University of Maine junior left wing and leading scorer Brittany Dougherty played a healthy portion of her hockey career on boys teams.
So she had to absorb body checks and dish them out.
Now she’s hoping her physicality will pay dividends when she tries out for the U.S. National women’s team March 25-April 3 in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Twenty-seven players have been invited to the camp and 23 will make the team, which will then participate in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championships in Burlington, Vt., April 7-14.
The U.S. has won the last three championships — there wasn’t one held in 2010 due to the Winter Olympics — and the team will play three exhibition games in preparation for the tournament.
“I think she has a good shot to make the team as long as she does the things that got her there,” said Maine coach Maria Lewis. “She’s a different type of player than the players they have there. She is a prototypical power forward. She’s very physical. She has the ability to run through people and she also has skill. That’s a great combination.
“And her work ethic is second to none,” added Lewis.
Dougherty, who led Maine to a school-record 11 Hockey East wins (11-8-2) and an overall record of 17-11-6, attended a U.S. national team camp this past winter and played well enough to get invited to the tryout.
“There were a lot of finesse players there but what I think they liked about me is I crashed the net and played hard [physically] all the time,” said Dougherty, a native of Chesterfield, Mich., who had 16 goals and 17 assists in 34 games for Maine, including three power-play goals, three shorthanded goals and two game-winners.
Lewis said Dougherty is a “very consistent” player and “nothing fazes her.”
Dougherty said she was nervous the first couple of days at the winter camp but then settled in nicely.
“I just decided to play my game. It was a great experience for me,” said Dougherty, who is currently working out at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena in preparation for the Lake Placid camp.
She said she’s working on a number of things including “shooting from bad angles.”
Dougherty is the only player on the roster who hasn’t played for Team USA in an international competition. There will be 17 former Olympians in camp and 19 players who have won gold medals in the World Championships.
One of their exhibition games will be against Canada and Dougherty noted that “they have a lot of big players as well as a lot of skill.”
That’s where her 5-foot-7 frame and physicality could be best utilized.
“It has always been my dream to play in the Olympics,” said Dougherty, who will turn 21 next Monday.
The next Winter Olympics will be in 2014.
Cochran heads hoop honorees
Courtney Cochran of the University of Southern Maine is among several basketball players from Maine colleges to be recognized for their efforts during the recently completed season.
The senior from Waite has been named to the D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region First Team. Cochran, the Little East Conference Player of the Year for coach Gary Fifield’s Huskies, averaged a league-leading 18.0 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 48 percent form the field (172-for-361) and 81 percent from the foul line (140-for-174).
The 6-foot-1 center helped USM post a 21-7 record and earn a spot in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship.
Jill Henrikson of Bowdoin College in Brunswick also was named to the D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region First Team, while Kelley Paradis of the University of New England in Biddeford was a second-team choice and Rachael Mack of Colby College in Waterville earned fourth-team recognition.
On the men’s side, Will Hanley of Bowdoin was named to the D3hoops.com All-Region second team and the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ All-District Second Team.
Henrikson, a senior from Bath, helped propel the Polar Bears to a record and a spot in the NCAA’s Sweet 16. She averaged 16.7 points and 6.6 rebounds, leading the New England Small College Athletic Conference in scoring, steals (2.7 per game) and free-throw percentage (.862).
Paradis, a senior from Newport, led the Nor’easters by averaging 13.2 points per game. The 5-10 guard helped UNE post a 22-6 record and win the Commonwealth Coast Conference regular-season crown to earn the league’s first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Mack, a senior from Augusta, averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 88 percent from the foul line to help Colby (19-7) reach the NESCAC quarterfinals.
Hanley, a senior from New Cannan, Conn., sparked the Bowdoin men to a 17-8 record and a berth in the NESCAC quarterfinals. He ranked second in the conference in scoring (18.4 ppg) and was first in rebounding (11.4) and second in blocked shots (1.4 per game) while becoming the first Polar Bear to average a double-double in consecutive seasons.
Henrikson, Mack, Paradis, Jil Vaughan of Colby, Ashley Geel of Saint Joseph’s in Standish and Margo Russell of UNE also have been chosen to play in the New England Women’s Basketball Association Senior All-Star Classic on March 24 at South Hadley, Mass.
UNE hires Hamlen as hockey coach
Erin Hamlen has been hired as the women’s hockey coach at the University of New England, interim athletic director Curt Smyth announced Tuesday.
UNE will begin varsity competition during 2012-13.
Hamlen was an assistant coach at the University of New Hampshire from 2000-2010, helping the Wildcats win four Hockey East titles en route to two Frozen Four appearances. Most recently, she has worked as a coach and advisor for the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
Hamlen was a goaltender at UNH, where she earned a B.S. in psychology, and played for the U.S. national team from 1992-97. She also played professionally.