LEWISTON — Gardiner got behind very early the last time it met Cape Elizabeth on a sheet of ice and found itself playing catch-up all night. In the playoffs, the Tigers turned the tables, then had to do all they could to keep the Capers from actually catching them.

Jake Folsom and Tristan Hebert each scored two goals and second-seeded Gardiner held off a late rally by No. 6 Cape Elizabeth for a 5-4 victory in the Class B South boys hockey semifinals Friday night at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Gardiner advances to the regional final Wednesday night at the Colisee against top-seeded Yarmouth at 7 p.m.

Cape Elizabeth had beaten Gardiner, 3-1, in the regular-season finale Feb. 13.

Cape Elizabeth jumped out to a 1-0 lead nine seconds into that first meeting, and the Capers tried to get the early lead with four of the game’s first six shots Friday. But it was the Tigers who capitalized first when Folsom made a nice move around a defenseman at the blue line, fired from the left hash, then punched the rebound home with 5:52 left in the first period.

Gardiner’s shots continued to come in bunches early in the second period. Folsom made it 2-0 off a feed from Tanner Hebert 3:25 into the period. Moments after the Capers had a goal disallowed because the net was dislodged, Folsom set up Tristan Hebert for his first goal at 5:05.

With the three-goal deficit, Cape Elizabeth pulled senior goalie Grant Rusk for sophomore Peter Haber. The move seemed like it might be a turning point when Gardiner’s Logan Peacock and Hunter Russell drew tripping penalties 27 seconds apart and Gavin Spidle got the Capers on the board. Still a man down, the Tigers answered when Tristan Hebert scored on a backhander to Haber’s left at 10:57.

“He had a good game. He’s come through for us all year and him and Jake work really good together,” Gardiner coach Sam Moore said.

The Capers made it a two-goal game again 3:56 into the third thanks to Timothy Corsello. But again, the Tigers produced a quick response as Ryan Kelley made it 5-2 just 40 seconds later.

“That was really huge to come back because it takes away their momentum and it makes things easier for us,” Moore said. “That was basically the difference.”

Cape Elizabeth, which outshot the Tigers, 32-14, got back on the power play and pulled back within two on Jed Boeschenstein’s goal with 5:48 left.

Gardiner goalie Michael Poirier (28 saves) denied Boeschenstein moments later to temporarily maintain that cushion, but the Tigers drew two more penalties and the Capers pulled their goalie for a 6-on-3 advantage and Spidle beat Poirier to make it a one-goal game with 1:04 to go.

Spidle had a tying bid ping the post 13 seconds later. The Tigers were whistled for yet another penalty to give the Capers (3-for-7 on the power play) a 6-on-4 for the rest game, but couldn’t get the tying goal.

“In my opinion, the better team is going home tonight, and I don’t mean that with any disrespect to Gardiner,” Capers coach Matthew Buotte said. “The puck was in their end all night. They got one more save than we did. I thought we controlled the game.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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