Members of the Cheverus/Kennebunk girls hockey team celebrate a goal by Abby Lamontagne, second from right, during a game against Scarborough on Wednesday, Dec. 19. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette photo)

The Cheverus/Kennebunk girls’ ice hockey team used offense to capture the regional championship in its 2017-2018 campaign — this season, the squad will try to use defense to get the same results.

“I think we’re learning to play a different style,” said Cheverus/Kennebunk head coach Scott Rousseau. “There are a lot of ways to win hockey games and I think we’re just finding new ways to win hockey games now and play a bit differently and certainly a bit more conservative because of our short bench, but the girls are buying in. They work very hard and I like where we’re at.”

The Stags have a 7-1 record — as of Thursday, Dec. 20 — including three shutouts. Cheverus/Kennebunk blanked Falmouth, York/Traip/Marshwood and Scarborough.

The Stags lone loss was to Lewiston/Monmouth in a low-scoring 3-2 thriller.

“It’s a different team from last year. It’s a new year, but we’re definitely still in it this year and that’s really important, we all need to know that. We just know that we can’t just go into games and roll over (teams) like we did last year. We have to really always be there 100 percent to get through games,” said junior captain Abby Lamontagne, who goes to Kennebunk.

Another key for the Stags this season will be their ability to hold up during penalty kill situations.

During the contest between Cheverus/ Kennebunk and Scarborough on Dec. 19, the Stags received four penalties during crucial moments but the squad was able to remain calm and capture a 2-0 victory.

“I was very proud of the way that they did not get flustered. I think it’s important that we just deal with the task at hand. We can’t control once we get a penalty how or what, we have to kill the penalty. I thought the bench and every player on the ice focused on killing the penalties,” said Rousseau.

Lamontagne agreed with her coach.

“We’ve learned to get over our penalties. You get a penalty and whatever you can’t change it so you just have to kill it and move on,” said Lamontagne.

Lamontagne should provide plenty of offense for the Cheverus/ Kennebunk squad this season. Scarborough head coach Caitlin Jordan was impressed with the Kennebunk junior’s play after she scored the first goal in the Stags’ shutout win.

“Abby Lamontagne is a very talented player and we were keeping an eye on her trying to track her all game so it’s what she does to go out and score. She’s a finisher. She knew she needed to score and she took advantage of that opening and put it in. I give all the credit to her,” said Jordan.

Cheverus/Kennebunk may not be the goal-scoring powerhouse they were last season, but they will still be one of the favorites in the South.

“We’re a different team and we can still win in other ways,” said Rousseau.

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