Greely’s Courtney Sullivan, center, celebrates a goal during last Saturday’s playoff game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

The two finalists competing for the girls’ hockey state championship know each other well, even though they didn’t meet during the regular season.

Despite there being just 16 teams in the state, with each playing 18 regular-season games, North regional champion Greely/Gray-New Gloucester and South champ Cheverus/Kennebunk didn’t get to duel on the ice in an official game. They did, however, meet twice in scrimmages — one before the season and another midway through the season.

The rubber game, so to speak, has “a lot more on the line,” according to Greely/Gray-NG coach Nate Guerin.

“We’re quite familiar with each other,” Stags coach Scott Rousseau said.

There’s no secrets between the teams at this point in the season. The Stags used a “tenacious defense,” according to Rousseau, to go 17-1 during the regular season, the only loss an overtime defeat to rival Portland/Deering — which they avenged in the regional final.


The Rangers, the North region bridesmaids to eventual state champion St. Dominic Academy the past two years, had to come out of the No. 3 seed and get back at both the Saints in the regional semifinals and top-seeded Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill in the North final to get their own revenge for two of their three regular-season losses.

“They didn’t get here by accident,” Rousseau said. “Realistically they’re a two-loss team. I think you have to discount their second loss to Lewiston, when (Camilla) Lattanzi and (Courtney) Sullivan did not play.”

Rousseau said the playoff experience — something his team doesn’t have nearly as much of — is something the Rangers can consider a strength. He also said they don’t have weaknesses.

The Rangers have made it to the state final on the coattails of three seniors forwards who Guerin called “possessed.” Sullivan, Bridget Roberts and Molly Horton have put the team on their backs, producing most of the points since a 7-5 loss to St. Dom’s on senior night.

The trio often plays together, but not always. Rousseau said part of the challenge for his team is anticipating when Sullivan and Roberts — both finalists for the Becky Schaffer Award, given to the most outstanding senior player in the state — are teamed up and when they center different lines.

The challenge for Guerin and the Rangers is to pick their poison on which Stags line they try to stop.


“I think the number of skilled players that they have (is their strength),” Guerin said. “Abby Lamontagne, she’s a special player. She’s going to carry a lot of the load. But they’ve got great secondary scoring from both positions, from forward and from defense. When they can play pretty much two solid lines and not really have any let-down, that’s a huge boost. If you’re a girls’ hockey team in Maine, if you have two solid lines you’re in really good shape.”

Guerin said he sees the Rangers as a combination of St. Dom’s and Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill, with Lamontagne playing the role of Saints dynamic scorer Avery Lutrzykowski and the overall talented depth mimicking the Blue Devils. The Stags had five different scorers in the South final (Lamontagne twice, Emma McAuley twice, Lucia Pompeo twice, Sarah Noyes and Olivia Adams once each).

Both teams feel they have solid defenses, and the numbers show it. The Stags only allowed 23 goals in 18 regular-season games (or 1.28 per game), while the Rangers were close behind with 31 goals against (1.72 per game). The Stags shut out eight opponents (and another in the playoffs), while the Rangers did that five times.

“They’ve got some really strong defensemen and they do a great job protecting their goalie,” Guerin said.

Two scrimmages got the two teams acquainted with one another, but Guerin said “everything’s out the window at this point of the year.”

“We know that we are going to see Greely’s best game, there’s no exceptions to that, and so we have to be prepared to counter that and play our best game every night,” Rousseau said. “And I think this will be the culmination of two teams executing that same desire.”

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