A week ago, the high and mighty Scarborough girls’ hockey team found itself where it hadn’t been all season, trailing 2-0 halfway through a game, to Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete.
“A big shock to all of us,” said defenseman Riley McKeown.
Scarborough is not only unbeaten and driven to win it all this year, but dominates most of its games, winning most by at least five goals. The Red Storm beat Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete 6-0 on Dec. 11.
“You’ve got to hand it to Cape. They came out flying and we were flatfooted,” said defenseman Brenna Kent. “But it was good to see us come back.”
A minute after the Capers took a 2-0 lead, Scarborough scored and scored and … eventually taking a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period.
Freshmen Sami Shoebottom and Elizabeth Gross each scored twice in the period. Shoebottom added a goal in the third for the 5-2 win.
Freshmen are making quite an impression on a veteran team that was already favored to make it back to the state final.
“It’s pretty huge,” Coach Caitlin Cashman said of her nine freshmen, including an all-freshmen top line.
“Other programs aren’t getting any freshmen. And we have freshmen coming in skilled and ready to go. We lucked out.
“And they want it. They want it just as bad as the seniors.”
Scarborough lost in the title game last year, 1-0 to Greely in overtime.
“We’re hungry. We want states,” Kent said.
So far, so good. Scarborough is 12-0 with a game Wednesday night against Greely (8-2), the first of two against the Rangers.
Only one girls’ hockey team has gone through a season unbeaten – Cheverus, the 2010 state champion.
Being undefeated is nice “but it’s also nerve-wracking,” Cashman said. That’s why the comeback against Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete was important.
“I think it was good to know what it feels like to be down and not always be the top dog. It was a reality check.”
Scarborough has four wins with a winning margin fewer than five – three three-goal victories (over Falmouth, Lewiston and Cape/Waynflete) and a 2-1 win over Leavitt/Edward Little on Nov. 30.
Scarborough was to play at Leavitt/Edward Little last Saturday but weather postponed the game.
A makeup date hasn’t been announced.
The Red Storm have been led by Shoebottom and Gross. Freshman Meghan Doak was also on the top line but is injured. Freshman Cara Reynolds has stepped in.
Senior Rachael Wallace, junior Kristen Murray, and sophomores Madison O’Reilly and Alyssa Hulst are among the other top forwards.
Seniors Kent and McKeown provide experience on defense, which also includes sophomore Jenna Block and freshmen Lily Nygren and Erin Shell.
All-State goalie Devan Kane “is still Devan,” Cashman said, meaning she’s still a force. Backing her up is freshman Lucca Sterrer.
THE FALMOUTH GIRLS began the season 2-0 but are 7-4 and contending for at least second place in the West.
“We’re a talented but inexperienced team,” Coach Rob Carrier said. “We’ve tried new line combinations the last couple of games and it sparked a little more offense.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
While the offense is picking up, senior defenseman Alyse Bazinet has solidified the other end of the ice.
The Yachtsmen have two key games remaining – Scarborough on Saturday and Biddeford in the last game Feb. 1.
CAPE ELIZABETH/WAYNFLETE showed its might in giving Scarborough a scare. The Capers (5-6) already have bettered last year’s record despite a challenge getting ice time.
With the Cumberland County Civic Center closed for renovations, the team has seen its practice time cut in half to two practices a week, not to mention a longer bus ride to the University of New England rink in Biddeford.
“We simply don’t have as much ice time to work on important systems and skill development,” Coach Bob Mills said.
Still Mills said the team is confident with “balanced scoring from our top two lines and strong goaltending from Lily Jordan.”
The Capers, fourth in the West, are in line for a first playoff berth.
IN BOYS’ ACTION, Lewiston gets two more prime opportunities to prove it may be the Class A team to beat. The Blue Devils are 7-1 after dispatching Falmouth and Thornton Academy last week. Wednesday night they are home against Bangor, which has its own title designs. And at 4 p.m. Monday, Scarborough comes calling. The Red Storm haven’t lost since their opener and have established themselves as the top team in Western Class A.
The week should provide some clarity with half a season to go.
Mark Emmert contributed to this report.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: