LEWISTON — A raucous cacophony of noisemakers poured out of the team’s dressing room after Friday night’s win over Greely/Gray-New Gloucester. Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill girls hockey head coach Ron Dumont emerged from his post-game remarks — an index finger wearily trying to unclog his ear canal — wondering in jest if encouraging the horns had been such a good idea.

But even the wall of noise couldn’t wipe the smile off Dumont’s face following the 6-1 victory over Greely, the closest pursuant to the North division-leading Blue Devils. For a team with only three rostered players who do not attend Lewiston, the chemistry was palpable.

“That’s never been a problem. I’ve said from the beginning, the girls have come together,” Dumont said. “That’s never been an issue. It could be, and it’s a legitimate question. You always worry when you get into something like (a co-op), how’s it going to work? But all the kids have been great, both ways.”

Best of all, the mastermind behind the noisemakers was senior defenseman Anna Dodge — the only Oak Hill student on the team — providing testament to team unity extending beyond the Lewiston High School walls.

“It’s not weird anymore,” Dodge said. “I remember my sophomore year I didn’t know anyone, but now it’s totally different. A lot of my closest friends are on this team.”

The Blue Devils were 14-2-0 entering Monday’s game against Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland with only one game remaining until the postseason. One year after not qualifying for the six-team regional tournament, Lewiston is the clear favorite to represent the North in the Feb. 17 state championship game. The roster is predominantly comprised of Lewiston students, but l it relies on Oak Hill and Monmouth to fill out the roster.

Monmouth has just two players on the team, junior Jessica Clavet and sophomore Hannah Levesque.

Given that just 13 percent of the team’s roster comes from other communities. Dumont says chemistry is a team strength.

“They do respond, and that’s what I like about them,” Dumont said. “It’s a group effort. Everybody does their part, everybody does their job, and when they do, usually the results are pretty good.”

Clavet can attest to the camaraderie that exists. It would have been easy for Clavet to feel like she wasn’t part of the group this season. In addition to the overwhelming Lewiston numbers, Clavet missed most of the middle portion of the season with a shoulder injury.

When she returned two games ago in a 4-0 win over Scarborough, she said it was as if she was never gone.

“Now that I’m back in it I feel like I just want to get better and play,” Clavet, a forward, said. “Everybody has been great. Just getting back into it was pretty easy. It was like I never left.”

That’s a far cry from Day 1 as a freshman, when Clavet was the only Monmouth player trying out for the new co-op in the fall 2015.

“I was so nervous. There were coaches I’d never met before and a new team,” Clavet recalled. “It felt odd because I didn’t know a lot of the girls. But it was easy to pick it up — hockey brings everyone together. The skills just sort of mesh.

“We’re all definitely a family now. Part of the reason we’ve been doing so well is because of that. Nobody singles anybody out, everybody has everybody’s back. Coming from an outside school, it was a little bit tough my freshman year, but now that I’m an upperclassman it’s easier. I know all the girls and have been playing with them for a while now. It’s just a second family.”

Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill won its first 12 games, outscoring the opposition 67-7 over that stretch. Six times the Blue Devils scored six or more goals, and seven times they shut out their opponent.

The team’s torrid start to the season concluded with back-to-back one-goal losses to Cheverus/Kennebunk and rival St. Dom’s.

“Early on, things were going pretty good,” Dumont said, noting a young roster with 11 freshmen and six sophomores, a group that might have tightened up as game started to mean more and the bullseye got bigger on their collective back. “But right now, we’re at the point where we’ve pretty much experienced everything — we’ve been in overtimes, we’ve given away games in the last minute or two, or given up a goal that got us into overtime and lost that. They’ve experienced some stuff that could set you back, but they’re working through it. They’re always trying to do the right thing out there.”

“We started off really strong, but since then we’ve needed to keep going with that and what was working,” Dodge said. “We need to keep doing what we’re doing and keep our confidence. A lot of it is in our heads.”

Dodge said it is not a case of looking ahead to the playoffs.

“Maybe that’s part of it, but having the best record is also a big thing to us,” she said. “We don’t want to lose that. If you lose, other teams can start looking down on you. That goes along with that confidence thing.”

No matter where they come from — Lewiston, Monmouth or Oak Hill — the players have high aspirations for the season — they want a title.

“I feel like first two years were kind of building years, but now that we have this new team with a lot of freshmen that are wicked good, now that building team is all coming together and everything that we’ve worked for is coming all together,” Clavet said. “We’re a new team this year, but we’ve still got the same dream.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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