With a talented girls’ hockey team like the Greely High Rangers, individuals don’t always stand out. They blend in with the rest of the gifted players.

In Mary Morrison’s case, she played the role of air-tight defenseman while occasionally making an offensive charge. She was part of Greely’s superb team defense and offensive might.

But Morrison is a special player on the best team in the state, and she is our choice as the Maine Sunday Telegram girls’ hockey player of the year.

When you noticed Morrison is when the Rangers really needed her like in the state championship game in overtime.

With a scrum in front of the Scarborough net, Morrison did what she does best — she read the play. Morrison skated into the crease, waiting for the puck to come her way. It did and she scored, giving Greely a 1-0 win for the Rangers’ second straight state title.

“A real smart play,” Greely Coach Nate Guerin said. “And it’s a play we saw her make all year. She gets from the point to the front of the net and lets the shot go — nothing fancy; a hard, low shot.”

Morrison, a sophomore, was immediately embraced by her teammates.

“I remember the relief and happiness it brought,” Morrison said. “We worked very hard the whole season for that one moment.”

Morrison, 15, has been playing since she was 8 years old when she joined Casco Bay Youth Hockey, simultaneously playing in the initiation program and on the under-14 girls’ travel team.

Morrison was an accomplished player when she enrolled at Greely.

“As a freshman last year, you could tell she was something special,” Guerin said. “But she was just a freshman. This year she really matured. Settled down in a way.”

Morrison has always had speed and she skates strong with the puck. Defensively she erased any threats. Meanwhile she was learning when to make offensive charges. Morrison credits her veteran teammates.

“We had a lot of older players to look up to,” Morrison said. “I got a better feel for the high school pace. I thought I saw the plays better.”

Morrison recorded 19 goals and 16 assists. On defense she helped the Rangers break in a new goalie (the fast-learning Maura Perry) as Greely allowed only 22 goals during the season, recording seven shutouts (two in the playoffs). After two early losses, the Rangers went 14-0-1 in their final 15 games.

“I felt very secure with her on the ice,” Guerin said. “You never had to worry with her in possession. She’s got great poise and control with the puck. It’s almost a second nature, more than any player I’ve seen.

“And she’s so fast as a defenseman, no one is getting behind her We like her on (defense) so she can keep the whole play in front of her.”

And as evidenced by the state championship game, Morrison knows when to make her move. 

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH