FOXBORO, Mass. – Midway through the second quarter, it looked like Canton could be running away with Wednesday evening’s showdown against fellow Davenport division leader Foxboro at Sam Berns Community Field, but with both defenses and both goalies on top of their games, the Warriors were able to creep back into the game.
Dylan Coyne came up with a pair of big saves in the final two minutes and was able to run nearly all of the final 40 seconds off the clock on a clear to preserve a 7-6 win for the visitors and gave the Bulldogs the upper hand on winning the league title. Canton was able to pull out the win despite scoring only two goals over the game’s final 30 minutes.
“It was a really good start for our guys,” said Canton coach Ryan Quinn. “I think we got a little bit lost in the middle of the game. Foxboro is a hell of a team. We expected a close game. Fortunately for us, like we’ve talked about all year, timely goals for our offense, really good job by our goalie not only making the saves but making the clears, and our defense doing what they always do.”
The Warriors had a great chance within the opening minute of the game, as midfielder Max Beigel broke free and had a good look at goal only to slam it off Coyne’s mask and out. Canton dominated the rest of the quarter, controlling the ball for long stretches at a time. Foxboro only had one other chance late in the first when Conor Noone spiked a shot on the edge of the crease that bounced wide.
It took eight minutes for the breakthrough goal. Freshman Brendan Tourgee got his hands free to the left side of the goal and went with a low-angle rip for a man-up goal. A minute later, Tourgee nearly added an assist when he picked out Jeffrey Chaput at the post only for Foxboro freshman goalie Adam Addeche to make a big stop.
Canton doubled its lead with another man-up chance. This time it was a sidearm effort through traffic by Jeff Fitzpatrick. Inside the final minute, the Bulldogs tacked on a third. Freshman Patrick Drury was able to beat Addeche (five saves) with a shot on the run.
“It was a lot to overcome with the heat,” said Foxboro coach Matt Noone. “I’m telling you, my team didn’t come ready to play today and that was a very tough Canton team.”
After the rough start, Foxboro settled down to start the second and got on the board when Jack Avery fired a pass across the crease to Noone, who managed to jump, catch, and fire a behind-the-back shot all in one motion to beat Coyne.
The momentum was short-lived, as Canton restored its lead just 30 seconds later after Jack Albert made a great defensive play and a great clear up the sideline in front of the benches. Albert got the ball to Sam Carlino, who spun and fired a shot inside the post. A turnover was converted into a fifth goal, as Tourgee got the ball ahead to Chaput for a free run on goal.
With the game slipping away, Foxboro again came up with a big response, as Noone went with a low-angle shot to make it 5-2 heading into halftime. The Warriors had a little bit extra energy and seemed to be getting control on the defensive end.
Early in the third, Foxboro got one closer. Tom Sharkey used a turnover in the defensive zone to get a free run at Coyne and was able to score from close range.
Carlino had a good look at goal stopped by Addeche midway through the quarter, but the Bulldogs were suddenly struggling to maintain possession and creating very few chances.
Quinn explained, “We weren’t running to the ball, our offense was kind of taking for granted the possessions we had, but I got to tell you Foxboro’s defense is a hell of a defense. They put a lot of pressure on our guys and threw a couple different mixes in.”
Freshman Lincoln Moore almost got Foxboro back within one but his point-blank leaping shot was denied by Coyne (eight saves). The Warriors would get closer when Sharkey added his second of the quarter, beating his marker with a quick dodge and scoring at the near post to make it 5-4.
Noone noted, “My kids battled. We’re young. I only have two seniors on this team.”
After going scoreless in the third, Canton was able to finally find the back of the net 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. Carlino showed his strength to ride several checks and hits from multiple defenders to get to the crease and he grabbed his second of the night.
One minute later, Foxboro was right back in the game. After a Canton turnover on the sideline, Nick Penders cut in from the right, took a hit, and managed to squeeze his shot past Coyne while falling to the ground. This time, Canton needed only a minute to respond. Out of a timeout, Chaput was able to draw defenders at the ‘X’ and find a cutting Carlino, who made a nice catch on the high pass and finished, completing his hat trick and making it 7-5.
The score stayed the same for almost five minutes, but the young Warriors weren’t done yet. Moore was able to beat his man on the left side of goal and fired a high shot past Coyne to bring the hosts back within one with 3:30 to play.
Foxboro had its chances to try and force overtime. Sharkey got free with two minutes to go but Coyne made the stop and then it was Sharkey again getting the run on his marker, this time from behind the goal, but Coyne was again equal to it. The Canton goalie raced upfield on the clear and used up almost all of the remaining time.
“I don’t know if I’ll make it through the year,” Quinn joked. “I’m going to have a heart attack. These games are so good. We’ll have a big practice tomorrow and then hopefully take care of business on Friday.”
At the final whistle there was plenty of back-and-forth between the two teams, as Canton (11-0, 10-0) took a lead in the title race. Nothing has been decided yet though. Foxboro (10-3, 8-1) will have its chance to answer back when the teams meet again at WWII Vets Memorial Field on Friday afternoon. If the Warriors win the rematch, then they will clinch at least a share of the title and Canton will need to win its final game against Oliver Ames to match.
“My team is going to feed off that. You believe me, my team is going to show up to play,” said Noone. “We’re going to get to work tomorrow and I’m telling you we’re going to be ready to play on Friday. If we lose, power to them because they’re going to have to play their best game to beat us.”