By Michael Hoffer
The Greely girls’ hockey team enjoyed a magic carpet ride this winter, but the fun came to an end last Wednesday in the East Region Final against Lewiston.
The Rangers didn’t manage a shot on goal until the third period and, despite a stellar effort from senior goalie Sara McKersie, eventually succumbed, 4-0 to end their season at 13-5-2.
Greely rebounded from a 2-16 campaign a year ago to become one of the finest squads in the first year of Maine Principals’ Association-sponsored play.
The Rangers posted a 12-4-2 regular season mark and earned the No. 2 seed in the East.
After edging St. Dom’s 1-0 in a semifinal round thriller, Greely took on the Blue Devils, a team the Rangers lost to 5-2 at home Dec. 17 and 4-0 on the road Jan. 27.
Lewiston put Greely behind the eight ball just 3 minutes, 27 seconds in when junior Courtney Valle scored on a rebound of senior Katherine Cobb’s shot on the power play. With 3:57 to go in the first, Valle took a pass from freshman Marisa Zamrock and scored short-handed for a 2-0 lead.
The Blue Devils had a 12-0 shot advantage in the first period and had an 11-0 edge in the second, but McKersie stood tall and kept Lewiston off the scoreboard.
Greely finally put a shot on net 4:18 into the third, but it was turned aside. With 6:09 remaining, Lewiston got a little breathing room when junior Emilie Cloutier scored on a rebound. Cobb accounted for the 4-0 final with an empty netter as time expired.
“Once we got through the first period, we held them off a little bit in the second,” said Greely coach Heather Geoghan. “We tried to get some offense going, but they broke us down and they were just a split second ahead of us on a lot of plays.”
Lewiston finished with a 35-8 edge in shots on goal. McKersie rose up and made a whopping 32 saves.
“Sara was phenomenal,” Geoghan said. “She did a great job and came to play. She’s a captain and absolutely deserved that ‘C’ on her jersey today.”
While the loss was disappointing, the Rangers had a hard time classifying their season as anything short of a success.
“We came a long way,” Geoghan said. “We didn’t come in with super-high expectations. The girls were realistic about what we could do, but in many ways we surpassed our expectations. We’re thrilled to take home a (runner-up) plaque. Hopefully next year it will be the big one.”
Greely will lose McKersie, defenseman Shannon Dellert and forward Brittany Ames to graduation, but everyone else returns as the Rangers seek to finish the job in 2009-2010.
“Losing Sara will be a significant hit,” Geoghan said. “We lost three last year and gained two. We have a large junior class and they’ll be expected to step up next year. We have a strong core coming back. I think next year we’ll be a lot more prepared.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org