Greely’s girls’ hockey team celebrates winning the state title Saturday night. Senior Courtney Sullivan (fist raised) had a hat trick to help the Rangers to their third championship.
Yarmouth’s Cooper May tries to split a couple Cape Elizabeth defenders during the Clippers’ 4-1 loss Saturday. May had Yarmouth’s lone goal.
The final Heal Points standings suggested that the Greely girls’ hockey team was third-best in the North Region.
Those standings were wrong.
The Rangers have no peer.
The Greely squad (which includes a player from Gray-New Gloucester) capped a dramatic playoff run with a pair of victories at the Colisee in Lewiston last week to win the program’s third state title.
One that won’t soon be forgotten.
The Rangers went 15-3 in the regular season, losing twice to top-ranked Lewiston and once to two-time defending state champion St. Dom’s, but in the regular season finale, Greely beat the host Saints, 4-1, and that suggested something special might be in store.
As the third seed in the region, the Rangers had to host a quarterfinal round playoff game and they had no trouble with No. 6 Edward Little/Leavitt, winning, 9-1. Greely then upset No. 2 St. Dom’s, 7-2, in the semifinals to advance to meet Lewiston on the Blue Devils’ home ice in last Wednesday’s North Region Final.
The Rangers took a quick 1-0 lead on Molly Horton’s goal and after Lewiston drew even, Madison Pelletier and Bridget Roberts struck to make it 3-1 Greely, but the Blue Devils rallied to force overtime.
A first eight-minute OT couldn’t determine a winner, but with 2:49 to go in the second extra session, Leah Walker scored to give the Rangers a palpitating 4-3 victory.
“I don’t even know how to describe it, but it just kind of took my breath away and I went like, ‘Oh my gosh, did that actually just happen?’” Walker said. “To be completely honest, I just wanted to get the puck off my stick as quickly as possible because I knew that I had to get a hard shot to the net, so I just banged it in.”
“We’ve really been knocking on the door for the past few seasons and the girls finally kind of kicked it in there,” Rangers coach Nate Guerin said. “A lot of Lewiston’s top players are freshmen, so we kind of said we’re not necessarily a better team than them on paper, but we have an appreciation for where we are in the season and what it’s going to take to win this game.”
Greely then did battle against Cheverus/Kennebunk in the state game Saturday afternoon. The teams didn’t meet in the regular season and had no playoff history, but they made some in another exhilarating Rangers’ victory.
After a scoreless first period, Greely’s senior standout Courtney Sullivan produced the first goal, but Sophia Pompeo tied it for Cheverus/Kennebunk.
The game went to the third period where Sullivan put the Rangers on top to stay with a goal midway through.
“She’s just a beast,” said Guerin, about Sullivan. “You see her speed up, slow down, get to the net. She does it in all different ways. She’s just so effective at getting to the net and she’s got a killer shot.”
Sullivan then completed her hat trick with 5:29 to go and Greely went on to a 3-1 victory, capping its 19-3 season with a championship trophy, its first since going back-to-back in 2012 and 2013.
“I’m so proud of my team,” Roberts said. “We put in so much work this season and we really deserve this. It was a long-time coming.”
“We know how it feels to get knocked out,” Sullivan said. “We never wanted to feel that again, really.”
“It’s just so fun to see their hard work pay off after three seasons of coming so close,” Guerin added.
Meanwhile, the boys’ hockey playoffs begin next week and local squads were winding down their campaign at press time.
In Class B South, Greely improved to 14-2 and remains first in the Heals after blanking visiting Scarborough (3-0) and downing visiting Camden Hills (8-2). Matt Kramlich, Owen McConnell and Andy Moore had the goals and Karsten Bourgoine had the shutout against the Red Storm. The Rangers closed at St. Dom’s Wednesday.
Yarmouth fell to 9-5-2 and third in Class B South after a 4-1 loss at Cape Elizabeth Saturday. Against the Capers, Cooper May scored an early goal, but the Clippers couldn’t make it hold up.
“(Cape) wanted it more than we did,” Yarmouth coach Dave St. Pierre said. “I can’t be more disappointed in our effort tonight. It wasn’t the hockey we wanted to see. It was a playoff atmosphere and we didn’t show up. Credit to (Cape). They outworked us in every facet of the game and they earned that victory.”
The Clippers close at home versus Gardiner Thursday.
In Class A South, Falmouth finished its regular season 12-5-1 and was second to Cheverus in the Heals at press time.
Sun Journal staff writer Wil Kramlich contributed to this story.