Visiting Stoughton erased a 17-point second half deficit, hitting a late three to force overtime and looked on the verge of a victory in the extra period before the Warriors forced double overtime and snatched it right back, earning a 90-84 verdict on Tuesday night.
Donahue beat the buzzer with an offensive putback in the first overtime and Conlin drew a key charge and hit a big three in the second overtime, a pair of crucial plays that helped the hosts secure the win.
“We talk about how it’s a game of runs and how you respond to them,” said King Philip head coach Dave DeStefano. “I thought we did a good job of getting them early but then we settled in and got a little too comfortable instead of finishing the game strong. I’m happy with the way the guys responded in overtime and we got some big plays down the stretch from Tommy Donahue and Owen Conlin, and that was the difference.
“They each had a huge play with Tommy getting the tip in to force the second overtime and I thought Owen stepping in to take that charge in the second overtime was the difference-maker.”
Stoughton scored first in the second overtime but Donahue answered with a bucket down low. The team’s traded empty trips before Conlin stepped in to take a charge against Obinna Ugwuakazi, who scored a career-high 36 points for Stoughton. Not only did it get the Warriors the ball back, but it was also Ugwuakazi’s fifth foul.
Robert Jarest drove to the basket and finished off the backboard for two before Stoughton’s Myles Grigalunas-Powell (17 points, eight rebounds, four assists) and King Philip’s Alex Fritz (30 points) traded field goals.
After an empty trip from each team, Conlin drained a big three with just under two minutes left to push KP’s lead to 88-82. The game never got closer from there with Stoughton going 0-for-6 in its next couple of possessions and KP held on for the win.
“There’s a lot of positives, there’s a lot of negatives,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “It’s not our first rodeo with having a bad first half and great second half, it’s actually become a cliche with this team. They know it, we know it, and we’re working on it…that was a good high school basketball game.”
Conlin converted in the paint to put the Warriors up 49-32 midway through the third quarter. The Warriors had never trailed in the contest and held a double-digit lead since the first quarter.
But Stoughton gained a little bit of momentum with a strong finish to the frame with Ugwuakazi spearheading a 14-point burst to end the third to bring the Black Knights within striking distance, down 57-46.
That momentum carried over into the fourth in the form of a 9-0 run that featured two points from Brett Pendenza and five from Grigalunas-Powell to get the visitors within two points.
Chris Roy answered with a big three on a feed from Jarest (five points, 14 rebounds, three assists) and two possessions later, Andrew McKinney (16 points, 11 rebounds) completed a traditional three-point play just before the midway point of the fourth to push KP’s advantage back to 63-55.
Ugwuakazi answered with a tough, contested three-pointer and the Black Knights got a stop before Jake Queeney sank another triple, bringing the visitors within two again.
Fritz made one free throw but back-to-back buckets from Stoughton senior Adman Jared and a strong take from Ugwuakazi gave the Black Knights their first lead of the game with 1:32 to play.
Fritz sank two more free throws to put KP ahead before Ugwuakazi had one of his own to knot the score at 68-68. Two more from the line from Fritz preceded a stop by the Warriors, and Fritz went back to the line and sank another to push the lead to three.
Stoughton took advantage, coming back down and Tommy Sanda drained a three with 3.3 seconds left to make it 71-71. King Philip’s half court heave was off to force overtime.
The free throw line helped dictate the direction of the overtime periods with Tahkwan Gates Brown and Fritz trading a pair early on. McKinney put the Warriors ahead and Donahue converted a putback to push the KP lead to 77-74.
Stoughton responded with a 4-0 burst, getting a turnover that led to another three from Queeney as the Black Knights jumped ahead 78-77. Both teams had a pair of misses at the line, Stoughton got another stop, and Sanda pushed the lead to two with another free throw.
Fritz was just off on a contested layup but with more bodies down low, Donahue came up with the offensive rebound and put it right back up before the buzzer to make it 79-79 and forced a second overtime.
“We talk about it being a team game and there are five guys on the court,” DeStefano said. “We still want to use Fritz, but if defenses are overplaying him, then we have other guys that can step in there. We have other guys on this team that can score as we saw tonight.”
It was a bit of a wild start to the game with the teams combining for over 40 points. Fritz and Ugwuakazi, the Hockomock League’s leading scorers, both got it done early.
Fritz shot 7-for-9 in the opening eight minutes, scoring 17 points as the Warriors enjoyed a 27-point outburst to start the game. Ugwuakazi knocked down a pair of triples and finished with 12 of the Black Knights’ 17 points.
After the first quarter, Stoughton’s adjustment to put Queeney on Fritz paid dividends, with Gallivan making a point to highlight Queeney’s defensive work. The Black Knights held Fritz to two points in the second, scoreless in the third, and without a field goal until the second overtime period.
King Philip boys basketball (3-4 Hockomock, 5-5 overall) is back in action on Friday when it entertains Mansfield. Stoughton (2-5, 5-6) will look to snap its three-game skid when it travels to Milford on the same night.
After back-to-back games in which the Bulldogs needed a third period goal to ignite its offense, Canton focused on all of the little things to get things going from the start.
And it certainly helps when two-thirds of your top line returns from injury.
Senior Chris Savoie, the team’s leading goal scorer, returned after a three-game hiatus to join classmate Johnny Hagan and sophomore Eamon Kelly (who rejoined the lineup on Wednesday) and the Bulldogs found the back of the net in each period en route to a 5-2 decision over a good King Philip team.
With the win, Canton extends its unbeaten streak to 35 games.
“We checked a lot of the boxes tonight,” said Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “We learned from some of the games in the past against KP where you have to come out and do the little things like winning the battles, getting pucks to the net, working hard on the backcheck, and good things will happen. We kind of got away from that, even in some of the games we’ve played well, we have to realize the little things will lead to the goal scoring opportunities.”
Canton’s top line combined for three goals while Shane Marshall scored twice, finding the back of the net for the second straight game. The Bulldogs never trailed, turning a one-goal lead after a period into a two-goal advantage through 30 minutes. Canton had a four-goal lead before KP scored in the final minute of play.
“They don’t make many mistakes and they have three lines, one is as good as the next,” said King Philip head coach Paul Carlow. “They are well-coached and a deep team, they are good every year for a reason. It’s a good measuring stick, we need to play better to do well down the stretch. I think all the Hock teams are good but I think they are clearly the best.”
After a relatively even first 10 minutes, Canton seized the lead with just 2:25 to go. Not only did it give the hosts the lead and the momentum before the first intermission, it was a sign of things to come for the Bulldogs’ offense.
Just seconds after a 4-on-4 situation ended, Kelly made a hard drive to the net down the left side, cutting in front of the net but KP goalie Jesper Makudera made the stop. But Marshall was first the loose puck and batted the rebound in to give the hosts the lead.
King Philip responded well to start the second period, cashing in on its offensive zone pressure. The Warriors were able to force a loose clearance and sophomore Shaun Fitzpatrick won a stick battle to unleash a wrist shot. Canton goalie Joe Cammarata made the kick save but the rebound popped right to senior Noah Ray and he buried it to make it 1-1 with 11:15 left in the second.
While the Warriors seemed to have the momentum, they were whistled for a trip and the Bulldogs went on the power play. Canton needed just over a minute to cash in as senior defenseman Owen Lehane skated down into the right circle, firing a shot that Kelly tipped in for a 2-1 lead.
“We were battling out front, looked like a stick might have hit a skate…it was just a tough time for that call,” Carlow said. “We got some momentum back there with the goal early in the second and I felt like if we could play 5-on-5 for a good stretch, we were okay. But they took the lead right back on the power play, and right after we had a bad turnover that led to a breakaway.
“I think 5-on-5 we were okay tonight but obviously, [Canton] is a good hockey team, you can’t make mistakes against them. I didn’t think we played our best and I would have liked to see us play more 5-on-5 hockey but giving them the momentum right back certainly hurt us.”
King Philip had a chance to answer when it went on the man-advantage less than two minutes after Canton’s second goal, but instead, it was the Bulldogs that struck. Hagan took advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone, used his speed to race across the blue line and fired a low shot five-hole for a shorthanded tally, giving the Dogs a 3-1 lead with 6:50 left in the second.
“Getting Chris Lavoie back on the power play particularly, having that third option is really important,” Shuman said. “Ironically, those are two guys [Owen and Eamon] that often times don’t touch the puck as much. Owen did a great job taking the ice he was given and Eamon doing what we preach all the time, going with his stick to the net and he made a good play.”
The Warriors had another chance to cut into the lead late in the period on a power play chance. A loose puck popped right in front to Conor Cooke and his shot looked destined for the back of the net but Cammarata made a terrific stop to keep the two-goal lead.
KP couldn’t convert on an early power play chance in the third period and junior David Lawler blasted a shot from the blue line that saw a rebound bounce around in front, but no one on KP could get a stick to it.
Canton made the visitors pay, scoring just before the midway mark of the third period. Ronan O’Mahony took and pass from Jack Connolly and laced a low shot through traffic from the blue line that Makudera stopped but Marshall was quick to pounce on the loose puck and buried it for a 4-1 lead.
With just under three minutes to go, Hagan skated in down the left boards and fired a shot that was stopped by Makudera but once again the Bulldogs were there for the rebound and Kelly tapped it in for a 5-1 advantage.
“The third was our best period, we talked about the next goal (in the third) was huge,” Shuman said. “If they scored, they’d have a ton of energy and be back in the game. Or if we got it, we’d take a huge step towards winning the game. The fourth one came from a good shot, the defense made a good play, and Shane buried it.”
FOXBORO, Mass. – Skating five-on-five, there was very little to separate Canton and King Philip on Saturday night at the Foxboro Sports Center. When given the opportunity to skate 5-on-3, the Bulldogs found the back of the net and the Warriors had a shot come up and inch short of crossing the goal line.
In a game decided by the finest of margins, Olivia Maffeo’s power play goal in the first period turned out to be the game-winner and Lizzie Tassinari tacked on an empty net goal in the final minute, as Canton won 2-0 and took over first place in the league standings.
“We were way too deep and gave up way too many odd-man rushes and too many bad reads,” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich about his team’s play over the first two periods. “I think we slowed down mentally and just got back to what we usually do, which is get pucks behind them and grinding. We’re not a flashy team. We have a damn good record but we have to work.”
Aldrich was full of praise for the Warriors, calling them one of the top two teams that Canton has faced this season and first-year head coach Ken Assad was happy to hear that assessment of his team’s effort.
“Defensively we skated all three zones hard and we back-checked as best as we could do and took No. 16 (Maffeo) out of the play as much as possible,” Assad said. “I think the girls did a fantastic job with that and did exactly what I asked them to do.”
KP got off a to a good start, instantly putting pressure on the Canton defensive unit. Morgan Cunningham got space on the left wing and saucered a pass into the middle where Makenzie Shandley was able to beat two players to get to it, but couldn’t beat freshman goalie Carolyn Durand.
Three minutes later, Shandley again caused problems for the Bulldogs. She popped up on the left side and fired a shot from a tight angle that slipped underneath Durand but was hooked off the line by forward Maria Femia.
Canton was struggling to get anything consistent going in the attacking zone. That changed with 10 minutes left in the first when the Bulldogs went on the power play and then just 35 seconds later KP sent another player to the box.
Maffeo continued her impressive rookie campaign by taking advantage of the space and time in the left circle and roofing a shot over KP goalie Cristina Coleman (15 saves).
The Bulldogs nearly doubled the lead near the end of the period. Tassinari sparked the breakout from the defensive zone with a pass up the boards to Femia, who sent a pass cross-ice to Tess Khoury on the left wing. Khoury gained the zone and set Tassinari up in front of goal but Coleman made the stop.
There were even fewer chances for either team in the second period, but Tassinari had a good look off a Femia face-off win and Shandley took advantage of a slip by a Canton defenseman to create a scoring opportunity.
As the period wound down into the final three minutes, the Warriors got their own five-on-three chance. Shandley and Sydney O’Shea had a nice give-and-go on the right side and then set up Cunningham at the back post. It appeared that the puck had gone in and the Warriors all raised their arms to celebrate but the officials ruled that the puck hadn’t fully crossed the line and Durand (19 saves) scrambled to cover.
“We know they’re tough defensively and we just wanted to get pucks low and get girls on them,” said Assad. “We’re struggling offensively obviously and we wanted to get pucks to net and crash and I think we did a pretty good job of that. It’s tough to get a goal and that would’ve been a big boost for us but it didn’t happen.”
It was the moment that KP was looking for, but the Bulldogs remained in front. Coming into the third period with the lead, Canton was able to get back to its typical style of getting pucks deep, controlling play in the defensive zone, and putting pressure with the forecheck.
Maffeo continued to be Canton’s main offensive threat, as the freshman time and again carried the puck out of defense to get into shooting range.
While the Bulldogs were clamping down defensively, led by Meg Aldrich, Allie McCabe, and Olivia and Alexa Maffeo, KP did manage to create several chances to tie the game. Nicole Brady had a wrister gloved by Durand, Olivia Donovan spun and put a puck on net, and Gabrielle Trujillo had a shot from the point that caused a scrum in front nearly tipped in by Shandley.
Assad explained, “It’s just about getting the puck in the net. They’re battling and they just need to find that knack, and hopefully it will come soon. There’s a lot to gain from this.”
“Ken is doing a great job,” Aldrich said. “I would put them on par with Westwood. That’s a damn good team and he’s doing a fantastic job with them. The kids believe, they play with confidence, they’ve got an edge to them.”
He added, “I think at times we tried to get a little too pretty but for these kids it doesn’t suck being 7-0 and not playing as well as you want to but beating a very good team.”
Canton (7-0) will have a chance to extend its lead in the league standings when it hosts defending champion Franklin on Wednesday. King Philip (2-4) will try to get back on track when it hosts Shawsheen Tech.