After finishing her warmup exercises Wednesday, goaltender Abby Joy skated to the bench prior to the national anthem. That’s when her coach, Bob Mills, delivered the news.

Eliza Connolly, a four-year starter on defense, would not play in this girls’ hockey South quarterfinal because of a missed class Tuesday.

“That,” Joy said, “was a big shock.”

The test suddenly became a lot harder for Joy, but she passed with flying colors, snuffing four breakaways among her 19 saves as third-seeded Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland beat sixth-ranked Gorham/Bonny Eagle/Windham 4-1 at Trouble Ice Arena.

The victory sends the Capers (10-9) to the South semifinals Friday against No. 2 Scarborough (13-4-1) at Lewiston.

As Connolly lent support with water and tissues, the Capers went with a three-defense rotation of Rose Punsky (in her second year of hockey after making the transition from figure skating), Abby Ekedahl and Josie Boeschenstein.

“It was a little bit frightening,” Punsky said, “but we did it a little bit earlier in the season and some last year. Everyone is really supportive so it worked out.”

Hannah Bosworth gave the Capers a 1-0 lead by poking home the rebound of a Kate Ginder shot nearly 10 minutes into the game. Sophia Venditti also assisted.

“We only beat them by a goal (5-4) a couple weeks ago,” Mills said of Gorham, which finished 6-13 after a winless season in 2015-16. “We knew they were going to come out hungry. We talked a lot about the importance of getting that first one, setting the tone, and making them chase us the rest of the day.”

Catherine Biegel skated in alone on Joy early in the second period but her attempt at the tying goal sailed wide of the right post. When Ginder sent Venditti on a breakaway a few minutes later, Venditti did not miss, following a quick juke with a backhand to make it 2-0.

Three minutes later, Venditti struck again with a backhand that trickled in off Gorham goalie Izzy Wareham, who had 18 saves.

Mary Adams finally put Gorham on the board with a rebound goal following Joy’s save of a shot by Anna Rathbun two minutes into the third period. Gorham had three good chances to make it a one-goal game, but Joy denied Karen Stemm, C.C. Cochran and Celia Begonia.

“In practice it’s one of my favorite things to do,” Joy said about taking on an attacking skater with no one else to help. “In a game it’s a whole lot more stressful. … I just do my best and try to stay square to the shot, and work with them.”

Begonia’s breakaway came with Gorham short-handed, but because she and Joy play on the same travel team, Joy had an inkling of which way Begonia would shoot.

“I kind of knew she always goes one way,” Joy said, “so that really helped.”

Ginder, who turned 18 on Wednesday, sealed the victory with a goal from above the top of the right circle with a minute left. The shot deflected in off Wareham’s stick.

“It wasn’t really the best shot,” Ginder admitted. “It was kind of wobbly. I have no idea how it went in, but any shot on goal is a good shot.”

Bosworth and Boeschenstein each finished with two assists. Connolly said she will be ready Friday against Scarborough, which beat the Capers twice this season, each time by one goal.

“Last game we had a little bit of puck luck,” said Gorham Coach Nat Germond, whose team fell 8-1 to the Capers in November. “This game we had a couple slide across the crease and nobody could get a stick on them. But they’re a very solid team and they’ve got a great goaltender.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH