GORHAM — Mary Vaughan saw it the first time her team took the ice for a practice in early November. The Gorham co-op girls’ hockey team skated with a boosted confidence that wasn’t always there in the past.

“The very first day of practice, they came and every single person was excited to be on the ice,” Vaughan said. “They love hockey. They love being around each other, and it’s been a really fun group to have.”

Last season, the Gorham co-op – which includes players from Gorham, Fryeburg, Massabesic, Lake Region, and Westbrook – enjoyed its most successful season, winning 13 games and advancing to the South regional championship. As the new season begins, the Rams are out to make sure last season’s progress wasn’t a one-season thing.

“Last year, we had no idea we were going to make it that far. Now we expect to make it that far and even farther,” said senior Emerson Homa, a co-captain.

The Rams beat an inexperienced Greely/Gray-New Gloucester squad Tuesday 6-0 after opening the season with a 10-2 win over the York/Traip/Marshwood/Noble co-op Saturday. Gorham outshot the Rangers 47-4, and had it not been for the play of Greely/Gray-New Gloucester goalie Charley Louie, who made 41 saves, the final score would have been more lopsided. Four players scored at least one goal, with Homa, a Varsity Maine all-state selection last season, having a hat trick and an assist.

“Scoring has not always come easily to us in previous years,” Vaughan said. “Their goalie definitely tested us, and it was good we were able to find some success.”


Homa, along with fellow captains Greta Grant, a defender, and Katelyn Cyr, a versatile player who can play forward or on the blue line, set the tone for the team, Vaughan said.

“I think our upperclassmen, our seniors especially, lead by example. They’re quiet leaders. They just do what they do on the ice,” Vaughan said. “(Homa’s) a girl that’s loved to be at the rink ever since she was a little kid. She’s just as excited now. The rink is the only place she wants to be. She works her butt off, and people, they gravitate towards that. They want to follow that example.”

Twelve of the 19 players on the Rams’ roster attend Gorham High. There’s one player from Westbrook, one from Massabesic and one from Lake Region. Perhaps the four players from Freyburg Academy epitomize the lead-by-example qualities Vaughan sees the most. They have an 80-mile round trip from Fryeburg to the University of Southern Maine’s ice arena in Gorham for practices and games.

“But we love it. It’s definitely worth it,” said Grant, the leader of the Fryeburg four. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Grant said team chemistry is a strength, along with experience.

“Having a lot of returners is big. We only have three freshmen this year. As older kids, we’re leading the way,” Grant said.


Homa said the team has focused on making sure it adheres to the fundamentals. A few players are adjusting to new positions, Homa said, like sophomore Carlin Galligan moving from defense to forward, and sophomore Natalie Wilkins moving back to the blue line.

“We’ve been working on connecting our passes really well. Keeping our sticks down, making sure we’re playing as a team, always,” Homa said.

The Rams know they won’t sneak up on any opponent this season as they may have last season after winning just five games in 2021-22. A game Saturday against playoff contender Biddeford/Thornton Academy/Wells/Kennebunk will be a test, as will games next week against Yarmouth/Freeport, last season’s state runner-up, and Brunswick. Also looming deeper on the schedule are games against a strong Penobscot Valley team and defending state champion Cheverus/Windham/Old Orchard Beach.

“We’ve got some tough games ahead,” Vaughan said. “Our girls aren’t afraid to work hard.”

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