PORTLAND — Greely’s Monica Howland stared at the roof of the Portland Ice Arena for about 10 seconds.
Finally, somebody found a way to score a goal.
Howland’s third-period goal sent the second-seeded Rangers to a 1-0 victory over third-seeded Leavitt/Edward Little 1-0 Saturday night in their Eastern Maine girls’ hockey semifinal.
That Greely’s goal was a little sloppy came as no surprise — it was going to take a lucky bounce to beat Red Hornets goaltender Tori Sanford.
The goal came after 30 scoreless minutes in the first two periods. Greely’s Chelsey Andrews fired a shot from the goal line. The puck bounced off the goaltender, and eventually onto Howland’s stick. She flipped her wrists and scored 1:44 into the third period.
“It was a lucky goal,” Howland said. “It was a team goal. … We had to get lucky if we were going to get a goal.”
That’s a credit to the goaltending of both teams.
Sanford stopped 24 shots. Greely’s Emma Seymour made 21 saves.
Red Hornets Coach Eric Geoffroy just shook his head.
“(Sanford) did a great job keeping us in it,” he said. “It’s the playoffs. There’s a different vibe to the game. Everybody thinks about their job a lot more. It all comes out in the playoffs.”
The Red Hornets (11-7-1) certainly tested Seymour often, especially late in the second period. At one point, a Leavitt/Edward Little player raised her stick behind the Greely net thinking her shot had gone in. Nope. Seymour was covering the puck. A minute later, it was Tori Katore who skated in on a breakaway. She got off two shots but couldn’t score.
That’s par for the course for Seymour and Greely (14-5). It was her seventh shutout of the season, but first since five straight to start the season.
“She was big time,” Coach Nate Guerin said. “She stopped a breakaway or two.
“She was just being aware of the puck at all times. … She stayed focused. She’s always one of the best.”
The Rangers will need Seymour at her best Wednesday when they face top-seeded Brunswick in the Eastern final at Portland Ice Arena.
Correction: This story was revised at 2 p.m., Feb. 13, 2012, to correct the number of shutouts for Emma Seymour this season. She has seven shotouts.