The Greely girls’ hockey team has repeated as state champion, but was it ever difficult.
Saturday evening in a game that went longer than the expected 45 minutes, the Rangers put shot after shot on net, but couldn’t solve Scarborough goalie Devan Kane.
Until overtime, when Mary Morrison finally ended it.
In sudden victory fashion.
Morrison gathered the puck in the middle slot on a feed from Sarah Kurland and used a heavy screen in front of the cage to fool Kane with a wrister at 3:44 of the overtime period, lifting the East champion Rangers to a thrilling 1-0 win over the Red Storm in front of a sizable crown at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“You can just see the skill there,” Greely coach Nate Guerin said. “She beats three girls in five seconds and lets a shot go. She sees the game so well, she’s unbelievable, she does so well for us.”
The Rangers (18-2-1) peppered Kane with shot after shot through regulation, but the veteran keeper did not blink, finishing with 39 saves on 40 shots for the game.
“We had 40 shots the first time too (a 2-2 tie back on Dec. 22) and we know she’s going to stop 95 percent of everything she sees in there,” Guerin said. “Getting one through traffic there, it was the same formula we try to teach all the time, a good, hard, low shot that might get tipped on the way through. It was just like last (game), only this time someone had to win. It was a very close game, a great effort by both teams.”
Greely, which had beaten Leavitt/EL, 3-0, in the regional final last Wednesday on goals from Etta Copenhagen, Kurland and Paige Tuller, shot out to a 12-1 advantage in shots in the first 10 minutes, but couldn’t solve Kane. On the other end, Greely keeper Maura Perry — a sophomore who hadn’t played in goal prior to this season — kept the pucks that she did see away from the goal mouth. Perry allowed just one goal in three high-stress playoff games.
The Red Storm found some offense in the second frame, but couldn’t solve Perry, with most of their shots coming from the outside.
The win gives Greely back-to-back state titles, the first girls’ team in the five-year history of MPA-sanctioned tournaments to win multiple titles. The Rangers already were the only team other then Lewiston (2009-10) to appear in more than one title game.
Yarmouth/Freeport’s co-op team was honored as the winner of the girls’ hockey Sportsmanship Award.
The boys’ regular season is wrapping up and its playoffs begin this weekend.
In Western A, Falmouth had leapfrogged Scarborough into the top spot in the Heal Points standings as of press time after wins last week at Cheverus (4-1) and at home over St. Dom’s (3-2, in overtime) to improve to 14-2. The Yachsmen got two goals from Brandon Peters to help beat the Stags. Hugh Grygiel had the winner against the Saints. Falmouth had a home showdown (essentially a battle for the No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs) with Scarborough Tuesday and closes at home against two-time defending Class A state champion Thornton Academy Thursday.
In Western B, Greely is back in first place after wins last week over visiting Camden Hills (9-1, see theforecaster.net for full game story) and Leavitt (14-0) and at Camden Hills (4-3, in overtime). In the first victory over the Windjammers, the Rangers set the tone just 4 minutes, 16 seconds in when junior Ted Hart scored the first of his three goals. By the end of one period, Greely was in control, up, 4-1. The Rangers tacked on four more goals in the second period and scored once more in the third. Reid Howland added two goals and six players scored in all.
“It was the last home game of the season, so we wanted to make a big statement,” said Hart. “The seniors really wanted to go out with a bang. We wanted to jump on them. We went up 3-0 and kept rolling.”
“I liked the way we got all over it early,” said Greely coach Barry Mothes. “We’ve played good first periods all year, but this was obviously a big game. It was nice on the seniors’ last home game to come out strong. I thought the first period was excellent. The guys did a good job pushing in the second as well. I was pleased with our quickness and puck movement. Our forwards did a great job today. Our transition game relies on quick passes. We have guys who are dangerous in transition. We did well also low in the offensive zone, cycling and moving the puck. It’s good to see.”
Against the Hornets, Pete Hurley had a hat trick, while Howland, Matt Ames, Aidan Black and Mitchel Donovan each lit the lamp twice. Hurley saved the Rangers in the Camden Hills rematch as he tied the score with less than a minute to play in regulation. Jarod Lavallee had the winner in overtime as Greely likely locked up the top seed for the upcoming tournament.
The Rangers closed at Yarmouth Wednesday.
Speaking of the Clippers, they entered their finale 6-9-2 and third in the region after a 4-3 overtime home loss to Portland and a 1-0 setback at Gardiner last week.
The playoffs begin with the preliminary round Saturday. The quarterfinals are Tuesday of next week. Both rounds will be contested on the home ice of the higher seeds.
The Western B semifinals are Friday, March 1. The Western A semis are the following day. The Western A Final is Tuesday, March 5. The Western B Final is Wednesday, March 6. The state finals are Saturday, March 9. All of those rounds will be played at the Colisee in Lewiston.
Sun Journal Sports Editor Justin Pelletier contributed to this story.
The Greely girls’ hockey team mobs Mary Morrison (somewhere in that mass of humanity) after Morrison scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Rangers their second straight state championship, 1-0, over Scarborough.