Scarborough freshman goalie Ariella Swett (1) is congratulated by her teammates after the Red Storm beat Falmouth, 5-1, in Friday’s South Region semifinal. Scarborough advanced to face Cheverus/Kennebunk or Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland in Wednesday’s regional final.

Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

GORHAM—Scarborough’s girls’ hockey team was definitely ready for prime time.

The young Red Storm, who feature 13 freshmen, faced the daunting task of hosting experienced Falmouth in Friday’s South Region semifinal, but Scarborough was fired up from the get-go and carried play much of the way.

Senior Courtney Brochu gave the Red Storm a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, when she scored on the power play at 8:02 of the first period.

Early in the second period, senior Taylor Veilleux doubled Scarborough’s lead, but with 9:18 left, Yachtsmen senior standout Kayla Sarazin gave the visitors momentum with a goal that made the score 2-1 heading for the third period.

Where the Red Storm’s youth was served.

Just 1-minute, 27-seconds into the third period, freshman Evelyn Boardman scored a breathtaking individual goal to provide some breathing room.

With 11:19 to play, freshman Maya Sellinger scored to give Scarborough a 4-1 lead.

Sarazin tried to spark a rally when she scored again midway through the third period, but with 1:31 left, Brochu tallied an empty net goal and the Red Storm went on to a 5-2 victory.

Scarborough improved to 14-4-1, ended the Yachtsmen’s season at 12-6-2 and advanced to play in the South Region Final Wednesday in Lewiston against either top-ranked, defending regional champion Cheverus/Kennebunk (15-2-1) or No. 4 Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland (10-9).

“It feels great,” said Red Storm coach Caitlin Jordan. “I couldn’t be more proud of how the girls came out and played. We’ve prepared all week to come out hard. We wanted to show up right from the start. In a playoff game, playing from ahead is so important.” 

Impressive first step

While Cheverus/Kennebunk has set the tone in the South Region, Scarborough and Falmouth haven’t been far behind.

Falmouth went 11-5-2 in the regular season and after earning the No. 3 seed in the South Region, the Yachtsmen had their way with No. 6 Portland/Deering Wednesday, rolling by a 7-1 score behind four goals from Sarazin.

Scarborough, despite is youth, produced a terrific 13-4-1 campaign, losing only to Cheverus/Kennebunk and Lewiston twice apiece (the Red Storm also tied St. Dom’s).

On Jan. 21, Scarborough won at Falmouth, 2-1, as freshman Calynn Gendreau scored the go-ahead goal on the power play in the second period.

The teams had played five previous times in the playoffs, with the Yachtsmen holding a 3-2 edge. The most recent was a 3-1 victory for Falmouth in the 2017 South Region Final.

Friday, the Yachtsmen hoped to build on their momentum from their quarterfinal round victory, but the Red Storm quickly let it be known that their future is now.

Scarborough controlled the puck for most of the first period and after Falmouth senior Reade Carmichael was sent to the penalty box for tripping at 7:53, it took all of nine seconds for the Red Storm to go ahead for good.

Veilleux got the puck up top to Brochu, who fired a shot through the pads of Yachtsmen senior goalie Julia Bonnvie.

“It wasn’t the best shot,” Brochu said. “I can shoot better than that, but as long as it goes in…

“Falmouth has been our rival forever. We knew they’d come out strong and physical. We knew we had to come out strong and just push hard from the beginning. That goal got them rattled and got our momentum going.”

“We couldn’t do it without our seniors,” Jordan said. “Courtney on defense anchors the whole team and Taylor does well at center and makes good passes.”

Late in the first half, Falmouth got a golden opportunity to draw even when it went on the power play and seconds later, had a 5-on-3 chance, but despite producing their first shots of the game, they couldn’t solve Scarborough freshman Ariella Swett and the first period ended, 1-0.

Play was much more even in the second period.

The Red Storm got a break early, as Yachtsmen junior Grace Fallon was sent off for cross-checking and after Brochu and Gendreau were denied by Bonnvie, Scarborough made it 2-0 with 13:20 remaining, as Sellinger sent a shot on goal that Bonnvie stopped, but Veilleux poked home the rebound.

Falmouth argued that the whistle had blown and that play should have been stopped, but it went for naught.

Sarazin, a semifinalist for the Becky Schaeffer Award, given to the state’s top senior girls’ hockey player, helped the Yachtsmen get back in the game with 9:18 left in the second period, taking a pass from junior Izzy Roy, skating around the goal, coming back out, then beating Swett.

The Red Storm managed to preserve the lead from there and took a 2-1 advantage to the third period.

Where Scarborough scored three times.

While Falmouth appeared poised to complete its comeback when the period began, Boardman instead turned momentum for good with 13:33 left, as she raced into the offensive zone, got past a couple defenders, then deked Bonnvie before beating the goalie with a backhanded shot that slipped inside the near post for a 3-1 lead.

“I had all the energy and I just wanted to score,” Boardman said. “It was just instinct. It felt really good to score in a playoff game. I was nervous before the game, but I was excited and ready to come out.”

“(Scarborough) outplayed us in the second period, so we talked for a good 10 minutes at intermission to make sure the girls came out on fire,” Jordan said. “The girls came out even better than they did to start the game. I can’t wait to see (the goal) on the video replay. Evelyn’s struggled the last couple weeks, but she showed up today. I’m so proud of her.”

After Sarazin was sent to the penalty box for interference, another Red Storm freshman, Sellinger, got a pass from Brochu, then stopped and ripped a shot into the net for a 4-1 lead with 11:19 to play.

“Coming into the season with 13 freshmen, I wasn’t worried,” Brochu said. “They surprised me right off the bat. They have a lot of talent and they’ve come up huge for us. They don’t play nervous.” 

“Maya’s shot is beautiful,” Jordan said. “She’s struggled to hit the net a lot in practice. We’ve teased her about it, but she picked her head up and picked that corner perfectly.” 

Sarazin provided a little hope with 7:32 left, as she skated in and beat Swett to the short side to make it 4-2, but that’s as close as the Yachtsmen would get.

With 4:05 to play, Sarazin rushed in and looked to score and make things interesting, but she had the puck knocked away at the last second.

Falmouth coach Rob Carrier called timeout with 2:47 remaining, hoping to spark a miracle rally, but after Bonnvie was pulled for an extra attacker, Scarborough clinched it with 1:31 on the clock, as Brochu put the puck into the empty net.

The Red Storm slammed the door from there and celebrated their 5-2 victory.

“The third period isn’t really our best period,” Brochu said. “We knew they’d come strong and we knew we had to come out stronger. We knew we’d win anyways if we kept that (2-1) score, but we just kept the momentum going.”

Scarborough had a 20-18 edge in shots on goal, scored three times on the power play and got 16 saves from Swett.

Disappointing ending

Falmouth, meanwhile, couldn’t score on the power play and got 15 saves out of Bonnvie.

“I knew that (Scarborough’s) talented and well-balanced even though they have a lot of freshmen,” said Carrier. “They’re strong and their will to win was greater than ours tonight. I thought we played fairly well once we got through the first eight minutes. It was even until they pulled away at the end.

“(After the game) we wanted to make sure to tell (the girls) how much we appreciated how much they showed up willing to work hard. It stings right now, but they’ll remember the time they spent together.”

Falmouth “only” graduates three players, but Bonnvie, Carmichael and Sarazin will be very difficult to replace.

“We lose three big seniors and we only have two freshmen coming in next year,” Carrier said. “I don’t know if we’ll be quite at this level, but you never know.”

Next step

If Scarborough does battle for the third time this winter with Cheverus/Kennebunk, it will have its hands full. As the defending regional champions, Cheverus/Kennebunk only lost to Lewiston twice (by a goal each time) and tied St. Dom’s.

Cheverus/Kennebunk won both regular season meetings, 2-0 on the road and 3-0 at home.

Cheverus is 2-1 all-time in the playoffs versus Scarborough, winning in the 2009 West Region semifinals (3-1), losing in the 2013 West Region semifinals (6-1) and prevailing in last year’s South Region semifinals, 4-0.

The Red Storm could also meet Cape/Waynflete/SP, a team they edged in the regular season opener, 4-3, on the road, then beat at home, 4-2, Jan. 15.

Scarborough has won all three prior playoff meetings, with a 5-1 win in the 2017 South Region semifinals the most recent.

“We have to come out on fire like we did today,” said Boardman. “If we get goals, we’ll keep the momentum up.”

“It’s not going to be easy, but if we play like we did today, we’ll have a good chance,” Brochu said.

“I’m excited and the girls are excited,” Jordan added. “It’s going to be a great game. We’ve worked on shooting drills. We just have to put the puck in the net.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough freshman Calynn Gendreau dives in an attempt to get the puck from Falmouth senior Kayla Sarazin.

Scarborough freshman Evelyn Boardman races in on goal. 

Falmouth senior Kayla Sarazin sends Scarborough sophomore Kathleen Murphy flying.

Scarborough freshman Calynn Gendreau shields Falmouth junior Brooke Flaherty from the puck.