Oliver Ames Skates Past Nauset With Timely Goals

Oliver Ames hockey
Oliver Ames sophomore Brett Williams scores on a slap shot in the first period against Nauset. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
BOURNE, Mass. – Each goal is worth the same but there’s no denying that getting one at the right time can make it feel worth even more.

Oliver Ames not only found the back of the net often, but scored at those important times as well, cruising to a 5-2 win over ninth-seeded Nauset.

The Tigers, seeded eighth, got its first goal less than three minutes into the game to set the tone. OA added its second less than two minutes after Nauset tied the game, scored its third on the power play, its fourth less than a minute after its third and the final goal under two minutes after Nauset cut the deficit to two.

“I think if we establish our forecheck, we move our feet and crash the net good things happen,” said Oliver Ames head coach Sean Bertoni. “We didn’t have any spectacular highlight goals tonight but that’s how we can move forward in the tournament, getting the tough ones.”

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Oliver Ames set the tone with its very first shot of the game. Senior Jack Maloney found Brett Williams on a breakout pass and the sophomore skated to the center of the ice and unleashed a slap shot between a pair of defensemen that found the back of the net. Oliver Ames led just 2:31 into the contest.

Nauset leveled the game just over midway through the period, taking advantage of a one-on-one opportunity. Nauset’s Devin Roderick went into the offensive zone with just one defenseman in his way and was able to slide the puck just inside the post to tie the game.

But in the all important next couple of minutes, Oliver Ames went back up. Sophomore Cullen Gallagher collected a loose puck in the offensive zone, and with no pressure on his back, turned and fired a puck towards goal. With junior Rory Madden providing a screen in front, the puck went straight in.

Just 1:42 after the Warriors tied the game, Oliver Ames took the lead back.

“After that first goal, we relaxed a little bit,” Bertoni said. “The first period was an OK period for us, I didn’t think we forechecked as hard as we should have. We didn’t really get that many offensive chances, we got a couple of bounces which you need in the tournament.”

While Oliver Ames had two goals, Nauset brought a very physical approach to the game. Although that might have swayed other opponents, Oliver Ames has experience in that situation.

“We’re used to it,” Bertoni said. “The Hockomock League is very physical with Franklin, Canton, North, Mansfield, right down the line. We’re not the strongest team, we’re small but we can skate.”

Oliver Ames once again came up with a timely goal, scoring the all important next goal less than three minutes into the second period. Just 89 seconds into the second period, the Warriors were whistled for interference to put the Tigers on the power play. OA passed the puck around the offensive zone before junior forward Eric LeBlanc – patrolling the blue line during the power play – stepped into a wrist shot that found its way through traffic and into the back of the net.

And less than a minute after that, the Tigers tacked on another goal. With the majority of players on the left side, a cross ice pass found junior Michael Nikiciuk along breaking into the offensive zone. With an odd-man rush, Nikiciuk centered his pass for an easy one time tap in from Madden to make it 4-1 with 11:29 to play in the second period.

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“We changed our personnel on the player play for the last couple of games so it was good to see shots from the point,” Bertoni said. “We’re not the most skilled team but when we get shots from the point, good things happen…we love garbage goals. We want to get traffic out in front and we had two of those tonight.

“I thought our second period was very good.”

The Tigers took a penalty while on the power play to make it 4-on-4 and the Warriors were able to capitalize. As Oliver Ames’ defense inched forward, a turnover led to Nauset racing into the attacking zone. After beating one man, Nauset’s Nick Hull went in alone and tucked the puck in to make it 4-2.

But as they had done all game, Oliver Ames had a timely answer. Just 90 seconds later, Oliver Ames once again cashed in from a shot from distance. Sophomore Matt McCormack took a pass from classmate Collin Bourne and fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that found the back of the net.

Oliver Ames had a 24-14 lead advantage in shots.

The Tigers (14-6-1) await the winner of #1 Scituate and #16 Dedham on Wednesday. Oliver Ames hockey will play the winner at Gallo Arena in Bourne on Saturday at 12:30.

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Oliver Ames Overcomes Penalties to Beat Mansfield

Oliver Ames hockey
Oliver Ames sophomore Brett Williams rips a shot in the second period that turned out to be the game winner. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
BROCKTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames had three sophomores score a goal apiece and the Tigers overcame a half dozen penalties over the final two periods to land a key, 3-1, division win over Mansfield.

Sophomores Max Ward, Brett Williams and Collin Bourne each found the back of the net while junior goalie Zach Walsh made 19 saves in the win.

While the Tigers had seven players hit the penalty box over the final 30 minutes, their ability to kill off man-advantage opportunities for Mansfield resulted in momentum gained for OA.

“We work a lot on PK in practice and it’s very aggressive,” said first year OA head coach Sean Bertoni. “We emphasize blocked shots so we get into shooting lanes. Hopefully we don’t have to kill too many penalties – we had way too many tonight – but those PK guys worked extremely hard. Right after that 5-on-3 we go out and score a goal so we took some momentum there which was great.”

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The 5-on-3 Bertoni referenced was Mansfield’s first power play opportunity that came early in the second period. After a delayed interference call, the Hornets were able to keep the puck and draw a hooking call to get a two man advantage.

Despite having a full 1:30 with the two-man advantage, Mansfield registered just two shots on goal. Oliver Ames capitalized on the momentum gained from the kill, scoring the opener just 30 seconds into being even strength.

Ward, who had a penalty shot saved in the first period by Mansfield goalie Tony Rullo (21 saves), blocked a clearance in the offensive end and went right to goal and tucked the puck in to make it 1-0.

Mansfield nearly tied it a minute later when Matt Farragher had his shot saved by Walsh and the rebound chance was scoffed. The Hornets had a power play with 6:43 left, and then again with 3:00 to play but couldn’t find the back of the net either time.

“It wasn’t ideal – we were 1/6 on the power play and that includes the 5-on-3 for 90 seconds,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini. “That’s not what we want. We moved the puck well on the 5-on-3 but we maybe have two shots. We’ve been focusing more on our penalty kill, which was great tonight, but we just have to get back to basics for offense. The guys know the premise but we were trying to rush it.

“OA did a great job of killing the penalties and keeping us outside. They got in front of the shots or got their sticks in the passing lanes so it was a little frustrating. We lost two face offs clean on the 5 on 3 and two more on 5-on-4 and that just sucks the momentum right away from you.”

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The Hornets once again went a man up with 5.3 seconds to play in the second. After a quick save, Mansfield once again won the face off and a quick shot resulted in a rebound right to freshman Ryan Sullivan. He batted the back into the back of the net as the horn sounded and the referee declared it a good goal to tie the game 1-1 through two periods.

Oliver Ames again went down a man just 2:31 into the final period on a high sticking call but the Hornets couldn’t convert. In fact, the Tigers had the best chance on a shorthanded attempt with Bourne streaking in but his back hand attempt sailed high and off the glass.

“I thought defensively we played pretty well,” Bertoni said. “We blocked a lot shots, I don’t think we gave up a lot of shots. They didn’t have a ton of scoring chances and they also missed some opportunities.”

OA was whistled for too many meant with 10:49 to play but Mansfield couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end. With the puck in the defensive zone and the power play over, the Hornets went for a switch but a failed clearance resulted in the puck on the stick of Williams and he took one stride towards goal before unleashing a shot off the iron and in to make it 2-1.

“Our forecheck is pretty effective when our first line is on the puck hard, stick on stick and body on body,” Bertoni said. “Brett Williams, who’s having a good year for us, picked up the puck and buried one which was huge. We’re very effective on the forecheck.

Mansfield killed a late penalty and then pulled Rullo with a minute to go. But OA won a face off in the defensive zone and Bourne raced out with the puck to bury the empty net goal to get to the final score of 3-1.

“I hope the kids get it, that when we’re 5 on 5, we can skate with most teams we play against,” Bertoni said. “We have depth too, we roll three lines. We have to do a better job, there’s no excuses to take that many penalties.”

Oliver Ames (7-3-1 overall, 3-1-1 Hockomock) will try to extend its unbeaten streak to six when it visits Franklin – Bertoni’s alma mater – on Saturday. Mansfield (5-5-1, 2-2) will look to bounce back when they take on King Philip at Foxboro Sports Center the same day.

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Oliver Ames Stymied By Dartmouth Goaltender

Matt Mancini
Matt Mancini (9) scored a breakaway goal in the third period to cut the Dartmouth lead to 3-2. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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.