By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
BROCKTON, Mass. – Stoughton senior Mark Sheehan skated up the middle and unleashed a wrist shot that found the back of the net in the third period. That power play goal turned into the game winner as Stoughton held off Foxboro, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon.
“It would have been nice to score more [on the power plays] but Foxboro really got tired in that third period, they were undermanned,” Stoughton head coach Dan Mark said. “Our kids just don’t know how to win yet and they get in these situations and they get flustered when we get the lead. Being ahead seems to be a bad thing for us sometimes. But it’s a win so we’ll take it.
The Black Knights built a two goal lead in the first period but Foxboro cut the deficit in half in the second period and then tied the game in the first minute of the third period. The Warriors had their momentum cut short in the final period with five penalties.
Less than six minutes into the game, The Black Knights had a 1-0 lead. Junior Nick Hardy was able to fight for control just before the corner along the nearside boards and whipped in a pass to the middle. Senior Adam Potter was the recipient of the pass and slotted the first goal into the back of the net.
And just over two minutes later, Stoughton was able to double its lead. Freshman Carter Gerome snuck past a defender in the corner, stepped towards the front of the net but lifted a backhand up over Foxboro goalie John Cronin to make it 2-0.
Although Foxboro held an 8-4 advantage on shots in the first period, they trailed by two after the first 15 minutes. They led 13-5 in shots in the second period and this time it translated to the scoreboard.
Midway through the middle period, the Warriors went on the power play after a hooking call. Pete Smith and Jason Galanti then set up sophomore Aidan Sullivan just inside the blue line and his slap shot found its way through traffic and past Stoughton freshman goalie AJ Scott to cut the deficit to one.
Foxboro nearly tied the game in the final minutes of the second period when Smith dropped a pass right in front to junior Paul Vey but Scott closed down and smothered the shot.
The Warriors went on the man advantage inside the first minute of the third period and cashed in immediately. Mike Carresi won the face off back to Sullivan, who slid the puck across the blue line to junior John Brolin. Brolin unleashed a low shot that snuck its way in to tie the game 2-2.
“They could have laid down and put their heads down but they didn’t,” Mark said of his team. “I thought they played with some desperation at the end there which is what they need to do. It’s a learning curve with these kids.
“l told them between the second and third periods that they needed to play with desperation. We were still in the ballgame but we just had to play hard and I thought they played pretty hard in that third period.”
After tying the game is when the wheels fell off Foxboro’s comeback train. A slashing call put Stoughton on the power play and 30 seconds into it, another slash call made it a two man advantage of the Black Knights.
Stoughton kept the puck in the offensive zone, passing along behind the goal before Sheehan took control, skated to the middle and buried it for the game winner.
“He deserves it,” Mark said of Sheehan. “I think you can see, he’s definitely a good player. I think he’s one of the better players in the league honestly, he just doesn’t have the same supporting cast as some of the other teams. It was nice for him to get the game winner.”
While Foxboro continued to try and kill the remaining penalty, a miscommunication resulted in another penalty and another 5 on 3 advantage. And when one of those penalties expired, a tripping call put them right back down two men.
“We had a tough first period, I didn’t think we were doing all the right things,” Foxboro head coach Jim Geonvese said. “The second period we controlled most of the play but the third period, the penalties killed us with two or three 5 on 3’s. I know they only scored one but it took the wind out of us.
“They got up and then we went right back to a 5 on 3 and we just couldn’t get our legs back. We battled well in the second and third for sure, at least as much as we could in the third.”
The Warriors had a power play just over the halfway mark of the final period but weren’t able to get a serious scoring chance. Because of a late penalty with two minutes to go, Foxboro couldn’t pull Cronin for a two man advantage until the final 30 seconds.
“It’s a good win, any win is a good win for us,” Mark said.
Stoughton (4-8-3, 2-5) has a non-league contest scheduled for Monday against Apponequet at 5:30 while Foxboro (2-9-1, 1-5) will next play on Wednesday when they host Oliver Ames at 6:20.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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