Edward Little scores its first goal against Cape Elizabeth during the first period at Troubh Ice Arena on Thursday. Edward Little won, 5-1. (Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald)
PORTLAND — To Cape Elizabeth coach Matthew Buotte, Thursday night’s loss to Edward Little didn’t just boil down to his team’s lack of execution.
It came down to attitude.
“We definitely were a complacent hockey team,” Buotte said. “We can hear their locker room — it sounds like they won the Stanley Cup and ours sounds like a morgue.”
The Red Eddies (5-4) had good reason to celebrate. Their 5-1 victory over Cape Elizabeth (9-1-1) was their third time beating an undefeated team this season – Bangor and Poland/Gray New-Gloucester/Oak Hill/Leavitt were the other victims.
Eli Thibodeau scored Edward Little’s first three goals to help the Red Eddies break a two-game losing streak.
“I think we’re coming — we’re building,” Edward Little Coach Norm Gagne said. “I said to the kids, sooner or later, we’re going to turn the corner, and I’m hoping this is the corner and that we can start putting some wins together.”
Cape Elizabeth goalie Peter Haber finished with 18 saves, and Edward Little’s Gavin Toussaint had 14.
Thibodeau gave Edward Little an early 2-0 lead, scoring twice in the final two minutes of the opening period. His first goal — assisted by Dylan Campbell and Ben Cassidy — came off a rebound during a power play when the puck bounced out in front of the net to Thibodeau, who backhanded it in.
With seven seconds left, Thibodeau scored again – this time from Logan Alexander – when Alexander fed Thibodeau a pass in front of the net, and Thibodeau placed it in the bottom left corner.
“You got to come out on top first,” Thibodeau said. “An away game and taking down an undefeated team — it’s huge.”
Thibodeau made it 3-0 one minute into the third with a goal assisted Ben Cassidy and Logan Alexander. Cam Sturgis cushioned the lead less than four minutes later with a short-handed goal — assisted by Alex Landry and Aaron Kane.
“You have to work hard for 45 minutes in any game you play, and you have to work twice as hard when you dig yourself into a two-goal hole,” Buotte said. “Unfortunately for us, we dug the hole and then we just kept shoveling dirt on ourselves.”
The Capers finally scored with less than 21/2 minutes left when Phillip Tarling fired off a shot to the right of Toussaint for a goal, assisted by Ryan Collins and Alex Glidden.
Gunnar Winslow, a sophomore defenseman for Edward Little, finished the scoring with 47 seconds left.
While a loss always stings, Buotte said a humbling experience might just be what his team needed.
“You don’t want to lose, but maybe this was the kind of the humbling we needed to get us back on track. I’ve been warning these guys that our level of play hasn’t been good enough,” Boutte said. “We’re going to bounce back. I believe in the guys in that room.”
Cape Elizabeth senior Ethan Gillespie (11) and Edward Little senior Eli Thibodeau (5) knock each other over as they fight for the puck during their game at Troubh Ice Arena on Thursday. (Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald)