FALMOUTH — While the Greely High boys’ hockey team skated through drills Tuesday afternoon, the girls’ team ran throughout the Family Ice Center, hopping up bleachers, sprinting down aisles – forward and backward – and generally working up a sweat before they laced up their skates.
Greely wants to deepen its imprint in the record books, but this year won’t be easy.
“We still have a group of girls that know how to skate,” Greely Coach Nate Guerin said.
As for his team’s chances …
“A lot of it will be hard work,” he said.
This should be a rebuilding year. The Rangers became the only two-time state champion in girls’ hockey last season after beating Scarborough 1-0 in overtime for the state championship (to go along with their 2012 title).
But nine players exited that team through graduation and a transfer. This year’s team has 15 skaters, including only two seniors and one junior, plus five sophomores and seven freshmen.
“It’s definitely different this year,” said senior Sarah Kurland, a co-captain along with senior Delaney Curtain.
“We have a lot of freshmen and you forget they don’t know all the systems – which I have had drilled into my brain since freshman year.
“But they’re learning real fast. There’s room for improvement but it’s looking good.”
They are looking so good that the chances of three straight titles aren’t as remote as once thought.
The Rangers have already impressed with a 2-1 win over Leavitt/Edward Little, one of the teams considered a favorite to knock off Greely in the East region.
“That was a big game,” Guerin said. “In some aspects, we got lucky.
“But they’ve played really hard every game. It’s been an encouraging start.”
Greely (3-0) gets another tough test Wednesday night when upstart Yarmouth/Freeport (5-0) visits the Rangers at 8 p.m.
The key for Greely will be getting the freshmen up to speed, and getting the puck to Danita Storey.
Storey, a sophomore, has 11 of her team’s 17 goals.
“She’s always looking toward the net,” Kurland said. “Strong with the puck and a really strong skater.”
But while Storey is scoring a lot, Greely’s success has always come from its team focus. It still does, according to Guerin.
“The same system of supporting your teammates and working hard as a unit,” Guerin said. “You will see Danita scoring all those goals but so many of the opportunities are generated by her teammates supporting her.”
Among those teammates on offense are Kurland and Maura Perry, the team’s goalie last year who will skate out several games, and two freshmen, Emily McGillicuddy and Tori Lattanzi. Sophomores Erin Molloy and Maura Verrill return on defense, bolstered by freshmen Ellie Schad and Sarah Johnson. Freshman Nica Todd is in goal.
GORHAM/BONNY EAGLE once struggled to get skaters out for the team but Coach Nat Germond has persisted in building his program. The Rams, 2-1 entering this week, have 22 skaters this year and there will be a junior varsity team for the first time.
BRUNSWICK GOALIE Claire Mendes continues to put in impressive efforts. In the Dragons’ first week, Mendes made 40 saves in a loss to Lewiston. Last week, she faced the relentless Rangers of Greely and made 69 saves in a loss.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: