Sarah Kurland, left, and Paige Tuller embrace Wednesday after Kurland scored a second-period goal – the second for Greely in a 3-0 victory against Leavitt-Edward Little in the East championship game at the Portland Ice Arena.
PORTLAND - The Greely girls' hockey team kept grinding, which is what the Rangers do best. The result was a 3-0 victory over Leavitt-Edward Little in the East championship game Wednesday at the Portland Ice Arena.
Top-seeded Greely (17-2-1), the defending state champion, will go for a second straight title at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston against Scarborough.
The Rangers are hoping to become the first team to win two state championships since high school girls' hockey began in 2008-09.
Third-seeded Leavitt-Edward Little finished at 15-5.
Sarah Kurland and Paige Tuller each recorded a goal and an assist for Greely. Etta Copenhagen also scored. Maura Perry made 10 saves.
Greely outshot the Red Hornets 29-10 as the Rangers kept working the puck low.
"We run the same system all the time and the girls know it comes down to work ethic," Greely Coach Nate Guerin said. "They work so hard. Just a matter of being relentless and that's what it was tonight."
In the scoreless first period, Greely outshot the Red Hornets 9-3, but it became very clear that Leavitt-Edward Little presented the biggest threat in the presence of forward Taylor Landry. With speed and a hard shot, Landry had the Rangers' full attention.
Landry still got open for a few shots, including one off the crossbar in the first period.
"She has amazing skills," Tuller said. "She's definitely a player we have to look out for. We just kept playing as a team."
And kept grinding.
"Our coaches told us to keep dominating, keep working and the goals will come," Kurland said. "And they were right."
In the second period, the Red Hornets began creating opportunities, helped by two power plays.
But it was Greely that finally broke through.
Marry Morrison, patrolling the ice as Greely's ever-vigilant defenseman, sent a pass down to Kurland. She crossed to Copenhagen, who lifted a shot over the goalie's shoulder for a 1-0 lead at 10:59.
Two minutes later, Greely was at it again. Tuller sent a shot in and Kurland was there for the rebound at 13:15.
Tuller opened the third period with a goal at 3:26, with Meg Finlay and Danita Storey assisting.
Greely held the Red Hornets to one shot in the third period, securing the win.
"They controlled the puck very well," Red Hornets Coach Shon Collins said. "They have excellent passing."
It was the third game between the teams. Leavitt-Edward Little won the first back in December. Greely won the last two meetings.
The Rangers are 13-0-1 in their last 14 games. They have peaked at the right time.
"(Experience) is huge for us with eight seniors having been here before," Guerin said. "I won't say they're calm because they're definitely nervous, but they have that mindset that they know what it takes to get the job done and they do it.
"I can't ask them to do anything more."
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:
Maura Perry makes one of her 10 saves for Greely, stopping Taylor Landry of Leavitt-Edward Little in the first period Wednesday.