FALMOUTH — Greely’s hope for an energetic start resulted in an overpowering performance.
Joe Saffian had a hand in two of the Rangers’ three first-period goals and Greely never looked back in a 5-2 victory over Cape Elizabeth in a Western Class B hockey quarterfinal Tuesday at Family Ice Center.
Greely (9-7-3), seeded third, advances to a regional semifinal Friday against No. 2 Camden Hills at the Colisee in Lewiston. The Windjammers advanced with an 8-3 victory over No. 7 Maranacook/Winthrop. No. 6 Cape Elizabeth finished 7-11-1.
Saffian (one goal, one assist) put Greely on top at 3:41, wristing a shot from the left circle that caught the crossbar and fell in behind starting goalie Kevin Hare. Tommy Thompson made it 2-0 about two minutes later when he dug the puck free from along the left boards and scored from along the goal line.
“We were really excited for the game and it showed,” senior captain Peter Hurley said. After the quick 2-0 lead, “We had to make sure we didn’t fall back. Stay on ourselves and keep playing better every shift.”
The fast start came as a pleasant surprise to Greely.
“That’s something we haven’t seen too much of this year,” Saffian said. “Any game can be your last game at this point, so we said, ‘Let’s play as a team and play for each other,’ and everyone stepped up.”
But Cape wasn’t stepping back. Sophomore Grant Rusk relieved Hare, and two holding penalties in quick succession gave the Capers a five-on-three power play. Jack Tierney tipped Benjamin Shea’s blast past Kyle Kramlich (19 saves) to cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1.
“I thought (the Capers) battled hard and I never felt comfortable,” Greely Coach Barry Mothes said. “I thought our guys played a very good first period. In the second we got a little sloppy and in the third we tightened up in ways that were important. But we still have work to do.”
Andrew Ray snatched momentum back for the Rangers with a goal with 15 seconds left to make it 3-1 heading into the first intermission.
“They shut us down and we couldn’t really generate anything. It was one of those that’s-the-breaks kind of games,” Cape Elizabeth Coach Matt Buotte said. “Until there were 30 seconds left we felt we were in it. That’s the kind of character these kids have.”
Reid Howland pushed the Rangers’ lead to 4-1 with a power-play goal 1:13 into the second period. Shea’s shot caught the crossbar and cut the Rangers’ lead to 4-2 at 7:40; Eli Breed and Tim Corsello assisted. The teams traded power plays but the Rangers carried play, outshooting Cape Elizabeth 15-3 in the period.
Nate Gervais rounded out the scoring, tipping in Miles Shields’ wrist shot from the point for a 5-2 lead at 8:05.
Greely, the two-time defending state champion, defeated Camden Hills 7-2 on Jan. 29.