Cape Elizabeth boys' hockey rallies for stirring win

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PORTLAND—A comeback, a blown lead and a last-second game winner.

Chris Grennon scored with five seconds left in overtime as Cape Elizabeth defeated Kennebunk in a roller-coaster boys’ hockey matchup Saturday at Portland Ice Arena.

Grennon knocked home Vinny Dell’Aquila’s rebound.

“I just poked it in,” Grennon said. “It was really Vinny that did all the work. I just put it away.”

Dell’Aquila came off the boards through the crease for the shot. Kennebunk goalie Jordan Kadlik sprawled to make the initial save but couldn’t recover in time to save Grennon’s game-winning goal.

“It was just getting the puck to the front of the net and start swinging at it,” Cape Elizabeth coach Bill Leblond said.

Cape Elizabeth broke a 2-2 tie 5:39 into the third period. Nick Breed cut through the slot, scoring with a low shot that found Kadlik’s five-hole.

Kennebunk wasn’t done though. A power play put the Rams on the offensive and Ned Richard made it count, re-tying the score at three apiece with 5:44 left in regulation.

Cape Elizabeth goalie Kirby Saari made sure the game reached overtime, making multiple tough saves late in the third period. Skating a man up with 1:50 remaining, the Capers turned the puck over on their blue line, allowing D.J. Robinson to skate free at Saari. The junior goalie stood tall, saving the point-blank shot to keep the score tied. It would have been the Rams third shorthanded goal of the game.

“We wouldn’t have gotten into overtime if it wasn’t for (Saari),” Leblond said. “Each game we award a helmet to the No. 1 player. It was either him or the guy who got the winning goal. We figured it had to be the goalie.”

Cape Elizabeth was forced to kill a penalty the final 1:10 of regulation and early in the overtime. Saari had 28 saves on 31 shots, including 13 in the third period.

Early on, overtime didn’t look possible as Cape Elizabeth fell behind, 2-0, in the first period. Robinson scored unassisted 4:10 into the game and Kurt Oakman put Kennebunk up by a pair six minutes later. Both goals were shorthanded.

“Sometimes when you go on a power play you think its time to rest and relax,” Leblond said. “That is one thing we learned today. It’s a complete opposite. You have to turn it up and go for the jugular.”

Donald Clark kept the period from being a total disaster, scoring unassisted with 3:02 remaining to put the Capers back within one.

“We weren’t very happy after the first period,” Leblond said. “I left it up to the captains to get team ready (for the second period). They did come through a bit.”

Cape Elizabeth evened the score at two on a power-play goal with 10 seconds remaining in the second. Senior defenseman Wilson Laprade shot from the point. Kadlik made the save but Brandon Negele was camped on the post and there to knock in the rebound.

After losing its first three games of the season, Cape Elizabeth has won seven of its last eight games, the only blemish being a 5-3 loss to York last week.

The Capers (third behind Greely and York in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) are back in action Monday against Winslow and host Leavitt Thursday. They’ll faceoff against archrival Greely a week from Tuesday.

Cape Elizabeth senior Drew Grennon tries to work the puck around a Kennebunk defender during the Capers’ come-from-behind win Saturday.

Cape Elizabeth junior Austin Shields presents an imposing figure as he races up-ice.

Cape Elizabeth senior Vinnie Dell’Aquila works the puck along the boards while getting pressured by a Kennebunk defender.

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Cape Elizabeth junior Nick Breed swoops around the Kennebunk net and tries to tuck home a goal during the Capers’ 4-3 overtime win over Kennebunk Saturday.

More photos below.