By Keith B. Wehmeyer
PORTLAND — The Cape Elizabeth boys’ hockey team came from two goals behind Monday, winning in overtime 4-3 against Falmouth in the semifinals of the third annual Fix Cup at the Portland Ice Arena.
The Capers looked to be down and out against the Yachtsmen, trailing 3-1 after the first, even after scoring the games first goal. However, the Capers turned their game around while Falmouth couldn’t equal the intensity – or scoring – of its former Class-B rival over the final two periods and overtime.
“We had the game at 3-1,” said Falmouth coach Scott Rousseau, “but they worked much harder than we did to get the game tied.”
Falmouth controlled play through much of the overtime, but 4 minutes and 42 seconds into sudden death Sam St. Germain found Sean Eubanks on a breakaway. Eubanks, a senior captain, slipped the puck through the legs of Falmouth goalie Jay Hurdman for the game winner.
“I got a nice pass from (St. Germain) and just went around the guy and put it through his five-hole,” said Eubanks. “I was just hoping it went in. I was going as fast as I could.”
It was Eubanks’ second goal of the game. He opened the scoring 2:26 into first period, putting a back-handed shot inside the left post. St. Germain assisted on that goal as well.
For Eubanks and the other Cape Elizabeth seniors, the win helps avenge a lopsided loss in the inaugural Fix Cup two years ago when Falmouth defeated the Capers, 10-1, in the championship game.
“It meant a lot to (the seniors),” Cape Elizabeth coach Jason Tremblay said. “They’re excited. It’s a good opportunity for us, with our own big rival in class B, to have a championship game within the year already.”
The Capers will face Western Class B rival Greely in the Fix Cup title game Monday at 8 p.m. at the Portland Ice Area. Like Cape Elizabeth, Greely defeated a tough Class A opponent in overtime Monday, ousting Thornton Academy, 5-4.
The Fix Cup is an annual tournament modeled after the collegiate Beanpot tournament in Boston. The cup is named after the late Frank Fixaris.
Falmouth senior captain Mike Chase opened the scoring for the Yachtsmen Monday with a power-play goal 4:09 into the opening period. Chase took a pass from Matt MacDowell, skated in from the point and flicked a point-blank wrist shot past Cape goalie Phil Jordan to tie the score at one.
Five minutes later, Chase sent a pass across the top of the crease and onto the stick of Seth Fortier who was waiting at the far post. Fortier wasted no time, sending a one-timer into the netting and giving Falmouth a one-goal lead.
Chase was credited with an assist on the goal, giving him 174 points in his career at Falmouth, tying him with James Tolan for the school record. However, the Capers wouldn’t let him break the record. That point was Chase’s last of the game.
“We knew (about the record) going in,” said Tremblay. “It was kind of nice to let him tie but not beat it on our watch.”
Dixon Pike scored the Yachtsmen’s third and final goal on the power play with 34 seconds remaining in the open period. Julien Clement was credited with an assist, his second of the game.
The second period was all Cape Elizabeth. Mike Holden shot through a screen to beat Hurdman, pulling the Capers within a goal 2:45 into the second period. Eubanks was credited with an assist. Then, just over a minute later, Zach Breed backhanded a loose puck through traffic to tie the score at three.
“They got a screen goal for their second and a scramble goal for their third,” Rousseau said. “Those are just hard work goals. They worked harder than us.
“To say we let the game get away would be a disservice to Cape Elizabeth and how hard they played.”
Falmouth regained its intensity in the third period, but its chances at the go-ahead goal were hampered by three penalties, including two in the final 5:30 of play. Cape killed off a Falmouth power play with less than five minutes to play, as well.
While the victory didn’t count in the league standings, Cape Elizabeth is clicking on all cylinders. The Capers have downed three straight league foes, including defending regional champion York, which they beat 4-1 Saturday. Cape Elizabeth (8-3 and second to Greely in the Western B Heals) played at Camden Hills Thursday (too late for this edition) and will host Yarmouth Saturday.