(Ed. Note: With high school sports currently on hiatus, please join me in a look back at some of the finest teams our coverage area has produced this century. To help us get through the summer, each week, I’ll present the top 10 teams from a different sport…four honorable mentions, then our “Super Six,” These rankings are put together with help from coaches and others, including a Twitter poll each week at twitter.com/foresports, but the final decision is mine. This week it’s girls’ hockey. Boys’ hockey is on deck…)

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Baseball
Softball
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Girls’ lacrosse
Football
Boys’ soccer
Girls’ soccer
Field hockey
Volleyball

The sport of girls’ hockey is still in its relative infancy, but despite its short shelf life, girls’ hockey has produced an abundance of unforgettable games and memorable championship teams.

While this particular countdown is Cheverus-, Greely- and Scarborough-heavy, that’s because those schools have produced a combined six championship teams. Just where those squads, and a few who just missed out on a crown, ranked was the challenge.

Without further adieu, here’s one writer’s stab at the finest squads we’ve seen over the past decade-plus:

Honorable mentions (in chronological order)

2011-12 Greely Rangers, 16-5, state champion

File photos

While the Rangers lost three games in a row late in the regular season, and dropped five games overall, they overcame injury to Meg Finlay, Paige Tuller and Freyja Victory and flipped the switch when the playoffs began and embarked on a stirring run to the championship. Greely, featuring standout goalie Emma Seymour, along with key contributions from Chelsey Andrews, Etta Copenhagen, Ceci Hodgkins, Monica Howland, Sarah Kurland and Mary Morrison, scored 15 goals and allowed just three in the postseason.

The Rangers won their first five games, all by shutout, then, after losses to Falmouth and Leavitt-Edward Little (in overtime) in a three-game span, ran off seven victories in a row, but just when it appeared Greely would be in line for the top seed, it lost to Leavitt-EL, Falmouth and York in succession before barely surviving Portland by a goal in the finale. The Rangers settled for the No. 2 seed in the East Region for the playoffs, then roared to life.

In the semifinals, Greely avenged two regular season losses with a 1-0 win over Leavitt-EL, as Seymour made 13 saves and Howland scored the game’s lone goal early in the third period. The Rangers drew top-ranked Brunswick in the regional final and had no trouble advancing, 7-2, as the offense came to life. Kurland scored three goals, Copenhagen added a pair, Andrews and Hodgkins had one goal apiece and Seymour made 22 saves. In the state final, as was the case in the semifinals, Greely drew an opponent, Falmouth, which had beaten it twice (by 4-1 scores) in the regular season, but the Rangers weren’t going to be denied, winning with surprising ease, 7-1. Copenhagen, Howland and Kurland paced the offense with two goals apiece (Hodgkins also scored, while Tuller returned to action and had a pair of assists and Finlay came back and had an assist as well). Seymour brought the curtain down on her amazing postseason by stopping 28 shots. The Rangers were champions for the first time. It wouldn’t be the last.

Coach Nate Guerin: “We went through some ups and downs, realized what was important. Once they jelled together, they were just unstoppable. They came together and just worked so hard. We have a lot of heart and drive. Emma made some big-time saves for us. She stopped all the shots she should have and probably a few that should have gone in. With her, we have a chance to win, which is nice.”

2012-13 Scarborough Red Storm, 18-2-1, state runner-up

Scarborough was one goal away from being much higher on this list. The Red Storm, led by Alyssa Hulst (daughter of former Portland Pirates great Kent Hulst), as well as Brennan Kent, Sarah Martens, Kristen Murray, Rachael Wallace and goalie Devan Kane, were battle-tested by several tough regular season contests, but couldn’t find a way to put the puck in the net when it mattered most.

Scarborough won its first seven contests by a composite 39-1 score, then battled defending champion Greely to a 2-2 tie (Hulst and Murray had the goals and Kane made 36 saves). After a 9-1 win over Cape Elizabeth, the Red Storm had consecutive overtime games (a loss to York and a win over Leavitt-Edward Little), then closed with seven straight victories (by a composite 36-3 margin) to wind up 16-1-1 and first in the West Region.

Scarborough earned a bye into the regional semifinals, then dispatched Cheverus, 6-1, as Murray scored four times. In the regional final, the Red Storm got pushed to the wire, but survived York, 1-0, on Martens’ goal and 13 saves from Kane. In the state final, Greely was looking to repeat and Scarborough had every intention of denying the Rangers, but despite Kane’s game for the ages (39 saves), it never could put the puck in the net and in overtime, Greely broke through, beating the Red Storm, 1-0, and for one year at least, keeping them from the pinnacle.

Coach Caitlin Cashman: “Both teams really wanted it and both teams knew what was at stake. We did a lot of good things during the game, but I think if we were a little more settled down, we would have had more opportunities offensively. These girls did a really nice job taking it one game at a time. Everyone had a role on this team. We’re hoping next season will be just as successful as this season and maybe end with a state title.”

2015-16 Scarborough Red Storm, 18-2-1, state runner-up

Another Red Storm near miss. Scarborough got back to the state final behind standout Sami Shoebottom and the likes of Lucy Bogdanovich, Courtney Brochu, Lily Nygren, Madison O’Reilly and Lauren Topchik, but again, fell one goal short on the big stage.

The Red Storm started the year with a 3-3 tie versus Falmouth, then ran off 15 consecutive victories, with just two by a goal (over Cheverus in regulation and over Falmouth in overtime). Scarborough finally met its match at Greely, falling, 8-3, but the Red Storm closed with a 6-0 win at Biddeford and earned the top seed for the South Region tournament.

After earning a bye into the semifinals, Scarborough got tested by York, but Shoebottom’s hat trick was more than enough in a 3-0 victory. Falmouth awaited in the regional final and again, the Red Storm won by three goals, this time, 5-2, as Shoebottom produced another hat trick, with all three goals coming in the third period. St. Dom’s was the final obstacle and while Shoebottom scored early and goalie McKenzie Cormier was terrific (23 saves), Scarborough didn’t score again and the Saints scored twice in the third period to win, 2-1, and leave the Red Storm crestfallen.

Coach Caitlin D’Amour: “The girls worked hard and that’s my biggest thing. They hustled and were competitive and played aggressive. I’m really proud they went for it. We played hard and tough. Losing by a goal is always tough, but hopefully this gives us the push for next season. We’ll build off it. We lost three years ago by one goal (and then won the next year).”

2017-18 Cheverus Stags, 19-2, state runner-up

For most of the season, Cheverus appeared en route to a coronation, but the Stags couldn’t match Greely in the biggest game of the season and fell just short of a championship. Cheverus, which featured standouts like Abby Lamontagne, Zoe Mazur, Emma McCauley, Sarah Noyes, the Pompeo sisters, Lucia and Sophia, Caitlin Wolff, Hannah Woodford and goalie Anna Smith, would learn from its close call and win the elusive title the following winter.

The Stags won their first five games by a combined 40-5 margin, then really made a statement with a 1-0 win over defending champion St. Dom’s, snapping the Saints’ 29-game win streak in the process (McCauley had the only goal and Smith stopped 11 shots). Cheverus suffered its only regular season loss on New Year’s Day, 4-3, in overtime, to Portland/Deering, then closed on a 10-game surge, with only a 4-3 overtime win at Lewiston serving as a serious test. The Stags finished 17-1, the second-best record in program history, and entered the playoffs as the top seed in the South Region.

Cheverus continued its dominance in its first two postseason outings, first blanking Scarborough, 4-0, in the semifinals (Lamontagne had a hat trick and Sophia Pompeo also scored), then pulling away to down Portland/Deering, 8-2, in the regional final (behind two goals apiece from Lamontagne, McCauley and Lucia Pompeo and once apiece from Olivia Adams and Noyes). Greely, which won the North Region in dramatic fashion, awaited in the state game and suddenly, the Stags’ offense went cold. Cheverus managed just one goal, from Sophie Pompeo, while Rangers’ standout Courtney Sullivan produced a hat trick and the title the Stags so fervently sought went to Greely instead, 3-1. Suffice it say that Cheverus used that loss as fuel the following season.

Coach Scott Rousseau: “It was a great state playoff game that unfortunately didn’t go our way, but I’m proud of how my girls competed. We talked about staying composed. We got goals from a lot of different players and that was important for us. It’s easy to talk about our offense because that’s what people tend to see, but I think the real core of our team is great team defense.”

The Super Six

6) 2015-16 Greely Rangers, 19-1, North region runner-up

Another team that appeared to have a date with championship destiny that couldn’t quite finish the job, but for 19 games, the Rangers simply had no equal. Greely, led by standouts Danita Storey and Courtney Sullivan, along with Emilee McGillicuddy, Erin Molloy, Jayme Morrison, Bridget Roberts, Kylie Rogers, Ellie Schad, Maura Verrill and goalie Veronica Todd, ultimately would have its heart broken by the eventual champion one step from the state final.

The Rangers set the tone by opening with decisive wins over Biddeford (9-0), Brunswick (8-1), Winslow (11-0) and Mt. Ararat (8-0). Greely was then tested twice by Leavitt/Edward Little (but responded, 5-2, and 3-1) and Lewiston (a 3-1 victory) before crushing Winslow (7-1) and Cape Elizabeth (12-0, behind goals from nine different players). After blanking Falmouth in the New Year’s Day “Dudley Cup,” 3-0, the Rangers were pushed hard by St. Dom’s, but prevailed, 2-1, behind goals from Roberts and Verrill and 25 saves from Todd). Greely didn’t win by fewer than three goals the rest of the way and capped its first-ever 18-0 regular season with a surprisingly emphatic 8-3 victory over Scarborough, as Sullivan erupted for five goals. The Rangers would be the top seed for the North Region playoffs, but wouldn’t be able to reach the state final.

After earning a bye into the semifinals, Greely registered its final victory, a 5-1 win over Leavitt/Edward Little (McGillicuddy, Roberts, Schad, Storey and Sullivan all tickled the twine). The Rangers then met St. Dom’s in what proved to be an epic and heartbreaking regional final. Storey had two first period goals and things were looking good, but the Saints rallied to go on top, 3-2. Schad tied it, then St. Dom’s went on top again, but McGillicuddy scored (after Todd was pulled for an extra skater) with 43 seconds remaining. Just when overtime appeared imminent, however, the Saints won in shocking fashion, on a goal with 3.7 seconds left and just like that Greely’s quest for perfection was dashed, 5-4. There would be another title in the Rangers’ future, however.

Coach Nate Guerin: “The girls put in a ton of hard work for the season only to come up a goal short to the eventual state champion in a shoot-out of a game. The girls did everything that we asked of them and unfortunately ended up on the losing side of the scoreboard. We couldn’t be more proud of the effort they put into the season. Winning games is great, but ultimately we hope to help these young women have an experience that makes them love their teammates and love the game of the hockey for the rest of their lives. If we moved closer to that, the season will have been a success.”

5) 2012-13 Greely Rangers, 18-2-1, state champion

The first team to repeat during the MPA era. The championship didn’t come easily, but the Rangers got the biggest goal in their history when it mattered most. Greely, which replaced standout goalie Emma Seymour with untested sophomore Maura Perry, was paced offensively by Etta Copenhagen, Meg Finlay, Sarah Kurland, Mary Morrison (remember her name), Paige Tuller and Maura Verrill, and had to scratch and claw for a second championship, but was up for the challenge.

The Rangers struggled early, losing two of their first six games, but closed on an 11-0-1 surge, settling for a 2-2 tie versus Scarborough and winning the other 11 contests by a composite 77-11 margin. Greely’s 15-2-1 mark was good for the top seed in the North Region.

The Rangers earned a bye into the semifinals, then eliminated Brunswick, 5-1, as Finlay, Kurland, Morrison, Tuller and Verrill all scored. In the regional final, Greely blanked Leavitt-Edward Little, 3-0, behind goals from Copenhagen, Kurland and Tuller. Scarborough awaited in the state final and three periods didn’t produce a single goal. The championship would be decided in overtime, where Morrison etched her name into lore, scoring (from Kurland) on a wrister through traffic at 3:44 of the extra session, giving the Rangers the 1-0 victory and back-to-back honors.

Coach Nate Guerin: “We got the one goal and that’s what we needed. (Experience) is huge for us with eight seniors having been here before. 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. We run the same system all the time and the girls know it comes down to work ethic. They work so hard. It’s just a matter of being relentless.”

4) 2018-19 Cheverus Stags, 18-2-1, state champion

These Stags finished the job from the year before, when a dominant Cheverus squad was upset by Greely in the state final. The Stags, featuring top scorers Madison Courtois, Abby Lamontagne, Terryn MacDonald, Zoe Mazur, Sarah Noyes, Lucia Pompeo, Sophia Pompeo and Hannah Woodford and solid goalkeeping from Trinity Atwater, weren’t as prolific as the year before, but despite being taken to the wire three consecutive times in the postseason, wound up the last team standing.

Cheverus won its first six games, including a palate-cleansing 11-2 win at Greely, before falling, 3-2, to powerhouse Lewiston. The Stags would lose again to the Blue Devils (1-0) and settled for a 2-2 tie at St. Dom’s in the finale, but won every other contest and twice blanked a Scarborough squad (2-0 and 3-0) they were on a collision course to face in the playoffs. Cheverus’ 15-2-1 mark gave it the top seed for the South Region tournament, where the fun truly began.

After earning a bye into the semifinals, the Stags had to face Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, a team they had handled twice by a composite 10-4 margin. This time, nothing came easily for Cheverus, which couldn’t score a single goal in regulation or a in the first overtime, but thankfully for the Stags, Atwater (23 saves) and her defense stood tall, not surrendering a goal either. Finally, in the second OT, Lucia Pompeo scored for a 1-o victory. Scarborough then battled Cheverus for more than 45 minutes in a memorable regional final. This time, the Stags fell behind, 2-0, and had to rally. Lamontagne and Mazur scored third period goals to tie it, then Noyes played the hero in overtime, sending Cheverus back to the state game, where undefeated Lewiston awaited. The teams’ third meeting would be a charm for the Stags, as Lamontagne scored two goals and Atwater was exceptional between the pipes, making 31 saves, in a palpitating 2-1 victory. One year later than expected, Cheverus was back atop the girls’ hockey world.

Coach Scott Rousseau: “Things haven’t come easily, but in a strange twist of fate, I think it made us a better hockey team. We’ve had a lot of hard, close games. In the long run, we were more battle-tested. The girls stayed together. We hit some roadblocks, but there are a lot of ways to win hockey games. We found new ways to win. We were so offensive last year. We’re a different team this year. We can still win in other ways. I was very proud of the way the girls didn’t get flustered. ”

3) 2017-18 Greely Rangers, 19-3, state champion

The Rangers were’t expected to go all the way, but eventual Becky Schaffer Award winner Courtney Sullivan etched her name in program lore and thanks to her heroics, along with those of many others, including All-Stater Bridget Roberts, All-Region selections Camilla Lattanzi, Jayme Morrison and Leah Walker and goalie Jordyn Owens, Greely saved its best for last, avenged a pair of regular season losses and won its third and most recent championship.

The Rangers captured their first five games by a composite 37-5 margin, then fell at home to Lewiston, 3-2. After eight more victories (by a 58-8 margin), Greely struggled late in the year, losing decisively at Lewiston (6-1) and at home to St. Dom’s (7-5), despite a Sullivan hat trick and two goals from Dani Holt. At 15-3, the Rangers were only ranked third for the North Region playoffs, but they embraced the difficult road to the championship and went out and navigated it in memorable fashion.

Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland was up first in the quarterfinals and Greely rolled, 9-1, behind five goals from Sullivan and three from Molly Horton. In the semifinals, the Rangers served up their first dose of revenge, eliminating St. Dom’s by a surprisingly decisive 7-2 margin, as Sullivan scored two goals and added five assists, Roberts had two goals and two assists and Horton scored a pair of goals and produced an assist. The regional final versus Lewiston would be grueling, but the third time would prove to be the charm for revenge-minded Greely. Horton, Roberts and Madison Pelletier scored in regulation, but the Rangers couldn’t hold a 3-1 lead. The game would go to overtime and eventually to a second OT, where Walker scored the biggest goal of her life, giving Greely the 4-3 win and a ticket to the state final against a seemingly invincible Cheverus squad. After a scoreless first period, Sullivan scored in the second, but the Stags answered. Sullivan struck again in the third period and this time, Cheverus couldn’t respond. Sullivan added one more goal for the hat trick, Owens made 11 saves and the Rangers had the 3-1 victory and the championship.

Coach Nate Guerin: “We’ve really been knocking on the door for the past few seasons and the girls finally kind of kicked it in there. It’s just so fun to see their hard work pay off after three seasons of coming so close. Courtney’s unbelievable. She’s really skilled. She has reach, size and speed, but the intensity she plays with is beyond anyone else on the ice. She sees the puck and goes for it. She’s a unique player, an incredible athlete. I’m really glad she plays for us.”

2) 2009-10 Cheverus Stags, 21-0, state champion

One of two local teams to ever go 21-0 and win a championship, the Stags were unstoppable in the second year of MPA-sanctioned play. Cheverus, which featured a dominant goalie in Saundrine Lanouette (who surrendered only five goals all season), as well as potent scorers Alyssa Audet, Grace Fitzpatrick, Emily Sawchuck and Sage Witham and all-stars Sarah LaQuerre and Caitlin Pleau, appeared title-bound from the get-go and didn’t disappoint.

The Stags set the tone by blanking Cape Elizabeth (8-0) and Greely (7-0) and never looked back. They only played in one one-goal game, surviving Scarborough (2-1) and on two other occasions only won by two goals (3-1 at Scarborough and 4-2 over York). All in all, in going 18-0 during the regular season, Cheverus outscored the opposition, 112-10, and blanked 10 foes.

As the top seed in the West Region, the Stags earned a bye into the semifinals where they shut down York, 7-1, as  Audet, Katie Roy and Sawchuck all had two goals, helping Cheverus rally from its first deficit of the season. Next up was Falmouth in the regional final and while the Stags were held in check (just one goal in the first two periods), they added a pair in the third period for a 3-0 win (Fitzpatrick, Witham and Pleau found the net, while Lanouette stopped 18 shots for the shutout). Cheverus’ final step to the pinnacle was a doozy, having to beat defending champion Lewiston in Lewiston and it didn’t come without some anxious moments. The contest was scoreless until 3:36 remained, when Audet broke through with a rebound goal. Brianna Amato provided some breathing room and Sawchuck’s empty netter clinched it and Lanouette’s 18 saves played a huge part as well in the 3-0 victory. This team was simply perfect.

Coach J.P. Lavoie: “Our kids stepped it up when they needed to. The captains really stepped up and kept the players going. We were trying not to feel the pressure, but everyone was out to get us. We had to play through that. We just had to play our game and we knew things will take care of themselves.”

1) 2013-14 Scarborough Red Storm, 21-0, state champion

After so many close calls, the Red Storm became the Perfect Storm and the Championship Storm. Scarborough, which got the most votes in our Twitter poll, featured freshman standout Sami Shoebottom, key offensive contributors Lizzy Gross, Alyssa Hulst and Kristen Murray, all-stars Riley McKeown, Lily Nygren and Rachael Wallace and stellar goalie Devan Kane and simply wouldn’t be denied its date with destiny. Perfection in an age of several top teams allows the Red Storm to stand alone.

After losing a gutwrenching overtime state final to Greely the year before, Scarborough opened with a 6-0 win at York and never looked back. The Red Storm would be tested by Leavitt/Edward Little (2-1) and Lewiston (2-0), but they won every other game by at least three goals, twice blanked Greely (3-0 and 8-0) and outscored the opposition, 109 -10. After going 18-0 for the only time in program history, Scarborough earned the top seed for the West Region tournament and went out and won the program’s first and to date, lone title.

After earning a bye into the semifinals, the Red Storm met Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete and dominated, 11-1, as Hulst had four goals, Gross added three and Shoebottom finished with a pair. Falmouth was next and again Scarborough was unrelenting, rolling to a 7-0 victory behind Shoebottom’s four goals, two goals from Gross and another from Hulst. The Red Storm had to play Lewiston in Lewiston to earn their crown and they passed the test. This time, it would be Gross playing the hero, as she scored all three goals. Kane stopped 20 shots in her swan song and Scarborough had the win, 3-1, and the championship. What a juggernaut this was.

Coach Caitlin Cashman: “I feel so good for our seniors. They’ve been through a lot of heartbreak. It took us five years to get a state championship and this journey has been long and at times sad and painful. These girls have worked so hard to finally hold up the championship plaque. I think winning states has given this program hope in that no matter what the outcome was the season before, you can change that with hard work, humility and a competitive attitude. These girls had the work ethic and the drive and I think they don’t get enough credit for that.”

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

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