Canton Emerges Victorious Against Gritty Oliver Ames

Canton boys hockey
Canton senior Ryan Nolte tries to keep the puck from Oliver Ames’ Matt McCormack (right) in the third period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – The top-seeded Canton boys hockey team is headed back to the Division 2 South Semifinals after earning their second straight shutout.

But it was far from easy.

The unbeaten Bulldogs were put to the test by ninth-seeded and league rival Oliver Ames, with the Tigers consistently applying pressure over the course of 45 minutes. In the end, a patient Canton team cashed in twice inside a one-minute span and, more importantly, didn’t allow Oliver Ames to do the same in a 3-0 victory.

“[Oliver Ames] is a team that always plays us hard, they’ve done so for years,” said Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “And they played us hard tonight, they came out flying. They pinned us, they hit us, and I was proud of our guys for battling through that. Every playoff game is like a rollercoaster ride and you have to survive the onslaughts and punch back like we did.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers were strong from the opening puck drop, flying all over the ice and coming up with a couple of good goal scoring chances. Just minutes in, senior Matt McCormack made a leaping stop to prevent a Canton clear resulting in a good chance from Cullen Gallagher, but Canton goalie Mike Staffiere (17 saves) made the stop.

Just minutes later, the Tigers had a chance at a two-on-one, but Bulldog defenseman Ryan Sullivan thwarted the chance before a pass or shot could happen. A Canton error in the neutral zone led to a chance for OA senior Brett Williams, but the puck wouldn’t lie flat, and his shot was gobbled up by Staffiere.

As the period went on, Canton started to get more of the play, and Timmy Kelleher’s tough angle shot from the left circle forced a paddle save from OA junior goalie Owen Connor (27 saves), and a rebound chance from Johnny Hagan was denied as well.

With just a minute left in the first, Kelleher won a foot race to get in on goal but his close shot was denied by Connor, bringing a physical, back-and-forth, well-played first period to a close.

“I don’t think we could have played a better game,” said Oliver Ames head coach Sean Bertoni. “We preached effort, effort, effort, and it’s such a simple term, but I’m not sure many teams could do it for three periods like we did against one of the best teams in the state. They did everything I asked so it’s a little frustrating they weren’t rewarded for it, but that’s sports. The effort was there through the whole game, and we had some chances.

“Their effort is what got them here. That was our recipe for success all year. No matter what there are going to be lulls, and you’ll make hockey mistakes, but the effort was always there. I couldn’t be more proud of their effort.”

OA had another bright start to the second period with freshman Bryan Kearns forcing a turnover, and Williams linking up with Gallagher in front for a backhand shot that was just over the bar. Five minutes later, Duncan Pereira blasted a shot that was saved by Staffiere into the air, bounced off his back, and just wide of the post.

Similar to the first, Canton was able to handle the strong push from the Tigers early and take control as the period went on. This time, senior Joe Robinson linked up with classmate Ryan Colby to force an odd-man rush, and Oliver Ames was forced to take a penalty.

The first power play of the game resulted in the first goal of the game as well. Just over 30 seconds into the man-advantage, junior Jack Connolly ripped a low shot/pass through traffic that found Canton senior Ryan Nolte positioned perfectly for a tip-in from right in close, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with 6:57 to go in the second period.

With momentum on their side, the Bulldogs struck again before a minute elapsed. This time, it was senior Matt Martin delivering a shot from the blue line through traffic with junior Chris Lavoie providing the redirect right in front, making it 2-0 with 6:09 left in the second period.

“The second one was huge,” Shuman said. “Both goals came from point shots too. Jack Connolly with a great shot to find Ryan on the back door and then Matty Martin just getting the puck through, which is what we try to do. [OA] does a good job of collapsing in their zone and protecting the middle of the zone so our defense was going to have to get shots through for us to have some offense.”

Oliver Ames nearly cut the deficit in half on a chance with just over a minute to go in the second. Williams skated into the offensive zone, drawing the defenseman but slid a pass across to an open Kearns, but his wrist shot clanked off the crossbar and stayed out.

“You would think it would hurt, but our two themes this year were effort and resiliency,” Bertoni said of the back-to-back goals. “You have to push back after a goal, and I thought we did after the second one. Obviously, it’s a little deflating but the guys didn’t show it, didn’t change how they played. Power plays are going to happen, the puck had eyes and it found one of the best players. Tough to give up the two goals but it didn’t change how we played which was great to see.

“We hit the crossbar late in the second, we had a couple of other chances…we were still buzzing despite not scoring. That was one of our best games all year for three full periods. We didn’t give them much time, we did a good job of taking it away. They did everything we wanted, they were aggressive, they were physical, we just came up short.”

Connor came up with a big stop early in the third, denying Lavoie in front after a nice feed from junior Shane Marshall. Staffiere answered on the other end, stopping a shot from Ryan Gottwald that was set up by a block from Gallagher.

The Tigers got their first power play of the game with 9:55 left in the third, but Lavoie, Connolly, and Nolte all came up with clearances to limit OA’s chances. The lone chance came off the stick of Max Ward, who beat a pair of Canton players as he entered the offensive zone and snapped a wrist shot that was gloved by Staffiere.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Hagan created a turnover for Canton in the offensive zone but was denied by the post, and minutes later, OA’s Williams was turned away when his shot went off of Staffiere’s mask.

In the final seconds, Hagan connected with Kelleher for the empty net goal, the assist giving Hagan his 100th career point.

Oliver Ames finishes the season 14-9-1. Canton boys hockey (22-0-1) will take on #5 Norwood (13-3-6) on Tuesday at 7:30 at Gallo Ice Arena.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/16/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Girls Basketball
Franklin, 50 vs. Braintree, 53 – FinalThe Panthers battled back in the final two minutes to close the gap after the Wamps had opened a 10-point lead but couldn’t get any closer than three points. Ali Brigham scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Erin Quaile added 11 points, including a three-pointer with 0.6 on the clock.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 4 @ Martha’s Vineyard, 5 – Final (3OT)Ryan Morry scored twice but the Bombardiers fell in triple overtime to Martha’s Vineyard. For MIAA purposes, the game will go down as a tie. Sam Larkin and Cam Littig each scored once for Attleboro.

Canton, 3 @ Natick, 0 – Final

King Philip, 3 @ Walpole, 4 – FinalWalpole cashed in for three power play goals on its way to a close win over King Philip. The Rebels and Warriors were knotted at 1-1 after one period of play but Walpole scored three straight goals in the second period to seize a 4-1 lead going into the third. KP scored twice in the third and outshot Walpole 32-23 in the game but couldn’t find the equalize to keep its playoff hopes alive. Brendan Shandley (from Conor Cooke), Joe Boselli (from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jack Coulter), and Fitzpatrick (from Rocco Bianculli) scored for KP.

Mansfield, 2 @ Winthrop, 2 – FinalMansfield scored twice in the second period to seize the lead but Winthrop scored a late equalizer to finish level. After trailing 1-0 through 15 minutes, freshman Cam Paige and junior Kevin Belanger scored second period goals to put the Hornets ahead. Mansfield killed a five minute major in the third and came within inches of an empty net goal but Winthrop scored with the goalie pulled with 40 seconds left to tie the game.

North Attleboro, 1 @ Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final

Oliver Ames, 1 vs. Quincy, 2 – FinalOliver Ames junior Duncan Pereira put the Tigers ahead 1:34 into the game but Quincy scored once in each the second and third periods to get the win. Owen Connor had a strong game in net for OA.

Stoughton, 3 vs. Apponequet, 3 – FinalStoughton senior Sean Doherty scored with 30 seconds left in the game, his second strike of the game, to help the Black Knights earn a tie with Apponequet. Luke Bainton also scored for Stoughton.

Taunton, 2 @ Brookline, 6 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 0 vs. Hingham, 2 – Final

Franklin, 5 @ Leominster, 3 – FinalCassi Ronan recorded three points while Amanda Lewandowski and Regan Paterson each had a pair of points in Franklin’s win on the road over Leominster. Ronan scored twice and had one assists, Lewandowski added two goals, Paterson had two helpers and Tina Pisano scored once for the Panthers. Katelyn Brown and Gianna Cameron each added an assist while Gianna Cornetta made 12 stops in the win.

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Milton, 1 – FinalKylie O’Keefe, Ella Waryas, and Sam Ledin each scored as MOA skated to a win over Milton. O’Keefe and Waryas each scored in the first period while Waryas and Ledin found the back of the net in the second period for the Warriors.

Stoughton, 1 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 6 – Final

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/21/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Girls Basketball
Franklin, 35 @ Holy Name, 33 – FinalAli Brigham secured the win and a season sweep of Holy Name, scoring the game-winning basket with just one second remaining on the clock. Brigham scored 23 points on the night.

Boys Hockey
Franklin, 2 @ Mansfield, 2 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Canton, 3 vs. Newburyport, 1 – FinalCanton faced a one-goal deficit after one period but scored three unanswered goals to beat Newburyport. Junior Colby Ciffolillo knotted the game early in the second period and senior Ryan Nolte scored on the power play to put the Bulldogs up 2-1. Junior Chris Lavoie scored in the third period to make it 3-1.

North Attleboro, 2 @ Foxboro, 0 – FinalNorth Attleboro scored once in the first period and again in the second period to pick up a win over Foxboro. Jake Ebert put the Rocketeers ahead 1-0 and Dennis Morehouse doubled the lead with a goal in the second.

Oliver Ames, 6 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 1 – FinalOliver Ames exploded with four goals in the third period to pull away from visiting Coyle & Cassidy. Hunter Costello paced the Tigers with a pair of goals and an assist, Brett Williams scored once and had one helper, and Julian Krowski (first career goal), Duncan Pereira, and Max Ward each scored once. Owen Connor earned the win in net with 19 saves.

Swimming
Sharon @ North Attleboro, 4:00

Gymnastics
Canton @ Attleboro, 1:30
Sharon @ Taunton, 1:00

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/19/19

Today’s games are listed below. We’ll update this post with any weather related changes we receive.

Boys Hockey
Stoughton @ Canton, 8:00

Oliver Ames, 9 @ Taunton, 2 – FinalOliver Ames senior Colin Bourne recorded five points to pace the visiting Tigers to a win over Taunton. Bourne scored a hat trick and added two assists while senior Brett Williams (goal, three assists), junior Jake Gottwald (goal, three assists), and junior Hunter Costello (two goals, two assists) each had four points. Junior Duncan Pereira scored his first career goal while junior goalie Owen Connor made 15 saves for the win.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 2 vs. Medway, 2 – Final

Franklin vs. Norwood – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.

Stoughton, 1 vs. Wayland, 6 – Final

Wrestling
Lynnfield Quad (Canton) – Canton picked up a pair of wins at the Lynnfield quad on Saturday morning. The Bulldogs knocked off the hosts 46-33 and then finished the day by edging out St. John’s Shrewsbury (30-29). Canton lost in its first match of the day, losing to Metheun (52-15).

Brookline Tournament (Foxboro) – Foxboro picked up four wins on the day to take first place at the Brookline Duals Tournament. The Warriors had wins over Woburn (60-20), Leominster (69-9), Triton (18-9), and Brookline (42-41). Adam Lanctot, Tom Gallagher, Max Kornbluth, Tom Cullen, and William Ogebebor all went undefeated for Foxboro.

King Philip Super Quad (King Philip, Sharon) – Sharon went 3-0 at the King Philip quad, picking up wins over the hosts (51-24), Whitman-Hanson (59-6) and Norwood (63-16). King Philip also had a win over Whitman-Hanson (56-18). Sharon’s Aaron Cashton and Tyler Cashton each went 3-0 on the day.

Duxbury Duals (Mansfield), 9:00

Milford @ Hopkinton, 9:00

Cape Cod Invitational (Taunton) – Taunton had three grapplers place third or better and finished with 63 points as a team to take ninth place as a team. Junior Woudanly Danger (285) took second overall, losing by decision 3-1 in the finals. Christian Balmain (152) and Candido Santos (160) each earned third place finishes for the Tigers.

Gymnastics
Franklin, 132.6 @ Medway, 130.8 – Final