FALMOUTH—They had never done it.
Even the six seniors on the Cape Elizabeth boys hockey team had never defeated Greely—until Wednesday night at Family Ice Center.
Junior Nick Breed scored the game winner with 4:26 remaining in the third period as Cape Elizabeth toppled Greely, 4-3, in a back-and-forth battle between Western Class B rivals.
The result snapped the Capers’ eight-game losing streak to the Rangers, which included three overtime setbacks and playoff losses in 2008 and 2009. Cape Elizabeth last beat Greely on Dec. 12, 2007 (3-2).
Senior defenseman Wilson Laprade shot from the point. Greely goalie Matt Labbe made the initial save, but Breed pulled in the rebound and sent it in top shelf to the stick side.
“I’ve never beaten Greely,” Breed said. “They are the best Class B team in the state right now, so winning this game is a dream come true. It’s the biggest game we can win right now.”
Despite the upset, Greely remains squarely in first in the Western Class B Heal Point standings while Cape Elizabeth stays in third, cutting into its margin, but still trailing second-place York.
The Rangers jumped out to an early lead when Jordan Tarbox flailed at a loose puck while being knocked to the ice, sweeping it past Cape Elizabeth goalie Jake Rosenfield just 39 seconds into the contest.
Cape answered though when Breed stole the puck from a Greely defenseman and broke free towards Labbe.
“I pulled it stick side,” Breed said. “It got knocked away from me so I just kicked it back and knocked it in.”
Breed’s goal 3:49 into the first tied the score at one apiece.
Cape Elizabeth took its first lead 7:13 into the period when Labbe scored unassisted, but like its opposition, Greely had an answer. Sophomore defenseman Erik Rost shot on Rosenfield who made the save, but Tarbox was there to knock in the rebound to tie the score, 2-2. Rost and senior forward Deveyn Rogers were credited with assists.
Cape Elizabeth came inches from regaining the lead early in the second, but Drew Grennon’s breakaway wrister rang the far post.
The Rangers took their second lead of the game 4:47 into the second period when Junior Griffen Demick scored at the far post, deflecting Michael Tuller’s shot from atop the right circle, making the score 3-2.
And again the Capers answered. With 6:41 remaining in the period Brandon Negele scatted hard into the right corner. With a tough angle he slid a seeing-eye pass through the crease to Matt Ross who was charging hard at the far post to knock it in and re-knot the score, this time at three apiece.
In a game with seven goals, no team ever led by more than one. Both teams had leads on two separate occasions.
“Playing against Greely, the coaches didn’t need to do much,” head coach Bill Leblond said. “The players were fired up. There weren’t any emotional speeches necessary.”
Greely outshot Cape Elizabeth, 36-19. Rosenfield had 33 saves for the Capers while Labbe made 15.
Cape Elizabeth (10-4) has now won five in a row and 10 of its last 11, its only blemish a 5-3 loss to second-place York. The Capers play at Marshwood on Saturday and go to Westbrook Tuesday.
The loss was Greely’s first to a Class B opponent.
“I thought we got off to a good start and played fairly well,” Greely coach Barry Mothes said. “ We were in this game and could have won it. We just didn’t make the plays. We didn’t shoot enough for my taste. We had guys at the point open all night, but we didn’t take shots, or missed the net or had shots blocked. That killed us.”
The Rangers’ (11-2-1) other loss came to Class A unbeaten Biddeford, 5-2, last week.
Greely plays at Winslow Monday and Camden Wednesday.
Greely junior Pete Stauber tries to corral the puck to get a shot off while Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Jake Rosenfield looks on.
Cape Elizabeth junior Nick Breed has the puck poked away by Greely senior goalie Matt Labbe. Breed would have the last laugh, however, scoring the game winner.
Cape Elizabeth senior Vinnie Dell’Aquila gets knocked down while fighting for the puck.
Cape Elizabeth junior Nick Breed and Greely sophomore Erik Rost get up close and personal Wednesday.
Greely freshman Teddy Hart looks for his shot Wednesday.
Greely senior Devyn Rogers lays a hard hit on Cape Elizabeth junior Ryan Bolduc during the teams’ showdown Wednesday night. Cape Elizabeth beat the Rangers for the first time in nine tries, 4-3.
More photos below.