The script for the girls’ hockey playoffs has been predictable in recent years.

If history were to repeat itself, Falmouth and Scarborough would battle in the South final – as they did the past four years – and St. Dominic would defeat the winner for its third consecutive state title.

Cue credits.

The ending to this season, however, is shaping up to be much different. Saturday at Troubh Ice Arena, No. 1 Cheverus/Kennebunk (18-1) and No. 2 Portland/Deering (14-5) won their South semifinals to advance to the regional final, while St. Dominic fell to Greely, 7-2, in the North semifinals.

Portland defeated No. 3 Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, 3-2, and Cheverus defeated No. 4 Scarborough, 4-0. The two Portland-based programs will play Wednesday at the Colisee in Lewiston.

It’s the first time since 2014 that Falmouth and Scarborough won’t be playing each other for the regional title.

“It’s just a great feeling to be able to do something that’s never been done before,” said Caroline Lerch – a freshman on the Portland squad, which finished 1-17 last season. “I know I haven’t been able to go through any of the real hardships the team has been through, but as freshmen, we go out and play for them because we know how much it means to the team.”

Lerch scored two goals to help the Bulldogs rally from a two-goal deficit against Cape Elizabeth (10-9-1).

“They’ve got a tremendous work ethic and resolve,” said Portland Coach Tom Clifford, who took over the program this season. “They just don’t like losing now.”

Despite outshooting the Capers 14-5 in the first period, Portland fell behind 2-0. Sophia Venditti scored just 3:43 into the game, and Abby Ekedahl got unassisted goal at 5:52.

“We had great energy – this was probably the best game we played all year,” Cape Elizabeth Coach Bob Mills said. “We were moving our legs, making smart decisions with the puck and possessing the puck well.”

Another big factor in the Capers’ early success was their goalie, Abby Joy, who Mills considers the best in the state. Joy finished with 26 saves. Adrianna Bodge had 18 saves for Portland.

“The two-goal deficit concerned me a little bit because of the talent of Abby (Joy), but we’ve overcome deficits before,” Clifford said. “The one thing we talked about in practice yesterday was: We’ve got to get to the net, there will be a rebound, and our goals are going to be ugly.”

Portland got on the board with 2:11 left in the first when Lerch scored an unassisted goal. Kit Rosmus tied the score 4:14 into the second period, and Lerch got the deciding goal 24 seconds into the third period during a scrum in front of Cape Elizabeth’s net.

Portland’s lead was in danger until the final buzzer. The Capers had one last chance with a faceoff in the Portland zone with six seconds left.

“Obviously, when you get down to the last six seconds and you’re all scrambling and the puck’s loose, it’s just the most stressful thing,” Lerch said. “I think we all just wanted it so bad that we didn’t give up.”

For Cheverus, Abby Lamontagne helped secure her team’s spot in the regional final with a hat trick and an assist against Scarborough (9-10-1). However, it was only a one-goal game until late in the second period.

“You knew they were going to come out with a lot of pride and play their best game of the season – it was the best Scarborough team I’ve seen all year long,” Cheverus Coach Scott Rousseau said. “There are only the best teams left, and everyone is going to play with pride and desperation.”

Lamontagne put the Stags on the board 54 seconds into the game with a power-play goal, assisted by Sophia Pompeo. She added an unassisted breakaway goal with 1:01 left in the second.

Twenty seconds before that goal, the Red Storm almost scored the equalizer when one of their shots hit the inside of the post. The referees ruled that the puck never crossed the goal line.

Four of the Red Storm’s six shots on goal came in the second period, not including several that sailed just wide.

“We wanted to have Cheverus scrambling, and that’s what we accomplished,” said Scarborough Coach Caitlin Jordan. “I went into the locker room afterward, and they had tears in their eyes. I said, ‘I know you guys are sad, and I’ll let you go back to crying in a minute, but just take a second to realize what you just accomplished. You had Cheverus on their heels.”

Cheverus added to its lead in the third period, as Sophia Pompeo made it 3-0 at 1:05 before Lamontagne scored her third goal with 1:21 left.

Cheverus goalie Anna Smith finished with six saves. Ivy DiBiase, who had never played goalie until halfway through the season, had 16 saves for Scarborough.

“It took a lot of working together and trying to be able to get good passes off instead of getting stressed and rushing the puck,” Cheverus defender Zoe Mazur said. “When we were settled and confident in what we were doing, we go it up the ice.”

Cheverus and Portland split two games during the regular season, with Cheverus shutting out the Bulldogs 6-0 on Dec. 9 before falling 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 1 – the Stags’ only loss.

“Call it a grudge match if that’s what you want to do,” Clifford said. “The first thing the girls said after the game was, ‘What time is practice on Monday?’ So they’re itching to go. When you’re playing your rival, it’s easy to get up for the two days of practice.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

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