A peak at the scoreboard after the final horn suggests the Western Maine Class B hockey semifinal between No. 3 Cape Elizabeth High School and No. 2 Greely was a lopsided affair.

The Rangers won 6-1 on Monday night at the Portland Ice Arena but the game felt much closer than the final five-goal margin.

“This was not a 6-1 game,” said Greely coach Barry Mothes. “That’s what the scoreboard said, but this felt like a one-goal game until the last two minutes.”

The Capers (10-11-0) were the aggressors throughout most of the game, outshooting Greely 32-22. But the Rangers (12-8-1) took advantage of their power play opportunities and Cape had trouble putting the puck in the net.

“We created our opportunities all night,” said Cape coach Jason Tremblay. “We had our chances. The puck was lying between their goalie’s legs all night. Three or four times we had open nets. We just couldn’t get to the loose puck. It’s how it goes sometimes. You outshoot, you outplay, but they outplayed us on special teams tonight and that’s what the difference was.”

Cape’s best chance came early on, when Sether Hanson’s shot from straight on squeezed through Greely goalie Matt Labbe’s pads midway through the first. Labbe slowed the shot enough so that when he turned, he was able to pounce on the puck before it crossed the goal line.

The Rangers then tallied a pair of power play goals in the final two minutes of the first. Leland Copenhagen scored the first of his four goals with 1:35 left on a puck crossed through the crease. Brian Allyn beat Cape netminder Lincoln Jordan (16 saves) top shelf with 27.6 seconds remaining to make it 2-0.

“We were on the penalty kill quite a bit tonight,” Tremblay said. “Just some situations where we got in the hole on the penalty kill. They buried their chances tonight and we didn’t. I thought we dominated them five-on-five, but obviously the scoreboard doesn’t reflect that. They’re a good team and they’re moving on.”

Greely advanced to take on No. 1 York in Wednesday’s regional final, a game played after the Current’s deadline.

“Clearly Cape had great energy in the first half of that first period, but thanks to the goaltending of freshman Matt Labbe, we kept it a 0-0 game,” Mothes said. “They easily could have had one and probably should have had one in the first half of that period, but Matt made a couple of great saves and we just sort of fought our way through it and got into a groove. Those two power play goals definitely energized the team. Our power play’s been a little up and down this year. We had about an 0-for-25 stretch a couple weeks ago, but we work on it every day. We made some adjustments. In big games like this, special teams often count a lot.”

Cape was a man up to start the second and had several shots in the opening minute, but Labbe (31 saves) was impenetrable, snaring Peter Kelley’s shot 30 seconds in with the glove. Copenhagen netted No. 2 with 4:49 to go before Kelley scored on a power play with 1:30 left off a Sean Eubanks feed to cut it to 3-1 entering the third.

Once again, Cape bombarded Labbe to start the third period. Two minutes in, Labbe found himself out of the crease with a loose puck in front, but the skates and sticks of the Rangers’ defenders kept Cape from cutting further into the lead. With 8:58 remaining, the hats rained onto the ice after Copenhagen scored on a slap shot, giving him a hat trick.

Greely padded its lead with 6:38 left, capitalizing on a two-man advantage when Kevin Hart controlled the puck in front of the net and slid it past Jordan to make it 5-1.

Copenhagen added his fourth goal with 2:45 to play after Cape, with a two-man advantage, pulled Jordan to have a 6-on-3 edge. Copenhagen’s shot from the opposite blue line found the empty net.

The Capers were sent to the penalty box six times, while the Rangers were short-handed on seven occasions.

Cape and Greely met twice during the regular season with Cape winning 3-2 in December and Greely winning 5-0 in January.

Though the season didn’t end the way he wanted it to, Tremblay reflected on what the team achieved, and has high hopes for next year.

“We accomplished quite a bit,” the coach said. “We had probably the toughest schedule in the league, both Class A and B. But we obviously wanted to win this game and move on. We have a very young team. On the top three lines we have three sophomores, two freshmen and lots of juniors. We’ll be strong next year. I’m very proud of my seniors and the way they played. They played with their heads high tonight. We’re looking to improve on what we’ve done this year for next year. But it’s obviously tough right now because I really like this group of seniors. They’ve done a tremendous job over their four years here at Cape.”


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