How long did Andy Saucier hold the Stanley Cup over his head? Fifteen, 20 seconds, maybe? As brief as that first time Saucier touched the best sports trophy in the world was, in the moment, it felt even shorter.

“I don’t know how long I had it,” Saucier said, “but it felt like two seconds before I passed it off.”

In the days after the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks to win the Stanley Cup, Maine celebrated the victory for Biddeford native Brian Dumoulin, a Penguins defenseman. Let’s not overlook Saucier, the other Maine native, who also will have his name engraved on the Cup in honor of Pittsburgh’s win.

A Waterville native and 2004 Waterville Senior High School graduate, Saucier is the Penguins video coach, a job he’s held since 2012. Coaches, players and front office personnel — everyone involved with building the team, basically — is immortalized on the Cup when the team wins.

As the final minutes of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals wound down, Saucier was in his office near the Penguins locker room. When Patric Hornqvist scored an empty net goal with just over minute to play to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead, Saucier realized the Cup was close.

“When we went up 3-1, I wanted to celebrate, but I was still a little nervous,” Saucier said.

Throughout the game, Saucier breaks down video. He’s in contact with assistant coach Rick Tocchet on the bench. If Tocchet or head coach Mike Sullivan think a play should be reviewed by the on ice officials, Saucier can take a look at the play. If he sees something he thinks should be reviewed, Saucier can let the other coaches know.

That’s exactly what happened in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Early in the game, Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin appeared to give his team a 1-0 lead when he led the rush and scored. However, Saucier saw something on the replay. In the playoffs, the NHL installed cameras right on each blue line, making it easier to challenge a play as offsides. Still, it was close. Saucier thought Drouin’s skate was just over the line before he controlled the puck. As the Lightning began celebrating, Saucier told Tocchet to challenge the goal.

“The refs wouldn’t have been able to tell in real time,” Saucier said.

Pittsburgh’s challenge was upheld. No goal. Saucier saw the life drain from the boisterous Tampa crowd. The Penguins won the game, 5-2, then won Game 7 back home to advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

“It really changed everything in the crowd,” Saucier said. “It feels good when you have a goal taken off the board. There’s really no incentive not to challenge it.”

Saucier is descended from hockey royalty. His grandfather is Jack Kelley, who coached at Colby College and Boston University, winning national championships with the Terriers in 1971 and ’72. He also was the first head coach of the then-New England Whalers. Saucier’s uncle, Mark Kelley, is vice president of amateur scouting for the Chicago Blackhawks and helped build three Stanley Cup-winning teams in Chicago in recent years.

“I went to a couple of his Cup parties and was really in awe of the trophy,” Saucier said.

Although he was in the same room as the Cup, superstition prevented Saucier from getting too close. In hockey circles, you don’t touch the Cup until you’ve won the Cup.

Tradition also dictates that each winner gets a day with the Stanley Cup. Saucier isn’t sure what exactly he’ll do with the Cup when his day comes up. The Penguins haven’t yet finalized the trophy touring schedule, but Saucier expects his day will be either right before or after Dumoulin’s. Like many tourists, the Stanley Cup will spend a few summer days in Maine.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to take it up to Maine in the next month or so,” Saucier said. “When you think about winning it, you think about what you’ll do with it. But you quickly chase those thoughts from your mind.”

Now, Saucier doesn’t have to chase those thoughts away anymore. Now, he has to celebrate a little longer. Soon enough, it will be time to start work on trying to win the Stanley Cup again.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

<URL destination=””>[email protected]

</URL>Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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