Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland’s captains Josie Boeschenstein, left, Annie Guimond and Koto Yamada hoist the plaque after defeating Scarborough in overtime to win the South regional championship on Wednesday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

For a team that has only one senior, the Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls’ hockey team is a mature, resilient bunch.

Take the victory over Scarborough in the South championship game on Wednesday, when the Capers lost their lead with 12 seconds remaining in regulation and headed into overtime. This had all the makings of last year’s heartbreak, when Cape lost a double-overtime game in the South semifinals to eventual state champion Cheverus.

“It was insane,” said forward Koto Yamada, a junior at South Portland High. “Losing to Cheverus last year … it just really set a fire in us.”

A fire, but not a wildfire. Before overtime began, Capers Coach Bob Mills made sure his team stayed focused.

“We talked about keeping our emotions in check,” Mills said. “We knew one team was going to be scoring the next goal. It’s going to be us or Scarborough. We just need to keep playing our game – and they did.”

Yamada scored the winner in the 3-2 victory, and now the Capers (14-5-1) are headed to their first state championship game, at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, home ice of Cape’s opponent, undefeated Lewiston (19-0-1).


Cape’s appearance is rare because, in the 12 years of girls high school hockey in Maine, six schools have dominated – Lewiston with six trips to the state final, and St. Dominic, Greely, Cheverus, Scarborough and Falmouth with three apiece.

Other teams have had good years, but rarely good enough to really be in contention.

Cape looked strong for much of the season, at 10-2-1, but then had a three-game losing streak in late January. It appeared to be another good but not great season for the Capers.

“We knew we didn’t play our best games,” said defenseman Abbey Agrodnia, a junior at Cape Elizabeth. “We all knew we needed a better mindset coming in.

“Coach talked to us, brought our spirits back up – we were just going to go at it, and we did.”

Much like his quick talk before Wednesday’s overtime, Mills kept it simple – if you want to play well, you have to be ready to play.


“We’re been talking for two weeks about proper preparation,” he said.

The team – which has four South Portland players and three from Waynflete – has turned it around with four straight wins. In the process, Cape (14-5-1) avenged two regular-season losses, beating Cheverus 5-0 in the South semifinals, and then Scarborough. The other loss during its three-game slide was against Lewiston, 5-1 on Jan. 27.

“They’re a very, very good team,” Mills said. “It’s going to be a tough game, but we’ve got nothing to lose. We’re just going to give them everything we’ve got and see what happens.”

Cape gave Lewiston a scare in their first meeting this season, Jan. 4 at the Colisee. The Capers led 3-2 with a minute left in the second period, but the Blue Devils scored a power-play goal to tie the game, then dominated the third period for a 6-3 win.

That game showed what Cape is capable of, with its dangerous top line of Yamada, Bella Schifano and Nicoletta Coupe, along with a strong defensive group of Agrodnia, Annie Guimond and Josie Boeschenstein, and anchored by goalie Katherine Blackburn. Lewiston, with Varsity Maine All-State goalie Camree St. Hilaire, has posted 15 shutouts. Only Cape has scored more than one goal against the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils, whose only blemish was a 1-1 tie with Scarborough to end the regular season, will be big favorites on Saturday. But Lewiston went into last year’s title game undefeated, and then lost to Cheverus.

“We realize this year that we can’t go in (overconfident) because that’s what we did last year,” Lewiston All-State forward Gemma Landry said. “That tie with Scarborough opened our eyes a little bit.”

The Blue Devils often bring constant pressure and wear teams down. The underdog Capers, recently, have handled the heat.

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