BROCKTON, Mass. – Stoughton was outshot 13-1, but somehow came through the opening period against Div. 2 contender Bishop Feehan with an improbable one-goal lead.
All of the momentum from scoring late in the first and the energy from celebrating Senior Night was lost in the opening 45 seconds of the second, as the Shamrocks stormed back to take the lead.
The Black Knights gave up four goals in the second and were not able to recover, as Feehan skated away with a 5-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at Asiaf Arena.
“The second period has killed us all year,” said Stoughton coach Dan Mark. “If I was to look at the statistics, I’d say almost every game we’ve been killed in the second period. I don’t know what goes on with these kids.
“You go in and tell them good job…it’s frustrating.”
The Shamrocks were heavy favorites coming into the game and were looking forward to making a push in the competitive Div. 2 South bracket. Feehan played like the favorites early on and peppered freshman goalie A.J. Scott with 13 shots in the first alone, but were unable to find the breakthrough.
With 3:40 left in the period, Stoughton shocked the Shamrocks by taking the lead.
The Black Knights had been limited to mere seconds of puck possession in the attacking zone and had yet to record a shot on goal when senior Mark Sheehan slid a pass across to freshman Carter Gerome and he knocked it past the Feehan goalie to make it 1-0.
Heading into the locker room, the Shamrocks were left shaking their heads and wondering how it was possible to be behind. When they got back on the ice, it did not take them long to change that.
Feehan scored two goals on its first two shots inside the first minute of the second. Four minutes later, the Shamrocks made it 3-1 with a power play goal and then tacked on a fourth four minutes later. Feehan outshot Stoughton 20-5 in the second, with most of the shots by the Black Knights coming in the final couple minutes.
Mark said, “We warn them every time that teams are going to come out, especially in a 1-0 game after one, they’re going to come out fired up. They obviously didn’t listen.”
Despite being dominated, Stoughton came out in the third and started to create openings. Sheehan in particular was able to create scoring opportunities with his speed. The Black Knights had a pair of good chances while down by three but could not find the back of the net.
“They battled. I’m proud of these kids,” said Mark. “They’ve had some games where they were down score-wise and they never quit.”
With 7:22 left, Feehan wrapped up the win and the two points with the fifth goal, but that took nothing away from the play of Scott, who made 40 saves in a losing effort.
“He’s been fantastic all year,” said Mark of his freshman goalie. Although it was a night to honor the six seniors, Stoughton could also look to a promising future with freshmen like Scott and Gerome putting in solid performances.
“It’s encouraging for the future,” said Mark. “I have a saying, if the kids don’t work in the off-season then they’re going to get older not better. That happens a lot where kids get satisfied…but I’m confident that these guys are going to work.”
Following the game, Mark took a minute in the locker room to honor Sheehan, who had been voted the Hockomock League MVP by the coaches at their end of season meeting. It is the second time in three seasons that a Stoughton player has won the MVP vote, as P.J. Sheehan took the award in 2014.
“It’s well-deserved,” said Mark. “I’ve thought all year that he’s a dominant player and if he had two guys even close to his ability…he’s skating with two freshmen who are doing a great job but you put him on Franklin or Canton and that’s a different level.”
Stoughton (6-11-3, 4-6-0) will close out its season with a trip to North Attleboro on Wednesday.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.