Girls’ hockey: Greely slips past Leavitt/EL in regional semifinals

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PORTLAND — A second-period power play yielded no goals for Greely.

But those two minutes made all the difference in the final score.

Buoyed by the momentum they gained from that power play, the Rangers dominated the final five minutes of the second period with almost seamless puck possession and a distinct advantage in shots.

In the third, they added a goal, and keeper Emma Seymour took care of the rest as Greely skated past Leavitt/Edward Little 1-0 in the Eastern Maine semifinals at Portland Ice Arena.

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“We were a little bit shorthanded, but we made it happen,” Greely coach Nate Guerin said. “We got excellent goaltending. She made some big-time saves and stopped a breakaway or two.”

The meeting had all the flavor of the first two between the teams this season. Leavitt/EL carried each of those contests by one goal, the first in overtime.

“It went pretty much the same way as those first two,” Leavitt/EL coach Eric Geoffroy said. “It was a one-goal game, good goaltending both ways, and they’re a good hockey team.”

The difference Saturday? The first tally.

“They didn’t score first this time,” Guerin said. “That was huge. The last two games, they managed to get on the board early, and our team kind of takes a minute to recover from that, and we really don’t pick it up until the third. Keeping them off the board through two, we felt really good going into the third.”

That goal, the only blemish on an otherwise spotless night for Red Hornets freshman Tori Sanford, came 1:44 into the third period. And it took a rebound to do it.

“She kept us in the game and she made the saves when she had to,” Geoffroy said. “Both goalies did. It’s playoffs. There’s a different vibe to the game. Everybody’s thinking about their job more.”

On an early rush, the puck went back to the point, where Chelsey Andrews gathered it and fired it through traffic toward the cage. Sanford kicked the puck aside, but right to Monica Howland, who stuffed home the rebound for the game’s lone goal.

“They got a bounce,” Geoffroy said. “We had a couple chances, too, at the other end on rebounds, but we couldn’t put them home.”

The Rangers controlled the remainder of the game, allowing the Red Hornets only one more shot on net.

“We knew we cold control the flow,” Guerin said. “They ended up having to ice it a lot, so that helped us control the clock a bit better.”

The first two periods passed without a goal, though not without plenty of chances. Leavitt/EL had the better of play in the opening frame, despite a sizable advantage in puck possession for the Rangers. The lone power play in the first favored the Red Hornets, who generated three shots with the extra skater.

The Red Hornets turned the tables in the opening minutes of the second. Just 4:40 in, Leavitt/EL had its best chance to score when Emma Martineau found Taylor Landry alone in the center zone, sending the Red Hornets’ leading scorer in on a breakaway. She deked left and tried to slip the puck 5-hole on Greely keeper Seymour, but the senior stuffed her and sent the puck into the corner.

A penalty late in the second to Martineau put the Rangers on the power play for the first time in the game, and swung the momentum firmly in their favor. They rattled off the next eight shots in succession against Sanford, but the freshman was also on top of her game and turned them all aside.

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