BOX SCORE

Cape Elizabeth 16 Gorham 9

G- 3 1 3 2- 9
CE- 5 2 5 4- 16

First quarter
10:27 CE Lee (Campbell)
9:50 CE Cochran (Boudreau)
8:45 G Hunter Pelletier
8:00 CE T. Lathrop (unassisted)
6:16 CE Boudreau (unassisted)
3:14 CE T. Lathrop (K. Lathrop)
1:30 G Callahan
:15 G Graham

Second quarter
7:18 CE Boudreau (unassisted)
5:21 CE K. Lathrop (Laughlin)
4:39 G Haden Pelletier (Lehmann)

Third quarter
10:06 CE Campbell (unassisted)
9:46 CE K. Lathrop (unassisted)
8:02 G Graham (Pelletier)
6:10 CE T. Lathrop (Lee)
4:01 CE K. Lathrop (Campbell)
3:17 CE Cochran (unassisted)
43.9 G Gaudreau (Callahan)
4.1 G Lehmann (unassisted)

Fourth quarter
9:22 CE Cochran (T. Lathrop)
8:52 CE Boudreau (unassisted)
7:28 CE Lee (unassisted)
6:01 CE K. Lathrop (Duryee)
56.4 G Hunter Pelletier (Sawyer)
23.2 G G Gaudreau (Callahan)

Goals:
G- Gaudreau, Graham, Hunter Pelletier 2, Callahan, Lehmann, Haden Pelletier 1
CE- K. Lathrop 4, Boudreau, Cochran, T. Lathrop 3, Lee 2, Campbell 1

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CAPE ELIZABETH—There’s only one boys’ lacrosse program in the state that can be wholly unsatisfied after winning a game by seven goals.

Of course that program, Cape Elizabeth, has no peer for good reason and Wednesday evening at Hannaford Field, the reigning Class A state champion Capers added yet another feather to their cap, as longtime coach Ben Raymond reached a milestone over 20 years in the making.

Hosting a talented Gorham squad in an early-season showdown, Cape Elizabeth shot to a quick 5-1 lead and had a chance to put the game away early, but penalties and sloppy play allowed the Rams to pull within two, 5-3, after one quarter.

Gorham continued to frustrate the Capers in the second period and trailed just 7-4 at the break, but you can only hold Cape Elizabeth in check for so long and coming out of the half, the Capers scored four quick goals for some breathing room and after the Rams pulled within 12-7 after three quarters, four more goals early in the fourth ended all doubt and Cape Elizabeth went on to a 16-7 victory.

Sophomore Keegan Lathrop paced a balanced attack with four goals and seniors Nic Boudreau and Tiernan Lathrop and sophomore Sam Cochran added three apiece as the Capers improved to 2-0 on the young season, made it 18 consecutive victories overall and in the process, gave Raymond his 300th victory, with many more to come.

“The guys understand that as the season goes on that every game is a big game and I’m sure every team circles us on the schedule and the games should be just as important to us,” said Raymond, who has just 48 losses in his 24 seasons. “We don’t talk about who we’re playing. It’s more about how we play. We should expect a lot more from ourselves and hold each other a little more accountable.”

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The gold standard

Boys’ lacrosse became a Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned sport in 1998, the year Raymond, at the age of 28, replaced program founder/dynasty creator Charlie Burch.

“When I replaced Charlie, all I was thinking was that I had some big shoes to fill,” Raymond said. “He left me with one of the best teams we’ve ever had.”

Raymond’s first victory came April 15th of that year, 20-1, over Marshwood, as long-ago stars Zach Herbert and Josh McGeachey both scored five goals). His 100th win came June 8, 2004 (12-3 over Kennebunk in the West Region Final) and number 200 came May 21, 2013 (19-0 over Fryeburg Academy).

Of Raymond’s wins, 59 have come in the postseason, including 12 in championship games.

The Capers won the state title in Raymond’s first year (there was just one class prior to 2006), then did it again the following season and once more in 2000. While other programs like Yarmouth, NYA and Falmouth began to close the gap, Cape Elizabeth managed to win additional single-class titles in 2002, 2003 and 2005, Class B crowns in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 and finally, the only missing piece, a Class A championship, last season.

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In fact, the 2021 squad could stake its claim as one of, if not the best in program annals, after overwhelming the opposition during an undefeated campaign, only being pushed once and dominating Falmouth, 19-6, in the state final.

With most of that juggernaut back, including Boudreau, who was sidelined much of last year with a knee injury, the Capers entered the 2022 season as the favorite and they opened in style Friday, with a 21-4 home win over Kennebunk.

Gorham, meanwhile, was a terrific 12-2 last season, but was no match for Cape Elizabeth in the Class A South semifinals, losing, 18-2.

The Rams started the 2022 campaign with a bang Saturday, blanking host Massabesic by a whopping 21-0 margin.

Wednesday, Gorham did all it could to delay Raymond’s party, but ultimately, the Capers were able to take control in the second half and put it away.

Senior Caden Lee gave Cape Elizabeth the lead for good just 93 seconds into the game (senior Colin Campbell had the assist) and with 9:50 to go in the first period, Cochran scored for the first time, from Boudreau, for a 2-0 advantage.

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The Rams got on the board a minute later, as senior Hunter Pelletier beat Capers senior goalie Fred Shur, but the hosts answered, as Tiernan Lathrop scored his first goal (unassisted) with 8 minutes remaining, Boudreau added an unassisted tally with 6:16 on the clock, then Keegan Lathrop fed Tiernan Lathrop for a 5-1 lead with 3:14 left in the frame.

Cape Elizabeth senior Tiernan Lathrop, right, and sophomore Sam Cochran celebrate a goal early in the Capers’ 16-9 win over Gorham Wednesday night. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos

But Gorham refused to fold and after senior Connor Callahan scored with 1:30 to go, senior Jacob Graham added a goal with 15 seconds left and suddenly, the Rams were within two, 5-3, heading to the second quarter.

Where Cape Elizabeth tried, but failed to pull away.

Gorham had a chance to make it a one-goal game early in the period after a Capers penalty, but Shur made a big stop on Callahan.

Then, with 7:18 to go in the half, Boudreau scored unassisted, beating Rams junior goalie Ian Connors.

With 5:21 on the clock, Keegan Lathrop scored for the first time, in transition on a pass from junior Nick Laughlin, but that would be it for Cape Elizabeth’s first half offense.

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When junior Jacob Lehmann set up sophomore Haden Pelletier for a goal with 4:37 left, Gorham had pulled within 7-4, a score which would remain heading to the half.

Cape Elizabeth junior Nate Patterson clears the ball.

The Capers got refocused during the break and came out their usual selves in the third quarter.

First, the Rams nearly drew back within two, but Graham hit the post.

Then, in a 20-second span, Boudreau and Keegan Lathrop (after a turnover) scored unassisted goals to extend the lead from three to five.

“My little brother always has himself a game,” said Tiernan Lathrop. “He’s a star. My parents say, ‘I’m power and he’s style’ and we make a great duo, but there’s also a rivalry. We argue who has the best behind-the-back (shot). I say it’s me, but it’s probably him.”

With 8:02 to play, Gorham answered, as Hunter Pelletier found Graham for a goal, but playing man-up, Lee set up Tiernan Lathrop with 6:10 on the clock and at 4:01, Keegan Lathrop took a pass from Campbell and finished. Forty-four seconds later, after Connors saved an initial shot from Campbell, Cochran pounced on the rebound and scored to make it 12-5.

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The Rams ended the frame strong, as Callahan found junior Andrew Gaudreau for a transition goal with 43.9 seconds on the clock, then junior Jacob Lehmann scored with 4.1 seconds showing to cut the deficit to five heading for the final stanza.

Where Cape Elizabeth ended any remaining drama.

Longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond consults the scorebook during the fourth quarter. Hoffer photo.

With 9:22 to go, Tiernan Lathrop set up Cochran for a goal.

Thirty seconds later, Boudreau got to a loose ball and finished.

With 7:28 to play, Lee scored unassisted and with 6:01 left, senior Crispin Duryee fed Keegan Lathrop for what proved to be the Capers’ final tally.

In the final minute, Gorham got goals from Hunter Pelletier (set up by senior Brady Sawyer) and Gaudreau (assisted by Callahan), but it was far too little, too late and at 7:25 p.m,. Cape Elizabeth closed out its 16-9 victory, which gave Raymond win number 300.

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“It’s amazing, but the win didn’t go the way we wished it had,” Tiernan Lathrop said. “We were a little too confident. We definitely hold ourselves to a high standard. If we knew it was going to be Coach’s 300th win earlier, we would have been much more hyper.

“He does so much for the program, like helping kids out on Saturday morning. I remember him coaching me when he had 200 wins or less, so it’s awesome to be here for his 300th. He just bonds with the players really well. I just go into his office and hang out and have a conversation with him every day. He’s a great coach and mentor. He knows the game so well.”

“I hoped to be here this long,” Raymond said. “Being good for a long time has helped. When I was much younger, there was a ton more pressure because we’d won so many (championships) in a row. At the end of seasons, people were more relieved than happy. Now, they’re just mostly happy.”

The Capers’ balanced and prolific offense saw six different players tickle the twine, as Keegan Lathrop had four goals, Boudreau, Cochran and Tiernan Lathrop three apiece, Lee two and Campbell one.

“I guess we expect a lot from ourselves and these guys won’t be pleased with how they played on both ends,” said Raymond. “Defensively, we didn’t communicate all that well. We did a nice job on ground balls and rode well and cleared efficiently. We were OK in transition. Their goalie played well and we helped him out a lot.”

For Gorham, Gaudreau, Graham and Hunter Pelletier all had two goals, while Callahan, Lehmann and Haden Pelletier had one apiece.

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The number keeps growing

While Gorham returns to action next Wednesday versus Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth looks to keep the good times rolling Monday, when it goes to two-time reigning Class B champion Yarmouth. The Capers then go to Falmouth May 2.

“Our team got humbled a little and we didn’t like being humbled like that,” said Tiernan Lathrop. “We have some things to work on. We know other teams are watching and they think we can be beat. Tomorrow, we’ll go hard in practice. We just have to pick it up. I’d like it to be more intense and to go hard at each other. I’d like it to be more like a college-level practice, since many of us are going there in the future.”

“These guys feel a little pressure,” Raymond said. “So many of these guys were a big part of what we did last year. They know what the expectations are and they’ll do what they need to do to reach them. The kids work hard. The guys come out and work with the younger kids. It helps that these guys are really good role models. Parents like that their kids look up to these guys. Having so many talented kids who have lacrosse as their number one sport, yet they play three sports, makes them better athletes all around. A lot of guys want to pursue lacrosse in college and it helps everybody. We want to get these guys to the point where they can compete for a position after they leave here.”

Raymond, meanwhile, looks forward to battling his longtime rivals, along with everyone else, for years to come.

“My wife (Caroline) says I can’t retire until I’m 77, so there’s hopefully another 25 years to go,” Raymond said.

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

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