With limited depth, Noone stresses long offensive possessions that lets his defense get plenty of rest. On Monday night, the Warriors were able to convert enough of those long possessions into goals and limited the Bulldogs’ time on attack, especially in the second half, to manufacture a 4-2 win.
“We were pressing early, making a lot of mistakes,” Noone said. “It felt like they were tight or just pushing too hard, thinking they all had to do it individually. At halftime, talked about doing all the little things right. Making simple 10 yard passes, changing the formation up a bit. We just made some adjustments and the boys just possessed the ball better in the second half.”
Foxboro earned a pair of man-up opportunities in the first quarter but couldn’t convert on either chance. On the first chance, the Warriors nearly broke through when senior Trey Guerrini collected a pass in close and ripped a shot but Canton freshman Jack Connolloy (11 saves) robbed him with a point blank save.
After neither side scored in the opening 12 minutes, Foxboro finally broke through with the first goal of the game. The Warriors were actually whistled for a penalty but forced a turnover and took control on offense. Sophomore Brendan Tully spun past his defenseman and found Guerrini right in front for an easy finish to make it 1-0.
Foxboro’s goal seemed to give the Bulldogs a little but of a spark as Canton controlled the final four minutes of the half.
Canton tied the game just over three minutes after giving up the first goal. Senior Ryan Lodge held possession in the corner and hit Griffin Roach – streaking in from the bench on a sub – in stride and the sophomore bounced his shot in to tie the game.
Just over a minute, the Bulldogs netted their second goal of the game. Lodge once again held possession in the corner but this time, he eluded his defenseman, sprinted toward goal, spun past a second opponent and bounced his shot in from in close to give Canton a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Although Canton took the momentum into the halftime break, it was Foxboro who controlled the entire second half.
The Warriors took advantage of long possessions on the offensive end while allowing just three shots on net for the entire second half.
“We have to possess the ball,” Noone said. “When we go back and forth, we just don’t have the depth. If we can possess the ball and rest our defense, our defense is damn good, they’ll get the ball back to you. We’re still getting better at offense. Every win is a win and then its onto the next one.”
Foxboro’s lengthy possessions finally paid off with two goals in the final four minutes of the third quarter. Senior Mike Moses faked his way around a defender and gained just enough space to tie the game with his shot with 3:44 to go in the third.
The Warriors took possession once again and worked the ball around. With under a minute to play, their patience paid off once again. Moses fed junior James Silveria and his bounce shot through traffic put the visitors up 3-2 heading into the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Canton registered just two shots total on goalie Jake Addeche in the second half.
“All we kept saying is be patient on the offensive end,” Noone said. “We talked about playing five minutes and 30 seconds of defense total tonight…we did it in the first eight minutes of the game so it was a lesson. We had have to possess the ball a lot if we want to win. That’s a great team, [Bill Bendell] is a great coach. We’re the same…small town, we both have freshmen out there. Guys are always learning. Ronnie MacLellan was a little out of sorts on Saturday, he was one of our best defenseman today. Matty Lathrop also had a big game, another freshman.”
Foxboro netted an insurance goal just over the midway point of the final quarter. After another lengthy possession, Louis Piccolo fed Guerrini with a perfect pass right and front and the senior buried it with what was essentially a one-timer.
Canton had a couple of offensive possessions in the final minute but none resulted in a shot on goal – two resulted in turnovers because of poor passes and Foxboro’s Patrick Kaveny forced another.
“They pressed out a lot, especially off ball and especially against our attack and we really didn’t handle it well,” said Canton head coach Bill Bendell. “We have pretty good attack so it was a little unusual for us. We tried to attack from the midfield in the second quarter, we did a great job of doing it. Then by the third quarter I think we were a little tired. They had some long possessions, they made us work. They do a great job of possessing the ball. When we got on offense, we were a little gassed by the end.
“They wear your down. They’re so well coached. They are aggressive but they have such long possessions, they make you learn it. They’ve played some close games, they have a great schedule. I think this where we can learn some things. We’ll see how we’ll respond because this was our first close loss and first loss in the league. It was a lot of fun but we came up just short.”
Canton (4-2, 2-1) looks to bounce back the same day when they host North Attleboro in another key divisional showdown.