FALMOUTH — Leavitt/Edward Little did an admirable job while limited to three skaters against Greely's five Saturday night.
Putting themselves in that situation repeatedly, though, was a recipe for disaster.
The host Rangers finally took advantage of that two-person advantage — on their third official try — in the opening minute of the second period. Sarah Kurland scored the first of five unanswered Greely goals in a 5-1 Eastern Class A girls' hockey victory at Family Ice Center.
Five different players scored for the Rangers. Danita Storey and Chelsey Andrews joined Kurland in the second period. Mary Morrison and Meg Finlay tacked on goals in the third.
And with that, defending state champion Greely (15-2-1) wrapped up the top seed in the five-team regional playoff.
Leavitt/EL (14-4) fell into a dead heat with Lewiston (14-4) for the No. 2 seed.
Based on the second tiebreaker — goals against in the home-and-home series between the rival schools — Lewiston gets the spot and will host Leavitt/EL in a semifinal at Androscoggin Bank Colisee next weekend. Date and time are expected to be announced Monday.
"We used a lot of energy killing the penalties, and we just couldn't find it again after that," Leavitt/EL coach Shon Collins said. "We were right on their defensemen early in the game."
The Red Hornets led 1-0 after stifling two 5-on-3s in the opening period. The first one lasted only 13 seconds, but the second demanded 1:16 of vigilance from the visitors.
Taylor Landry and Shelbea Russell were exceptional on the penalty kills, making Danica Nadeau's unassisted power-play goal at 10:43 stand up for a spell.
Greely scored twice in a span of less than two minutes to snag the lead in the second period. Storey stuffed home a rebound at 2:56 after Red Hornets goalie Tori Sanford (28 saves) denied Finlay's initial bid.
"We were a step slow in the first period. It was the same thing in our last game against Falmouth. We gave up that first goal and then came back," Greely coach Nate Guerin said. "With eight seniors, we don't get rattled too easily."
The Red Hornets were rattled, meanwhile, when Nadeau's apparent second goal of the evening, sandwiched between the Rangers' first two strikes, was disallowed.
Nadeau brought the puck down the left side and fired an uncontested shot at sophomore goalie Maura Perry. In the estimation of the officials, Perry lunged backward in the nick of time after the shot squirted through her pads.
"The girls I think felt like they almost had one taken away, or at least were discouraged by that," Collins said. "So when they got that second goal and then the third one, it left us with a hill to climb, and we know that Greely doesn't give up a lot of goals."
Paige Tuller and Morrison set up Andrews' power-play goal at 6:28 for the 3-1 lead. With almost everyone on the ice serving as a screen between Andrews and Sanford, the senior uncorked a blast from the point that found a home inside the far post.
Thanks in large part to Perry (22 saves), Greely accomplished something few teams do against the Red Hornets: Keeping junior 100-goal scorer Taylor Landry off the board. Perry made three point-blank stops, one on a wrap-around, to stymie Landry in the third period.
"We just tried to stay (defensive) side of her. She's so opportunistic," Guerin said.