Scarborough girls’ hockey coach Taylor Fowler writes on a white board while her team looks on during practice at Cross Insurance Arena in December. Fowler says of the upcoming playoffs in the South region: “Every team has their strengths and weaknesses. It all comes down to who shows up and what team kind of wants it more.” Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The girls’ ice hockey playoffs start Wednesday with quarterfinal games in the North and South region.

And, particularly in the South, it’s crowded at the top of the seedings.

No. 1 Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, No. 2 Cheverus/Old Orchard Beach/Kennebunk/Windham and No. 3 Scarborough have taken turns in first – and beating each other.

“The three of us are dead even,” said Cheverus Coach Scott Rousseau. “We kind of all beat each other twice. For some reason we had Scarborough’s number, and Cape beat us twice, and Scarborough tied and beat Cape.”

“Every team has their strengths and weaknesses. It all comes down to who shows up and what team kind of wants it more,” said Scarborough Coach Taylor Fowler.

Before those teams can resume their battles, they have to get through Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

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Scarborough (9-5-1), which also has beaten North No. 1 Lewiston, faces No. 6 Biddeford/Thornton/Wells/Sanford at the University of Southern Maine at 6:10 p.m.

At Troubh Ice Arena, the Cheverus co-operative (12-4-1) will  No. 7 Gorham/Bonny Eagle/Massabesic/Westbrook/Fryeburg (5-10) at 4 p.m. Then the Cape Elizabeth co-op team (11-2-2) will host No. 8 Portland/Deering (2-15) at 6 p.m.

Cape Elizabeth, which won the South in 2020 (the last time a tournament was held), is a very young team. The Capers have eight freshmen, including top scorer and center Marina Bassett and her linemates, Libby Hooper and Catie Lee.

Cape Elizabeth/South Portland/Waynflete players celebrate after Marina Bassett scored the winning goal in overtime in a Feb. 2 game against Lewiston at Troubh Ice Arena in Portland. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“They’re very, very good hockey players and they complement each other very well,” said Cape Coach Bob Mills. “They work well as a unit. They move the puck.”

Junior Delaney Whitten is the “anchor” of Cape’s defense that includes seniors Katharine Blackburn and Sofia Cook, two holdovers from the 2020 regional championship team. Freshman Vivienne Cook, who was getting time as a backup goalie earlier in the season, is now helping the defense stay fresh, with junior Abbey Steinhagen the starter in the net.

Cheverus, the 2019 state champions, has one of the largest rosters in the state, with 20 players, but Rousseau said that’s deceiving.

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“We’ll play nine or 10. The truth is, all the top teams only play between 9 and 11 players,” Rousseau said.

Senior captain Olivia Bradford is a key scoring threat for Cheverus but, like Cape, many of the top players are younger. Sophomore Charlotte Miller and freshman Lucy Johnson are the two centers. Sophomore Mikayla Talbot, who is back from a preseason broken wrist, is a key scorer. Sophomores Ella Lemieux (in goal), Brynn Kenney and Lily Johnson lead a defense that is allowing 1.47 goals per game.

Scarborough, with 11 skaters plus two goalies, is dominated by a senior class of nine that includes top scoring threats Evelyn Boardman (19 goals, 4 assists), Meagan Donovan (11 goals, 11 assists) and Caylnn Gendreau (11 goals, 4 assists), goalie Ariella “A.J.” Swett and its three defenders.

Falmouth’s Elizabeth Brown, left, battles for position with Lucy Johnson of Cheverus/Old Orchard Beach/Kennebunk/Windham during a Jan. 5 game. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

In the other South quarterfinal, No. 5 York/Traip/Marshwood/Noble (5-8-2) visits No. 4 Falmouth (8-5-1) at Family Ice Center in Falmouth, at 8 p.m.

Falmouth won both meetings this season, 4-2 in December and 3-0 at home on Jan. 3. But the York co-operative has played well down the stretch for Coach Sadie Wright-Ward, a former standout player at the University of New Hampshire. York won three of its last five games, including beating Scarborough, 3-2.

“I think that York-Falmouth game will be very competitive,” Rousseau predicted. “We beat them 2-1 with a goal with 14 seconds to go and then about a week later they beat Scarborough. They have a fantastic goalie named Katie Brower that I don’t think anyone wants to see.”

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IN THE NORTH, No. 1 Lewiston (14-2) receives a bye. No. 8 Greely, which finished 3-13, is the only team among the state’s 16 programs not participating in the tournament.

Lewiston, the reigning girls’ hockey champions, appears to be a clear cut above in the North. The Blue Devils’ six toughest games have come against the top three teams in the South. Lewiston split two-game series with Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth and twice beat Cheverus by a goal. Against teams in the North, Lewiston has a 10-0 record and an 80-9 scoring margin.

Two of Wednesday’s quarterfinals in the North are at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. No. 7 Brunswick (3-12) meets No. 2 Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland (9-5-2) at 6:10 p.m., followed by No. 6 Yarmouth/Freeport (6-8) against No. 3 Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Lincoln Academy (13-3-1) at 7:50 p.m.

No. 5 St. Dominic/Winthrop/Gray-NG/Monmouth (5-9) faces No. 4 Winslow/Gardiner/Cony/Lawrence/Messalonskee/Brewer (7-7) in a 7:30 p.m. game at Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell.

The Yarmouth-Mt. Ararat game has the potential to be closer than the teams’ records would indicate. In the regular season, Mt. Ararat edged Yarmouth/Freeport, 3-2. And, Yarmouth has wins against both No. 4 Winslow and No. 5 St. Dominic.

Semifinals in the North and South are scheduled for Saturday, at the higher seeds’ home ice. The North and South finals will be held Wednesday, Feb. 16, at Troubh Ice Arena with 5 and 7 p.m. start times. The state championship game will be at Troubh at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19.


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