AUBURN — Cape Elizabeth wore down Poland/Leavitt/Oak Hill/Gray-New Gloucester and pulled away late for a playoff win Wednesday.

The fifth-seeded Capers defeated the fourth-seeded Kings 5-0, scoring three goals in the final five minutes, in a Class B South boys hockey quarterfinal at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

“I think that’s the testament of our guys’ maturity level and the lessons we learned throughout the season,” Capers coach Jacob Rutt said. “We stuck to kind of what worked and we grinded them down — our depth got the best of them.”

Kings coach Joe Hutchinson said his players were giving it their all until the final whistle, but they are a group that struggles when they fall behind.

“We ran out of gas at the end and the boys played really hard,” Hutchinson said. “This has been kind of our season. We don’t score a goal in these tight games. It’s tough, it’s tough. We put ourselves where we have to perfect all the time. It’s hard to play that way.”

Cape Elizabeth (10-6-1) advances to the regional semifinals, where it will face the winner of a late Wednesday matchup between No. 1 Greely and No. 8 Kennebunk either Friday or Saturday.


Early in Wednesdays game, the Capers and Kings both tried to establish a physical presence with big hits.

Cape Elizabeth became a little undisciplined in the middle of the first period and forwards Quinn Gordon and Connor Goss were sent to the penalty box.

The Kings struggled to set up their power play, even with 25 seconds of a 5-on-3 man advantage, because the Capers kept dumping the puck down the ice.

Once Goss’ penalty was over, Cape’s Philip Coupe dumped the puck and Goss chased it down in the offensive zone. Goss then fired back-hander that beat Kings goalie Vincent Lupardo with about three minutes in the first period

“I just picked my head up, and Connor is one of our fastest players and I tried to get (the puck) to him any way possible and he made the play,” Coupe, who ad two assists in the game, said.

The goal subsided any momentum the Kings (10-8-1) had built to that point.


“I thought we played really well in the first period, and they got a guy behind us,” Hutchinson said. “Our guy went to go pick up his stick instead of leaving it and going back (to play defense), it led to a breakaway. It was that one mistake we made in the first period and they scored.”

Poland/Leavitt/Oak/Gray-New Gloucester started the second period strong, firing three shots on Cape Elizabeth goalie Will Depke (13 saves) in the first 80 seconds of the period, matching its first-period shot total.

The Kings finished with eight shots on goal in the second.

The Capers, though, found the back of the net again in the second. Colin Blackburn skated down the left boards and ripped a shot over Lupardo’s right shoulder for a 2-0 lead. Nick Laughlin had the assist.

Poland/Leavitt/Oak/Gray-New Gloucester had more chances on power plays, but recorded no shots on its first man advantage of the third period.

“Over the past week or so, we tried to plug in different people on the first power play,” Hutchinson said. “We really didn’t get anything gelled together.”


On the second man-advantage opportunity of the third, Kings forward Hunter Bussiere hit the crossbar at point-blank range with 7:15 remaining in the third period.

The Kings went 0-for-5 on power plays.

Rutt said that avoiding penalties will be a focus in practices leading up to the semifinals.

“That’s something that we will address. I think a little bit of that is the frustration with the way the (Kings) play,” Rutt said. “That crept in our game a little bit.”

Cape Elizabeth scored two goals in 12 seconds to extend the lead to 4-0. Dimitri Coupe tipped a point shot that went through Lupardo’s five-hole with 4:23 remaining. Then Patrick Lee scored with 4:10 remaining.

The Kings sacrificed defense for offense at the end of the game.

“Once they got that third goal, you could feel the air came out of our sails,” Hutchinson said. “Part of that is we tried to move (defenseman) Blake (Springer) up (to forward), that exposed the (defense) a little bit.”

Sebastian Moon scored the Capers’ fifth goal with under a minute remaining in the game.

“Credit to (the Kings), they kept it close for a long time,” Rutt said. “Their goalie, Vincent (Lupardo), I think he’s the best in the state. He kept them in it; he made some really big saves as the game went along.”

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