February 25, 2010

Capers fall short in hockey tourney opener

EARL SWINSON

— By

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Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer... Monday, December 28, 2009...Cape Elizabeth vs. Belmont, Mass. in the Maine High School Invitational Hockey tournament at the Portland Ice Arena. Cape Elizabeth's#9, Sam St. Germaine had his shot blocked by a diving Belmont defenseman, Joe Monteiro.

click image to enlarge

Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer... Monday, December 28, 2009...Cape Elizabeth vs. Belmont, Mass. in the Maine High School Invitational Hockey tournament at the Portland Ice Arena. Cape's Sam St. Germaine moves in on Belmont goalie John Egbert to score his team's first goal.

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Special to the Press Herald

PORTLAND — After Brian Gramolini's goal with four seconds left in the second period tied it, Pat Quinn scored the winner on the power play early in the third as Belmont, Mass., rallied to beat Cape Elizabeth 3-2 Monday in the opening round of the Maine High School Hockey Invitational.

The game was the first of six scheduled for Monday at the Portland Ice Arena, one of five rinks in southern Maine playing host to the three-day, 38-team tournament.

Games continue today and Wednesday at MHG Ice Arena in Saco, USM Ice Arena in Gorham, Travis Roy Arena in Yarmouth, Biddeford Ice Arena and Portland.

Gary Prolman, the tournament chairman, had said that one of the selling points of the tournament was that it draws teams from a wide area and gives Maine teams and players the chance to ''find out how good you are against strong hockey programs from other areas.''

Prolman said the original genesis of the tournament, which started in 2000 with six teams, was to bring teams together so that scouts and colleges could see Maine players.

''Very few players ever make the pros,'' said Prolman. ''But for those guys looking to play hockey in college, this is a great chance to be seen. And teams look forward to coming here; they bring their parents, go to dinner together, and it's great for team bonding.''

Belmont Coach Dante Muzzioli agreed.

''We're one of the original six, (in the tournament) and we love coming here. It's a great experience, and sometimes as adults we lose sight of the fun part of playing a sport,'' said Muzzioli. ''There's no pressure, and the people that run this do a first-class job. This is a high point of our season -- everybody wins.''

Belmont added a highlight to its season with Monday's win, but the Capers also found they could play with the powerful Massachusetts program.

Cape held a 2-1 lead late in the second period and goalie Phil Jordan preserved the lead with an excellent save on Jon Siracusa in close.

Then Belmont won a faceoff in the Cape end. Justin Perino collected the puck at the left point and wristed it toward the net, where Gramolini deflected it past Jordan for the tie with just 3.9 seconds left.

''I told my guys at the break that that goal was really the culmination of our play for the last five minutes,'' said Cape Elizabeth Coach Jason Tremblay. ''We were running around, slapping at the puck, and just not playing with the discipline we had been showing, and I told them all the lines were at fault for that goal.

''But we shook it off and came out hard for the third.''

But it was Belmont who took the lead with its only power-play opportunity.

Gramolini passed from behind the net to Quinn, who converted just nine seconds before the penalty was to expire.

Belmont goalie John Egbert followed with a fine glove save off Vinny Dell'Aquila and then stopped Sam St. Germain on a 2-on-1.

Cape was unable to tie the game despite having a 6-on-3 advantage in the last 40 seconds, when Belmont had two players in the penalty box and Cape pulled Jordan from the goal for an extra skater.

Michael Janjigian put the Marauders up 1-0 at 8:41 of the first period after a scramble in front of Jordan.

St. Germain tied it three minutes later after taking a pass from Dell'Aquila, skating into the Belmont zone and slipping the puck behind Egbert from the left side.

Dell'Aquila gave Cape the lead on its first shot of the second period, lifting the puck over Egbert's stick after being sent in alone by St. Germain.

''I love this tournament,'' said St. Germain. ''It gives us a chance to go up against some real good teams, and I think we played well. We're coming together.''

''I'm very happy with the way we played,'' said Tremblay. ''We were looking to compete, and we worked hard in our defensive zone, and it paid off for the most part.

''This is fun to be part of, and there's nothing like it in the regular season.''

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer... Monday, December 28, 2009...Cape Elizabeth vs. Belmont, Mass. in the Maine High School Invitational Hockey tournament at the Portland Ice Arena. Cape goalie Phil Jordan moves to cover up a shot on goal in front of defenseman Owen Pearson.

click image to enlarge

Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer... Monday, December 28, 2009...Cape Elizabeth vs. Belmont, Mass. in the Maine High School Invitational Hockey tournament at the Portland Ice Arena. Cape goalie Phil Jordan deflected a point-blank shot from Belmont's Jon Siracusa for a save.

 


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