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

The Penobscot Pioneers’ terrific inaugural season came to an end on Wednesday night.

The schoolgirl hockey team comprised of players from seven Bangor-area schools surrendered a pair of first-period goals to Yarmouth-Freeport’s Celia Zinman and Adelaide Strout and the top-seeded Clippers added an empty-net goal by Sadie Carnes with six seconds left to edge the Pioneers 3-1 in the Class A North championship game at the Troubh Ice Arena in Portland.

Hampden Academy’s Paige Oakes scored a second-period goal for the Pioneers with fellow Bronco Bella Saucier picking up the assist.

Yarmouth-Freeport, now 17-2-1, will play in Saturday’s 3 p.m. state championship game against the winner of the A South title game between Cheverus/Old Orchard Beach/Kenneunk/Windham and Gorham/Bonny Eagle/Massabesic/Westbrook/Fryeburg/Lake Region.

The Pioneers — with players from Bangor, Brewer, John Bapst of Bangor, Hampden Academy,  Hermon, Old Town and Orono — had its 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1) snapped and wound up an impressive 15-4-1 on the season.

Yarmouth-Freeport and Penobscot played twice during the regular season with Yarmouth-Freeport winning 2-1 and the teams skating to a 4-4 tie.

Penobscot was without third-leading scorer Megan Delhanty, who suffered a leg injury in practice on Tuesday. She had 17 goals and 16 assists.

Ava Gervais made 22 saves for the Clippers while freshman Abbie Derosier made 18 stops for the Pioneers.

Penobscot interim head coach Jarrod Williams said he felt the loss of Delahanty and the magnitude of the game were factors in his team getting off to a slow start in the first period.

“None of these girls had ever played in a high school championship game. So they came out a little tight,” Williams said.

“But we recovered and outskated them the next period and a half until we ran out of gas,” added Willams, whose team outshot the Clippers 12-2 in the second period. “Our girls skated their tails off.”

Williams said the Clippers “must have blocked 15 to 20 shots” and they also did a nice job “clogging up the middle of the ice.”

He also noted that Gervais played well in goal.

“We had our chances. She’s a really good goalie,” Williams said.

Ziman opened the scoring at the 5:03 mark of the first period as she scored her eighth goal of the season off an assist from Carnes.

Strout scored her 12th with just 1:09 left off an assist from Rosie Penenka.

The Clippers outshot Penobscot 7-4 in the first period and 12-7 in the third.

Oakes scored her 16th at the 8:25 mark of the middle period but the Pioneers couldn’t put another one past Gervais.

Carnes’ empty-net goal was unassisted. It was her 15th on the campaign.

Williams said he “couldn’t have been any prouder” of the team and is looking forward to next season since captain Emma McNeil was the team’s only senior.