FALMOUTH — Freshman winger Mariah Vaillancourt showed a flair for the dramatic Monday, scoring her first high school hat trick to lead Leavitt/Edward Little to a 5-3 victory over Greely in a schoolgirl hockey game at Family Ice Center.
Haley Frolich added two assists before leaving after two periods with an injury. It was the 11th straight win for the Red Hornets (12-2), who entered the game second to Lewiston in the Eastern Conference Heal point standings. Greely (9-4) was third.
The game served as a second chance for Leavitt/Edward Little, which fell 2-1 to Greely in its second game of the season.
“We came out hard, really pumped up,” Vaillancourt said. “We wanted payback.”
And Vaillancourt got it quickly, scoring short-handed 2:18 into the game, beating Greely goalie Nica Todd (17 saves) to the near post.
Taylor Landry made it 2-0 about six minutes later with assists from linemates Frolich and Vaillancourt.
Kylie Bureau put Leavitt/Edward Little up 3-0 with a bouncing shot that caromed over Todd at 3:11.
Greely then grabbed momentum for the first time when Sarah Kurland (4:56) and Danita Storey (6:10) beat goalie Tori Sanford (25 saves) 2:04 apart to cut the Red Hornets’ lead to 3-2.
“Basically, we spotted them three, decided to show up, put two in, then we backed off,” Greely Coach Nate Guerin said. “Our level of focus and intensity is not where it needs to be.”
Vaillancourt seized the momentum back, cutting across the slot to make it 4-2 at 10:25 of the second.
Then, 1:21 later, she stole the puck in the neutral zone and broke in on goal with a Greely defender in tow. Vaillancourt got the shot off and Leavitt/Edward Little had a three-goal lead again.
“Those were nice goals,” said Leavitt/Edward Little standout defender Danica Nadeau. “When you give up two quick ones like that, you kind of get down on yourself. But Mariah built us back up.”
Rangers defender Ellie Schad, who set up Storey’s goal, slipped a shot in from the high slot that caught the post to cut it to 5-3 with 26 seconds left in the second.
Greely came out flying in the third, peppering Sanford with six straight shots as Leavitt/Edward Little failed to get the puck across the red line in the first 2:07 of the third. Nadeau, Bureau and Ally MacKenzie tied up Greely forwards in the slot.
Penalties made the final minutes interesting as three late overlapping penalties forced Leavitt/Edward Little to spend the dying minutes on the penalty kill, including 2:23 playing five-on-three.
With just three seniors on a squad of 19, Coach Shon Collins was pleased to see his team recover from Greely’s two-goal surge and survive the extended penalty kill.
“(Vaillancourt) obviously had an outstanding game,” Collins said. “But overall, it’s been a matter of getting used to what it’s like to play high school hockey. Our confidence is building.”