Scarborough mobs sophomore goalie Keegan Weed at the conclusion of Saturday’s 3-2 win over Cape Elizabeth. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

PORTLAND—Rest assured that Keegan Weed will never forget his first start as the varsity goalie for Scarborough’s boys’ hockey team.

And rest assured that no one else present Saturday afternoon at Troubh Ice Arena will forget it either, as the reigning Class A runner-up Red Storm edged recent nemesis Cape Elizabeth in a taut, penalty-plagued contest.

Scarborough couldn’t have dreamed of a better start, as just 21 seconds in, senior Zach Chaisson scored a wrap-around goal.

The Red Storm doubled their lead just over five minutes into the first half, when senior Grover Wallace buried a loose puck, but to no one’s surprise, the Capers battled back.

After a timeout, on the power play, sophomore Dimitri Coupe scored to cut the deficit to one.

Scarborough had ample opportunity to extend the lead again, going on multiple power plays, but couldn’t do so and with Weed making 16 first half saves, the score remained 2-1 at the break.

Then, just 1-minute, 28-seconds into the second half, senior Michael Valente got the Red Storm off to another fast start with a goal which restored a two-goal advantage, 3-1.

Midway through the second half, play was stopped for nearly 10 minutes after a donnybrook broke out on the ice, which led to the ejection of a player from each team, as well as Cape Elizabeth coach Jake Rutt.

The Capers got a jolt, however, and despite playing short-handed, they cut the deficit to one again with 12:02 to go, when Coupe scored on a rebound, but Weed, with a huge assist from his defense, slammed the door from there and Scarborough held on for a 3-2 victory.

The Red Storm got 27 saves from Weed and beat the Capers for the first time in five years, improving to 2-1 and in the process, handing Cape Elizabeth its first loss in four outings.

“It was emotional, but it was fun,” Scarborough coach Dan McGovern said. “The guys were looking forward to this one. I’m glad we had the start we did. We got on the board early and rode the wave of momentum.”

Quite a rivalry

Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough are in different classes, but they play regularly and have produced some memorable games in recent years.

Last year, in a game played at the Cross Insurance Center, the Capers scored in the final minute to edge the Red Storm, 3-2.

Last Thursday, in the teams’ opener, a penalty shot goal from sophomore Alex Thayer again produced a 3-2 win.

Cape Elizabeth then beat visiting Thornton Academy, 2-1, and blanked visiting Kennebunk Thursday, 4-0.

Scarborough, in its first year under McGovern, who was an assistant with the program the past six years, bounced back from its loss to the Capers by beating South Portland Monday, 2-1.

Saturday, the Red Storm came out sizzling.

Just 12 seconds in, Cape Elizabeth sophomore goalie Will Depke denied senior Cory Schuler in close, but Chaisson got to the loose puck, skated around the goal, then, before Depke could react, Chaisson tucked it home for a 1-0 lead just 21 seconds into the contest.

“That first goal was big for momentum,” Weed said.

“Zach’s been huge for us,” McGovern said. “Even last year in the playoffs. He’s been a great leader. Scoring that early set the tone for the game.”

After Depke preserved the 1-0 score by denying both Chaisson and sophomore Thomas Hassett, the Capers went on the attack, but Weed denied bids from senior Oskar Frankwicz, freshman Colin Blackburn and a pair of shots by senior Nick Laughlin.

The Red Storm then doubled their lead with 17:41 left in the first half, as the puck came free to Wallace in front and he shot it past Depke for a 2-0 lead.

Thirty seconds later, Cape Elizabeth went on the power play when Scarborough senior James Lilley took a highsticking penalty.

Rutt called his timeout and it worked, as the Capers’ offense came to life.

After Weed stopped shots by Laughlin and a pair from senior Jack Pellechia, Laughlin fired a shot from up top that Coupe got his stick on and the redirect got past Weed and into the net to cut Cape Elizabeth’s deficit in half, 2-1.

“We knew 2-0 that Cape would come back,” McGovern said. “They’re a good team. They’re well-coached.”

The rest of the first half saw multiple Capers’ penalties, but Scarborough couldn’t take advantage.

Weed kept the Red Storm on top by saving shots from Coupe, Pellechia, sophomore Philip Coupe and Frankwicz, while at the other end, Depke made a tremendous pad save to rob Chaisson.

Late in the half, Weed made a glove save on a shot from Frankwicz, denied Thayer in front, twice robbed Blackburn and made a save on a sophomore Patrick Lee rush, keeping the score 2-1 Scarborough at the break.

In the first half, Cape Elizabeth enjoyed an 17-8 shots advantage, but Weed stopped 16 of them.

“For me, seeing a lot of shots really helps,” Weed said. “Everyone crashed the puck. I can’t thank my defense enough for getting the puck out.”

The second half saw Scarborough start fast again, the Capers answer, but not be able to completely come back.

Cape Elizabeth had a great look to draw even just 22 seconds into the second period, but Weed robbed Laughlin.

The Red Storm then took advantage, as senior John Valente sent the puck across to Michael Valente, who was wide open to Depke’s right and Michael Valente buried his shot to make it 3-1 with 21:32 to go.

Each team went on the power play, but couldn’t convert, as Weed denied Philip Coupe and Chaisson’s bid was saved by Depke.

Then, with 12:47 left, after a stop in play, pushing and shoving led to even more and after the dust settled, both Chaisson and Laughlin were sent off with game misconducts and Rutt was ejected as well after a discussion with the officials.

Just when it appeared the Capers might be demoralized, they immediately answered, despite being man-down.

After Frankwicz missed just wide, he got another look in close and his shot hit the post, Philip Coupe got a stick on the puck, then Dimitri Coupe tucked it home to make the score 3-2 with 12:02 still to play.

Weed then stepped up huge again, denying shots from Pellechia and a pair from Blackburn. Sophomores Sebastian Moon and Patrick Lee just missed as well.

With 1:13 left, Cape Elizabeth had one last chance, but Weed stopped Philip Coupe’s shot and the Capers never got another chance as Scarborough ran out the clock and celebrated its 3-2 victory.

“This win means a lot,” Weed said. “It’s a statement. It was a great team effort. I didn’t see a lot of shots in the second half. The D was just amazing.”

“It was a gutty performance at the end,” McGovern said. “We knew we had to bear down. We knew Cape would push. We had to play smart and keep it simple and we got the win.

“It’s been an interesting couple months. These kids make my job easy. It’s easier for them to have a familiar face in these trying times. I have a handful of seniors who have bought in. That makes it easy and fun.”

Weed’s heroics were a huge part of the Red Storm’s win.

“It was something for my first varsity game,” Weed said. “I’ll remember this for a long time. I’ve been preparing since last week. (Starting goalie senior) Peter (O’Brien) helped me out a lot. I started playing hockey in the eighth grade. I was JV last year.”

“This was Keegan’s first start and he was awesome,” McGovern said. “First start and first win. He’s been amazing for us since he came on in the backup role. He played today and played fantastic. He was a little nervous at first, but he got his composure and we got the win.”

Cape Elizabeth had a 29-12 advantage in shots on goal and got nine saves from Depke, but fell short.

“It was a tough game as we didn’t have a legs the first five to eight minutes,” Rutt said. “We had a decent game and thought we played well enough to win, but found ourselves in the penalty box and could never gain any momentum. That being said, I thought we had the majority of chances, but couldn’t quite finish.”

Make the most of every day

Cape Elizabeth is back in action Wednesday at Biddeford.

“It’s been a fun season so far and the boys have been working hard. With the enthusiasm the Cape community has shown towards the season, I wish we could have a more full season and I will be pushing for some sort of playoffs for hockey this year. The boys deserve to play for something.”

Scarborough goes to Kennebunk Monday and hosts the Rams Thursday.

“I can’t wait to see what we do the rest of the season,” Weed said. “We want to win as much as we can and keep progressing.”

“We’re looking forward to what’s left,” McGovern said. “We’ll take it day by day. We want to get better. The older guys are helping out the younger guys. We want to finish strong, then look to next year. The younger guys are getting meaningful minutes.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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