Falmouth rallies for thrilling win at Cape in opening act

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Falmouth senior Devin Russell, left, junior Lou Mainella and senior Jack Scribner celebrate an early goal during the Yachtsmen’s regional final rematch at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday. Falmouth erased a three-goal deficit and rallied to beat the Capers, 9-8.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Falmouth 9 Cape Elizabeth 8

F- 1 2 3 3- 9
CE- 3 2 2 1- 8

First quarter
4:30 CE Perkins (unassisted)
4:21 CE Bates (Ekedahl)
3:19 CE O. Thoreck (Perkins) (MAN-UP)
2:22 F Scribner (Fitzgerald) 

Second quarter
10:35 F Scribner (Mainella)
5:06 CE S. Dresser (unassisted)
4:34 CE Perkins (unassisted)
1:21 F Russell (unassisted) 

Third quarter
11:02 F Russell (unassisted)
9:59 CE Perkins (unassisted)
9:42 F Scribner (Fitzgerald)
52.0 CE Raymond (unassisted)
8.4 F Farnham (unassisted) 

Fourth quarter
10:32 CE C. Thoreck (unassisted)
10:24 F Hickey (unassisted)
8:52 F Scribner (Russell) (MAN-DOWN)
5:32 F Arrants (Mainella) 

Goals:
F- Scribner 4, Russell 2, Arrants, Farnham, Hickey 1
CE- Perkins 3, Bates, Dresser, Raymond, C. Thoreck, O. Thoreck 1 

Assists:
F- Fitzgerald, Mainella 2, Russell 1
CE- Ekedahl, Perkins 1 

Faceoffs (10-10)
F- Pierce 10 of 20
CE- Spencer 10 of 20

Ground balls (Cape Elizabeth, 32-26)
F- Reed 6, Hickey 5, Russell, Scribner, Pierce 3, Arrants, Henson 2, Kirk, Masciangelo 1
CE- Ekedahl, Spencer 5, C. Thoreck 4, Hare 3, Carroll, Perkins, Raymond, Spidle, Tarling 2, Avantaggio, Bates, Boechenstein, O. Thoreck, Weatherbie 1

Turnovers:
F- 21
CE- 19

Shots:
F- 26
CE- 37

Shots on cage:
F- 19
CE- 19

Saves:
F (Tucker) 11 
CE (Price) 10

CAPE ELIZABETH—All the elements were in place for the latest chapter of the state’s best boys’ lacrosse rivalry.

Rain.

Cold.

A touch of fog.

And Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth’s talented players living up to billing in the first of likely three meetings this spring.

Wednesday evening at Hannaford Field, the rivals produced a contest that featured the intensity of June in a setting that was anything but and as was the case late last season, it was the Yachtsmen saving their best for last.

Both defenses were stout throughout, but it appeared the Capers were in control when they got the game’s first three goals, as junior Tate Perkins, senior Noah Bates and senior Owen Thoreck scored in a 1 minute, 11 second span for a 3-0 lead.

Falmouth got on the board late in the first period when senior standout Jack Scribner scored and when Scribner struck again early in the second quarter, the Yachtsmen were only down a goal, but tallies from sophomore Sam Dresser and Perkins restored a three-goal advantage.

Falmouth got a little momentum and confidence back with 1:21 to go in the first half, when senior Devin Russell scored and that set the stage for a dramatic second half.

With the rain falling faster in the third period, Russell drew his team within a goal 58 seconds in, but Perkins countered.

After Scribner made it a 6-5 contest with 9:42 to play in the frame, sloppiness and penalties became plentiful and no one scored again until 50 seconds remained, when junior Finn Raymond extended the Capers’ lead to two.

Again, the Yachtsmen roared back, as with just 8.4 seconds to go, junior Nick Farnham scored to make it a one-goal contest heading to the final stanza.

A year ago, Falmouth rallied in the second half of the Class B South Final to stun Cape Elizabeth and end the Capers’ three-year title reign.

Wednesday, the Yachtsmen won the fourth period and the game again.

After senior Connor Thoreck put Cape Elizabeth ahead by two with 10:32 to play, Falmouth’s defense and senior goalie Liam Tucker shut the Capers out the rest of the way.

Just eight seconds after Thoreck scored, Yachtsmen junior defensive standout Brendan Hickey collected the faceoff and finished to make it a one-goal game again.

This time, Falmouth managed to draw even, despite playing man-down, as with 8:52 showing, in transition, Scribner scored with a dazzling behind the head shot to make it 8-8.

Then, with 5:32 remaining, senior Nate Arrants, an unsung hero of last year’s state final victory, scored to put the Yachtsmen on top.

Cape Elizabeth had its chances to tie, including a man-up opportunity, but couldn’t do so and Falmouth held on to prevail, 9-8.

The Yachtsmen got four goals from Scribner and became the first team to win at Cape Elizabeth three years running since North Yarmouth Academy did it in 2005, 2006 and 2007, as they improved to 3-0 on the young season and dropped the Capers to 0-1 in the process.

“I knew they had it marked on their calendars and obviously we did too and we just came out and played,” said Scribner, a reigning All-American who will play for powerhouse Bates College next year. “Everyone gets up for this game. We didn’t give up no matter what.”

Start of something special

For each the past eight years, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth have squared off in the regional final and the winner has gone on to win the Class B state championship in each of the past seven seasons.

Those streaks are almost certain to continue this spring, as the Capers and Yachtsmen are viewed as teams without peer.

Falmouth won its third state title last June, after shocking then-undefeated Cape Elizabeth in the regional final. The Yachtsmen downed Yarmouth, 13-9, in the state final and return almost everybody this spring.

Falmouth does have a change at the top, however, as David Barton has replaced Mike LeBel, who turned the Yachtsmen into a powerhouse in his 10 seasons before not having his contract renewed following the state title.

Falmouth was unstoppable in its first two outings, crushing visiting York (27-1) and Messalonskee (19-8).

The Capers, who had their three-year reign as champion dashed in stunning fashion by the Yachtsmen last season, have some holes to fill this time around, but as always, they’ll be a powerhouse who will measure themselves by how they do against Falmouth.

The rivalry has been a fun one over the years. Entering play, Cape Elizabeth held a 22-8 advantage dating back to 2002, but since the start of the 2010 season, things have been much tighter, with the Capers winning 13 of 21 meetings.

Wednesday, in Cape Elizabeth’s season opener and the Yachtsmen’s first road game, there proved to be little separation and Falmouth, coached by someone other than LeBel in a game against the Capers for the first time since Jason Hurley was in charge for a 10-3 home loss to Cape Elizabeth April 26, 2006, had just enough to pull off a dramatic win.

The Capers came out fired up and almost took the lead in the first minute, but senior Jeb Boechenstein hit the post.

After each team killed a penalty, the hosts got the first goal, as Perkins eluded a defender and beat Tucker for a 1-0 lead with 4:30 to play in the first quarter.

Senior Cole Spencer won the ensuing faceoff to senior Ben Ekedahl, who passed to senior Noah Bates for a goal just nine seconds later to double the lead.

Barton called timeout, but it didn’t help, as with 3:35 left in the frame, senior Ben Wyman received a penalty for pushing in the back and just 16 seconds later, Perkins fed senior standout Owen Thoreck for a man-up goal and a 3-0 lead.

Falmouth would eventually settled down and with 2:22 showing, senior George Fitzgerald got the ball to Scribner and Scribner beat Capers senior goalie Sam Price to break the ice.

“We just needed to settle in,” Scribner said. “We came out excited. Once we got into our sets, we definitely improved.”

“We knew coming in that it’s no mystery that we want to play fast, but we didn’t want to turn this game into a track meet,” Barton said. “They have a host of athletes. Their defense is huge. They can handle the ball. We’ve preached all week to work for the right shot, not the first one.”

Early in the second period, the Yachtsmen struck again, as this time, junior Lou Mainella passed to Scribner, who beat Price with 10:35 to go in the first half to cut the deficit to one.

When Ekedahl was sidelined for unnecessary roughness, Falmouth had a chance to draw even, but couldn’t do so and the game remained 3-2 until 5:06 was left before halftime, when Dresser scored unassisted.

The Capers got the ball back and with 4:34 remaining, Perkins scored unassisted, beating a defender around the crease before shooting the ball past Tucker, and once again, the hosts had a three-goal bulge.

Again, Barton called timeout to keep the game in hand and it paid off, as Cape Elizabeth wouldn’t score the rest of the half.

With 1:21 left, the Yachtsmen crept back within 5-3 on an unassisted tally from Russell and that scored remained at intermission.

In the first half, the Capers won six of nine faceoffs, collected 19 ground balls to Falmouth’s nine and had a 20-11 shots advantage, but thanks in large part to seven Tucker saves, couldn’t pull away.

Just 58 seconds into the second half, Fitzgerald was denied by Price, but Russell pounced on the rebound and tickled the twine to make it 5-4.

Cape Elizabeth answered with 9:59 showing, as Perkins scored unassisted, but just 17 seconds later, after junior Spencer Pierce won the faceoff, Fitzgerald again set up Scribner for a goal to cut the deficit to 6-5.

The rest of the quarter would feature multiple penalties on both teams with neither squad able to take advantage.

Then, in the final minute, a back-and-forth flurry set the stage for an exciting final quarter.

With 52 seconds to go, Raymond fought his way through three defenders before beating Tucker for a 7-5 lead, but with 8.4 seconds left, Farnham’s rocket got past Price and made it a one-goal contest again with 12 minutes to play.

After hanging tough, Falmouth would close like the champion it is and hopes to be again, but the Capers didn’t make anything easy.

With 10:32 remaining, the hosts got a little breathing room when Connor Thoreck scored unassisted, but that would prove to be Cape Elizabeth’s final goal of the game.

After Pierce won the ensuing faceoff, Hickey pounced on the ball and raced in and fired a shot past Price and just like that, it was a one-goal contest once more.

When Pierce was called for a slash with 9:49 to play, the Capers had a chance to extend their lead again and this time, a goal would be scored on special teams, but not by the hosts.

Late in the penalty, the Yachtsmen forced a turnover and took off the other way. The ball came to Russell, who fed Scribner, who raced in one-on-one with Price. At the last instant, Scribner went behind his head and his shot found the net to tie the game, 8-8, with 8:52 to go.

“That was a good one,” said Scribner. “We work on that a lot. We knew we’d bury it. I planned to go behind my head. I figured I might as well. I knew the goalie was moving, so I threw it around. I’m confident with that move.”

“I’m glad he buried that one,” Barton said. “These games mean something and Jack’s an emotional guy. We go as he goes. The guys saw how he came out to practice yesterday. It was a different intensity.”

Cape Elizabeth was staggered.

“We had like three brain-cramps in a row and that ended in us being man-up, throwing a bad pass and them coming down and scoring,” said Capers coach Ben Raymond. “That play right there was the difference in the game. They made a play when it mattered and we didn’t. Each individual felt like all of sudden, they had to do everything.”

Cape Elizabeth tried to retake the lead with 6:56 left, but junior Ben Carroll’s shot was saved by Tucker.

Then, with 5:32 left, Falmouth took its first lead.

The goal was set up by Mainella and finished by Arrants, who had a great look and finished to make it 9-8.

“Nate won’t catch teams by surprise anymore,” Barton said. “He’s got an unorthodox style. He’s north-south, but he’s a small guy. Teams will start putting (long poles) on him. He’s a well-rounded player.”

After turning the ball over multiple times, the Capers caught a break with 1:19 to go, as Hickey was sent off for 30 seconds. 

Out of a timeout, Cape Elizabeth turned the ball over, but the Yachtsmen gave it right back.

Falmouth would kill the penalty, but as time wound down, the Capers kept possession and got a pair of looks, but both Connor Thoreck and Owen Thoreck shot wide.

Out of a timeout, Cape Elizabeth would have one final chance, but time expired before it could release a shot and at 8:02 p.m., Falmouth rushed the field and celebrated its 9-8 victory.

“We’ve got a lot of good senior leaders,” Scribner said. “They do too of course, but we got it done. That’s what it came down to.”

“I’m glad they had a timeout,” Barton said. “We had Hickey on the bench. I would have hated to end the game with the best player in the state on the bench. It was good to get him back in there. We knew they’d come hard.

“It’s always a battle (against Cape). I’ve come to these games to watch and it’s never easy. There’s a lot of mutual respect, even if it’s hard to tell on game day. Both teams have the big picture in mind. This means what we’re trying to accomplish is working.”

Scribner led all scorers with four goals. Russell had a pair and Arrants, Farnham and Hickey each finished with one.

Fitzgerald and Mainella had two assists apiece, while Russell added one.

Tucker made 11 saves and sophomore defensive standout Riley Reed had a game-high six ground balls. Hickey added five.

Falmouth overcame 21 turnovers.

Cape Elizabeth’s offense was paced by Perkins, who scored three times. Bates, Sam Dresser, Finn Raymond, Connor Thoreck and Owen Thoreck all had one goal.

Ekedahl and Perkins both had one assist.

Price made 10 saves.

The Capers had a 32-26 edge in ground balls (Ekedahl and Spencer led the way with five apiece, while Connor Thoreck collected four).

Cape Elizabeth had a 37-26 shots advantage, but shots on goal ended 19-19. The Capers turned the ball over 19 times.

Each team won 10 faceoffs.

“It was good for us to see each other and have a sense that we’re pretty evenly matched,” Ben Raymond said. “No one doubted that to begin with. At times, each team played great. We just didn’t play well enough, long enough. I think it was pretty even throughout. Both defenses were pretty good. Both goalies were very good. They probably had a few more loose balls in transition. We’d win faceoffs, but we didn’t get much out of that. Falmouth’s very active on the faceoff and caused us some problems. We got two, three shots off late. Maybe not the best shots, but we got the ball in the hands of the people we wanted to have it.”

Rematch(es) upcoming

The teams will meet for the second time May 20 in Falmouth.

“This might mean something in the playoff picture, but we all know that the next game will be bigger,” Scribner said.

“We know we’ll see them again and that game will decide who hosts (the regional final),” Barton said.

“That game will be more important to us than to them,” Ben Raymond said. “If we win our games and we split with Falmouth, we’ll end up with more Heal Points, but I don’t know if homefield matters that much anymore since we both play on turf.” 

Both squads face some heavy lifting in the interim.

Cape Elizabeth has another huge showdown Saturday, when it plays at defending Class A state champion Scarborough. The Capers then visit Kennebunk Wednesday of next week.

“We have to play our best consistently,” Ben Raymond said. “(Scarborough) will be a good game. Sam Price is going to the National Science Bowl, so (freshman) Jack Dresser will start in goal. We’ll play each game as it comes.”

Falmouth will be tested Saturday at South Portland in a crossover game. The Yachtsmen then have a state game rematch when they host Yarmouth Wednesday of next week.

“It’s hard for 18-year-old kids to not get up and circle this game, but this was only the biggest game because it was the next one,” Barton said. “Now, we have to get ready for a talented South Portland team. We had our seniors read the book, ‘Chop Wood, Carry Water.’ It’s about falling in love with the process. We have to find something, as small as it might be, every day to get better.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cape Elizabeth senior Owen Thoreck beats Falmouth senior Liam Tucker for a first period goal.

Cape Elizabeth junior Ben Carroll carries the ball as Falmouth senior Ben Wyman defends.

Cape Elizabeth junior Tate Perkins gets around Falmouth senior Seth Masciangelo and scores one of his three goals.

Falmouth senior Nate Arrants launches a shot as Cape Elizabeth senior Peyton Weatherbie defends. Arrants scored the game-winner in the fourth quarter.

Cape Elizabeth senior Jeb Boechenstein is defended by Falmouth freshman Tom Fitzgerald.

Falmouth senior Seth Masciangelo tries to knock the ball away from Cape Elizabeth junior Tate Perkins.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth meetings

2016
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 9 
Cape Elizabeth 13 @ Falmouth 5
Class B South Final
Falmouth 7 @ Cape Elizabeth 5 

2015
Cape Elizabeth 19 @ Falmouth 11 
Falmouth 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 9 
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 12 Falmouth 4 

2014
@ Cape Elizabeth 12 Falmouth 8
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 10
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 8

2013
Cape Elizabeth 11 @ Falmouth 10 (OT)
@ Cape Elizabeth 9 Falmouth 6
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 9 Falmouth 8 (OT)

2012
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 6
@ Falmouth 14 Cape Elizabeth 12
Western B Final
@ Falmouth 10 Cape Elizabeth 9

2011
@ Falmouth 12 Cape Elizabeth 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 7 (OT)
Western B Final
@ Falmouth 11 Cape Elizabeth 9

2010
Falmouth 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 4
@ Falmouth 9 Cape Elizabeth 7 
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 7 @ Falmouth 6 (OT)

2009
@ Cape Elizabeth 6 Falmouth 3
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 7

2008
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 5

2007
Cape Elizabeth 8 @ Falmouth 4

2006
Cape Elizabeth 10 @ Falmouth 3

2005
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 3
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 2

2004
@ Cape Elizabeth 13 Falmouth 4

2002
Cape Elizabeth 13 @ Falmouth 2

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.