The Rangers (10-1) put a shot on target in the opening seconds on the initial rush. It took the Red Hornets (8-3-1) another three minutes before they were able to do the same. Greely finished with a 12-3 advantage in shots on goal in the first period, and the Rangers had the best scoring opportunity — a pair of shots by Emilee McGillicuddy on a mini breakaway with five minutes left in the frame.

“We just looked like we came out a little tight,” Red Hornets coach Shon Collins said. “The first shift, our defenseman had the puck and it kind of rolled off of her stick. It was one of those where you’re squeezing the stick too tight, all of a sudden they get into our zone and get a lot of pressure right off. And I think that was kind of the tone of the whole first period.”

The second period was a stark contrast for the first seven minutes. The Red Hornets compiled the first eight shots on goal of the frame, including surpassing their first-period total within the first four minutes. Yet none of them could find their way past Greely senior goalie Nica Todd, not even a 2-on-1 chance from Haley Frohlich to Mariah Vaillancourt.

“We had some chances that we didn’t finish,” Collins said.

It took a power play for the Rangers to get their first on-target shot more than six minutes into the second. The Red Hornets survived that penalty kill with just the one saved shot against, but couldn’t do the same when another penalty was tacked on with four seconds left in the first power play.

It was McGillicuddy — fittingly — who put the Rangers on the board first midway through the second. She was able to put a shot from the right post past Red Hornets goalie Manny Guimond 21 seconds into the second power play, with assists from Courtney Sullivan and Bridget Roberts.

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Collins called the back-to-back penalty kills “a bit of a blow.”

The Red Hornets blew back five minutes later, and it was Vaillancourt who delivered the blow, stealing the puck at the offensive blue line before skating in and scoring on Todd.

The knotted-up score didn’t even last two minutes, however. A shot from Molly Horton at the point squirted in past Guimond, giving Greely a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

“That one at the end of the second was a little bit of a back-breaker for us, to be honest,” Collins said. “Any time that you give up a goal last minute of a period, it’s kind of hard to come in and recover.”

The Rangers doubled their lead just over two minutes into the final frame. Sullivan flipped a quick shot after entering the attacking zone and it slipped under the glove of Guimond.

The Red Hornets weren’t done just yet, though, thanks to a power play of their own. The hosts needed just 16 seconds of the man-up to take advantage, and it was Vaillancourt once again, wrapping a shot around the left post off a pass from Frohlich.

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“Throughout the third period I thought there was a couple times we could have quit, and we didn’t,” Collins said. “We came back strong and fought back, really never gave up on the game.”

Vaillancourt had a great chance at completing a hat trick — and a potential comeback — but Todd stonewalled her on a breakaway with four minutes left.

The Red Hornets had to deal with one final penalty kill with less than three minutes left. The Rangers were more concerned with keeping the puck than trying to score it, leaving the hosts with few chances to knot the equalizer.

Guimond made 24 saves for the Red Hornets, while Todd stopped 15 shots for Greely.

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