On their way to their locker rooms between the second and third periods Saturday, Gorham co-op coach Mary Vaughan and Portland co-op coach Bob Mills stopped and spoke for a moment. The South regional girls’ hockey semifinal was going exactly as they expected it would.

“We said it’s kind of playing out the way it was advertised. No. 2 and No. 3 (seeds) going at it,” Vaughan said.

Third-seeded Portland tied the game at 2-2 midway through the third, but second-seeded Gorham scored a pair of goals in a span of 1 minute and 38 seconds to break the deadlock on the way to a 5-2 victory at Troubh Ice Arena in Portland. The Rams advanced to the regional championship game for the second consecutive season.

“I think there was just as many nerves, because we made it last year,” said Gorham senior Emerson Homa, who scored the go-ahead goal at 9:02 of the third and added an empty-netter at 13:31 to seal the victory. “I feel like we were expected to go further, and hopefully we’re going to get there.”

Gorham (14-6) will face No. 1 Cheverus/Windham (16-1), the defending state champion, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Troubh Arena in a rematch of last year’s regional final. Portland, playing its first season as a co-op with Deering, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete, ends the season at 11-9.

The Rams led 2-1 after two periods. Portland tied the game at 8:00 of the third when Libby Hooper poked home the rebound of a Jane Flynn shot.


Just 1:02 later, though, Homa gave Gorham the lead for good, scoring on the rebound of her own shot. It was Homa’s 42nd goal of the season.

“We knew they were going to come out hard every single period, so we just had to match their energy,” Homa said.

At 10:40, Katelyn Cyr gave the Rams some breathing room. Cyr dumped in a high shot from the blue line, and the puck deflected off Portland goalie Erin Winship’s shoulder and in for a 4-2 Gorham lead.

The Beacons kept the pressure on Gorham’s defense throughout the third period, but Rams goalie Emily Beal was strong, making 13 of her 22 saves in the third. Beal said she and her teammates scouted the Beacons hard, learning from what Portland did in the regular season, when it split two one-goal games against Gorham.

“They’re usually shooting high. They like to shoot from the sides as well, because that’s where they got some goals on me in previous games. We scouted them. We made sure we knew what they were going to do, and this is the result of that,” Beal said. “I can’t do anything without my defense. They’re the most incredible group of girls I could ever play with.”

Portland took a 1-0 lead at 10:51 of the first period on a Flynn power-play goal. Gorham closed the first period on a long power play after Hooper was given a 5-minute major for boarding, and the Rams capitalized 1:15 into the second when Marissa Payne tied the game. They took the lead in the final minute of the second on Carlin Galligan’s goal at 14:44.

“We survived that 5-minute penalty. They got one power-play goal, and that’s better than two or three goals, but I think that took a little wind out of our sails,” Mills said. “I’m really proud of the way we played. I thought that game could’ve gone either way.”

Winship made 24 saves for the Beacons.

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