YARMOUTH — The pace of the game was a bit higher, the hits a bit harder. It took about a period for Cape Elizabeth to get the hang of playoff hockey.
“If you play not to lose, you’ll lose,” said Capers Coach Matt Buotte. “If you dare to be great, great things will happen.”
After a rough first period, the Capers dared to be great.
Curtis Guimond had two goals, and Jack Drinan had a goal and two assists as Cape Elizabeth rallied for three goals in the third period to outlast Yarmouth 4-3 in a Western Class B boys’ hockey quarterfinal at a crowded and boisterous Travis Roy Arena.
Cape Elizabeth (8-10-1), the No. 5 seed, moves on to a semifinal against top-seed Greely (14-4) at 8 p.m. Friday at the Colisee in Lewiston. No. 4 Yarmouth finishes the season at 6-11-2.
“Toward the end it was a little terrifying,” said Drinan, referring to Yarmouth’s goal while skating six-on-five with 27 seconds to play to cut the lead to 4-3. “But in the end we stayed strong and hung on.”
At the start it looked like Yarmouth would have its way. The Clippers outshot the Capers 9-3 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead when Isaak Dearden broke in along the right wing and wristed a shot past Capers freshman goalie Grant Rusk (16 saves).
“Yarmouth took it to us in the first period,” Buotte said. “Once we found our feet, we got things going and we were a much different hockey team.”
Make that a much better hockey team.
“We did everything we wanted to do in that first period,” Yarmouth Coach David St. Pierre said. “Emotionally, we hit a bit of speed bump that allowed them back into the game. To their credit, they showed that they wanted it more than we did.”
The Capers controlled play in the second, holding a 15-5 edge in shots. The Clippers relied heavily on Red DeSmith (28 saves), who turned aside one-on-one bids by Guimond and Drinan about halfway through the period.
“He’s been doing that all year,” St. Pierre said.
In the third period, Cape’s pressure started to pay dividends. Cape opened the period with 54 seconds left on a power play. Guimond scored the go-ahead goal off a pass from Drinan at 2:06.
“Jack and I were working well down low,” Guimond said. “Jack threw it right to me, I hit it and popped in. That goal changed our outlook. We started doing exactly what we wanted.”
And Yarmouth was feeling the pressure. The Clippers killed a penalty, but at 3:47, Drinan pushed the Capers to a 3-1 lead.
About a minute later, Yarmouth’s Pat Grant (14 points in 15 games) took a hard hit to the left of Cape’s goal and went down. Play stopped and the arena went silent as staff tended to Grant. After about a five-minute delay, Grant was helped from the ice amid a roar from the crowd.
“Patty’s going to be OK,” St. Pierre said. “We tried hard to get our focus back and we played OK once we got into our desperation mode.”
That yielded Dearden’s goal on a breakaway at 9:34 and David Clemmer’s goal off a scramble with 27 seconds to play.
“Yarmouth didn’t go away,” Buotte said. “But we held on. We may not be the deepest or most talented team, but we’re going to show up every night.”
Next up is Greely, which beat the Capers 7-3 and 5-4 during the regular season.
“A game like this shows that we can work hard when we set our mind to it,” Drinan said. “If we can carry that over to the next round, I’d say we’re playing great.”