Cheverus/Kennebunk goalie Anna Smith and several defenders try to keep the Greely/Gray-New Gloucester offense at bay in Saturday’s girls’ hockey state final. Despite Smith’s 10 saves, Cheverus/Kennebunk dropped a 3-1 decision.
For the better part of three months, the Cheverus/Kennebunk girls’ hockey team had no peer, but Saturday afternoon in the state final at the Colisee in Lewiston, it ran into a red-hot Greely/Gray-New Gloucester squad which stole away its title dreams.
Cheverus/Kennebunk went 17-1 in the regular season, earned the top seed in the South Region and after a quarterfinal round bye, advanced with a 4-0 victory over No. 4 Scarborough in the semifinals before avenging its lone regular season loss with an 8-2 win over second-ranked Portland/Deering in last Wednesday’s regional final in Lewiston.
Portland/Deering was enjoying its best season on record, going 13-5 in the regular season, also earning a bye, then holding off No. 3 Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland in its semifinal, 3-2.
Portland/Deering edged Cheverus/Kennebunk, 4-3, in overtime, on New Year’s Day (Cheverus/Kennebunk took the other regular season meeting, 6-0, Dec. 9), but this time around, Cheverus/Kennebunk left no doubt.
Abby Lamontagne, Emma McCauley and Sophia Pompeo all had two goals, while Sarah Noyes and Lucia Pompeo also found the net as Cheverus/Kennebunk pulled away to an 8-2 victory.
“I think the stakes were too high to be worried about revenge,” said Cheverus/Kennebunk coach Scott Rousseau. “But I do think that was the best thing to happen to us. If we would have been an undefeated team, that would have been a noose around our neck that would have carried the whole season and I think it was a great learning moment for us that day, that we knew we had to be good every night.”
Portland/Deering got scores from Emma Merrill and Elena Clifford and 17 saves from goalie Adrianna Bodge as it finished 14-6.
“The resiliency that these girls have shown all year long is amazing,” said first-year Portland/Deering coach Tom Clifford.
Cheverus/Kennebunk went on to face Greely/Gray-New Gloucester, the third seed in the North, which upset two-time defending state champion St. Dom’s in the semifinals and top-ranked Lewiston in its regional final.
The teams didn’t meet in the regular season.
After a scoreless first 15 minutes, Greely/Gray-NG struck first in the second period on a goal from standout Courtney Sullivan. Sophia Pompeo then tied it, finishing a McCauley feed, to make it 1-1 after two periods.
“I think (Greely/Gray-New Gloucester) just came out really hard,” Rousseau said. “I think the girls were a little anxious. The second period after we scored we had a lot of good chances. Caitlin Wolff, in particular, had two good chances, Emma McCauley had a great chance, but they blocked a lot of shots and we missed some.”
Midway through the third period, Sullivan put Greely/Gray-NG ahead to stay and she finished her hat trick with 5:29 remaining as Cheverus/Kennebunk’s season ended at 19-2 with a 3-1 loss.
“I think, really, whoever could have caught the break to score and get it to 2-1 was probably going to win the game and unfortunately Courtney made a fantastic play,” Rousseau said. “It was a great state playoff game that unfortunately didn’t go our way tonight.”
The boys’ hockey regular season concludes this week and the postseason begins next week.
Cheverus was 12-4-1 and first in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time after Thursday’s 3-0 home blanking of defending Class B South champion York. Jackson Wilson scored twice and Alex Brewer had the other goal. The Stags close the regular season at Scarborough Wednesday, then will have a bye into the semifinal round of the playoffs.
The Portland/Deering co-op team was battling Thornton Academy for the fourth spot in Class A South Heals (and with it, a home quarterfinal round playoff game) at press time. Portland/Deering lost, 3-2, at home to Biddeford Thursday, then downed visiting Marshwood, 10-3, on Senior Night Saturday to finish the regular season 8-8-2. Walter Lewandowski and Donnie Tocci had goals in the loss. In the victory, Lewandowski had a hat trick.
The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team will be the No. 6 seed in Class A South and will be on the road for the quarterfinals. The squad improved to 9-7-1 following Saturday’s 7-1 home win over Massabesic on Senior Night. South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport closed at Windham/Westbrook Monday.
Sun Journal staff writer Wil Kramlich contributed to this story.