PORTLAND – Greely High had lost its No. 1 girls’ hockey ranking in the East late in the season.
Then the Rangers showed up for the playoffs without three regulars — their top two scorers and a defenseman.
What’s a little adversity when you play together?
Greely dominated the special teams Wednesday and beat top-seeded Brunswick 7-2 Wednesday night in the Eastern regional championship at the Portland Ice Arena.
Injury and illness kept leading defenseman Freyja Victory and leading scorers Meg Finlay and Paige Tuller out of the game.
But Sarah Kurland jumped in and scored three goals. Etta Copenhagen scored twice and had an assist. Goalie Emma Seymour made 22 saves.
Greely (15-5) will meet Falmouth (18-2) for the state championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston.
Brunswick finished 15-4-1, three of those losses coming to Greely.
“Brunswick is a really good team and we work hard every time we play them,” Kurland said. The three missing players “are really key players, but we worked as a team.
“It was all of us together.”
The special teams really shined. Greely converted 3 of 4 power plays, while Kurland also scored short-handed.
“We got a couple bounces early, either us getting a goal or them just missing one,” Rangers Coach Nate Guerin said. “Every time they seemed to grab some momentum, we were able to fend them off.”
Brunswick Coach Bill Bodwell was upset about the penalties.
“We’ve seen some incredibly inconsistent refereeing in the playoffs,” Bodwell said. “They let everyone be much more physical (in the season) than they have in the playoffs. It’s a shame that refereeing decides the outcome of a game.”
Greely took a 2-0 first-period lead on two power-play goals — Kurland tipping in a Mary Morrison slap shot and Chelsey Andrews wristing one in, with Monica Howland assisting.
Kurland’s short-handed goal, after she stole the puck behind Brunswick’s net, made it 3-0 at the start of the second period.
“I saw (the Brunswick player) was going to try and reverse it behind the net,” Kurland said. “I just grabbed the puck. I didn’t see anyone else and tried a backhand.”
Brunswick rallied on goals by Jen Machin at 7:44 and Gillian Ford at 11:18, closing to 3-2.
Seymour then stopped Rachel Moroney on a breakaway. Moroney went down in traffic, briefly injured.
Bodwell did not like that there was no call, and said so. He received a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and Greely’s CC Hodgkins scored on the power play at 13:24 for a 4-2 lead.
“All I told the ref was ‘I thought that was an awful call,’ and she gives me a penalty,” Bodwell said.
In the third period, Greely poured it on with three goals, Halley Taylor assisting on two of them.
“We tell the girls that we have enough talent to win, no matter who is suiting up and who isn’t,” Guerin said.”
Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:
Correction: This story was revised as 2:01 p.m., Feb. 17, 2012, to correctly identify leading scorer Paige Tuller.