They play on competing high school teams throughout the winter and, for many, during the fall as well.

But, said Guy Audet, none of that matters when his players pull on the jerseys of the Biddeford Lady Breakers.

“They know that they need to put the rivalries at the door when they enter our locker room,” said Audet.

And they’ve done it well.

The Lady Breakers, a U-19 girls’ hockey team coached by Audet, will play in the Tier II national championships in East Lansing, Mich., beginning Wednesday. The Breakers are composed mostly of players from southern Maine high schools, including Cheverus, Biddeford, Scarborough and Falmouth.

They began practicing together last September, then played through the winter season at the same time as their high school teams, spending many weekends traveling out of state for games.

“It is a huge commitment,” said Audet. “Especially given the fact that they’re playing a full schedule with their high school and then playing travel hockey as well.

“This is a good group of kids. They’ve been around for a long time and all the girls know each other.”

And they like playing on the same team.

“We’re all friends,” said Grace Fitzpatrick, the do-it-all player who led Cheverus to a 21-0 record and the Class A state championship. “There are no cliques. We’re all one team.”

There’s some good-natured kidding, especially from the three Cheverus players: Fitzpatrick, goalie Saundrine Lanouette and forward Alyssa Audet.

“Oh yeah,” said Fitzpatrick. “We just need to say 21-0. And there’s nothing anyone can say.”

That aside, the Breakers have fun, including when they play against each other during the high school season. When Cheverus played Falmouth for the Western Maine title, the three Stags players kept talking to Falmouth’s Amber and Jackie Aaskov. “We were joking around when we knocked each other down,” said Audet. At one point, they all started laughing, leaving the referee to wonder what was going on.

Biddeford’s Sara Grover is the team’s leading scorer with 25 goals and 19 assists, followed by Fitzpatrick (16 goals, 12 assists), Jackie Aaskov (10 goals, 13 assists) and defensemen Jordan Finley (10 goals, nine assists) and Abby Rutt (nine goals, 10 assists) of Scarborough.

Lanouette anchors the defense with her 1.59 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and 26-5-4 record.

“I know I wouldn’t want to play against those guys,” Lanouette said of her teammates.

“And I wouldn’t want to have to shoot against her,” said Fitzpatrick.

“I would say we’re pretty offensive-minded,” Guy Audet said of his team. “But I would stack our defense up against anyone. We tend to be pretty aggressive knowing we have Saundrine back there. And we do get caught every now and then, but she’s there to stop the shot.”

This is the Breakers’ second trip to the national championships in four years. Seven current members, including Lanouette and Alyssa Audet, played on the U-14 team that went to nationals.

“We were hoping for this chance,” said Audet.

And they know what to expect this time.

“When we first got there (in 2007), all our girls were in the souvenir shop trying on clothes and then we see all these other teams being serious about it, in their warm-ups, jump-roping and stuff,” said Lanouette.

“Definitely it’s a shock factor. We come from Maine, there isn’t much competition here. There were girls (on other teams) that were home-schooled and had personal trainers teaching them to play hockey.”

“And we just pick up some sticks and play,” said Fitzpatrick.

Audet said the team will know what to expect this time: “We’re going to see some intensity.”

But, she added, “If we play like we can, I feel we can pull out a couple of wins.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]