SACO – The No. 5 Cheverus girls hockey team came into Monday's semifinal matchup with top-ranked Scarborough as the heavy underdogs, and though the Stags kept it close for two periods, a late Storm swept through the MHG Ice Arena in Saco.
Scarborough scored four goals in the last 15 minutes for the 6-1 win, advancing to 17-1-1 on the year and gaining a berth in Wednesday's regional final against No. 2 York, the cause of the Storm's only loss, 2-1 on Jan. 5. Cheverus ends the season at 6-13-1.
“In between the second and third periods,” Scarborough head coach Caitlin Cashman said after the game, “we went in there, and pointed out individually what their strengths are and as a team what their strengths are, and just let them know that they need to go out there with confidence, that they can do it, and that they deserve it.”
The first period, or at least the majority of it, passed uneventfully, except for a Scarborough bench minor for too many players on the ice and a pair of Cheverus minors for tripping and hooking. Then, with 1:30 left to play, Scarborough’s Sarah Martens and Megan Martin assisted Kristen Murray in scoring the game’s first point. Cheverus answered 23 seconds later, though, with Katie Roy slipping the puck past Scarborough goaltender Devan Kane unassisted. After one, the teams were tied 1-1.
Scarborough logged a pair of minor penalties to begin the second, one for hooking and one for tripping. The tripping call nearly cost them, but some quick glove work by Kane saved a Cheverus go-ahead goal. For the next several minutes, the teams struggled for the upper hand, traveling from one end of the ice to the other, but defense was the name of the game, and nobody scored. Finally, with 3:08 to play, Scarborough’s Alyssa Hulst generated some offense, tallying her team’s second point, unassisted, and inching the Red Storm ahead, 2-1.
“Our greatest strength [is] our communication on the ice,” Cashman said. “And my girls do a really nice job trying to spread the ice out, just making those cross-ice passes. The more we spread the ice out, the more passing lanes we have, and Cheverus didn’t really know which player to take. So they were leaving a couple girls open.”
Scarborough skated into the third with guns blazing. Cheverus’s Caroline Ray ended up in the box early, two minutes for holding, and Scarborough took advantage of the power play. Hulst and Rachel Wallace fed the puck to Murray, who put it past Cheverus goalie Kat Binford. Twenty seconds later, Hulst and Martens teamed up to assist Murray in repeating the feat and giving Scarborough a 4-1 lead.
Cheverus managed to fend off the mounting onslaught for the next seven minutes. At one point, Binford, undefended and facing two Red Storm players, stood her ground and prevented Scarborough from pulling further ahead.
But Cheverus’s best efforts couldn’t cool Scarborough’s head of steam. At 5:18, Hulst again fed Murray, who scored her fourth of the game, and three minutes later, Martens picked up the Red Storm’s sixth goal.
“For the last three seasons, in the semifinals, we lost by a goal,” Cashman said. “2-1, all three years. Coming in here, [the coaches] could tell [the players] were so amped up, anxious, second-guessing themselves.”