PORTLAND—They rallied, but fell a goal short—again.
The Greely girls’ hockey team scored a pair of third-period goals, but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to St. Dominic Academy, 3-2, in the East region final, Wednesday at the Portland Ice Arena.
The loss was the Rangers’ (12-7-1) third to the Saints (19-1) this season. All three have been by a single goal.
Trailing, 3-0, Greely’s comeback bid started four minutes into the third period when sophomore Etta Copenhagen skated from behind the net and fired a shot past St. Dominic goalie Nicole Keaney, pulling the Rangers within two.
“Once that first one went in, they started buzzing,” Greely coach Nate Guerin said. “The girls fired themselves up and got after it.”
The Rangers killed a St. Dominic power play with just over eight minutes remaining, then began to relentlessly pressure Keaney, trying to pull within a goal.
With 4:48 remaining, senior tri-captain Michaela Finnegan caught Keaney out of position and backhanded and shot into the crease from deep in the zone. The puck defected off the goalie and sat motionless in the crease as players crashed the net, but Keaney was able to fall on it and stop the play before Greely could knock it home.
“Their goalie played excellent,” Guerin said. “She has really improved this year from the first time we saw her. I give her a ton of credit.”
Then with 3:43 to play Meg Finlay shot high from the left circle. Keaney made the save, but the rebound bounced long and and a streaking Finnegan just missed scoring on the rebound.
FInally, with 1:24 remaining, Finlay corralled the puck just outside the crease and backhanded it into the back of the net, making it a 3-2 game.
Greely’s pressure remained relentless in the waning moments, but the tying goal was not to be.
“Down 3-0, to get a goal in and come back and get another took a lot of heart,” Guerin said. “All year we were never out of a game so I don’t think they ever thought it was insurmountable. I thought they did a great job. The girls were fired up. They came back from deficits all year. They were ready to go. Right down to the last buzzer we were expecting to score.”
Following a scoreless first period, Saint Dominic scored 5:54 into the second when Lauren Ratsep shot off the post and Anna Desjardin knocked home the rebound.
The Saints made it 2-0 with 3:11 remaining in the period. Marisa Zamrock brought the puck deep into the zone and passed back into the slot from the goal line where she found standout defenseman Sophie Goulet, who fired a wrister top shelf past Greely goalie Emma Seymour.
Goulet scored the difference maker 31 seconds into the third period on a hard shot from the point. At the time it looked like an insurance goal, putting the Saints up 3-0, but ultimately it was the game winner.
Greely fell to Lewiston last season in the regional final, again running into a nemesis. It was Lewiston’s third time defeating the Rangers that season. The Rangers defeated Lewiston, 7-2, this season.
In their first meeting this season, St. Dominic broke a 5-5 tie late in third period to defeat the Greely, 6-5. Then later in the season won, 3-2, in overtime.
“It’s hard,” said Guerin. “Eventually we’ll get them.“
St. Dominic moves on to play York in the State Final Saturday. The Wildcats defeated Biddeford, 4-1, in the West region final.