CAPE ELIZABETH — The calendar might say it’s mid-April, but there was a definite postseason feel to Friday’s season-opening boys’ lacrosse showdown between South Portland and Cape Elizabeth at Hannaford Field.

Not only was it unseasonably warm, but the Red Riots and Capers went after each other with plenty of intensity.

And as is so often the case in the playoffs, Cape Elizabeth came out on top.

Sam Cochran’s second of three goals broke a tie late in the third quarter, and the defending Class A state champion Capers didn’t surrender a man-down goal all game and they pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 10-6 win.

“This was the first game of the year, but there was a lot of energy, a lot of competition,” said Ben Raymond, Cape Elizabeth’s longtime coach. “Both teams played like it meant something, and that doesn’t always happen.”

Two quick goals from Brady Demers gave South Portland an early lead, but after Connor Goss tied the score, he set up Bobby Offit man-up for a 3-2 Capers’ advantage after one quarter.


Goals from Tom Hennessey and Keegan Lathrop, the latter coming with just 5 seconds remaining in the second quarter, stretched Cape Elizabeth’s lead to 5-3 at halftime, but the Red Riots rallied in the third quarter.

South Portland’s Ben Kieu, a standout senior goalie who will play next year at Hampton University in Virginia, made seven saves in the third quarter, and goals by Tobey Lappin and Beckett Mehlhorn tied the score.

But with a minute remaining in the third, Cochran weaved through the defense and bounced a shot past Kieu to snap Cape’s 11-minute scoring drought.

“We knew going in that (Ben) was our No. 1 priority,” Cochran said. “We knew he’s good high and in the middle, and we had to put (the ball) low corner. Almost all of our goals were bouncers.”

After Hennessey scored his second goal with 22 seconds left in the quarter, Cape Elizabeth’s Nate Patterson delivered a dagger of a goal 48 seconds into the fourth after stealing the ball from Kieu.

“I saw (Kieu) pop out of the crease, I hit his bottom hand when he went to throw (the ball), and it popped down, so I took it around and tucked it in before he was able to get back,” Patterson said.


Six players scored goals for Cape Elizabeth and one other added an assist.

Kieu finished with 15 saves. The Red Riots got three goals and an assist from Demers.

After losing by 10 goals at Cape last season, South Portland believes it’s closing the gap, and the Red Riots look forward to facing the defending champions again on May 26 in South Portland.

“We had a tough game here last year and that was motivation for us,” said Red Riots Coach Dan Hanley. “It’s a game of runs, and today, they got the better of us. I don’t feel like we played our best game, but it’s April. It’s about improving from here.”

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