Cape Elizabeth’s Phil Tarling skates past a Yarmouth defender during the Capers’ 4-1 home loss in Monday’s Class B South quarterfinal.
(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Yarmouth game story, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net)
Three local boys’ hockey teams entered the playoffs full of optimism, but at press time, only two remained.
Cape Elizabeth got the postseason started Monday, but lost at home to Yarmouth, 4-1, in a Class B South quarterfinal.
Scarborough, the two-time defending regional champion, open its quest for a Class A championship Tuesday at home and held off Biddeford, 3-2, to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round.
The South Portland/Freeport.Waynflete co-op team hoped to join the Red Storm in Lewiston for the semifinals, but it had the daunting task of getting past Cheverus in its quarterfinal Wednesday.
Cape Elizabeth enjoyed its best season in six years, finishing 12-5-1 after a 4-4 tie at York in the regular season finale (Phil Tarling had two goals and Ben Ekedahl tied it late). The Capers earned the No. 3 seed in Class B South and hosted No. 6 Yarmouth, the defending regional champion, in the quarterfinals Monday.
Despite putting 40 shots on goal, Cape Elizabeth was only able to score once, a Ryan Collins tally late, and suffered a 4-1 setback, as its season ended painfully at 12-6-1.
“It’s frustrating,” said Capers coach Matt Buotte. “Some nights, hockey can be cruel. Last year, when we lost up at the Colisee (to Gardiner in the semifinals), we felt we had a lot left in the tank and we had regrets going into the offseason. Tonight, we don’t have regrets, other than losing. It was a game that if it’s our night and we get the bounces, we’d get nine or 10 goals, but we’re going home.
“We did have a great season. A lot to be proud of. We beat everyone in our region except York, who we tied. I felt going into the playoffs that four or five good teams would be going home. There aren’t any gimmes in this region. We knew no matter who we faced, it would be a dogfight. We do have a lot to be proud of.”
Scarborough had its share of struggles this winter, from having to play home games at the Colisee in Lewiston to its seven losses and one tie in 18 games, but the Red Storm entered the playoffs on a high note after a 5-1 home victory over South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete in the finale.
Tuesday, Scarborough, the No. 3 seed in Class A South, had the daunting task of beating dangerous sixth-seed Biddeford in the quarterfinals.
The Red Storm fell behind, 1-0, early, then pulled ahead on goals from Justin Perry and Skylar Pettingill. After the Tigers tied it, Sam Neugebauer’s goal was the difference as Scarborough advanced, 3-2.
The Red Storm will either play No. 2 Cheverus (13-5) or seventh-ranked SP/Freeport/Waynflete (7-10-1) in the semifinals Saturday in Lewiston. Scarborough split with the Stags this year, winning at home (3-0) and losing in Portland (3-2). The Red Storm are 5-1 all-time versus Cheverus in the playoffs, including last year’s 4-1 semifinal round victory. Scarborough and South Portland have no playoff history.
SP/Freeport/Waynflete had an uphill battle against Cheverus in its quarterfinal. The Stags won the lone regular season meeting, 10-0, Jan. 7. The Stags took the only prior playoff encounter, a 4-3 decision in the 2004 Western A quarterfinals.
Looking ahead, the Class A South Final will be Tuesday of next week in Lewiston.
The Class A state game is Saturday, March 11 at 6 p.m. in Lewiston.