High school hockey rivalries can take on a feel like no other. The pride of student athletes competing for their communities and their schools in front of their friends and family can create an incredible atmosphere. If you were at the Midcoast Recreation Center on Saturday night watching the Camden Hills boys ice hockey team take on Cape Elizabeth, you already knew that. The Capers and Windjammers fought from buzzer to buzzer, with the Capers pulling away in the third to leave Rockland, Maine with a 3-1 over their longstanding rivals.
The previous three meetings had been decided by one goal, with two of the three reaching overtime. Both overtime games had been tied in regulation with :12 left or less, the first time by Cape in 2013 and the second when Camden came from behind to tie the Capers with :07 to play, going on to win in overtime by a count of 7-6. Needless to say, when the two teams meet, it is must-see TV.
Neither team was able to break the ice in the first period, with the Capers outshooting the Windjammers 15-7. Grant Rusk made several of his 22 saves in the first, when Camden had some of their most sustained pressure coming early in the contest. Cole Caswell was monstrous on defense, with the game-time decision playing his best hockey in one of his biggest games for Cape Elizabeth.
The visitors would break the deadlock early in the the second period. Curtis Guimond picked the puck up in transition and darted through the neutral zone before unleashing a phenomenal wrist shot that slipped just over Camden Hills keeper Jet Magri's glove and just under the crossbar. The goal came unassisted at the 3:51 mark.
Camden Hills would seize momentum right back, however, as Nick Tassoni was able to walk in from the Camden blue line and fire a shot that James Annis, providing a perfect screen in front, was able to deflect past Rusk and level the score at 1-1.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, with the teams playing hard and physical in all areas of the ice. Tempers would boil over at the end of the second period, as Capers forward Matt Riggle would respond to a late poke at Rusk and take Camden defenseman Nick Church off with him on matching rouging penalties after a brief wrestling match.
The Capers would start the second with purpose, hemming the Windjammers into their own end for much of the period. Right on cue--just as you'd expect of a captain--Jack Drinan would score the eventual game-winning goal on a blistering wrist shot from the top of the circles that whistled by Magri and silenced a boisterous Camden crowd. The goal came 4:10 into the final period.
The score would remain unchanged throughout the third until the Windjammers had their best opportunity of the game. Jack Drinan was flagged for hooking with 4:01 remaining, sending Camden to the power play. The best opportunity came with just over 2 minutes to go, when a Camden forward had a wide open net from the face-off dot, only to see his shot deflected into the screen by a desperate shot-block from Capers defenseman Eli Babcock.
The Capers would pin the Windjammers in after the power play, and Camden's fate was essentially sealed when Camden Hills assistant captain Jonah Cameron was sent off on a 5-minute boarding major. The Capers would kill down the clock until Ben Ekedahl slipped the puck to a streaking Curtis Guimond, who crossed over the center ice red line and buried the puck into an empty cage, putting Cape ahead 3-1.
The win temporarily moves Cape Elizabeth to second in the heal points standings in Class B West. The Capers improve to 8-7-1, their most victories since the 2011-2012 season when they finished second in Class B West The Capers outshot Camden Hills 42-23. Cape Elizabeth went 3-1 on the power play, while Camden Hills went 0-for-1. Cape Elizabeth's remaining two games are home against York and a trip to Auburn to face down Leavitt.