A total of 16 teams are underway in their quest for a 2018-19 Maine Girls High School hockey championship. The state is broken up into two, 8-team divisions – North and South. The defending champion is Greely/Gray-New Gloucester. Looming favorites to challenge Greely are Lewiston and St. Dom’s from the North, and Cheverus from the South.
LEWISTON/MONMOUTH/OAK HILL (18-3-0)
Keep an eye on the Blue Devils, who return a boatload of players from last year’s club that reached the regional final.
Katie Lemieux is the lone senior in the forward lines, a group that also will include juniors Emily Anctil and Veda Leclerc, and a host of sophomores who all got valuable experience as freshmen last winter.
Sophomores Grace Dumond and Emma Begin will be vital on defense for coach Ron Dumont. The Blue Devils are also solid in goal with the return of junior Camree St. Hilaire.
ST. DOMINIC (15-3-0)
The Saints were right in the thick of things last winter, and chances are they will be again this winter. Coach Paul Gosselin says success will depend on team defense developing throughout the year.
Senior Avery Lutryzkowski will drive the offense, coming off an impressive 61-goal junior season. Newcomers Bella Webber and Emma Roy look to help out right away.
On defense, senior Emma Theriault (33 pts) will be amongst the top blueliners in the state.
This co-op program adds Cony HS to the mix this winter. Coach Alan Veilleux must replace a top scorer and starting goaltender lost to graduation.
Senior Anna Chadwick (39 pts) is a top returning forward for the Black Tigers. Seniors Kaitlin Fecteau and Desiree Veilleux, and sophomore Lindsey Bell also return up front.
A veteran defense includes a triumvirate of returning juniors in Julia Hinckley, Katie Bailey and Gabrielle Hebert. New senior Gabrielle Benson, from Cony, is a welcome addition to the blue line.
Junior Gabrielle Chambers is primed for the goaltender’s position.
EDWARD LITTLE/LEAVITT/POLAND (3-14-1)
With a good group back, the Red Hornets expect to be much improved and more competitive this year, with an eye on making the post-season.
Top forwards project to be seniors Taylor Cailler and Brianna Doucette, junior Isabel Berube and sophomore Caroline Tracey. A pair of freshmen – Caroline Audette and Sophia Hartley – will add firepower.
Junior Cassady Bussiere and sophomore Jillian Bergeron are defensive mainstays for coach Dana Berube. Adding depth to the position are freshmen Eve Martineau and Sophia Castagna.
Junior Miranda Guimond is back in goal for the Red Hornets.
GREELY/GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER (17-4-0)
The defending state champions have to plug a few holes if they hope to be a strong challenger to repeat, as graduation took a heavy toll, especially up front.
Sophomore Maddie Pelletier will be a key forward for coach Nate Guerin, while defensive leaders project to be senior Jayme Morrison, sophomore Camilla Lattanzi and junior Leah Walker.
The Dragons look to make it to the post-season as they expect to battle hard each night during the season.
Senior co-captain Beth Labbe, a four-year varsity performer, leads things offensively for coach Mike Routhier. Expect sophomores Elena Palmer and Greta White to have key roles as well. Three freshmen hoping to step in are Brynn Peterson, Molly Taub and Lily Hatrick.
Senior co-captain Shea Sullivan and sophomore Emily Factor will lead things defensively in front of senior goaltender Nadia Leiner.
Also competing in the North Division are Yarmouth/Freeport and Mt. Ararat/Morse.
With eight of last year’s top 10 players back from a state finalist team, the Stags look like a good bet to return, especially with nine seniors on the roster. They will have to overcome the loss of senior Caitlin Wolff, out for the year with an injury, and sophomore forward Lucia Pompeo (14 goals last year), out for six weeks.
Returning first team All State forward Abby Lamontagne (41 goals), a junior, will spearhead the offense with senior Sophia Pompeo (38 pts, 2nd Team All State). Another key forward back for coach Scott Rousseau is junior Hannah Woodford.
Seniors Zoe Mazur (18 pts) and Sarah Noyes (21 pts), both first team All-Staters, will take care of things defensively.
Transfer sophomore Trinity Atwater will solidify the goaltender position.
Defense and goaltending will be the backbone of the Yachtsmen, who feel they can make the playoffs, and perhaps finish high enough to host a first round game.
Offense for coach Rob Carrier will come from senior Reade Carmichael and junior Samantha Means.
The defense returns senior Kayla Sarazin (6 goals), and juniors Grace Fallon and JoJo Kaserman. Two freshmen to watch are Eliza Chace and Viviana Griffin.
Senior Julia Bonnie is a returning goaltender for Falmouth.
BIDDEFORD/THORNTON ACADEMY/WELLS (10-8-1)
A key for success this winter for the Tigers will be how quickly the second and third lines, and the second defensive pairing, get acclimated to the varsity level.
Coach Adam Flynn’s first line – consisting of senior Paige Laverriere (13 pts), junior Lily Stark (15 pts) and sophomore Lily Clough – should provide the bulk of the scoring power. Freshman Lauren Monson is ready to chip in.
On the blue line, juniors Jillian Lewis and Mady Belanger (12 pts) will be keys. New freshman Kelsie Keely looks to take over the goaltending job.
CAPE ELIZABETH/WAYNFLETE/SOUTH PORTLAND (9-8-1)
A solid group of returning core players will provide the leadership as the CapeFlete Riots look to get into the post-season conversation.
In senior forward Sophia Venditti, Cape possesses one of Maine’s top forwards. She will drive the offense, assisted by sophomore Nicolette Coupe (24 goals) and sophomore Koto Yamada.
A pair of sophomore rearguards – Annie Guimond and Abbey Agrodnia – will be crucial in the defensive zone for coach Bob Mills. The team will have a new goaltender with the arrival of freshman Katherine Blackburn.
Staying healthy will be a key for this club, as there is not much depth to go around. A late season push for a playoff spot will be a focus.
There is some firepower up front, with the return of a nice nucleus of forwards in seniors Emily Demers (62 pts) and Inez Braceras (19 pts), and sophomores Caroline Lerch (44 pts), Lucy Howe (28 pts) and Margaret Smith (10 pts).
Junior Elena Clifford, senior Maddy Danse and sophomore Kim Clifford are keys on defense for coach Tom Clifford in front of returning goalie Anna Gannon, a sophomore.
Also in the South Division this winter are Gorham/Bonny Eagle/Massabesic, York/Traip/Marshwood and Scarborough.