Greely girls cap perfect regular season by handing Scarborough first loss

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Greely sophomore Courtney Sullivan, left, is congratulated by classmate Bridget Roberts after scoring one of her five goals in the Rangers’ 8-3 win over Scarborough Wednesday night. Greely capped an 18-0 regular season with an emphatic performance.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

FALMOUTH—Greely’s girls’ hockey team capped its perfect regular season in perfect style Wednesday evening and now the Rangers can set their sights on the biggest prize of all.

A state championship.

Hosting undefeated and once-tied Scarborough on its Senior Night at Family Ice Center, Greely surrendered the game’s first goal to Red Storm sophomore Lucy Bogdanovich, but sophomore Courtney Sullivan was about to take center stage.

Sullivan scored on the power play to tie it, put the Rangers ahead for good with a shorthanded goal, then capped her natural hat trick with a rebound goal at even strength. A rebound tally from freshman Kylie Rogers gave Greely a 4-1 lead after one period.

The Rangers didn’t let up in the second period, as seniors Danita Storey and Erin Molloy sandwiched tallies around a goal from Scarborough junior standout Sami Shoebottom to make it 6-2.

Shoebottom momentarily gave the visitors hope when she scored early in the third period, but Sullivan struck twice more to slam the door and Greely prevailed, 8-3.

Sullivan, in an absolute tour de force performance, scored five times and the Rangers ended the regular season 18-0, dropping the Red Storm to 15-1-1 in the process.

“The girls played very well,” Greely coach Nate Guerin said. “They were extremely motivated to play for the seniors. It was nice to see them play inspired, together and play determined.”

Excellence

Greely was expected to be very good this winter, but perfection wasn’t a consideration when the season began.

The Rangers opened by downing host Biddeford (9-0), then beat visiting Brunswick (8-1), Winslow (11-0), Mt. Ararat (8-0) and Edward Little/Leavitt (5-2). Greely then won at defending state champion Lewiston (3-1), Edward Little/Leavitt (3-1), Winslow (7-1) and Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland (12-0) before downing visiting Falmouth in the Dudley Cup on New Year’s Day, 3-0. The fun continued with wins over visiting St. Dom’s (2-1), visiting Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG (5-1), host Brunswick (6-3), visiting Lewiston (5-1), host Mt. Ararat/Morse (10-0), Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG (6-2) and St. Dom’s (8-4).

Scarborough, again, has turned heads all season.

The Red Storm started the year with a 3-3 tie at defending regional champion Falmouth, then beat 15 straight foes. Scarborough got things going with an 8-1 home win over Portland/Deering, then beat Capeflete twice, 2-0 at home and 5-3 in Portland. After downing visiting York (3-0), Scarborough handled visiting Edward Little/Leavitt (5-1), host Gorham/Bonny Eagle (6-1), visiting Biddeford (6-0), host York (4-1), host Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG (11-5), host Portland/Deering (6-0) and visiting Cheverus (6-0). After surviving a scare at Cheverus, 2-1, the Red Storm handled visiting Gorham/Bonny Eagle (7-1), rallied for a stirring 3-2 overtime win over visiting Falmouth, then edged visiting Lewiston, 5-4.

Last year, Greely won both meetings, 4-2 at Scarborough and 7-5 at home, but the Red Storm entered Wednesday’s showdown holding a 5-4 all-time edge in the series (dating to the 2009-10 season, when the Maine Principals’ Association began sanctioning the sport).

Wednesday, after seniors from both teams were honored, something had to give and what went by the wayside was the Red Storm’s undefeated status as the Rangers finished the regular season simply perfect.

Scarborough opened the scoring at 2:33 of the first period, when Bogdanovich scored on a rebound (freshman Taylor Veilleux and sophomore Lauren Topchik had assists), but the onslaught was about to begin.

Greely drew even with 10:05 to go in the first, when, on the power play, Sullivan tipped home senior Maura Verrill’s shot. Senior Danita Storey was also given an assist.

With 7:29 left in the first, the Rangers went on top to stay despite being in the process of killing a penalty, as Sullivan got the puck, split the defense and beat Red Storm junior goalie McKenzie Cormier for a 2-1 lead.

Sullivan was just getting warmed up.

With 4:21 left in the first, she completed her natural hat trick, banging home a loose puck as sophomore Bridget Roberts’ shot was saved by Cormier, but she surrendered the rebound and Sullivan made her pay.

“A lot of the time, my teammates just give me a good pass or set me up for a good play and I’m just there,” Sullivan said.

“Courtney’s unbelievable,” said Guerin. “She’s really skilled. She has reach, size and speed, but the intensity she plays with is beyond anyone else on the ice. She sees the puck and goes for it. She’s a unique player, an incredible athlete. I’m really glad she plays for us.”

With 2:48 to go in the first, someone other than Sullivan tickled the twine, as Rogers cleaned up Verrill’s shot which was saved and finished for Greely’s fourth goal in 7 minutes, 17 seconds and a 4-1 advantage, which carried into the second period.

Early in the second, Rangers junior goalie Nica Todd made a nice save on a bid by Bogdanovich after a turnover and at 6:12 of the period, on the power play, Sullivan was denied by Cormier, but Storey was there for the rebound goal and a 5-1 lead.

Scarborough got a goal back with 5:54 to go in the second, when Shoebottom grabbed a loose puck and roofed it past Todd and into the net (junior Cara Reynolds and Bogdanovich got assists), but just 18 seconds later, after Cormier stopped Storey’s shot, Molloy finished the rebound to make it 6-2.

At that point, Red Storm coach Caitlin D’Amour pulled Cormier in favor of junior Lucca Sterrer.

“It started well, but there are going to be days when your goalie has a rough one and we made the decision to pull her,” D’Amour said. “I wish I’d pulled her earlier, but hindsight is 20/20. She’s played really well most of the season. Today was just an off-day. We’re a family. Everyone else had to step up and it didn’t work out in our favor.”

With 13:32 remaining, Shoebottom gave Scarborough hope by scoring an unassisted, shorthanded goal, but 52 seconds later, Sullivan got back in the scoring column (Rogers and Roberts got assists) and with 8:51 to play, Sullivan stole the puck, broke in on Sterrer and finished for her fifth goal, which brought the curtain down on Greely’s decisive 8-3 victory.

“We’re a really close team and we wanted to win for the seniors,” Sullivan said. “Coach had a really good pregame speech. We were extremely fired up to play Scarborough. We were excited.”

“I think the girls deserved to win, playing with the intensity they did, but I think it was closer than the score showed,” Guerin said. “We got some bounces around the net that helped us out and Nica made a couple of really good saves. It could have been a little closer.

“(Being undefeated wasn’t) something we thought about. We didn’t expect it. We never really talked about it until we got to tonight. Our biggest goal was to be undefeated at home. I want to win in this building. I don’t know how it happened, but we’re fortunate.”

Greely had a 31-13 shots advantage and got 10 saves from Todd.

Scarborough got 13 saves from Sterrer and 10 from Cormier.

D’Amour took the glass-half-full approach following the loss.

“I am happy with the way we played,” she said. “I was not pleased with how we played against Lewiston and quite honestly, I wasn’t happy with how we played against Falmouth. If we play the way we played today and continue to be consistent and aggressive, we’ll be OK.”

Collision course

There’s a very good chances the teams will meet again in the state final Feb. 13 in Lewiston as both will be the top seed in their respective region, but both will have to first navigate challenging regions.

Scarborough finishes the regular season at Biddeford Saturday, then will have a bye into the South Region semifinals.

“I’m glad Greely was one of our final games,” D’Amour said. “It’s a good way to get excited. It’s a good reminder of how it feels to lose. No one likes it. We’re young, but we’re a tough little bunch.”

Greely next takes the ice either Feb. 5 or 6 as the top seed in the North. By then, everyone will be 0-0 and the regular season accomplishments will be a thing of the past.

“We’re a close-knit team and I think that helps and we know we’re not done,” Sullivan said. “We’ll keep working hard.”

“We’re playing really strong right now,” Guerin said. “It was nice to play St. Dom’s and Scarborough, two good teams to end. It’s a bummer to have a 10-day layoff. We have downtime and we need to stay intense and continue to work hard and be focused.”

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

Greely junior Sarah Johnson tries to get the puck from Scarborough freshman Taylor Veilleux.

Scarborough sophomore Vanly Doiron and Greely senior Faith Price battle along the boards.

Greely senior Maura Verrill is chased by Scarborough junior Sami Shoebottom.

Greely sophomore Bridget Roberts fires a shot.

Greely sophomore Courtney Sullivan beats Scarborough junior goalie McKenzie Cormier.

Scarborough sophomore Grace Murphy knocks the puck away from Greely senior Faith Price.

Greely freshman Kylie Rogers bangs home a rebound for a first period goal.

Recent Scarborough-Greely results (MPA-sanctioned era)

2014-15
@ Greely 7 Scarborough 5
Greely 4 @ Scarborough 2

2013-14
@ Scarborough 3 Greely 0
Scarborough 8 @ Greely 0

2012-13
@ Scarborough 2 Greely 2 (tie)
State Final
Greely 1 Scarborough 0 (OT)

2011-12
@ Greely 3 Scarborough 0

2010-11
@ Scarborough 1 Greely 0

2009-10
Scarborough 4 @ Greely 2

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