CAPE ELIZABETH—The Rams and the Capers traded blows through the first half of their tournament semifinal on Saturday afternoon, June 9, Chris Tucker kicking in two for Gorham en route to a 3-3 deadlock at the break. Cape logged a huge third quarter, though – the team added six in the stretch, including three consecutive by Jake Brydson – to pull away; they would win in the end 12-4.
In a skin-of-your-teeth matchup, the slightest misstep can be costly. “We lost our composure a little bit,” Gorham head coach Clayton Jones said, asked what went haywire for his boys in the third. “We’ve had trouble putting four quarters together all season. That was our downfall.”
“We started doing things on defense that we don’t normally do, that we shouldn’t do,” Jones said. “That got [Cape] some goals.”
“Third quarter we played really well,” Cape head coach Ben Raymond said. “Kids moved the ball, looked to make the extra pass, and then we shot well. We had good opportunities in the first half as well, we just didn’t finish.”
The sides wrestled for control of the scoreboard for the first 24 minutes: Tucker hashed a pair, with one by Dom Lorello stuck in between, but all the while, Cape was tallying too. Tate Perkins, Phillip Tarling and Archie McEvoy notched one apiece for the home team, setting up a nervewracking intermission.
“The first half was one goal for each team, just alternating back and forth,” Jones said. “It was 3-3; there wasn’t a lot of scoring, but we did the things we needed to do. We were talking on defense, communicating well, sliding. On offense, we moved the ball, we were patient.”
The tension completely unraveled in the third. Cape won the initial faceoff and quickly settled into an attacking pattern; the Capers poked and prodded at the Rams’ defense, and soon tested second-half Gorham goalie Guiseppe Brown multiple times.
The Rams stood stalwart for several minutes, but even the toughest squads will collapse under constant pressure, and Cape finally converted with 8:52 on the clock. Ben Carroll did the honors, ticking the scoreboard ahead to 4-3 – and, evidently, seizing the momentum for his boys, because they followed his strike with six more.
Tarling made it 5-3; Brydson 6-3, 7-3 and 8-3. Tarling then picked up another – he finished with five on the day – with mere seconds remaining in the third.
“We definitely were a little bit more relaxed in the second half,” Raymond said, asked if his boys found a certain composure during the break. “But we still had plenty of opportunities in the first half; they just weren’t going in. Maybe they were a little tight, shooting.”
The Rams managed to stanch the bleeding in the downhill quarter. Gorham gave up just two more before the final buzzer – one each to Killiam Lathrope and Tarling – while also adding one of their own, thanks to Connor Dougherty.
Gorham concludes their 2018 at 6-8. The Rams went 5-7 through the regular season to sneak into the bracketing ranked sixth in A South; they upended three-seed Massabesic 14-9 in the quarters to meet No. 2 Cape.
For their part, the Capers jump to 10-3. They travel to No. 1 Thornton for the Regional Championship on Wednesday the 13th.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Caper Jack Glanville and Ram Adam McKenney battle for a faceoff.
Caper Sam Dresser and Ram Will Dipietrantonio clash.
Tate Perkins contributed to the Capers’ 12 goals on Saturday.
Caper Phillip Tarling – who finished with five goals – scoots around the attacking perimeter; Gorhamite Jake Benson defends.