Lizzy Gross ignited Scarborough with a natural hat trick and later assisted goals by Alyssa Hulst and Sami Shoebottom, launching the undefeated Red Storm to a convincing 5-1 victory at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

Streaks and bragging rights were on the line in an afternoon clash of the top-ranked teams on each side of the Heal Point ledger.

Western Maine’s Red Storm (17-0) only embellished their status as favorite to win the state championship, extending their regular-season winning streak to 25 games.

Amanda Grenier scored the lone goal for Leavitt-Little (13-3), still virtually assured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern tournament. The Red Hornets’ undefeated run ended at a dozen.

“I think we had some nerves because we knew it was the No. 1 team on the other side,” Leavitt-Little coach Shon Collins said. “We dug ourselves into a hole a little bit early. It was hard to come back. I was proud of the way the girls kept fighting.”

Gross scored twice in a 26-second span to put the Red Hornets into catch-up mode.

Her first goal was a laser from the left circle that rattled in off the crossbar behind Leavitt-Little goalie Tori Sanford. Lily Nygren and Riley McKeown notched the assists at 5:17.

A quick change of possession sent Gross in alone on Sanford at 5:43. Nygren’s defensive alertness set up that one, as well.

“She found her game again. It was really nice to see,” Scarborough coach Caitlin Cashman said of Gross. “I always say to Wade (Trickey, assistant coach), ‘She shoots like a boy.’ She really does. Her follow-through, everything. Whoever taught her that, thank you very much.”

The Red Hornets have their own sniper in Taylor Landry, and the furious flow of play in the first period provided her plenty of promising looks at Scarborough’s rock-solid senior goalie, Devan Kane.

Two giveaways by the Scarborough defense led to Landry’s point-blank opportunity with 6:30, but Kane made the best of her 25 saves.

“(Landry) is skilled and she’s quick. When she had her chances I was like, ooh, mercy,” Cashman said, making the sign of the cross. “But Devan thrives on these games. She loves it when girls go at her. That’s why she’s a goalie.”

Kane also made three stops on the first of two fruitless 5-on-3 forays for Leavitt-Little.

The Red Hornets came up empty again with a two-man advantage in the third period, but by that time they were in the 5-1 hole.

“You’re playing an all-conference goalie on the other side, and she came up big. I thought we generated some excellent chances in the slot and wherever,” Collins said. “We just couldn’t seem to get a bounce and finish on some of them. Sometimes that’s what it is.”

“It’s just staying composed and disciplined. That’s the biggest thing,” Cashman said of her team’s penalty kill. “You can say whatever you want about the refs, but refs don’t win games and they don’t lose games. It’s all about composure. We work on a lot of 5-on-3s and 5-on-4s in practice.”

Scarborough’s power play left few opportunities on the table, needing only 31 and 7 seconds, respectively, to cash in twice in the second period.

Gross made it 3-0 with a blast off Sanford’s pads at 3:20. Hulst potted hers from the right circle through a screen at 13:42.

“That’s something we’ve been working on all season, because last season we struggled putting the puck in the net,” Cashman said. “That’s what we’ve been really focusing on this year. You can’t win if you don’t score.”

Leavitt-Little sandwiched its goal between the Red Storm’s two power-play successes. Grenier redirected the puck at 6:08 after Kane stopped Haley Frohlich’s initial bid from a tricky angle.

Shoebottom went upstairs for her goal at 7:30 of the third.

Scarborough looks to complete a spotless regular season Wednesday at Greely.

Sanford made 18 saves for Leavitt-Little, which prepares for the playoffs with closing trips to Yarmouth/Freeport and York. 

The Red Hornets lost 2-1 in their early-season crack at Scarborough on the road.

“Their power play, we had a couple of penalties and they made us pay for it,” Collins said. “They have a lot of girls that can really shoot well. I don’t think that we’re used to facing a team like that. All their girls, they’ve got a high level of players where you’ve got to be on your toes. Your margin for error isn’t very big.”


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