Backed by stellar goaltending, timely goals, and a desperate finish, the Capers hung on for a crucial 3-1 victory south of the border on Wednesday night to improve to 2-0-0 on the young season.
The Capers started the game slow as York, in their season opener after their original debut was postponed to snow, came out flying. York would outshoot the Capers 12-4 in the first frame but found themselves down 2-0 after one period of play. Matt Riggle continued his strong start by burying a rebound on the doorstep with York goaltender Eric Lindbolm sprawling to give the Capers the early lead they desired. Ben Ekedahl picked up the lone assist on the play.
The Capers would double their lead with just 1:15 to play in the first. After a relentless cycle in the York zone, Riggle would find pinching defenseman Jeb Boeschenstein streaking through the slot, who collected the feed and calmly unleashed a laser that rattled the underside of the crossbar and fell into the net behind Lindbolm. It was the first career goal for Boeschenstein and proved to be a pivotal tally for Cape Elizabeth.
York would answer just :27 into the second period when senior forward Derek Neal, coming off a 42-goal season, buried his first of the year, streaking in and tucking one between Cape Elizabeth goaltender Grant Rusk's legs and cutting the deficit to 2-1. York would draw no closer, however, as Rusk made save after save throughout the remainder of the second period to keep his team in front.
Curtis Guimond would then stretch the lead for visitors, walking off the right half-wall and firing a shot from the top of the circles past Lindbolm with 2:55 to play in the middle frame. The goal was Guimond's third in the first two games and came unassisted on Cape's second power play of the evening.
York would respond in the third period as the Capers began to tire. York would outshoot Cape Elizabeth 11-4 in the final frame, despite Cape Elizabeth having three power plays in the third period. The best chance for York would come shorthanded with just minutes to go, as the powerful Neal came in on Rusk all alone, only to be turned aside again. The Wildcats would apply immense pressure late, but desperate defending from the Capers saw them cling to a 3-1 advantage to get their first road win of the young season.
York outshot Cape Elizabeth 33-24. Rusk turned aside 32 shots in the win, as he improved to 2-0 in his career against the Wildcats. Ekedahl now has four assists in his first two games. Cape Elizabeth went 1-for-5 on the power play and killed off the only penalty they took--a tripping call to Riggle late in the third.
Next up for Cape Elizabeth is a formidable test against the Cheverus Stags, their first Class A opposition of the year. Cheverus toppled perennial contenders Lewiston in overtime on opening night. The puck drops at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 13th. The game will be played at both teams' home rink, Portland Ice Arena. Cheverus will be the home team in this fixture for the second straight season.
For more on Cape's victory over York, head to Seacoast Online for a full game recap.