BREWER, Maine — It was a memorable night for high school girls ice hockey in the Bangor area.
The Penobscot Pioneers, a cooperative team composed of players from seven Bangor-area high schools, made an impressive debut by beating the Greely-Gray-New Gloucester Rangers 12-0 at the Penobscot Ice Arena.
It took the Pioneers just 1:57 to score their first ever goal off the stick of freshman defenseman Bella Saucier from Hampden Academy, the first of nine in the first period.
The Pioneers held the Rangers without a shot on goal over the 45 minutes as they completely overwhelmed their visitors.
Saucier is the first player to ever score a goal for the Pioneers.
“It’s a dream come true. It was a great day for our team. We definitely all worked very well together,” Saucier added.
Junior center Meghan Delahanty from Hampden Academy fed her a pass and Saucier, positioned at the right point, wristed it through a crowd of players past Greely goalie Maddie Singer.
That was the first of three goals in a span of 29 seconds.
Two more Hampden Academy players teamed up on the next goal just 11 seconds later as freshman defenseman Tatum Cousins passed to sophomore Paige Oakes, who snapped a short wrister past Singer’s blocker side.
Delahanty made it 3-0 18 seconds later when she shoveled home a rebound with linemates Oakes and Orono junior Kaylin Morrison assisting.
Delahanty led the Pioneers with two goals and three assists. Oakes finished with two goals and two assists and Hermon sophomore left winger Delaney Carr notched four assists.
Bangor center Emma McNeil, the only senior on the team and the captain, had a pair of goals and an assist.
Morrison, Saucier, Hampden Academy freshman center Jessica Sass, Brewer sophomore right wing Jordin Williams, John Bapst of Bangor freshman left wing Erin Pierce each contributed a goal and an assist.
Orono junior defenseman Anna Molloy had the other goal.
Orono freshman goalie Abbie Derosier didn’t have to make a save while Greely’s Singer finished with 18.
The Pioneers showed a lot of sportsmanship in the second and third periods, electing to pass the puck rather than shoot it. They took just four shots in the second period and none in the third.
“We got off to a quick start with all those goals and that really got the team going,” said Delahanty, who was surprised at how large the crowd was.
“It was a lot better than any of us expected,” said Delahanty. “We loved the support. It meant a lot to us.”
McNeil said being the first captain of the new team and winning the opener was “very rewarding.”
“They have a great new program. I’m looking forward to seeing how they evolve,” said Greely assistant coach Emily Falvey.
Falvey and head coach Meg Finlay are in their first seasons guiding a Greely program that went 3-12 a year ago.
However, former Greely teams own three state championships in the 13 years of girls high school hockey in the state.
“We had a game plan that we were going to get the puck in deep and we wanted to get shots on their goalie,” said Penobscot coach Michael Keim. “We had a lot of bounces go our way. Everybody put in a complete effort.”
Pivotal players: Defensemen Molloy and Saucier are exceptional skaters and controlled the play.
Takeaway: This is not your ordinary first-year program. A healthy portion of these players have played a lot of hockey either on boys high school teams or coming up through the youth programs like the Maine Inferno. There is a lot of talent on this team. They could finish in the top four in Class A North.
Up next: The Pioneers will play their first road game against Gorham next Saturday.