University of Maine Women’s Hockey Player of the Year: Leah Landry, Lewiston

Leah Landry had 30 goals and 23 assists this season while leading Lewiston High to the state women’s hockey championship. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

There are times in hockey practice when Léa Landry lets an easy shot pass. Landry will have the goaltender beaten, and all she has to do is toss the puck to that big open space for a goal.

Lea Landry

But it is practice. Landry does not need this objective. She has to work on a shot that has a greater degree of difficulty because she knows that in a big moment of a big game the easy shot won’t be there.

That shot came early in the second period of the state championship game against Scarborough. With excellent Red Storm goalkeeper AJ Swett leaving Landry a small net to work with, the Lewiston High senior fired high over Swett’s glove for the opening goal of a 3 win. -0 from the Blue Devils.

“I like to challenge myself in practice. (Swett) had a very good glove. I was from that angle, and that was the only shot I had. I had taken this shot before and it didn’t fit,” Landry said.

This winter, the Lewiston forward combined her physical talent and high hockey IQ to tally 30 goals and 23 assists in 19 games. Landry’s hard work was rewarded with Lewiston’s second straight state title (the Blue Devils also won ]in 2020, and there was no state tournament in 2021), and she was honored with the Becky Schaffer Award, given annually to the best senior female hockey player. player in the state.

After her dominant season, Landry is the Varsity Maine Women’s Hockey Player of the Year.

“She’s very versatile,” Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said of Landry. “At the start of practice, I gave them 10 minutes before they started working as a team to talk with their teammates or skate or whatever. She was still working on something.

Cheverus/Old Orchard Beach/Kennebunk/Windham head coach Scott Rousseau said Landry was a player opponents had to consider at all times.

“If you didn’t base your whole game plan on his stoppage, it was going to be a long night,” Rousseau said.

It’s not just that Landry scored a lot, it’s that his goals came at the most important moments, Rousseau said. In the national final, Landry scored the opening goal and added an empty net to seal the victory with 1:25 to go. In a 1-0 overtime win over Cheverus at the end of the regular season, Landry scored the only goal.

At 5-foot-8, Landry was taller than most of her opponents, and she used her height and reach to create space for herself, as well as disturb opponents when they had possession.

“All of a sudden she’s pushing that stick and taking the puck away,” Dumont said.

Dumont said Landry’s thinking skills were key to his success. Teaching a drill to the Blue Devils, Dumont could see Landry connecting the dots and thinking ahead of when whatever was being practiced would be essential in a game.

“We would go over options 1, 2 and 3, and she can break it down and tell me why she chose option 3. She sees the game very well,” Dumont said. “You have players who are quite gifted and they are what they are, but she makes the players around her better.”

Over his four years, Landry evolved into a leadership role. Dumont doesn’t think Landry said three words to her when she was in first grade. As a senior, Landry was vocal, talking about the game with his coach and teammates.

“In the first year, I was more nervous. Obviously I was young and I wasn’t ready to start taking matters into my own hands,” Landry said. “As I got older, it was easier to become a natural leader.”

Ranked sixth academically in her class, Landry said she is still considering her college options and whether or not she will go to a school where she can play hockey.

“I’m still trying to figure out where I want to go,” she says.

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Catherine J. Martinez