Greely’s Courtney Sullivan, center, celebrates a goal during Saturday night’s playoff game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — There will be a new girls’ state hockey champion in 2018.
The Greely/Gray New Gloucester Rangers knocked off the two-time defending state champion St. Dominc Academy Saints 7-2 in a Northern Maine semifinal contest at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Saturday.
Courtney Sullivan, Bridget Roberts and Molly Horton combined for 14 points on the night. Sullivan found the score sheet on all seven Rangers goals, with two goals and five assists. Roberts had had two goals and two assists, while Horton had a pair of goals and an assist.
The trio were put together at the end of the season.
“We kind of started it on senior night putting them together, just to have that experience together,” Rangers coach Nate Guerin said. “They are our three best players, having them together when we can … We don’t have set lines so we put that combination together whenever they are rested to to play together.”
St. Dom’s coach Paul Gosselin wasn’t surprised at the lines his counterpart used.
“It’s a good line, he likes to get a quick start,” Gosselin said. “He likes to put all his horses on one line, I think we were equally matched … I think we can handle it. I think getting behind a couple of goals took a little of wind out.”
The Rangers started just about as quickly as they could. They won the opening faceoff and Roberts jammed the puck past keeper Payton Winslow just eight seconds into the game. Sullivan picked up an assist.
“I tried to push (the puck) forward and Courtney brought it up, the defenseman kind of knocked it away,” Roberts said. “I got it and tapped it around the goalie.”
Avery Lutrzykowski sparked the Saints’ offense to give St. Dom’s a 2-1 lead. Her first goal was an unassisted effort at the 3:40 mark. Callie Samson set up the second goal as she found Lutrzykowski in the slot from the right circle at the 4:58 mark.
Lutrzykowski finished the year with 61 goals.
“She had a nice feed from Callie to put us right back into the game and at that point it looked pretty good,” Gosselin said.
The Saints’ lead only lasted 30 seconds. Jeanette Cunningham crashed the net to tie the game with assists going to Molly Horton and Courtney Sullivan.
Greely took advantage of two power-play opportunities in the first period. With Hannah Kenney in the box for St. Dom’s, Horton found the back of the net to give Greely a 3-2 lead at the 6:11 mark. With Addie Suckow in the box for two minutes, the Horton-Sullivan-Roberts line struck again. Sullivan and Roberts found Horton with a nice passing play to make it 4-2 with 2:20 remaining in the first.
Greely was 2-for-4 on the power play while the Saints were scoreless on their one chance.
With much the focus on Sullivan, she had no issues of deferring to her teammates.
“It’s important every game, you have to see what’s open on the ice every time they come and pressure me,” Sullivan said. “I would see an open girl in the front and they had the better shot. They are really good at putting it away.”
Things settled down in the second with the Rangers dominating play, outshooting the Saints 15-4. Winslow was strong for the Saints, making 14 saves in the stanza, including a big stop on a Roberts short handed attempt.
She had 23 saves in the game while Jordyn Owens made 10 saves for Greely in the game
Greely (17-3) went to the dressing room with a 5-2 lead when Sullivan found Roberts with 18 seconds remaining in the period.
After setting up her teammates all game, Sullivan got in on the scoring act herself in the third as she wheeled around the net and picked the far corner at the 1:46 mark. She scored again off her own rebound with 2:57 remaining in the game.
Despite the loss, Gosselin kept things in perspective.
“I think it’s a couple of years of dream seasons,” Gosselin said. “It’s very difficult to win a championship, never mind two in a row. To be somewhat in it going in with a pretty good record being (the second seed), I couldn’t be more proud of the girls. Considering we had low numbers, it’s pretty hard to three-peat.”
The Rangers will take on Lewiston/Oak Hill/Monmouth in the regional final on Wednesday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Saint Dominic Academy’s Avery Lutrzykowski fires a shot past Greely goalie Jordyn Owens for her second goal during Saturday night’s playoff game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Saint Dominic Academy goalie Katya Fons makes a diving save on a shot by Greely’s Bridget Roberts during Saturday night’s playoff game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Greely’s Madison Pelletier, right, can’t get a stick on a bouncing rebound off a save by Saint Dominic Academy goalie Katya Fons during Saturday night’s playoff game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Saint Dominic Academy’s Emma Theriault, left, celebrates with Avery Lutrzykowski after a first-period goal by Lutrzykowski. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)