Not five minutes into the first period of Saturday’s matchup at Portland Ice Arena, Scarborough’s Kristen Murray put her team on top of Cheverus 1-0. The Red Storm proceeded then to pile on the points, led by Elizabeth Gross and her hat trick, and ultimately took the W 8-0.

Scarborough, the undisputed possessors of No. 1 in A West, move to 16-0 on the season. Falmouth, in second place, are 11-5.

“We didn’t come out very strong at all, the first 10 minutes of this game,” Scarborough head coach Caitlin Cashman said. “And the girls knew it.

“But just remembering, we’ve been playing the same systems all year, and just slow it down – in your head; don’t get so excited, so amped up they take themselves out of the play. They settled down, they started passing the puck more and looking where they wanted to shoot – sometimes you just shoot to shoot. Pick a place, really get your head up.”

Murray’s goal came on assists by Rachel Wallace and Alyssa Hulst. About 28 seconds after, Gross notched her first, assisted by Hannah Snyder and Sami Shoebottom. Another minute on, Hulst from Murray made it 3-0, and four more minutes after that, Gross and Brenna Kent combined to feed Shoebottom, who scored for 4-0.

Scarborough added two more in each of the second and third periods. Hulst shoveled the puck out from behind the Cheverus net to Lily Nygren at the point, and Nygren’s wrister found its mark for 5-0. Gross then scored her second, a shorthanded goal, while Murray was in the box for two minutes for roughing. 6-0.

Offense wasn’t the Red Storm’s only story, of course; to shut out any opponent requires defense. Cashman praised Riley McKeown’s play on defense. “She’s a senior. Defensively, she’s very conservative, very solid. Makes very smart play.”

“Brenna also had a really good game on defense.”

Cashman also happily commended Nygren’s contributions. “That was her first goal of the season, so she was, like, huge smile. She was so stoked.”

“Our defense aren’t fancy, which I really like about them. Stay-at-home D.”

About 11 seconds into the third, Gross passed in front of the Stags’ netminder for Shoebottom, who wristed the biscuit home, setting the score at 7-0.

Finally, midway through the period and again on the penalty kill, Gross earned her hat trick, pushing the puck forward near center ice – a defensive maneuver, just to keep it further from her goalie – but then spying an opportunity to dash ahead and split the Cheverus defense. Gross lifted one’s stick to loose the puck, then kicked it forward with her skate onto her own stick, just in time to lift it adroitly into the net. 8-0.

Scarborough faces stiff competition for the short remainder of the regular season, however. The puck drops in their make-up game at Leavitt/Edward Little – first in A East, at 12-2 – at 4 p.m. on Tuesday the 28th. When the two powerhouses clashed early in the season, Scarborough skated away victorious, but by a narrow 2-1 margin.

The Red Storm’s final game before playoffs is also on the road, at Greely, No. 3 in A East and the only other team to have upset Leavitt/Edward Little. Scarborough downed the Rangers, 3-0 at home, back on Jan. 15th.

“We end on a very tough schedule,” Cashman said. “It’s good though, because it amps us up for the playoffs.”

Scarborough’s Elizabeth Gross goes one-on-one with the Cheverus goalie. Gross scored three – a hat trick – and one assist in the Red Storm’s 8-0 rout of the Stags.Scarborough assistant captain Kristen Murray rips the puck away before a Cheverus defender can interrupt her momentum. Murray contributed a goal and an assist in the Red Storm victory over the Stags.Alyssa Hulst of Scarborough contends with an incoming Stag. Hulst added one goal and one assist to the Red Storm’s point tally Saturday night.The Red Storm’s Madison O’Reilly cuts through the corner Saturday night. Scarborough visited the Cheverus Stags at Portland Ice Arena, and skated away with yet another W, their 15th this year.Elizabeth Gross beats the Stags defense.

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