After much of their young lives running around in University of Maine clothing, the Trimper twins will don more meaningful Black Bears garb on Friday night.
Morgan Trimper and Ally Trimper are set to make their collegiate ice hockey debuts when UMaine entertains the University of New Brunswick in a 6 p.m. exhibition game at Alfond Arena in Orono.
“Growing up here and running around the baseball field and the ‘M’ building [New Balance Field House] and the football field, it’s a pretty weird feeling to be back as a student and not just a faculty kid,” said Ally, the older of the twins. “So it’s pretty awesome to be back and be part of a team here.”
The Trimper twins are the daughters of Steve Trimper, who was the head baseball coach at UMaine for 11 seasons before taking the job at Stetson University in Florida in 2016.
Ally and Morgan grew up in Bangor and played on the boys ice hockey team at Bangor High School for two years before transferring to the Taft School in Connecticut. There, they played on the girls ice hockey team for three years.
They also played soccer and softball at Bangor High, and one year of each while at Taft.
“They’re looking very good,” said UMaine senior goalie and captain Jillian Flynn, who played against the Trimper twins in high school.
“They’re very quick and they’re two of of the hardest workers on the team,” Flynn said. “Off the ice, they bring a lot of positive energy to the team.”
The Trimpers, who play wing, are likely to get significant playing time this season, since head coach Richard Reichenbach plans to carry only 13 forwards. If he uses four lines, that will leave just one forward not dressing.
“They are in really, really good shape, and they’re getting better [all the time],” Reichenbach said. “They move their feet; they go to the net; they backcheck. They’re going to contribute.”
The Trimpers said the transition from prep school hockey to Division I has been noticeable.
“It is definitely a big jump. But being on a team with girls more talented than you is good. It pushes you to work that much harder so you can be better than the next person in line,” Ally said.
After enjoying a memorable 2017-18 season during which they won a quarterfinal series for the first time ever and reached the Hockey East semifinals, the UMaine women failed to make the eight-team Hockey East playoffs last season.
The atmosphere on the team is conducive to growth and development, the Trimpers said.
“Everybody on the team is really focused,” Morgan said. “We have goals that we want to accomplish. After having not such a great season last year, the girls are even more determined to prove everybody wrong.”
The twins are convinced they chose the right path to play two years of Class A boys hockey and transfer to Taft before heading to UMaine.
“When you are 13, 14, 15 years old, those are really big development years,” Morgan said. “When you’re playing against kids who are bigger, stronger and faster than you, it really elevated [our game].”
Morgan said attending prep school was a valuable experience in many ways.
“[It teaches you] how to do stuff on your own. You have to learn how to manage sports, academics, your social life, everything,” she said.
The Trimpers are glad they are finally at UMaine.
“Being in high school for five years, you kind of get tired of it,” Ally said. “You’re excited to start the next phase of your life. I’m glad it’s here. I’m ready for it.”
Both women feel they have already made significant strides.
“We have a real good off-ice sports performance training program, and it has helped a lot, even since the first of September,” Morgan said.
“I’m going to keep pushing myself. These girls are at a very high level athletically,” Ally said.
Both of the Trimper twins are excited about Friday’s game.
“It’s going to be nice to finally put on that Maine jersey,” Morgan said.