PORTLAND—One hat trick is great.
Two is even better.
Wednesday afternoon at William B. Troubh Ice Arena, Greely’s girls’ hockey team showed just how unstoppable it is when two of its most potent offensive weapons, junior Danita Storey and freshman sensation Courtney Sullivan, play on the same line.
The Rangers fell behind the host Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op squad, 1-0, just three minutes in, when Capeflete senior Kathryn Clark scored on a rebound, but a mere 39 seconds later, a Storey goal started an onslaught.
Before the first period was over, Sullivan had two goals and Greely was in control, up, 3-1.
A mere 58 seconds into the second period, Sullivan completed her hat track and after Capeflete got a goal back, courtesy sophomore Hannah Bosworth, Storey’s second goal made it 5-2 Rangers after two.
Then, late in a defense-dominated third period, Storey scored her third goal of the game to bring down the curtain on a 6-2 Greely victory.
The Rangers improved to 10-2, dropped Capeflete to 5-5 and continued to suggest that their best hockey lies ahead.
“I like coming out and playing Cape, no matter what sport, I just want to beat them,” Storey said.
While Cape Elizabeth and Greely play regularly in most sports, the girls’ hockey programs had only met twice previously in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era, a 4-3 Capers’ victory in 2008-09 and a 9-0 Rangers’ triumph three years ago.
Both teams are near the top of their respective regions this winter.
Capeflete passed its first two tests, downing Portland/Deering (6-0) and Gorham/Bonny Eagle (7-1), then hit a rough patch, falling to perennial contender Falmouth (3-2), defending state champion Scarborough (2-1, in overtime) and to East Region power Edward Little/Leavitt (5-3). After getting back in the win column with a 3-0 win at Cheverus, Capeflete prevailed at York (2-1). After losing at home to Falmouth (4-0), the new year began with a 3-2 victory at Biddeford.
Greely opened with wins at St. Dom’s (11-2) and at home over Biddeford (5-0) and Winslow (10-1). After a 6-3 home loss to Lewiston, the Rangers blanked visiting St. Dom’s (7-0), won at Scarborough (4-2), then blanked host Winslow (8-0), rallied from two goals down to beat host Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG, 5-2, then dominated visiting Mt. Ararat (12-1) before falling at home to Edward Little/Leavitt (1-0).
Wednesday, Greely made it six wins in seven games, thanks to its two stars.
Storey had the first good scoring chance of the game, but sent a back-handed shot just wide of Capeflete senior goalie Lily Jordan.
The hosts then went on the attack and Clark rebounded a shot by Bosworth that Rangers sophomore Nica Todd had initially stopped and Greely was in an early hole.
Not for long.
With 11:21 to play in the first period, momentum turned as Storey managed to shoot past Jordan (the goalie slowed the puck, but couldn’t stop it) and the game was deadlocked, 1-1.
Sullivan was credited with an assist on the tying goal and would soon take scoring matters into her own hands.
After a couple near misses from sophomore teammate Victoria Lattanzi and after two clutch saves by Todd on Bosworth after a breakaway, Sullivan put Greely ahead to stay with 5:38 to play in the first.
Sullivan got behind the defense and skated after a puck. Jordan thought initially about coming out to challenge, eventually did so, then found herself in no-man’s land and Sullivan skated around her before tucking the puck into the net for a 2-1 advantage.
Freshman Caroline Swaney and junior Erin Malloy were credited with assists.
It took only 35 seconds for Sullivan to score again, as she shot past a defender and a screened Jordan for a 3-1 lead. Junior Maura Verrill got the assist.
Capeflete coach Bob Mills called timeout and replaced Jordan with freshman Abby Joy.
“Momentum is a funny thing in sports, especially hockey,” Mills said. “We let in a couple soft goals and that was a backbreaker. Four shots on net and three goals went in. Sometimes it’s not so much about the goalie’s performance, just trying something different to spark the team.”
Greely fired 20 shots in the first period (11 on net) and had the jump.
The Rangers would open things up further in the second period.
Before the period was a minute old, Sullivan struck again, redirecting Storey’s pass past Joy top shelf for a 4-1 lead. Verrill was also credited with an assist.
After Bosworth cut the deficit to two, rebounding senior Allison Mills’ shot which Todd had saved, Storey made it a three-goal game again, 5-2, with 8:57 left in the second, collecting a loose puck and finishing. Sullivan got the assist as the tandem continued to wreak havoc.
“It’s the first time we’ve played on the same line,” Storey said. “We figured good things would happen if we worked hard. I love playing with Courtney. She knows how to move the puck.”
“We just found each other on the ice,” said Sullivan. “I felt pretty good with her, because we’ve known each other for awhile. We know where each other will be.”
“We put them on a line together today and they got a lot of chances out of it,” Greely coach Nate Guerin added. “It was fun to watch. They’re usually together on the power play. This is the first game they’ve been together every other shift. They got in a groove. They’re both such strong offensive players. It’s nice to have options. We’ll see how it goes on a game-by-game basis. Courtney doesn’t play like a freshman, but she is. It’s great to have her for three more years. She’s a really strong soccer player too. She’s just a great athlete.”
There were few scoring chances in the third period, but finally, with 35.7 seconds to go and the teams playing 4-on-4, Storey took a pass from sophomore Ellie Schad, broke free and despite being taken down by a defender, she managed to beat Joy to make it 6-2, giving her the hat trick.
“I wanted (that hat trick) bad,” Storey said.
That did it and the Rangers closed the door on their impressive victory.
“We’re skating and competing with everyone,” Guerin said. “Both games we’ve lost, we’ve played really hard. We haven’t been outshot this season.”
Greely finished with a 37-16 shots advantage (23-14 on frame). Todd stopped 14 shots. Joy made 16 saves in her relief appearance.
“Abby played well,” Bob Mills said. “She doesn’t have a lot of varsity time.
“I thought the girls played hard overall, they battled. Greely’s a good team. We haven’t played Greely in three years. I hadn’t seen them play until today. I knew those players were good, but we tried to keep our systems in play. I think between the second and third periods, we talked about not being intimidated by their speed, being engaged, not sitting back and watching them and going after the puck a little more.”
It’s hard to believe, but only three weeks remain in the regular season and both teams have a lot of work to do to ensure they finish with a high seed.
Capeflete (third in the West Region) is right back in action Thursday against Portland/Deering. After hosting Cheverus Saturday, it welcomes Gorham/Bonny Eagle Wednesday.
“We have to stay healthy. and keep working at it,” said Mills. “I think we’ll be a playoff team and hopefully, we’ll be firing on all cylinders at that point.”
Greely (third in the East) has a showdown at Edward Little/Leavitt Saturday, plays at Mt. Ararat Wednesday, then hosts Scarborough and Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG in successive tests.
“Losing to Lewiston was a wakeup call, so we worked harder in practice and we’ve pushed it in games, which has helped us win,” Sullivan said. “I think we just need to work hard and play our game.”
“We started off kind of weak, but we’re building our way up,” Storey said. “I think we can make it far. I feel like the East is really tough.”
“The goal is to find a way to win that game at the end of the season,” Guerin added. “I think we’re right there. I think the East has the four top teams. It will be fun to see what happens. It will be an exciting end to the season. It will come down to one week and who can string three solid games together. We’re hopeful that can be us.”
Greely 9 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Greely 3
Greely sophomore Ellie Schad and Capeflete freshman Laura Baginski battle for possession.
Capeflete senior Kathryn Clark races up the ice and fires a shot.
Greely junior Danita Storey shoots on Capeflete senior goalie Lily Jordan.
Capeflete sophomore Hannah Bosworth celebrates scoring the Capers’ second goal, in the second period.
Greely freshman Courtney Sullivan shoots on Capeflete freshman goalie Abby Joy.
Greely freshman Courtney Sullivan eludes Capeflete senior goalie Lily Jordan and scores the go-ahead goal in the first period of the Rangers’ 6-2 win Wednesday afternoon. Sullivan and junior teammate Danita Storey both wound up with hat tricks.
Joe Carpine/365digitalphotography.com photos
More photos below.