BROCKTON, Mass. – It certainly wasn’t an ideal start for Canton on Saturday evening, but the response from the Bulldogs definitely was.
After going down 1-0 in the opening minutes, Canton responded with the tying goal in the first, two tallies in the second and three more in the final period to score a 6-1 non-league win over Oliver Ames.
Less than 20 seconds into the game the Bulldogs went down a man on a four minute major boarding call. Oliver Ames was able to take advantage on the power play with freshman Max Ward taking a feed from classmate Brett Williams and banged one of the iron to put the Tigers ahead.
But as the period went on, the Bulldogs started to get their legs. Less than 30 seconds into their first power play, Canton junior Tommy Kilduff — the guilty part from the Bulldogs’ early penalty — got a piece of DJ Trerice’s shot from the blue line to knot the game.
“We always stress three keys and the first is to get off to a quick start,” Canton head coach Brian Shuman said. “When you get a four minute major in the first 20 seconds it kind of kills the gameplan. It was a horrible first period, I didn’t even know what to say in the locker room because there were so many things that needed to be fixed. But to our guys’ credit, they figured it out and played a hell of a lot better.”
OA goalie Zach Walsh kept the score level with a big save on Canton’s CJ Martin with less than 10 seconds to go in the first and then stopped an odd man rush from the Bulldogs, stopping Seamus Pecararo’s wrist shot and then gobbling up the loose puck just before it crossed the line.
But midway through the second Canton was able to take the lead for good. After the puck was thrown towards goal, a scrum ensued but senior Bobby Mullaney was alone at the post and lifted a backhand right over Walsh’s stick to make it 2-1.
Less than two minutes Canton converted at the tail end of a power play. Trerice went across the blue line to Martin and his wrist shot through traffic – with Kilduff playing a big role in the screen – and found the back of the net to make it 3-1, a lead the Bulldogs took into the second intermission.
“They blocked a ton of shots, there were always guys in the shooting lanes,” Shuman said. “They dominated us in that first period. After that we were finally able to get some momentum of our own. They really do take away the cross ice pass nicely so we to make more of those 10 foot passes to sort of get the puck moving. To OA’s credit they always play hard, they’re always physical and that’s why they’re a playoff team.”
Kilduff got his second of the game with just over five minutes gone in the final period. With OA looking to clear it out of their own zone, Kilduff swooped in to pick the pick uff and went in alone, pulling a quick move before roofing it to make it 4-1.
“The kids were calling him Tommy Kane after that second goal, going up under the crossbar, and it was a great goal,” Shuman said. “Tommy’s getting better and better. He works hard, he never stops moving his feet, and it was good to see him get going. Often times it takes a shot off the stick that finds the back of the net to get going and that’s exactly what fired him up and get him going today.”
Canton went on another man advantage and cashed in nearly right away with senior Matt Lazaro rounding around the boards before finding Mullaney in the middle for a one timer. Junior Jackson Maffeo also assisted on the play.
In the final minutes, Kilduff came away with another turnover, this one in the neutral zone and skated in with an odd man rush along side senior Andrew Gelerman. Instead of going for the shot to try and complete the hat trick, Kilduff unselfishly dished it off to Gelerman. The shot was just wide of the post but Kilduff was rewarded for his unselfishness as the puck bounced off the boards right back it him on the other side of the goal for a tap in to make it 6-1.
“Canton’s at their high point right now, they skate hard,” OA head coach Mark Homer said. “I thought for the first period, period and a half I thought our guys did a nice job of keeping up and skating well. We jumped right into the game and had some opportunities and got that first goal. I thought we battled hard but we just didn’t create enough opportunities.”
Canton finished with a 24-19 advantage in shots.
“They’re a fast team, they move the puck quick,” Homer said of Canton. “Brian obviously does a great job with them, they’re very structured and they just have no give up in them. We were trying to take the middle of the ice away, and at times we did a pretty good job of it. We were trying to jump on them right away, especially in their defensive zone, trying to force them to make quick decisions and then take advantage of some errors.”
Canton hockey (13-2-2, 9-0-1) will take on Coyle & Cassidy in the first round of the Joe Quinn Memorial Tournament at the Raynham IcePlex on Tuesday at 7:30. Oliver Ames (9-7-1, 7-3) will travel over the Bourne Bridge on Monday to take on North Reading in the first game of the Jeff Hayes Memorial Tournament.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
Ryan Lanigan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HockomockSports.com. You can contact him at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and follow him on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.