AUBURN – Don’t call it an upset.

No. 5 Cape Elizabeth chased No. 4 Leavitt from the Western Class B hockey quarterfinals with a 5-1 flourish Monday night at Ingersoll Arena.

No surprise, really, when you consider that the Capers (9-12) are the two-time defending state champions and have won three of the last four titles.

Plus, Cape Elizabeth entered the playoffs with one of the most deceptive .400 winning percentages in the pantheon of organized sports. Even with only five returning seniors, Cape didn’t water down what is essentially a top-tier Class A schedule. Six of the top nine teams in the Western Class A tournament beat the Capers, and it was almost never a cakewalk.

“We lost 12 games, but we learned a lot about ourselves in those losses,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Jason Tremblay. “We’re a proud program. We’re proud of who we are and where we are.”

Tom Rich and Colby Pearson both notched a goal and four assists to get a stick in every strike for Cape Elizabeth, which advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round against No. 1 Greely at Portland Ice Arena.

Scott Redmun, one of only two seniors in the Leavitt lineup, scored the lone goal for the Hornets with 2:09 remaining in the second period. Redmun redirected a shot by Steven Rouillard. Tyler Robitaille also picked up an assist. By that time, however, it was 3-1.

“It’s rough for us going up against organizations like Cape and Greely,” said Leavitt coach Ron Rouillard. “Jason is a good coach. He’s built it back up, and they’re going to be good for the next couple years.”

Peter Kelley scored twice to provide Cape Elizabeth a 2-0 lead in the first period.

After Cape and Leavitt exchanged goals in the second stanza, Max Foner fashioned a power-play goal at 5:17 of the third to put away the Hornets (9-11-1).

“They played hard and played with a lot more discipline,” Tremblay said of Leavitt. “Their goaltender played very well. That’s what I expected from them.”

Leavitt’s Richard Thibault didn’t have to work quite as hard between the pipes as he did in a 4-2 loss to Cape Elizabeth on Jan. 10, when he made 50 saves. But it was still a yeoman effort. The junior turned away 32 shots, trapping numerous first and second-period blasts in his bread basket to keep the Hornets close.

“He played well for us all season. We had very little in terms of firepower this year, and you can see by watching us how small we are,” Ron Rouillard said. “We only had a couple of players who really made a difference up front.”

Cape goaltender Lincoln Jordan made 21 saves.

Zach Breed combined with Rich to set up Pearson’s goal at 4:40 of the second period, making it 3-0. Kelley also chalked up an assist for Cape on Rich’s insurance tally in the third.

Four seniors who started the season with the Hornets didn’t suit up for the playoff game.

“I got rid of one of them,” Rouillard said, “and it actually helped the team. We didn’t have any attitudes.”

Leavitt continued its streak of post-season appearances and should be a factor in 2007-08.

Thibault will return for his senior season. Starting forwards Rouillard and Robitaille are only sophomores, and defensive co-captain Zach Chouinard also has a year of eligibility remaining.

“I think we showed that we’re more than a first-round nuisance,” said coach Rouillard. “We’ve been to the quarterfinals and semifinals the last few years. These kids gave me everything they had.”

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