The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls’ hockey team was thoroughly in control after two periods of its South quarterfinal Thursday night against Falmouth, holding a 4-0 lead.

As it turned out, the third-seeded Capers needed all of that advantage. Sixth-seeded Falmouth rallied in the final 11 minutes, but Cape Elizabeth held on for a 4-3 win.

“We’re a young team, so I think we’re still in the process of learning how to win these big games,” Cape Elizabeth Coach Bob Mills said.

“We’re only running two lines, so we got tired. I think there were some nerves going into the third period, and I think some exhaustion as well. We were lucky to squeak it out.”

The Capers (10-8-1) will play No. 2 Portland/Deering (13-5) in a semifinal Saturday night at Troubh Ice Arena. Cape Elizabeth and Portland split two games in the regular season. Portland shut out Cape Elizabeth 5-0 on Dec. 16, but the Capers won 3-2 on Jan. 15.

Sophia Venditti led the Capers with two goals, and Nicoletta Coupe had three assists. Cape Elizabeth goalie Abby Joy finished with 30 saves, while Julia Bonnvie had 21 saves for Falmouth (6-12-1).

“I feel like we broke down mentally and we got ahead of ourselves, thinking we were up 4-0,” Venditti said. “We let them take momentum back and take over.”

Three of Cape Elizabeth’s goals came on rebounds. Venditti scored first, from Coupe and Koto Yamada. Coupe’s shot bounced off Bonnvie, but Venditti was there to put away the rebound.

Cape Elizabeth made it 2-0 late in the period when Lydia Murray scored off another Coupe rebound.

In the second period, Laura Baginski scored on a shot to the top left corner before Venditti made it 4-0 with another goal assisted by Yamada and Coupe.

“There were a lot of lucky bounces that went Cape’s way and a couple rebounds that got away from us, and Cape was able to slide right in untouched and just tap them in,” Falmouth Coach Rob Carrier said.

“We came into the locker room before the third period and everyone was calm, which was a good sign.”

The Yachtsmen got on the board at 4:01 of the third when Kayla Sarazin scored from Kyla Gallup. Abi Lebel cut the Capers’ lead to 4-2 with an unassisted goal at 7:51 before Bea Johnson scored from Stone Carmichael a minute and a half later.

“Once they scored one goal, we got really nervous and started panicking,” Coupe said. “So they were able to score the next two goals on defensive breakdowns.”

A hooking penalty on the Yachtsmen with 1:06 left effectively ended Falmouth’s hopes of sending the game to overtime.

“We made the playoffs again, which was always the goal for us,” Carrier said. “We didn’t advance like we wanted to, but I think if the girls come back hungry like they did that third period, we can probably build on the foundation that was laid this year.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

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