Cheverus senior Lucia Pompeo is all smiles after winning the Becky Schaffer Award Wednesday, as the state’s most outstanding senior girls’ ice hockey player. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

FALMOUTH—Lucia Pompeo scored a lot of goals for the Cheverus girls’ ice hockey program, 60 of them to be exact, but her finest moment involved a save.

Helping to save the program.

Entering her junior season, it appeared the Stags would lack enough players to field a team, but Pompeo made a point of walking the halls and recruiting enough girls to keep the program intact.

And that, combined with her leadership, brilliant play and a penchant for scoring big goals culminated with Pompeo being named Wednesday afternoon as the winner of the Becky Schaffer Award, given to the state’s most outstanding girls’ ice hockey senior player.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” said Pompeo at a small outdoor ceremony for the players’ families at Casco Bay Arena in Falmouth. “I think that all the girls up here with me are awesome and deserving. I couldn’t have done it without my family, friends and especially (Cheverus) Coach (Scott) Rousseau. He’s pushed me a long way. It’s very exciting and I’m very thankful.”

Pompeo joins Courtney Sullivan of Greely (2018), Avery Lutrzykowski of St. Dominic Academy (2019) and Maranda Guimond of Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland (2020) as Schaffer Award winners.

The other finalists this winter for the Schaffer Award, which honors the former Yarmouth Clipper who was a pioneer of girls’ hockey in the state, went on to play club hockey at McGill University, then lost her life in a tragic hiking accident in 2011, were Caroline Lerch of Portland/Deering, Lewiston’s Brie Dube and Gigi Ouellette of St. Dom’s.

Lucia Pompeo scored 60 goals during her high school career, including three in a City Cup victory over Portland/Deering last month. File photo.

Pompeo is a two-time All-State selection and two-time team captain. She was part of Cheverus’ 2019 state championship team as a sophomore, even though she missed almost the entire season with a torn labrum.

“Winning the championship was such a great moment for us, especially we had gone the year before and it didn’t go as planned (losing to Greely),” said Pompeo. “It was nice to go back and take (the title) home. I think that was my favorite moment as a Cheverus girls’ hockey player.”

The following winter, however, the Stags found themselves with just eight players, not enough to field a team, and it appeared they would be unable to defend their title, but Pompeo helped ensure that Cheverus would take the ice.

“One day after school, I met Coach and we were sitting on the bench and I said, ‘Coach, what are we going to do?'” Pompeo said. “He said, ‘I don’t know, Lu, but we’ll figure it out,’ so, I just tried to recruit every girl I saw in the hallway. I told them it would be fun. We got enough girls to field a team.”

Pompeo finished second all-time at Cheverus in goals scored and third in points scored with 80. Pompeo is also an honor roll student and a standout field hockey player and will play field hockey at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut next year.

“Ice hockey is something I’ve been playing since I was very young, so this is a big deal for me,” Pompeo said. “It’s a great way to end my career. I think this definitely puts the icing on the cake for my senior year. Just being a finalist was great because everyone here is an awesome player. Girls’ hockey has come a long way. It’s awesome that girls’ hockey players have these opportunities.”

Rousseau, the Cheverus girls’ coach who is also the President of the Coaches’ Association, raved about Pompeo’s play and leadership.

“I couldn’t be more proud of (Lucia),” said Rousseau. “Her career had ups-and-downs. She had a great freshman year. She couldn’t play at all sophomore year and was down in the dumps. She was able to return for one game and she scored the overtime game winner for us (in the regional semifinals against Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete) and it sprung us to an improbable championship. Then, it looked like we wouldn’t even have a team her junior year. She was the heart and soul of the team and the driving force of saving that team. We went 14-6 when I wasn’t sure we’d win four games. Again, this year, she was a terrific leader.”

All four finalists were worthy of earning the honor as the state’s finest senior player.

Portland/Deering senior Caroline Lerch was a scoring machine during her high school career. File photo.

Lerch is a two-time All-State selection who scored 117 goals and had 172 career points. She also played soccer and softball for Portland High and is ranked in her class’s academic top 10. Despite her prolific offensive production, Lerch said her favorite hockey memory came during her freshman season, when she filled in as goalie for three games, winning all three.

“I would say the memory that’s most special to me is beating Cheverus in the City Cup my freshman year,” Lerch said. “I played goalie for that game and it was just awesome to play with some of my best friends and have that special moment. That was such a great accomplishment for us.”

Dube played a critical role in leading Lewiston to the 2020 state title, as the Blue Devils enjoyed a perfect season. Dube’s a two-time All-State selection who played two years at forward and two years on defense. Dube was a team captain for three years and also played soccer and lacrosse for the Blue Devils. Dube plans to attend and play ice hockey at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“I’m really excited to keep playing hockey,” Dube said. “It’s always been a big part of my life. It was my dream to play in college and I thank my friends, family, coaches and my teammates for helping me along the way. (Going undefeated and winning the championship) was amazing. It was something we’d worked for for years. We didn’t make the finals my freshman and sophomore years, so it was nice to make it junior year and win it. We worked hard for it.”

Ouellette is a two-time All-State selection, as well as a two-time team captain. She also plays soccer and lacrosse and won a Class C state title in lacrosse in 2019. Ouellette boasts a 4.5 grade point average and is ranked second in her academic class. She’s been accepted to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Masschusetts, American University in Washington D.C. and Providence College.

“I love the St. Dom’s program,” Ouellette said. “My Dad coached when I was young and my brothers played, so it was great to be a part of. I think my favorite memories were just hanging out with my teammates before games.”

Portland/Deering’s Caroline Lerch, left, Cheverus’ Lucia Pompeo, Lewiston’s Brie Dube and St. Dom’s’ Gigi Ouellette are joined by Dave Eid of Channel 13 during Schaffer Award ceremonies Wednesday. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

Rousseau made a point of paying tribute to all of the finalists in an especially strong field this year.

“All four of these players have had amazing four-year careers,” Rousseau said. “You have three girls who have won state championships and a girl who has scored 117 goals. They deserved their moment in the sun and I’m glad we could give them some semblance of that today. In the modern world, more and more kids try to specialize and want to go to prep (school) or (play junior hockey), but here are four kids who are multi-sport athletes who do great in school, who have balance in their lives and will all continue to play the sport of their choice. Wonderful success stories.

“Girls’ hockey continues to grow and the quality of play continues to improve. We’re looking froward to next year. There will be a lot of excitement next season.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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