Cheverus girls’ hockey team falls in state final

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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.”

Boys’ season winding down

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.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.