Dogs Drop Heartbreaker After Improbable Comeback

Canton boys hockey
Canton senior Jack Goyetch fires a shot in the first period against Plymouth South. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BOURNE, Mass. – A punch in the gut.

That’s what it felt like for the Canton High boys hockey team on Thursday evening. The Bulldogs had just scored their third straight goal, erasing an early three-goal deficit to tie the game with just 1:53 left to in the third period.

But just 14 seconds after Canton completed its comeback, Plymouth South senior Joey Van Winkle saw his slap shot somehow find its way through a crowd in front and into the back of the net. The Panthers added an empty-net goal in the final minute to notch a 5-3 victory in the D2 South Semifinals.

“That’s what it felt like,” Shuman said. “We were bad off of the faceoff on two goals…off that center ice faceoff, they got two goals against us. It’s tough, we played hard, I’m proud of the guys for battling back like they did. That’s this team. We haven’t been down three goals all year and they fight back and made it 3-3… but [Plymouth South] just found a way to get a shot through at the end.”

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The game couldn’t have started worse for the Bulldogs or any better for the third-seeded Panthers. Plymouth South scored on its first shot of the game, just 13 seconds into the game when defenseman Jack Worrick fired a shot that found its way between a defenseman’s legs and right into the top corner.

The momentum stayed with the Panthers as they doubled the lead before a minute had expired on the game clock. A turnover in the neutral zone allowed South’s Sean Colbert to skate into the zone and his low wrist shot found its way in at the far post to make it 2-0.

It looked as though Canton might be able to get one back quickly when Plymouth South was whistled for too many men on the ice, but even the power play couldn’t help the Bulldogs.

Forty seconds into the man advantage, a miscommunication on a pass allowed South to skate out of its zone, coming down on a 2-on-1. Panthers senior Daniel Lincoln elected to shoot, hitting the crossbar and in for a 3-0 advantage.

Though down 3-0 midway through the first period, the Bulldogs started to get their legs underneath them and started to plant the seeds of the comeback.

The best chance in the first came with four minutes to play when Bubba McNeice tossed a pass in front that was deflected into the air. Senior Jack Goyetch got a good chunk of it by batting it out of the air but somehow South goalie Cam McPhee kept it out. The rebound found its way around before Mike Dadasis sent it in front again but McPhee covered the puck as Goyetch tried to bury it.

The second period was completely different than the first as the Bulldogs dominated from the opening faceoff. Canton outshot South 16-1 in the fame, scoring a pair of goals to right back into the game.

Despite having to kill a pair of power plays, the Dogs were on the front foot throughout. Shortly after a 21-second power play of their own, Canton finally got on the board.

Junior Joe Robinson read a clearance attempt from the Panthers, knocking it down with his glove. He skated towards goal, and despite having his stick lifted, his was able to slide a pass over to sophomore Chris Lavoie who buried his chance from in close with 5:13 left in the second.

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Constant pressure in the offensive zone led to a tripping call on the Panthers, and Canton made sure to cash in. Junior Ryan Nolte picked up a loose puck after a face-off, skated towards behind the goal but dropped the puck off to sophomore Johnny Hagan. Hagan tossed the puck on goal, and despite having a tough angle, the puck hit off the post and in to bring Canton within one with 1:03 to go in the second.

The third period was a bit more even with the early edge to South. But Canton continued to push to tie the game. Hagan had another tough angle shot bang off the crossbar just over three minutes into the frame.

As the clock ticked under six minutes to play, Canton amped up its pressure. McNeice came flying into the zone only for his shot to whistle just wide of the post. And then with 1:53 to play, the Dogs scored their third.

Sophomore Owen Lehane alertly pinched on a clearance attempt and then skated behind the goal to draw the attention of the defense. With all eyes on Lehane, he slid the puck through the crease to the waiting stick of Hagan, who roofed his shot to tie the game.

“This group was special, they really were,” Shuman said. “They showed all kinds of resiliency all year long. I think that’s a credit to the seniors, all 14 of them. They embraced every role we asked of them and they couldn’t be better teammates. The guys on the bench were rooting them on all the way and the guys on the ice fought like hell. It’s just a testament to this team, they were a really great team. It’s always tough to lose at the end of the year like that but I’m still proud of them nonetheless.”

Unfortunately, Plymouth South stole all of the momentum back just 14 seconds later. South gained possession down low, and as Canton’s defense collapse, the puck was sent back out to the defense and Van Winkle somehow got the puck to find its way through traffic.

Canton finished with a 36-19 advantage in shots on goal but it could have been much higher. South’s defense blocked at least a dozen more attempts in front of McPhee.

“I think blocking shots was the key to that game,” Shuman said. “They blocked a lot of our shots, and blocking shots is an art form. I give all the credit in the world to Plymouth South, they wanted that game. And a lot of times you can tell how badly you want to game by how well you block shots. They blocked more of them and a couple of their shots from the points snuck through and that was the difference”

Canton boys hockey finishes the season 17-3-4.

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Canton With Dominant Performance to Reach Semifinal

Canton boys hockey
Canton celebrates the fifth goal with its fans in a big win over Westwood at the Canton Ice House in the D2 South quarterfinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – The fans were jammed into the Canton Ice House on Saturday night, not surprising since both Canton and Westwood call it home, with lines stretching out into the parking lot at game time and people filling not only the rink’s lot but the parking lots of businesses down the street.

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The massive crowd was expecting to see a close game between two contenders for the Div. 2 South title, a game that would go down to the wire. What the crowd got was a second straight dominating performance by the Bulldogs.

Canton outshot the Wolverines 38-13, controlled play the full length of the ice, and were relentless in a 5-0 victory that moves the Bulldogs into the sectional semifinal. Canton has now scored 16 goals without reply in two playoff games and gave head coach Brian Shuman some bragging rights when he returns to his classroom at Westwood High on Monday morning.

“This time of the year, you have to play every shift like it’s 0-0,” Shuman said. “It can’t just be a saying, you can’t be just talking, you have to play every shift like it’s 0-0 and I thought they did a good job of that.”

Special teams were critical for the Bulldogs on Saturday. Canton went 3-for-6 with the man advantage, including a pair of goals in the first period, and also killed off all four Westwood power play opportunities, while limiting the Wolverines to half-chances and long-range shots.

“They had maybe just a couple of shots on the power play,” said Shuman, praising his defensive corps for keeping senior goalie Quinn Gibbs (13 saves) largely untroubled. “Our neutral zone play on the penalty kill in particular was very good. They didn’t give them a chance to possess the puck in the neutral zone to get any possession coming into the zone.”

The dominance began right from the opening face-off, as Canton came out skating hard and creating chances. Ryan Nolte had the first good look on goal skating across the slot onto his forehand but the shot was saved by Westwood goalie Justin Anderson (34 saves).

With 7:26 remaining in the first, Canton broke the deadlock on the power play. Nolte was the first to a loose puck in the crease and he was able to knock it in for a 1-0 lead, Johnny Hagan and Timmy Kelleher picking up assists. Two minutes later, the lead was doubled as Bubba McNeice picked the top corner to Anderson’s blocker side.

Westwood had one good scoring chance in the first when Tim Dalton drove hard at the net from the left side, but Gibbs kept his pad and stick in place to block the shot at the near post and it was cleared. Kelleher and Hagan both had good chances soon after but both narrowly missed the net.

The Bulldogs went up a man with 21 seconds left in the first and quickly made the opportunity count. Nolte set up Hagan in the slot for a one-timer that gave Anderson no chance and gave Canton a 3-0 lead.

“Those power play goals in the first period were huge,” said Shuman. “I think we really moved the puck well and for those guys to get that one right before the end of the period was big.”

Nolte, a junior forward, had a goal and an assist in the first, hit the crossbar in the second and he continues to put together strong playoff performances on both ends of the ice. “Ryan is laid back but he’s had a different look about him the first couple playoff games,” Shuman said. “He’s really stepped up and been consistent for us every game this season and he had another good game tonight.”

The Bulldogs did not take their foot off the gas in the second period, although Anderson did his best to tap the brakes. The Westwood goalie made 12 saves in the second alone, denying Canton on a number of golden scoring chances.

Mike Dadasis was fed in front by Jack Goyetch but Anderson made the point-blank save and he also stopped Hagan after the sophomore danced around several Westwood defensemen to get free for a shot. He then denied Nolte with a scrambling pad save on a shot from the edge of the crease and stopped Joe Robinson right in front.

“He made some incredible saves in the second period,” said Shuman of Anderson. “He kept the score where it was making some incredible post-to-post saves. It was big to get some early because if you let him get hot then it’s a game from start to finish.”

The Bulldogs finally ended any doubt on the power play with five minutes gone in the third period. Anderson stopped the first two shots but the puck squirted loose to McNeice on the far post and he took his time to roof the rebound for a 4-0 lead.

“Bubba’s goal in the third period was huge,” Shuman explained. “That’s the kind of goal you need to score this time of the year, especially against a good goalie who makes those initial stops. For him to finally put that one in was big, not only for the game but also for our goal-scoring psyche as well.”

With 3:29 left, Hagan slid in an empty net goal for his second of the night and third point. The goal wrapped up another convincing win for the second-seeded Bulldogs.

Shuman was not getting carried away after the win. He said, “It’s a good start but as you know this side of the bracket is tough and the next opponent up, whether it’s Medway or Plymouth South, is going to be just as good so we need to continue that.”

Canton (17-2-4) will face either Medway or Plymouth South on Wednesday at Gallo Arena.

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Canton Beats Franklin In Clash Of Division Champs

Canton boys hockey
Canton sophomore Declan Pfeffer looks to play the puck while being pursued by Franklin’s Kenny Demerchant. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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CANTON, Mass. – Holding a 2-1 lead with under five minutes to go, the Canton boys hockey team was whistled for too many men on the ice.

It was just the second penalty of the game for the Dogs, but the visiting Panthers of Franklin High needed just 20 seconds in the second period on their first chance of the man advantage to cash in.

With the game on the line, Canton’s penalty showed it had learned its lesson from earlier on, coming up with a near perfect kill. The Bulldogs went on to score just over a minute after killing the penalty, and again with the net empty, to earn a 4-1 win in a clash of Davenport and Kelley-Rex division champions.

“That was a great kill,” said Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “Bubba [McNeice] had a great game with the two goals but he was great on the kill. Jack Goyetch, Johnny [Hagan], Ryan [Nolte]…they all had a big kill. They learned their lesson from the first one around. They played very smart on that second kill, that was a huge part of the game.”

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Franklin needed just seconds on its first power play of the game with senior Brendan O’Rielly finding classmate Luke Downie at the back door for a simple one-timer. The goal had tied the game at 1-1 early in the second period.

“I was happy with our effort in the first period and a half,” said Franklin head coach Chris Spillane. “I thought we competed with them, skated with them, and even had some stretches where we controlled the play. But the second half of the game, they just outplayed us. All three zones, they wanted it much more than us and it showed.”

This time around, Canton didn’t even let the Panthers have a sniff at a scoring chance. Matt Casamento blocked an early chance, leading to a clear from Hagan. When Franklin attempted to bring it back in, Casamento forced the puck loose with a hit and Charlie Malloy came in and made the clear.

“I thought the defense was ready,” Shuman said. “I thought Matt Casamento played the best game I’ve ever seen him play, he was exceptional. Talk about a guy that played every other shift for us. Losing Brad Murphy put a little strain on the defense but Matt has stepped up like I’ve not seen a defenseman step up before. He played at a whole new level tonight, big hits, big plays. Charlie Malloy played well as well too. The defense stepped up and played well.”

Franklin had its lone shot of the power play up next but Quinn Gibbs (20 saves) made the save right into his chest. From there, McNeice had a pair of clearance, the latter helped along by a nice stick lift from Nick Allen.

Shortly after the penalty was killed, Canton’s Timmy Kelleher linked up with Nolte, but his backhand attempt was just wide. Nolte then returned the favor, finding the sophomore in front for a one-timer but Franklin goalie Owen Ginley (31 saves) made a point-blank save.

With Franklin pushing numbers trying to find an equalizer, Canton was able to take advantage of a mistake in the neutral zone. McNeice jumped on a loose puck a Franklin defenseman couldn’t handle, skated in on a breakaway and roofed his shot to make it 3-1 with 1:19 to play.

McNeice added an empty-net goal in the final seconds to put an exclamation point on the win.

“The line of Bubba, Mike Dadasis and Jack Goyetch…they thrive in that type of game,” Shuman said. “They’re all about getting pucks to the net, playing hard, playing in tight spaces…they love a game like that. They aren’t flashy, they might not have the flashiness of some of the other guys but they get their nose dirty, they play hard. I thought they were probably our one consistent line and we built on that going forward.”

While Canton had the strong finish to the game, Franklin was the team that came out on the front foot. The Panthers’ speed caused problems for the Bulldogs and the visitors had a lead in shots until the final few minutes.

Franklin’s best chance of the opening period came when senior Kenny Demerchant took a pass against the grain, catching the defense going the opposite way. That allowed him to skate in alone but Gibbs came up with the pad save on Demerchant’s tough angle bid.

Canton picked up some momentum at the end of the period when Franklin was called for tripping with 1:09 left. Ginley stopped a shot from Allen, and then a follow-up chance from McNeice. And then Owen Lehane had his shot stopped and Dadasis saw his rebound chance blocked.

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The power play carried over into the second period, and the Bulldogs needed just 13 seconds to convert. After winning the opening faceoff, Kelleher linked up with Hagan in front of goal, and the sophomore used his backhand to go upstairs to beat Ginley for a 1-0 lead.

Franklin tied the game exactly four minutes later, just 20 seconds into their first power play chance.

With the rest of the period playing out equally, Canton grabbed the momentum back with four minutes to go. Nolte had a chance at the right post but went just wide. On the ensuing scrum in front, Kelleher was able to get his stick onto the puck and into the back of the net to make it 2-1.

“That was a great goal, [Franklin] has a great power play,” Shuman said. “It was well drawn up by the coaches…nice shot, nice goal. Couldn’t do much about it. But getting one back was big, we had to respond. In the past, they’ve gone up or they’ve scored and we haven’t responded, and that was a time we had a good response.”

“It took a little wind out of our sails but we still had a whole 15 more minutes to come out and play hockey,” Spillane said of Canton’s late second-period tally. “We had a power play late in the third and had nothing to show for it. We looked like a tired team out there, they looked fresh. They are a great hockey team and they just wanted it more than us. I don’t think the players that we lean on played to their capabilities.”

A win for Canton boys hockey (8-0-0 Hockomock, 11-1-4 overall) meant avenging its lone loss in regulation this season. The Bulldogs fell to Franklin earlier this season in the second game of the season in a non-league clash. Not only was it their lone loss in regulation, it was just one of three games they had allowed two or more goals in three periods of play.

That, on top of senior, with bragging rights between division champs on the line, resulted in a spirited effort from the home side.

“We sometimes talk about having the best record in the Hockomock,” admitted Shuman, but added that there wasn’t much talk about the first meeting. “These guys have done a pretty good job of looking forward. There’s so much of a difference between the first week of December and February. We don’t really look back, we didn’t even watch that film to get ready for it. We watched some more recent film because its two different teams from then and now. It was a good hockey game, Quinn made some save, their guy made some saves. It could have gone either way, but just a good hockey team between two good teams.”

Franklin (12-3-3) dropped its second straight game after falling to Hingham 6-2 earlier this week.

“We’re in a good position but you want to be playing your best hockey in the last week or two of the season, and we’re having a hard time finding that again,” Spillane said. “I think our locker room has to do some soul-searching. The 22 guys that suit up and ultimately have a say in the game, they just aren’t performing the way they should.”

Canton is back in action on Saturday when it takes on Oliver Ames at Warrior Ice Arena at 8:00 while Franklin returns to action on Valentine’s Day for a date with St. John’s Shrewsbury at 6:00.

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Canton Skates Past Mansfield To Earn Shuman’s 200th

Canton boys hockey
Canton’s Ryan Nolte looks for someone to pass to in the first period against Mansfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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CANTON, Mass. – Even on a night with plenty to celebrate for himself, Canton head coach Brian Shuman made sure the focus was on something much bigger.

The Bulldogs scored once in the second and two straight in the third to earn a 3-1 decision over Mansfield, marking Shuman’s 200th career win.

While the timing of Shuman’s 200th win and Saturday night’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” doubleheader was coincidental, it was only fitting that the big milestone came on a night that Shuman helped organized to benefit others.

Canton and Mansfield followed a clash between Xaverian and Malden Catholic, a doubleheader that raised money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in memory of Reo Todesca, mother of Xaverian assistant Paul Todesca and a beloved friend to many in the Canton hockey community.

Canton’s list of accolades on the ice, including numerous Hockomock titles, dozens of playoff wins and a state championship in 2010, is just about as long as the amount of charity work Shuman and his Bulldogs are apart of off the ice.

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There’s the annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk every September that Shuman and his Bulldogs walk in to benefit The Jimmy Fund. And there’s the annual Evening of Hope Gala that Shuman helps organize with his wife Tara.

And Shuman and the Bulldogs spend plenty of time on the ice with the Bear Cubs Hockey program, which team chairman Matty Marcone is apart of. And who could forget two years ago when Shuman, along with Stoughton coach Dan Mark, worked to get Marcone on the ice of a varsity game.

The list goes on and on, which is why it’s so fitting that Shuman reached the milestone while helping raise money to fight cancer.

“I’m a bit embarrassed it happened on a night like this because it’s not about me, it’s a night to remember all of the people that have fought this battle [against cancer],” Shuman said. Canton wore special pink uniforms for the game. “But it really is special because some of the best nights I’ve been a coach in this program have been nights like this where we really together as a community in support of someone or a family, and that’s what makes it all worth it to me as a coach.”

And of course, Shuman was quick to deflect credit away from himself and to the program for getting to 200 wins in just 13 years.

“It says everything about the program. I’m incredibly fortunate to coach in a real hockey town. I think it’s one of the best hockey towns in Massachusetts. It says everything about our players, parents, families, community…just every single time I start or finish a season, I think how lucky I am. This is just one of those special moments that you reflect on how lucky you are.”

The visitors came out strong in the first period, having an edge in time of possession and attacking zone time. The Hornets also had a pair of power play opportunities, the first after a Canton cross-check with 11:17 left in the opening period, and again after a roughing call with 6:17 to go.

But out of those two man-advantage situations, the only real threat came late in the second one when freshman Matt Copponi went to circle the net but dropped a pass right in front of goal instead to his brother Chris Copponi, but the elder brother was unable to get the puck past Canton goalie Quinn Gibbs.

The Bulldogs came out flying in the second period and dominated the second period. Mansfield was able to kill off a cross-checking penalty but Canton was able to cash in a minute later. Junior Ryan Nolte connected a pass to sophomore Johnny Hagan, who lifted his backhand attempt top shelf to give the Dogs a 1-0 lead.

“I thought that first period, that was probably the most we have been outplayed in a period all year long,” Shuman said. “Mansfield has a good team, they play hard, they work hard, they have a great system and they are very, very well coached. I think the breakout for us was everything in the first period. I think the breakout sets the tone for so much of our offense and the flow of the game, and we could not break the puck out of the zone, we struggled in all facets of the breakout. Give credit to Mansfield, they made it hard for us.

“The second period was much better, I think a lot came from our breakout. I thought our line of Ryan Colby, Charlie O’Connor and Kevin Smith really gave us some life in that second period. They went out and had a really good shift and created some chances. Those guys are kind of a hybrid third/fourth line and I thought they played great.”

Canton had two more power play chances, including a brief 5-on-3 chance with just over three minutes to go, but the Dogs couldn’t add to their lead.

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Mansfield’s best chance came when the Hornets killed off their third penalty. Senior Adam Anastos came out of the box, took a feed from Cullin Anastaia as he entered the zone, and then center a pass back to Anastasia but his tip effort sailed just wide of the post.

“I’m not sure what exactly happened in the second period, we had such a great first period, we came out with energy,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini. “Their first few shifts kind of set the tone, then we settled down and stuck to the gameplan. I can’t remember a time since I started here that we only had one shot on net in the period. But we had to kill three penalties in that second period, we played shorthanded for six minutes. That sort of gave us some life toward the end of the period and we had that late chance.

“I thought we had a better third period but Canton is a good team, they play every single shift and they play 200 feet.”

Canton senior Jack Goyetch nearly doubled the Bulldogs’ lead two minutes into the final period when he redirected a shot from Jack Connelly but Mansfield sophomore Sean McCafferty made a terrific glove save.

But the Bulldogs continued to put pressure as Goyetch and Mike Dadasis linked up before finding Bubba McNeice in front for a one-timer to make it 2-0. Canton cashed in on its fourth power play attempt with 9:20 left in the game.

Mansfield won the faceoff clean straight back, but McNeice was first to the loose puck and fired a centering pass to Goyetch for a tap-in.

The Hornets struck back just 17 seconds after Canton’s third goal. Fresh out of a timeout, Mansfield had a strong attacking zone possession before sophomore Joseph Troiano stepped into a loose puck and fired one into the back of the net.

“I have nothing but respect for Brian and what he’s done with Canton,” Balzarini said. Both Balzarini (’93) and Shuman (’98) graduated from Catholic Memorial. “It’s bittersweet for him to get the 200th win against us, but him being a CM guy, I like Brian a lot, he’s a really good coach and he deserves it.”

Canton boys hockey (7-0-0 Hockomock, 10-1-4 overall) is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Franklin in a clash of Davenport and Kelley-Rex division champions. Mansfield (5-2-2, 7-5-4) will try to bounce back in a week when it travels to Brockton.

Dogs Dominate Big Red In Davenport Showdown

Canton boys hockey
Canton’s Johnny Hagan (19) celebrates with Brad Murphy (25) after Murphy’s third period goal. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Through two periods of play, the Canton boys hockey team had controlled the game, dictated the tempo, dominated time in the attacking zone, and had a large advantage in shots on goal.

Despite all of that, the Bulldogs led just 1-0 through 30 minutes of play.

But instead of letting North Attleboro hang around in the third period, Canton emphatically slammed the door shut with four goals in the final frame, picking up a 5-0 win over the Rocketeers in a clash of the Davenport’s top teams.

“We didn’t really change anything in the third, we just kept trying to get pucks and bodies to the net,” said Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “We just focused on the next play. There wasn’t a better representation of our season so far than those first two periods. We had 40-something shots on net and only one goal, that’s how it’s been all season.

“Instead of focusing on missing a chance, we talked about focusing on the next play, the next opportunity. I think that’s what they did in the third period. I thought the guys did a nice job of getting to the net without being chippy out front.”

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Holding a 1-0 lead and a 39-3 advantage in shots entering the third period, the Bulldogs wasted little time adding to its lead. Despite starting with a 5-on-3 opportunity, Canton took a penalty just 23 seconds in to make it 4-on-3.

North killed off the remaining 47 seconds to get a skater back to make it 4-on-4 but Canton cashed in just seconds later. After he first mishandled the pass across the blue line, senior Brad Murphy collected the puck off the boards, skated towards the center of the ice and unleashed a low wrist shot that found its way through traffic for a 2-0 lead.

“If there’s one thing we’ve really been working on the last couple of weeks its been getting more shots from the defense,” Shuman said. “We don’t need the big slap shot to generate goal scoring chances. I thought our defense did a fabulous job of getting shots through. Brad Murphy…talk about improvement of generating offense from the blue line. He’s a four-year player for us but this year he’s playing at a whole new level and I was happy to see him get his first tonight.

The goal seemed to give the visitors confidence as they were able to add to the lead just four minutes later. McNeice created the play from the beginning, knocking down and controlling a saucer pass as he entered the zone. He then dropped a pass right in front of goal that both Goyetch and Dadasis crashed the goal on. The puck popped free back to McNeice and he converted to make it 3-0.

“When you can establish that forecheck and then get a turnover and attack right away, you can catch some teams,” Shuman said. “We tried to do that…get a turnover, get a forward caught down low, use the point and generate the offense from there and I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight.

“I thought our breakout was good tonight. When North did get the puck in the zone, we won the puck and we broke it out pretty well tonight. That was a big part of generating our offense.”

Just a minute later, Murphy rifled another low shot through traffic that North goalie Ryan Warren (52 saves) turned away with a pad save but Nolte latched onto the rebound and roofed his shot for a 4-0 lead.

With less than a minute to play, Canton put an exclamation point on the win when Goyetch tipped in a shot from Lehane from the blue line for the Dogs’ fifth goal.

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Canton established control in the opening period, keeping the puck in its attacking zone for the majority of play and outshooting Big Red 14-3.

The Dogs had a couple of solid chances, including Ryan Nolte’s rebound bid off Nick Allen’s shot just a couple of minutes in, Mike Dadasis had his pass slide just ahead of the reach of both Bubba McNeice and Jack Goyetch at the midway point, and Nolte nearly pound McNeice with two minutes left but drew a tripping call on the play.

The second period is where Canton really asserted itself, finishing with a 24-0 advantage in shots. Big Red only had two half chances in the period and neither were on frame thanks to an uptempo pressure defense from Canton.

Despite the large margin in shots, the Dogs didn’t get a good scoring chance until they went on the power play with nine minutes left in the period. Less than a minute after going on the man advantage, Allen slid a pass along the blue line to sophomore Owen Lehane, who quickly fired a diagonal pass through the defense to Nolte. Nolte got a touch onto Johnny Hagan, who bored is chance from in close for a 1-0 lead.

“We recognize there is a target on our back,” Shuman said. “When you’ve had the success that this program has had, there is a target. We have really good teams in this league that bring out the best in us, and North Attleboro is one of them. They’ve been a good rival for some years now, they have some good players, it’s a good program. We know that we have to show up every game we play them.”

Canton boys hockey (5-0-0 Hockomock, 7-1-4 overall) returns to the New England Sports Village on Saturday in a non-league tilt against Bishop Feehan.
North Attleboro (3-4-0, 8-6-0) will try to bounce back next Wednesday when it welcome Stoughton.

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Bulldogs Skate Past Oliver Ames In Hock Opener

Canton boys hockey
Canton’s Ryan Nolte unleashes a shot in the second period against OA. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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CANTON, Mass. – After scoring just four goals through its first five games, Canton boys hockey team seems to have found its groove.

For the second straight contest, the Bulldogs lit the lamp five times, this time skating to a 5-0 win over Oliver Ames in both teams’ league opener at the Canton Ice House.

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Canton opened the season with a 2-0 win over Medway, but scored just once against Hanover and Shrewsbury and was shutout by Franklin and Needham. However, the lack of goal scoring wasn’t from a lack of chances, but rather just finishing.

That made Canton’s first-period goal that much more important. After Oliver Ames registered the first four shots of the game, the Bulldogs’ offense finally broke through just over the midway point. With its third line on the ice, senior Mike Dadasis provided the pressure on the forecheck, forcing a turnover behind the net before centering a pass right in front. Sophomore Timmy Kelleher was in the perfect spot, tapping in the puck with a one-timer.

“That first goal is so important,” said Canton assistant coach Scott Connolly. “We were pressing a lot the first couple of games. We broke out a little bit last game against Pembroke. But what was great about tonight was it was a team effort. We had four different goal scorers, a couple guys getting their first goal, that’s what it’s all about.”

Canton nearly added to its lead on a couple of occasions but Oliver Ames sophomore goalie Owen Connor (18 saves) came up big for the Tigers. Just over a minute after the opener, Kelleher had a breakaway bid turned aside by Connor, and with just under three minutes to go in the period, Connor blanked a one-timer from Joe Robinson.

Oliver Ames had just over a minute of power play time to begin the second period but couldn’t muster up a shot thanks to Canton’s pressure. Shortly after killing the penalty, the Bulldogs went on the man advantage and cashed in.

Senior defenseman ripped a low pass wide of the net off the boards that bounced perfectly to the other side of the net to a waiting Ryan Nolte for an easy tap-in and a 2-0 lead.

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The Tigers had another power play later in the period but once again went without a shot on frame.

“To be honest, we were just overpowered on the puck,” said OA head coach Sean Bertoni. “We’re still going the process of supporting each other. We really only have one center, we have two guys trying to learn the position. But Canton was just stronger than us. They wanted it more. We lost a 3-on-1 battle on the power play, that just sums it up right there.

“We were exhausted by having to play defense so much. We were running around way too much in the defensive zone. I don’t mind the time of possession, especially against Canton. We made too many passive mistakes. If you’re going to get beat, do it being aggressive.”

Leading 2-0 heading into the final period, the Bulldogs wasted little time in adding to the lead. Inside the first minute, Robinson extended the lead to three with a goal from in close.

Just over a minute later, Nolte and sophomore Johnny Hagan moved up the ice with a nice passing sequence, resulting in Nolte in along on goal and he finished to make it 4-0.

“In between the second and third period, I just told them that this was their game,” Connolly said. “To see them to show the grit to come through and win the period 3-0, to me that shows what this team is capable of doing. Oliver Ames is a great team, they were all over us in the first period. They were pressuring us but the kids stuck with it in the second and third.”

Canton capped the scoring with 9:14 left in the game. Sophomore Tommy Ghostlaw collected the puck in the corner of his own defensive end, carrying it up to the blue line before finding Kelleher. Kelleher connected with Dadasis, who dumped it back to Ghostlaw who finished for his first goal.

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“I think the biggest thing for us is getting that first guy on the forecheck,” Connolly added. “You saw it with the first goal, Michael Dadasis went in and pinned the guy and the puck popped loose, made a great play…it all started with that pressure. When our first guy is forechecking and the next two guys are doing their jobs, that’s when we’re firing on all cylinders.”

Canton boys hockey (1-0 Hockomock, 3-1-3 overall) is scheduled to be back in action on Saturday when it travels to King Philip at 5:20. Oliver Ames (0-1, 2-3-0) is off until next Wednesday when it takes on Stoughton at Asiaf at 7:30.

Resilient Bulldogs Beat Feehan In Double Overtime

Canton hockey
Canton’s Ryan Nolte fires a shot in the first period against Bishop Feehan. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
BROCKTON, Mass. – A lot of teams would have panicked being down 2-0 halfway through a playoff game, especially one without a ton of tournament experience.

But not these Canton Bulldogs.

#6 Canton erased a two-goal deficit, survived being down a man for a third of the first overtime period and scored the game-winning goal less than a minute into double overtime to get a 3-2 win over #3 Bishop Feehan.

Sophomore Ryan Nolte scored 48 seconds into the second overtime period – his second goal of the game – to give the Bulldogs the win.

“The word is resilient…these guys are resilient,” said Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “We saw it just at the end of the season when we battled back after being down 3-1 to Boston Latin. This is arguably the most resilient team I’ve ever coached in over a decade here. We know we’re not the most talented but there’s something about this team, they just don’t get rattled when we get down. I can’t say enough things about the entire performance.”

It seemed the momentum was fully on the side of the Bulldogs after cutting the deficit in half in the second period and finding the equalizer just over five minutes into the third period.

The Bulldogs had a pair of power play chances but that’s when the momentum changed. After 45 seconds of a man advantage opportunities, Canton was whistled for a slash to make it 4-on-4 with 2:32 to play. Canton killed 46 seconds of Feehan’s power play.

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With just two minutes to play, there was a wild swing when Canton freshman Johnny Hagan ripped a shot off the crossbar that appeared to cross the line, sending the Bulldogs into celebration mode. The ref immediately waived no goal, Feehan went racing the other way and Canton’s players had to scramble back. It ended up being Hagan that sprinted back in time to thwart the chance.

A minute later, Canton was whistled for just its third penalty of the game with 1:02 to play, giving the Shamrocks a man advantage for the rest of the game. The Bulldogs didn’t blink though, and sent the game into overtime.

Feehan had the 4-on-3 power play for 28 seconds to start the first overtime. The Bulldogs were able to kill that but were whistled for another penalty with 2:48 to play. Not only was Canton able to kill that one as well, but senior defenseman CJ Martin had the best chance. He blocked a shot, raced in, deked around a defenseman but his backhand attempt was wide.

That sent the game into double-overtime and into a 3-on-3 situation. The Bulldogs rolled out Hagan, Nolte and senior defenseman Jackson Maffeo.

“If we need a stop at the end of the game, Johnny Hagan is out there,” Shuman said. “If we need a goal at the end of the game, Johnny Hagan is out there. He’s a freshman but he plays like a senior. I can’t tell you how many times at the end of games this year, he’s out there and makes a big play for us. It was a no brainer getting him out there.”

Bishop Feehan had the first opportunity but Canton goalie Quinn Gibbs came up huge. Shamrock senior forward Kyle Browne raced into the offensive zone and released a shot. Gibbs made the save with his mask, the rebound went right back to Browne, but his second bid was also turned aside by Gibbs.

Hagan raced up the other way and unleashed a wrist shot but his shot was kicked aside. Browne came back the other way but Nolte and Hagan combined to take possession back. Hagan then found Nolte streaking up the right side. The sophomore crossed over the blue line, stepped around the defenseman, faked his shot before switching to his backhand and depositing it past the Feehan goalie.

“Quinn, huge two saves there…Ryan Nolte, he just has a flair for the dramatic,” Shuman said. “He just loves to play in games like this. He’s exhausted, he’s out there a long time but he went and tried one more time and man, what a move.”

“Coach was telling me to dump it in but I saw I could make a move on the kid so I went around him and tucked it in,” Nolte said. “He tried to step up so I just went out wide on him. I knew I was going to go with the back hand once I got around the defenseman.”

Feehan originally took the lead in the first minute of the game. Josh Nelson sent his shot from the blue line wide off the boards, the bounce finding Connor O’Brien in front for an easy tap in.

Down 2-0, Canton didn’t panic and continued to battle back.

Canton nearly had the equalizer midway through the first when Mike Dadasis fired a shot that was partially stopped but the puck sat on the goal line behind Feehan goalie Derek Dattero but O’Brien was the first to it to prevent it from crossing.

Feehan had the top two chances to start the second period. First, John Anghinetti had his one-timer turned aside after a nice pass from Jason Sullivan. Just over five minutes into the period, the Shamrocks capitalized on a turnover from a Canton defenseman. Browne raced in, centering a pass for Jack Callahan’s tip in in front.

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The Bulldogs got life just over the five minute mark when the Shamrocks were whistled for a cross checking penalty, just a seconds after killing a holding penalty.

After cycling the puck around, it eventually bounced out to Maffeo, who settled the puck and then stepped into a slap shot that rocketed through traffic and left Dattero with no chance at a save.

“By far, these first two playoff games are the best two games I’ve ever seen him play,” Shuman said of Maffeo. “He was phenomenal tonight defensively. He got that huge goal. That’s why he’s out there, that’s why he’s the league MVP, that’s why he’s who he is. I can’t say enough good things about Jackson, he really has anchored that defensive unit.”

“We just knew we had to play our game,” Nolte said. “We knew we were the better team, they were good but we had some good chances we just hadn’t scored. Jackson scored that big one to get us going.”

Canton nearly tied the game just before the end of the period when Martin tossed a shot in front that Tommy Kilduff got control of and lifted a backhand shot, but Dattero made a nice save to keep it out.

Three minutes into the third period, Hagan faked out a defenseman to get a chance but his back hand was just wide. On a power play chance, junior Nick Allen had his shot from the blue line whistle just wide as well.

The Bulldogs finally broke through to tie the game on the power play. Martin fired a shot that was saved but the rebound was left in the crease and Nolte pounced, pushing it across the goal line to tie the game.

“He was a fourth liner that didn’t see the ice at all in the tournament a year ago so this is his real first state tournament action,” Shuman said of Nolte. “For him to step up and be the player he has been this year, it’s just a testament to how good of a player he is. He has those intangibles that you just can’t teach. He really is someone that has a knack for the game and you saw that on the last play.”

Canton hockey (16-4-3) advances to the D2 South Semifinal to take on #2 Medway. The Bulldogs will play the Mustangs on Tuesday, at 5:30 at Gallo.

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Gibbs, Nolte Come Through For Canton In Playoff Win

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Canton hockey celebrates in front of its home fans at the Ice House after holding on to beat Pembroke 1-0 in the first round of the tournament. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – For the opening 12 minutes of Wednesday evening’s game, Canton junior netminder Quinn Gibbs was basically a spectator. Every once in a while, he would drop down to watch a puck dribble wide of the net for an icing, but was otherwise untroubled by the Pembroke attack.

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That would not last, as the Titans would put 23 shots on goal in the final 33 minutes of the game, many of them through screens or from point-blank range. Gibbs would come through with stops on all of them, making 23 saves to record a shutout in the first round of the Div. 2 South tournament at the Canton Ice House.

Gibbs heroics kept the score level until late in the third period when sophomore Ryan Nolte fired in the game’s lone goal to lift Canton to a 1-0 victory over the Titans and a spot in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal.

“He played one of his best games of the season and we needed him,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman of Gibbs.

“Quinn’s tough as nails in net and against these guys, in particular in the third period both times we’ve faced them, he’s had some guys go in there hard and he just stepped up and just played big in those situations,” Shuman continued.

It was not until 2:49 remained in the first period and the game’s first power play before the Titans put a shot on goal and Gibbs was forced to make a strong save from the edge of his crease. In the second, Pembroke put eight shots on net and Gibbs was equal to all of them.

He was called upon again in the opening seconds of the third when Zach Simpson got free in front and one-timed a shot from four feet out but Gibbs stood tall to block it. A few minutes later he stuck out a quick toe to deny Joe Benting from the circle and Nathan Beath on a point-blank redirect.

Shuman explained, “You can easily get rattled when guys are going in there hard but he doesn’t; he’s unfazed and he made some big stops for us tonight.”

Canton came out of the gates flying and dominated the opening period. The Bulldogs had 14 shots in the first. Mike Dadasis set up Jack Goyetch for the best chance but the shot was saved by Pembroke goalie Justin Pijanowski. Tommy Kilduff stole a puck to the left of the goal and fed it to freshman John Hagan but that was also stopped.

In the second, Canton added another 10 shots (the Bulldogs finished with 35 in the game) but most were coming from the edges of play. Senior defensemen Jackson Maffeo and C.J. Martin both had several shots through a crowd and Bubba McNeice had a quick turn and a shot that was saved.

“We’ve been averaging more than four goals per game the second half of the season because we’ve been getting pucks to the net and bodies to the net,” said Shuman. “I feel like we got pucks there tonight, but no bodies. We were just a half second too slow.”

One player that was creating chances on a consistent basis was Goyetch. The junior forward was a constant thorn on the forecheck and his speed through the neutral zone created a power play and several scoring opportunities.

Shuman said, “Jack is a rock. Every single game you know what you’re going to get out of him and that’s energy. You’re always going to get a goalscoring chance or two…and we need a guy like that. It seemed like Jack was able to settle things down for us.”

Hagan nearly broke the deadlock just before the end of the second period after getting a feed from Nolte. The freshman forward settled the puck, took aim, and was unlucky to see his shot elude the goalie’s shoulder but carom back off the bar.

The Bulldogs struggled to get control in the third and it was Pembroke that had the edge in scoring chances, until the final six minutes. Canton was given a power play chance and Nolte made it count. He skated on the far side boards, circled back around and from the left face-off dot went high on the short side and roofed his wrister.

“What a shot,” said Shuman. “Ryan did not play his best game, and Ryan will tell you that, but he made a big shot when he counted and that’s what he’s all about. He’s a big game player for us.”

Charlie Malloy had a chance to seal the win with a steal and a breakaway but his shot was blocked aside. Kilduff nearly snagged an empty net goal in the final seconds but could not prevent the icing.

Pembroke continued to press and forced Gibbs to make a save and then watch a puck slide just wide of the post. It was exactly what Canton expected from a state tournament game.

“Typical D2 South game,” Shuman agreed. “As long as I can remember, we’ve had so many one-goal D2 South games. We’ve had a lot of one-goal games this year and we’ve been finding ways to win them.”

One of those one-goal wins was against Bishop Feehan and Canton (15-4-3) will face the Shamrocks again on Saturday in the Div 2 South quarterfinal at Asiaf Arena.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/01/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 51 @ Foxboro, 59 – Final (OT)Foxboro junior Joe Morrison scored 14 of his team-high 21 points in the first half, giving the Warriors a 28-21 lead by the break. Attleboro cut the deficit to two heading into the final quarter and tied the game inside the final minute to send the game to overtime. Foxboro junior Teddy Maher came up clutch with a big three in overtime as the Warriors outscored Attleboro 11-3 in the extra frame. Senior Andrew Block and freshman Brandon Borde added 10 points apiece for Foxboro. Andrew Milliken scored a team-high 14 points for the Bombardiers while freshman Qualeem Charles added 11 points.

Oliver Ames, 56 @ Canton, 45 – FinalOliver Ames senior Nick Welch scored a career-high 28 points, accounting for half of Oliver Ames’ points in a remarkable performance. Carter Evin added 13 points for the Tigers.

Franklin, 80 @ Sharon, 57 – FinalFranklin scored 26 points in the first quarter and never looked back, hitting the 80 point mark for the second game in a row. Junior Paul Mahon dropped a game-high 18 points while senior Josh Macchi chipped in with 16 points for the Panthers. Sharon junior Malik Lorquet had 13 points and 10 rebounds and senior Ben Stamm added 10 points for the Eagles.

King Philip, 71 @ North Attleboro, 52 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

Mansfield, 66 @ Milford, 53 – FinalMilford raced out to a 12-3 lead and stayed within three late in the third quarter, but Mansfield was able to pull away with with a 16-9 final quarter. The Hornets connected on nine three pointers with Max Boen (11 points, six rebounds, four assists) hitting three and Christian Weber (11 points, four assists), Sam Hyland (10 points, five rebounds) and Ben Albanese (six points) each hitting two trifectas. Sam Goldberg led Mansfield with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Milford’s Anthony Arcudi poured in a career-high 30 points while Zack Tamagni added 10 points for the Hawks.

Girls Basketball
Foxboro, 58 @ Attleboro, 46 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

Canton, 33 @ Oliver Ames, 58 – FinalOliver Ames’ defense limited Canton to just 15 points in the second half while the offense kept its pace to pick up the win at home. Kayla Raymond had 16 points and 15 rebounds, Niyera Mitchell added 16 points and both Hannah Carroll and Abby Reardon netted 10 points.

Sharon, 34 @ Franklin, 76 – FinalThe Panthers had four players reach double figures in points led by Carli Koffinke’s 15. Ali Brigham added 12, Margaux Welsh had 11, and Bea Bondhus scored 10 for the Panthers. Sharon freshman Telishya Herbert, a recent varsity call-up, led the Eagles with eight points.

North Attleboro, 51 @ King Philip, 28 – FinalJulia Feid was the top scorer for North Attleboro with 14 points, while fellow sophomore Shannon O’Connor led KP with seven points.

Milford, 43 @ Mansfield, 53 – FinalJen Peel scored 15 points and dished out eight assists for the Hornets, Ann Maher added 13 points and Meg Hill scored 12 points and pulled to lead Mansfield. Kate Irwin was Milford’s top scorer with 12 points and Christine Pye added eight for the Hawks.

Hockey
Attleboro, 6 @ Mansfield, 5 – FinalMansfield built a 4-0 lead after the first period but Attleboro stormed back, netting three goals in the second period and then three more in the third period to get the win. Jake Parker scored five goals to lead the comeback for the Bombardiers while Cam Littig scored once.

Taunton, 0 @ Canton, 7 – FinalBubba McNeice scored twice and Brian Ghostlaw netted his first career goal to pace the Bulldogs. Mike Dadasis and Ryan Lodge scored back to back goals early in the first period to give Canton a 2-0 lead after one period. Charlie Malloy and Ryan Nolte also scored for Canton in the game.

Oliver Ames, 6 @ Foxboro, 1 – FinalSix different players found the back of the net for the Tigers, starting with a goal from junior captain Eric LeBlanc. Senior Mike Nikiciuk added a goal and an assist and freshman Hunter Costello scored his first career goal. Freshman goalie Owen Connor made five saves in the third period.

King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – Final

North Attleboro, 8 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalNorth Attleboro sophomore Anthony Zammiello netted a hat trick in the first period while Devin Sparrow and Justin Moccia each scored their first career goals. Jon Lessa scored a third period goal for the Black Knights.

Wrestling
Canton, 43 @ Stoughton, 30 – Final

Franklin, 45 @ King Philip, 18 – Final Franklin clinched the Kelley-Rex title outright, its first since 2014 and the program’s 17th Hockomock title with a win at KP.

Milford @ Taunton, 6:00

Sharon, 12 @ North Attleboro 60 – FinalNorth Attleboro clinched its first ever Davenport division title outright in its first year in the division with the win over the Eagles.

Oliver Ames, 43 @ Newton South, 12 – Final

Swimming
Boys
Taunton @ Attleboro, 3:30

Girls
Taunton @ Attleboro, 3:30
Canton, 98 @ Stoughton, 60 – Final

Gymnastics
Sharon, 131.1 @ Algonquin, 136.2 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 1 vs. Medfield, 1 – Final
Franklin, 7 vs. Dover-Sherborn/Hopkinton, 3 – Final
King Philip, 0 @ Medway/Ashland, 1 – Final

Canton Weathers North Attleboro’s Comeback Effort

Canton hockey
Canton’s Bubba McNeice (assist) carries the puck in the offensive zone against North Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
CANTON, Mass, – For 43 minutes, Canton was clicking and playing impressive hockey.

But in a two minute span, North Attleboro completely changed the game and erased a three goal deficit.

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they were able to bounce back with one more goal late in the second period to pick up a 4-3 win over the the Rocketeers in a Davenport division showdown.

“I don’t think I’ve ever coached in a game like that were all of a sudden we were up three and then tied in a blink of an eye,” admitted Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “But that’s North Attleboro, they are dangerous. They shoot the puck harder than any team we’ve faced. Those guys can shoot and they had a couple good shots off and it’s a tie ball game, that’s how explosive they are.”

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Canton scored a pair of goals in a dominating first period and added one more early in the third period and looked to be cruising. But midway through the period, the Rocketeers turned things around.

First, Hunter Sarro pounced on a loose puck in the offensive zone, corralling the puck and turning and firing all in one motion. Canton goalie Quinn Gibbs (14 saves) got a piece of the shot but the puck found its way over the line.

Just 42 seconds later, the Rocketeers made things interesting as Jason McNeany centered the puck right in front of goal, allowing a tap in opportunity for Sarro to make it 3-2 with 7:17 to play in the second period.

And just over one minute later, Will Yeomans knocked down a clearance and centered it for Erik Clements, who fired a wrist shot top shelf to tie the game with 6:10 to play in the period.

“No adjustments, we told them we just had to stay with our game,” said North Attleboro head coach Steve Snizek. “We came out flat; our team knew it and [Canton] took advantage. It’s tough to comeback but they showed a lot of character tonight which I’m very proud of. We came up short but there were a lot of positives – some negatives – but I thought the positives outweighed especially just being a man and showing a lot of character.”

Canton was able to respond shortly before the end of the period, a goal that turned out to be the game-winner.

Senior defenseman DJ Trerice weaved his way into the offensive zone and dropped the puck back at the blue line to Bubba McNeice. McNeice played catch with CJ Martin on the blue line before firing the puck towards goal. Junior Charlie O’Connor was able to get his stick on the puck to redirect the puck into the back of the net.

“Not only was it important for the scoreboard, it was important for the bench,” Shuman said. “A lot of guys were getting on each other to pick it up so that was huge. CJ Martin, that was the best game I’ve seen him play in two years. He was outstanding out there defensively, he skated the puck when we needed him to and then it was really nice to see him factor into that goal, he had a great game.”

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The third period was mostly even, but neither side registered a serious scoring chance. North Attleboro had a power play opportunity with 2:47 left but couldn’t cash in. Canton was able to keep the pressure in the offensive zone to prevent the Rocketeers from pulling goalie Ryan Warren (28 saves).

Canton opened the scoring just three minutes into the game. After an offensive zone face off, junior Mike Dadasis went into the corner and dug out the puck. He carried it right to he near post and tucked it in for a 1-0 lead.

Tommy Kilduff had a chance for Canton midway through the second period but a diving effort from Vincent Zamiello disrupted the partial breakaway chance. The Bulldogs did breakthrough with just under four minutes to play. Jack Goyetch blocked a clearance just inside the blue line and raced in and found the back of the net while being tripped out in front for a 2-0 lead.

“We played really well in the first period,” Shuman said. “We had some really good scoring opportunities, it was nice to spot ourselves the lead but we left a couple on the board. We played really well in the first and then [North Attleboro] came back and killed that penalty in the second period which was a big momentum shift. The third was back and forth game, I thought they had some really good pressure on us in the third but I thought we played better defensively. The few opportunities they had in the second they buried and they played well in the third but we were able to play tighter defensively and limit the good shots.”

Less than a minute into the second period, Canton added to its lead. With the puck dumped into the offensive zone, freshman John Hagan unleashed a big hit in the corner the forced the puck to pop free. That’s where Kilduff ripped a shot from the slot to make it 3-0.

With the win, Canton moves within a point of clinching its seventh Davenport title. Even with big league title implications on the line, Shuman said his team treated it the same they do every league game.

“We say it all the time that every game is important in the Davenport and in the league,” Shuman said. “It’s cliché but at some point it rings true where every game is a championship game. If you drop any game, your chances of taking the league title are hurt. We treated this game like we did Stoughton, Foxboro and all of the other games. We’re a step closer but we’re not there by any means we have three very tough games left in the league.”

Canton (9-2-2 overall, 6-0 Hockomock) will try to extend its 11 game unbeaten streak on Saturday against Medway. North Attleboro (7-3-2, 3-2-1) will try to bounce back on Sunday against Mansfield.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.