When Jeromey Rancourt was sick the week of the Class A boys’ hockey state championship game, Lewiston Coach Jamie Belleau was nervous.

After all, Rancourt had played a crucial role in helping the Blue Devils get to that stage for the second straight year.

“It would have taken (a catastrophe) to keep him off the ice that game,” Belleau said. “He battled forward. He’s a heck of a player.”

Rancourt came through with a goal and two assists in a 6-2 win over Falmouth – the only team to beat the Blue Devils (20-1) this season. The senior forward capped his career with back-to-back Class A titles and won the Travis Roy Award on March 26.

For his determination on and off the ice, Rancourt is the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Boys’ Hockey Player of the Year.

“It was probably the worst possible time to get sick, but it’s senior year – you can’t get that back,” Rancourt said. “Lewiston is a tough team to play for – it’s lot of responsibility. Everybody on this team has worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get where we are.”

A captain the last two years, Rancourt tied for the team lead in scoring during the regular season with 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) and had a goal and five assists in three playoff games. He also scored the winner in last year’s state championship game, which snapped a 13-year title drought for the program.

“His skill and performance on the ice and his character off it was obviously a huge factor in bringing our team together,” Belleau said. “He takes his role as a leader seriously. He’s always looking out for the players. We became a family.”

It didn’t take long for Belleau to recognize Rancourt’s potential. By his sophomore year, Rancourt was getting a regular shift and was an “All-State caliber player,” said Belleau.

“He was always a very talented skater, always had good hands and a good shot,” Belleau said. “He continued to get stronger and grow. He’s really just an all-around solid player for our program, and he has gained the respect from coaches around the league.”

However, Rancourt wasn’t always so graceful on the ice. In fact, during his first time on skates, he told his dad he wanted to quit.

“He told me I had to stick with it,” Rancourt said. “He taught me a lot while he was here.”

When Rancourt was 7, his father, David, died in an accident the day of Rancourt’s first hockey game. David was a U.S. Army Reserve veteran who completed two tours in Iraq. He had served with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years before suffering a fatal heart attack at age 40 while diving in the Androscoggin River searching for evidence in a criminal case.

Rancourt’s mother, Dawn – who was pregnant with Rancourt’s brother, Brock – broke the news to Jeromey before his Mites debut. He didn’t make it to his game that night, but he was on the ice for the next one.

“She’s my rock. She always told me, ‘You don’t have to be the man of the house,'” Rancourt said. “I never thought I had to be, but I knew I had to grow up a little bit earlier. Things weren’t going to be the same, and I wasn’t going to have that ideal childhood.”

Rancourt turned to hockey as a way to feel connected with father. On his stick are the numbers 1-1-5 – his dad’s license plate with the sheriff’s department. During the national anthem before every game, Rancourt talks to his dad.

“I ask him to look over me,” Rancourt said. “He’s with me every game.”

Rancourt plans to play junior hockey for the next year or two, but isn’t sure where. He just knows he wants to keep playing hockey.

“Once he passed, I wanted to do this for him, to make him proud,” Rancourt said. “I just don’t want that feeling to ever go away. I know it won’t, I know it will always be with me. It’s just one way to feel that I can be with him.”

ALL-STATE TEAM

Jackson Aldrich, Waterville senior forward: Aldrich led the state with 70 points (29 goals, 41 assists), two more than teammate Justin Wentworth. Both scored a hat trick in the Class B state final to help the Panthers win back-to-back titles.

Robbie Armitage, Falmouth senior forward: Armitage and his twin brother, Reece, were the only seniors on a team that won the Class A South title. The Travis Roy Award finalist had a team-high 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in the regular season.

Joe Bisson, Lewiston junior forward: Bisson led Class A with 24 goals and tied for the team lead with 44 points in the regular season, helping the Blue Devils win a second straight state championship.

Derek Fournier, Bangor senior goalie: Fournier, a Travis Roy Award finalist and returning All-State pick, finished the regular season with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. He helped the Rams reach the Class A North final.

Tanner McClure, Massabesic/Old Orchard Beach/Bonny Eagle senior forward: A team captain for three years, McClure recorded his 100th career point and led Class A players in scoring during the regular season with 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists). He was a semifinalist for the Travis Roy Award.

Eric Murray, Scarborough senior defenseman: An offensive-minded defenseman, Murray led the Red Storm in points during the regular season with 15 (seven goals, eight assists). He is a finalist for the Travis Roy Award.

Cole Ouellette, Lewiston senior defenseman: Ouellette compiled 32 points in the regular season (16 goals, 16 assists) for the two-time Class A champions.

Spencer Pierce, Falmouth junior goalie: Pierce had a .926 save percentage in the regular season – the best among full-time goalies. He was the only goalie to defeat Lewiston, making 48 saves in a 3-2 win over the Blue Devils in January.

Jeromey Rancourt, Lewiston senior forward: The returning All-State pick tied for the team lead with 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in the regular season – second-most in Class A. He had a goal and five assists in the playoffs to help the Blue Devils repeat as champions.

Andrew Roderigue, Waterville senior defenseman: A returning All-State pick, Roderigue totaled more than 130 points for his career, including 51 (18 goals, 33 assists) in the regular season this winter.

Ricky Ruck, Biddeford senior forward: The Travis Roy Award semifinalist led the Tigers to the Class A South quarterfinals, collecting 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) during the regular season.

Dominic Tocci, Portland/Deering forward: Tocci led the Bulldogs with 25 regular-season points (12 goals, 13 assists), helping them get to the Class A South semifinals. He scored the winning goal with one second left in the quarterfinals.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Jamie Belleau, Lewiston: The Blue Devils went into the season as the favorite in Class A and didn’t disappoint, going 20-1 to capture their second straight state title by defeating Falmouth 6-2 in the championship game.

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

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Twitter: TaylorVortherms