By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
BROCKTON, Mass. – For the past four years, Oliver Ames has been the team that manages to steal a point or even two by turning to its goalie for a big performance. With Jimmy Tierney in goal, the Tigers could be outshot but still have the chance to win the game.
On Wednesday night at Asiaf Arena, OA got a taste of its own medicine.
The Tigers had a 42-18 advantage in shots against Dartmouth only for the Indians to pull out a 3-2 victory thanks to the heroics of senior goalie Tyler Martin, who made 40 saves including one on the doorstep with fewer than five seconds remaining.
Oliver Ames coach Mark Homer had a wry smile when asked how it felt to have a goalie do that to his team rather than the other way around. He said, “You talk to the coach before the game, one of the coaches it’s his son, and he says yeah he’s playing pretty well. Then he comes up big tonight.”
He added, “It happens and you get snakebitten sometimes. We put ourselves in position and it could have been a much different game.”
Eric LeBlanc got the Tigers on the board early in the first period. The sophomore forward finished off assists by Jared Costello and Cullen Gallagher. The lead lasted until 6:56 left in the period when Dartmouth got on the board through Tyler Serpa who followed up a shot by Colin Serpa and smacked in the rebound after Zach Walsh had made three straight saves.
The game stayed tied into the final minute of the first when Garrett Silvia won a face-off in the attacking zone for Dartmouth and then followed up a shot from the point to again score on a rebound and make it 2-1.
Homer said, “That was a big goal in the game. Our weak side forwards didn’t crash down and take care of business at the net.
“We stress that too. Every time there’s two minutes left in the period I’m up and down the bench saying third period rules, get pucks out, get pucks deep, you don’t want to give up any goals.”
The momentum swing at the end of the period did not carry over to the second. OA outshot Dartmouth 14-5 in the period and had three good chances inside the opening two minutes that martin was able to keep out, in particular a glove save that robbed Collin Bourne after a great pass by Ben Litwack.
Two minutes later and the Indians doubled the lead. A quick transition caught the OA defense flat-footed with Scott Shorrock finding space on the left wing and he sped past the last defensemen for a breakaway and just snuck the puck under the pad of Walsh for a 3-1 advantage.
The third period fell into a similar pattern with Oliver Ames pressing for a goal to get back into the game and Dartmouth trying to sneak players behind the defense and catch the Tigers in transition with quick outlets.
With just under five minutes left in the game, Martin pulled off a ridiculous glove save to bat aside a chance by Matt Mancini from the edge of the crease. The goalie was prone after making two blocks but somehow managed to get his arm up to knock the shot to the corner.
Seconds later, Mancini got his revenge on a breakaway. He deked and dragged the puck to the fore hand before sliding it through the five hole to make it 3-2 and give the Tigers hope of snatching a point.
“We’ve got eight freshmen on the squad…so I told the veteran guys that they have to step up,” said Homer. “He did everything that he could other than pushing that final goal across.”
The Tigers kept pushing and Martin kept denying them. Junior defenseman Jack Maloney had a pair of blasts stopped with no rebound and with the final seconds winding down OA had one last chance from close range on a rebound but again Martin found a way to get a shoulder on it and keep the puck out of the net.
“I thought we had a lot of opportunities, but a lot of it was scrappy,” said Homer. “There weren’t a lot of clean plays coming out of our end and we ended up playing a scrappier game.”
Some of the scrappy play can be attributed to having such a young roster and also having only played two games this season and coming off an 11-day break. The Tigers will get another week before game three, when they host King Philip in a non-league meeting.
“You wish that you could win a game like that,” said Homer, “but then you sit back and think how did the game go? I think there’s a lot of potential.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
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