PORTLAND — As the last minute of the third quarter leaked away, Nick Ronan of Yarmouth took a shot bound for the far post.

If successful, the Class B boys’ lacrosse state championship game would be tied.

Instead, rubber met pipe and the ball caromed to midfield, where Justin Cary of Cape Elizabeth scooped it up, swooped toward the Yarmouth net and fed Alex Bornick for the pivotal goal of a 7-4 victory Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

“That’s a two-goal change,” Cary said. “It could have been a goal on their part and it was a goal for us. That was huge.”

It marked the third time this spring that Cape Elizabeth (13-2) beat Yarmouth (12-4). Such familiarity resulted in an intense, low-scoring game marked by nearly two dozen forced turnovers.

“The fact that we were only able to generate four goals in the whole game is a testament to Cape’s defense,” said Yarmouth Coach David Pearl. “We hit a number of pipes in this game and early on, they hit pipes as well. It’s a game of inches. It’s a game of bounces.

“All I can tell you is that our guys worked really hard and I’m very, very proud of them.”

The Capers took a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes on goals from Jake Lynch and Cary. But the Clippers, with help from the posts and goalie Sam Landry, held Cape Elizabeth scoreless for the next 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, Christian Henry converted a feed from Joe Oliva late in the first quarter and Brendan Dioli scored early in the second to make it 2-2.

A goal from Griffin Thoreck gave Cape Elizabeth a 3-2 lead at halftime, but the Capers didn’t have much to show for their 11-4 edge in shots.

“Their defense played really well and their goalie made some good saves,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Ben Raymond. “Luckily we have a good defense.”

That defense, led by Adam Haversat, led to Cary’s second goal, set up by Haversat’s interception near midfield. A minute later, Bornick curled from behind the crease to zip a shot into the upper corner for a 5-2 lead.

Once more, Yarmouth responded. Goals by Ronan (with a man advantage) and Ian Edgecomb set up the dramatic end to the third quarter, when Ronan’s shot hit the post and Cape Elizabeth scored.

“We’ll count that as Gabe (McGinn, the Cape goalie) playing his angles really well and forcing them to hit the post,” Raymond said with a grin. “And we’ve been really good in transition all year long. When the kids get a step, they look to go to goal right away.”

The only score of the fourth quarter came from Bornick in transition after another turnover.

As for the decisive goal, Cary said his chemistry with Bornick coupled with Yarmouth’s smart defense — “He was pressuring me down low so I couldn’t get the shot I wanted” — led to the big momentum switch.

“(Bornick) wasn’t cutting, but I threw it and he started cutting right as I threw it,” Cary said. “That’s the type of connection you get from being on varsity together for four years. He caught it and had an amazing shot.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

gjordan@pressherald.com

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH