The first Bangor-area girl's ice hockey varsity  team will begin playing in the 2022-2023 season. The Penobscot Pioneers, who will be based out of the Penobscot Ice Arena in Brewer, is a coop team with players from Bangor, Brewer, Hampden Academy, Hermon, John Bapst, Old Town and Orono High Schools. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

BREWER, Maine — It has been a year of firsts for the Penobscot Pioneers schoolgirl ice hockey team.

The Pioneers, comprised of players from seven Bangor area schools, won 14 regular season games in their first year of existence and picked up a win in their first playoff game on Friday night as they upended the Winslow cooperative team 6-3 at the Penobscot Ice Arena in Brewer in a Class A North semifinal.

The second-seeded Pioneers — now 15-3-1 and unbeaten in their last 13 games (12-0-1) including their current nine-game winning streak — will face the winner of Saturday night’s semifinal between top seed Yarmouth-Freeport (15-2-1) and No. 4 Brunswick (12-7) in Wednesday’s A North title game at Troubh Arena in Portland.

Game time will be 5 or 7 p.m.

Third seed Winslow/Gardiner/Cony/Messalonskee/Lawrence/Erskine Academy/Maranacook/Mt. Blue ended its season 14-6 with three losses coming to the Pioneers.

Penobscot outshot the Black Tigers 63-23.

The Pioneers — who have players from Hampden Academy, Bangor, Brewer, John Bapst, Hermon, Orono and Old Town — were paced by sophomore center Jordin Williams, junior center Meghan Delahanty and senior left wing Emma McNeil.

Brewer’s Williams, who played for the Winslow co-op team a year ago, had a pair of goals and two assists while junior center Delahanty from Hampden Academy and left wing McNeil from Bangor had a goal and two assists apiece.

McNeil is the team’s only senior.

Junior defenseman Anna Molloy from Orono and sophomore right wing Paige Oakes from Hampden had the other goals. Orono freshman Abbie Derosier finished with 20 saves.

Freshman phenom Katie Berard, a center, had two goals for the Black Tigers, her 39th and 40th of the season, and Abby Allen had the other. Senior goalie Emma Michaud finished with 57 saves in a stellar performance.

“We played really well. This was the best game we’ve played all year,” said Williams, whose goals were her 29th and 30th.

“The girls skated their tails off from the beginning of the game until the end of the game,” said Jarrod Williams, Jordin’s father and the interim head coach. “We knew what it would take against such a talented team, which has one of the best goalies in the state. But we have one of the other.”

Penobscot head coach Michael Keim stepped down at the end of the regular season, according to Brewer Athletic Director Dave Utterback. No reason was given for his departure.

The Pioneers had two one-goal leads only to have Berard score a pair of equalizers.

But Penobscot took the lead for good on goals 32 seconds apart over the final 1:20 of the second period by Molloy (7th of the season) and Jordin Williams.

In the waning seconds of a power play, Molloy raced down the ice, split a pair of defensemen and beat Michaud with a 15-foot wrister past the goalie’s glove.

“Their defensemen weren’t gapped up so I saw my opportunity and went with it,” said the swift-skating Molloy. “I was surprised I scored over her glove. She has a real good glove hand.”

The dynamic Williams also scored on a break-in but she scored to the blocker side.

Penobscot made it 5-2 at 1:12 into the third period when Williams fed Delahanty for an easy tap-in. It was Delahanty’s 17th of the season.

Derosier then made an important left pad save on Berard’s breakaway.

“That was a key save. That was a tremendous save,” said Winslow co-op coach Bill Boardman.

“The momentum could have changed if she didn’t stop that,” said Jarrod Williams.

Derosier said she remembered how Berard scored on her the first time and used that knowledge to make the save.

“We’re making history,” Derosier said with a smile.

The Pioneers killed off a 5-on-3 but the Black Tigers made it interesting when Allen scored her third of the season on a 3-on-1 with 2:57 remaining.

Oakes sewed up the win with an empty-netter, her 15th of the season.

Williams opened the scoring 1:38 into the game by stuffing the puck between Michaud’s pads. Berard answered off a break-in down the right wing late in the period.

McNeil finished a perfect feed from Williams on the power play 4:42 into the second period for her team-leading 31st goal but Berard answered off a breakaway to tie it again.

“The girls battled throughout the game. They never gave up,” Boardman said.