After a scoreless first period in the Class B boys’ hockey state championship game, Cape Elizabeth senior Nick Laughlin knew all his team needed was a spark. Laughlin was happy to provide it.

A defenseman, Laughlin scored a pair of goals in the span of 1:14, staking the Capers to a lead they would never relinquish in a 4-3 win Saturday over Messalonskee at Cross Insurance Arena.

The victory marks the Capers’ first hockey state championship since 2006. They finished with a 19-2 record, winning 14 straight games to close the season.

North champ Messalonskee ends at 18-3-1.

“That group, especially the top four defensemen, really bought into what we were trying to do defensively,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Jake Rutt. “They really managed the puck well. It got a little bit loose and hairy in the third period, but you know what? These guys are competitors. They show up and compete every night. I’m really proud of that group.”

Messalonskee averaged more than five goals per game this season, but Cape’s defense, led by Laughlin and fellow senior Philip Coupe, held the Eagles to 20 shots and prevented them from sustaining consistent offensive pressure.


“They’re just really solid. They play their five-man defensive system. Their defense did a nice job with their gap controls and getting sticks on pucks,” said Messalonskee Coach Dennis Martin.

Laughlin’s first goal came at 2:31 of the second period, off a high shot from the point. Just over a minute later, he joined a rush and scored with a shot from the lower circle.

“It was a great boost to get us going. It got our friends in the stands going. It got the whole bench going,” Laughlin said of his first goal. “Then getting the second one felt even better.”

At 6:36 of the second, Sebastian Moon’s short-handed goal pushed the Capers’ lead to 3-0.

Thirteen seconds later, Messalonskee’s Owen Kirk scored on the power play to cut the deficit to 3-1. The Eagles then made it 3-2 on Will Durkee’s goal at 4:34 of the third.

“That’s the fight we had all year,” Martin said. “We work and battle teams, and they’re a heck of a hockey team over there.”


With 7:01 remaining, a power-play goal from Moon gave the Capers a 4-2 lead. The play started when Laughlin dumped the puck from the point off the boards. It ricocheted to Brady Hanisko, who fed Moon.

Knowing Messalonskee’s penalty killers would focus on Cape’s dangerous players on the point, the Capers knew they had to work the puck low to get pressure on the net, Rutt said.

“We knew, practicing here a bunch throughout the season, we knew the boards were bouncy. So I just threw it off the back and it bounced right in front for us,” Laughlin said.

With goalie Hunter Hallee (36 saves) pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute, Messalonskee’s Grayson Podey scored with 14 seconds left to cut the Capers’ lead to 4-3. After the ensuing faceoff, Cape ran out the clock and begin celebrating.

“Definitely some nerves, but we knew we could hold our own with this guy in net, Charlie Garvin,” Moon said.

Garvin made 17 saves, including 10 in the third period.

“A championship team is built from the net out. Charlie had an unbelievable game as well,” Rutt said.


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