russell said. “He really wants to absorb everything, and we have done plenty of film sessions together. That makes him who he is. I know he’s always watching film on his own. I think he’s a true student of the game and has proven to be a leader within our group. I think the sky is the limit for him.”

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