By Michael Hoffer
One year after a 2-16 season, the Greely girls’ hockey team finds itself on the brink of playing for a state championship.
The Rangers continued their stellar season Saturday with a stirring 1-0 home win over St. Dom’s in the East Region semifinals. Greely earned the victory after junior Sarah Bolduc scored with 1:42 to play.
Greely, ranked second, improved to 13-4-2 and advanced to the regional final against Lewiston Wednesday at the Portland Ice Arena (too late for this edition).
Falmouth, the No. 5 seed in the West, hoped to make another deep playoff run, but after upsetting No. 4 York 1-0 in overtime in the quarterfinals, was eliminated by No. 1 Biddeford, 4-1, in the semifinals.
Yarmouth finished 6-11-1 and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
Greely has enjoyed success from the start this winter and continued its good fortune Saturday when it hosted No. 3 St. Dom’s. The Rangers had beaten the Saints twice in the regular season, 5-3 at home Dec. 10 and 5-1 on the road Dec. 30.
Despite solid scoring chances from both sides, it was clear early that goals would be at a premium. Rangers senior goalie Sara McKersie and her counterpart, senior Missy Bourgoin, turned aside everything they faced until Bolduc played the hero.
After a nice individual effort from sophomore Michaela Finnegan in the Saints’ zone, Finnegan passed to Bolduc who had a good look at the goal. Her shot eluded Bourgoin and put Greely ahead.
“I wanted to get it in however I could,” Bolduc said. “I just put it on net as hard as I could. It feels really good. Last year, our record wasn’t very good. No one wants this to end.”
McKersie wound up stopping 12 shots and the Rangers were able to hold off St. Dom’s down the stretch to advance.
“It was a great game,” said Greely coach Heather Geoghan. “We played well. They played well. It was a good game all around. They kept us on our toes and made us wait for (the goal). We got one when it counted. It was very back and forth. Both goalies did a phenomenal job. We had great fan support. We got posters and balloons. The girls were excited.”
Bourgoin stopped 27 of the 28 shots she faced, but McKersie was perfect.
“As a senior, I wanted to contribute,” McKersie said. “We’ve had games this season where I didn’t feel like I had anything to do. It was nice to contribute tonight and fight for the win. Our team came out all fired up. We’ve gotten so much better and came so far this year. We wanted it so bad. It was important for us.”
Two of the Rangers’ four losses this winter came at the hands of top-ranked Lewiston, which crushed Winslow 8-0 in its semifinal to improve to 16-1-2. On Dec. 17, Greely lost 5-2 at home to the Blue Devils. On Jan. 27, host Lewiston won 4-0.
“If there’s a time to beat Lewiston, hopefully it’s Wednesday night,” Geoghan said. “It’s on neutral ice. You never know what can happen. They’ve got a great program, but my girls will come to play.”
“Coming off this win, we’ll go out there fired up and will have the energy to do what it takes,” Bolduc added. “If we want it, I think we can do it.”
If Greely is able to spring the upset it would face either Biddeford (16-2-1) or Cheverus (16-2-1) in the state final Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston. The Rangers didn’t face either team in the regular season.
SUBHEAD-Falmouth eliminated by Biddeford
Falmouth, one year removed from a trip to the Tier II state final, went 9-6-3 in the regular season and earned the No. 5 seed. Last Wednesday, the Yachtsmen went to York and needed overtime before advancing with a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats on Megan Fortier’s goal.
Saturday was another story. The Yachtsmen lost, 4-1, to defending Tier I champion Biddeford to finish at 10-7-2.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org