Bridget Roberts, front, Molly Horton, left and Courtney Sullivan celebrate after receiving the 2018 girls’ hockey state championship trophy at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday.
LEWISTON — Molly Horton, Bridget Roberts and Courtney Sullivan had their first three high school girls’ hockey seasons end in heartbreak.
Saturday afternoon, those post-game tears were borne of joy.
The senior trio, the Rangers’ captains and their soul, finally got to end a season in triumph, with a 3-1 win over Cheverus/Kennebunk in the state championship.
“I’m so proud of my team,” Roberts said. “We put in so much work this season and we really deserve this. It was a long-time coming.”
As freshmen, the trio ended their season with a 1-0 loss to Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland in the regional semifinals. The team then came back the next year determined, but their undefeated season was ended by talented upstart St. Dominic Academy in the North regional final, with a crushing, 5-4 defeat. The Rangers had defeated the Saints twice during the regular season.
Last year, revenge was not to be. It was St. Dom’s that was undefeated entering the regional final, and the Saints won 4-0 before finishing an unbeaten year with a second straight title.
“We know how it feels to get knocked out,” Sullivan said. “We never wanted to feel that again, really.”
Horton said that feeling of defeat was in the players’ minds during this year’s playoff run. They took care of business against EL/Leavitt/Poland in the regional quarterfinals, then got that long-awaited revenge against St. Dom’s with a 7-2 blowout in the semis. Then came a double-overtime victory over Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill to finally win a regional final.
Rangers coach Nate Guerin said after that game that his senior forward line was “possessed” and everyone else on the team was just following along.
“It’s just so fun to see their hard work pay off after three seasons of coming so close,” Guerin said after the regional final.
Saturday’s victory was the cherry on top, and as Guerin said “the best way to finish.”
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Roberts said. “I mean, you can’t ask for it to end any better way, but I’m going to miss this team and this program.”
Greely/Gray-New Gloucester’s Courtney Sullivan celebrates the first of her three goals of the game. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)