The Cape Elizabeth varsity team hit the ice at Bridgton Ice Arena on Saturday night, taking on Windham/Westbrook in their first exhibition match of 2015-2016. After a slow start the Capers would ensure that the long drive up Route 302 was a worthwhile one, scoring two goals each period en route to a 6-3 win.
The Capers, traveling to Bridgton for the third consecutive year as part of a fledgling team-building getaway tradition, were the home team to Windham/Westbrook, a newly-merged co-op team skating in Class A's North division. Windham/Westbrook showed quickly why they have set their expectations so high for the coming season. Windham/Westbrook would jump to a 3-1 lead, but a furious Cape Elizabeth fightback saw them 6-3 victors at the final buzzer.
Windham/Westbrook would waste no time opening the scoring. After just 1:23, sophomore Keegan Pock would draw first blood, slipping a seeing-eye shot past Cape Elizabeth senior Grant Rusk. The Capers would not wait long to level the score at 1, however, with Ben Ekedahl converting the team's first power play of the night just 1:32 later. Ekedahl found himself untouched on the Windham/Westbrook doorstep to bang home a Matt Riggle feed, with linemate Gavin Spidle also adding an assist.
Windham/Westbrook would continue the barrage of early goals at the 3:57 mark, with Cape Elizabeth leaving the dangerous Zack Callahan untouched in the slot where he unleashed a wrist shot that beat Rusk and almost immediately restored Windham/Westbrook's lead. The goal of the night would be produced by the visitors, however, with Greg Buotte unleashing a booming slapshot over Rusk's shoulder with 3:02 to play to stretch Windham's lead to 3-1. On a perfect pass from Elijah Doucette, Buotte fired a one-timer into the top left corner in which Rusk could do nothing about.
Eli Babcock would pull the Capers to within one in the final second of the first period, with Riggle winning an offensive zone face-off to Babcock with 3.5 seconds to play. Babcock was able to slip a wrist shot by Windham/Westbrook netminder Alex Leblanc as time expired to pull Cape Elizabeth within one at the break.
The second period would see Cape Elizabeth carrying the play for long periods of time, with all four lines buzzing around the Windham/Westbrook cage. Their diligence would be rewarded just past the halfway mark, with Sean Agrodnia banging home a rebound after Babcock's initial shot was stopped by Leblanc. Agrodnia would double his tally nearly five minutes later, when a fortunate bounce in the neutral zone sent him in on a breakaway. Agrodnia would place a beautiful wrist shot over Leblanc's glove and Cape Elizabeth would take a 4-3 lead into the third period.
The game would stay 4-3 for the majority of the third period until Ekedahl would notch his second goal of the night. Similarly to his first marker Ekedahl would fire home on the power play, picking up the loose change in front and depositing it for a 5-3 Cape Elizabeth advantage. Riggle would add his third assist of the night, with Babcock picking up his third point (G, 2 A) with the secondary assist. The Capers would wrap up the scoring with :51 to go, with Andrew Pellechia elevating a backhand past Leblanc to give Cape a three goal cushion. Carter Brock and Phil Tarling would register assists on the play.
Peter Haber played the second half of the game in net for Cape Elizabeth. Babcock, Agrodnia, and Pellechia all registered their first goals in a varsity game, with Spidle and Tarling registering their first assists. Cape Elizabeth will look to carry the momentum into Wednesday's exhibition at Hebron Academy JV on Wednesday, with the regular season opener to follow on December 5th at home versus Maranacook. Windham/Westbrook opens their regular season on December 9th against Lake Region.
The Cape Elizabeth Capers junior varsity team kicked it's season off Friday night at the newly constructed Casco Bay Arena in Falmouth, but the return to action did not bear fruit as Cheverus JV held off a late Cape Elizabeth comeback to take the first game of the regular season by a final count of 5-2.
Cheverus would break the ice a mere :36 into the first period on a fortunate deflection that ricocheted directly up over goaltender Garrett Mello and dropped behind him over the goal line. The Capers would swiftly respond, with Hans Croft finding himself untouched in the Cheverus goalmouth and whistling a wrist shot home to tie the game a mere :19 after the Capers fell behind. Alex Depke and Andrew Pellechia would notch assists on the play.
Cheverus would score three consecutive goals thereafter, with the Stags JV taking the play to Cape for long stretches of the second half. The Capers would trail 4-1 after two, with Mello making several key saves to keep the game close. With the Capers on the power play and beginning to assert themselves late in the third period, interim coach Matt Buotte pulled Mello for an extra attacker with just under five minutes to play. The Capers would strike on the subsequent power play, with Alex Depke firing home a laser from the blue line to give the Capers a lifeline and close the gap to 4-2.
With Cape Elizabeth still on the power play, Mello was pulled again with just under three minutes to go. Cheverus, however, would put the final nail in the Cape coffin with 1:22 left, sliding the puck into an empty net and confirming two points in the standings.
Cape Elizabeth went 1-for-4 on the power play with Cheverus failing to score on three opportunites. The Capers next action comes on Friday, December 11th as the Capers take on St. Dom's JV. The puck drops at 7:50 p.m. at Casco Bay Arena. The varsity team opens it's regular season on Saturday, December 5th as they Capers host Maranacook at Troubh Ice Arena. Opening face-off is at 4:10 p.m.
A youth-infused 2015-2016 incarnation of the Cape Elizabeth hockey team has wrapped up it's first week of practice with sweeping optimism through it's camp. After six grueling days of practice, the teams are beginning to take shape in what looks to be a promising winter across the entire organization.
The Capers admittedly have holes to fill in 2016--the departures of seniors Cole Caswell, Ben Shea, Jack Drinan, Curtis Guimond and Tom Gleason, as well as sophomore Peyton Weatherbie's exodus to prep school and junior goaltender Ross Leblond's move to Scarborough have left significant holes--and opportunities--amongst the Capers roster. Despite only returning 47% of it's goalscoring from last season the team, the Capers will turn to youth as they look to build on a 9-8-1 season from the previous winter.
The program has many reasons for optimism--30 skaters and 3 goaltenders tried out for the team, giving Cape Elizabeth some of the strongest participation numbers in the area despite being one of the smallest schools. The team will also have it's own practice facility for junior varsity and will participate in the inaugural season of Casco Bay Arena's JV league.
As the first week of practice winds down, the teams will turn their attention towards Thanksgiving weekend as both teams begin their quests for glory. The JV team will take on Cheverus in it's regular season opener on Black Friday at Casco Bay Arena, while the varsity squad will make the journey up Route 302 to take on Windham/Westbrook at Bridgton Ice Arena. The varsity will open it's regular season on December 5th against Maranacook.
The Capers pre-season schedule is coming together as the regular season approaches. Last Thursday the Capers were able to finalize a scrimmage with Hebron Academy JV and over the weekend the finishing touches were put on a scrimmage with the newly combined co-op Windham/Westbrook.
The Capers will play an exhibition game with Windham/Westbrook on Saturday, November 28th at Bridgton Ice Arena. The puck will drop at 5:00. The Capers have travelled to Bridgton for the previous two seasons for team-building and a lengthy practice. This year the Capers will take the hike up Route 302 for a scrimmage, marking the first time the 2015-2016 varsity squad can be seen in game action.
For the second straight year the Capers will travel to Hebron Academy to play the Lumberjacks JV squad. The puck will drop at 6:00 on Wednesday, December 2nd. The Capers fell 3-1 last year in a tightly contested affair. Cape Elizabeth will be hoping the top competition will provide a good litmus test a mere three days before the start of the regular season.
Cape Elizabeth opens it's regular season at home on December 5th against Maranacook. Opening face-off will be at 4:10 p.m.