Tourgee, Blake Net Canton Comeback Win Against KP

Canton boys hockey
Sophomore Brendan Tourgee (13) celebrates the game-tying goal with less than three minutes remaining in the third period, helping Canton to a come from behind win over King Philip. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Despite Canton dominating play in the third period and holding King Philip to just two shots in the final 15 minutes, the Warriors went into the final three minutes holding onto a one-goal lead. It would be a rare win for KP in the series, a rare win for any Hockomock League team against the Bulldogs, and a chance to take a big early step towards a second straight league title.

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But, there is a reason that Canton went into Wednesday night’s game at the Metropolis Rink having won 36 straight league games. The Bulldogs scored a pair of goals in 1:39, completed a comeback after being down two goals twice in the game, and pulled out a dramatic 4-3 victory.

“It’s huge for our psyche,” Canton coach Brian Shuman said. “It’s good for our guys to see that they can come from two goals down. Hopefully they’re not in that position too often, but it’s still good to build that mental toughness.”

After the game, KP coach Paul Carlow rued the missed opportunity to grab a lead in the Kelley-Rex division, even if it is just three games into the league campaign.

“They pinned us in in the third,” he explained. “They outshot us and outplayed us in the third period. Instead of continuing to take it to them, it felt like we were more trying to hang on. That never works.”

It was all KP at the start of the game. The Warriors came out flying and needed only 27 seconds to pick up the opening goal. Shaun Fitzpatrick did good work down the right wing, driving at the net and drawing a couple of Canton defensemen. He flipped the puck out in front to Sean Crowther, who sent the puck through a crowd of legs across the crease where James Boldy was standing all alone to tap into the empty net.

Rather than being a wake up call for the home team, the goal seemed to spur the Warriors on for more. Fiztpatrick collected the puck against the right wing boards and turned towards goal. He had a free path right at Canton goalie Aiden French (18 saves) and stuffed the puck under the pads to make it 2-0 less than six minutes in.

Shuman said, “KP does a great job of getting pucks and bodies to the net and you saw that on the first goal. That’s their bread and butter and we struggled with that mightily tonight. We just weren’t tough enough out in front, we were puck watching, and losing guys. They play a tough brand of hockey.”

KP got a chance on the power play midway through the first and Max Robison forced French into a tough save on a shot from the point. Canton cleared the rebound. It was one of a couple chances that the Warriors had to try and extend the lead, but the Bulldogs held on and got the kill.

Only 13 seconds after getting back to even strength, Canton was on the board. AJ Thomas’ pressure on the forecheck caused a turnover in the attacking zone. His first shot from point-blank range was stopped by KP goalie Kyle Abbott (28 saves) but Thomas stuck with it and knocked in the rebound, cutting the lead in half.

The goal seemed to give Canton momentum, as the Bulldogs went into the locker room on the front foot, but it didn’t carry over to the second period. Only nine seconds elapsed before KP added a third. Boldy snapped off a wrsiter just as he was entering the zone on the left wing and French appeared to be unsighted as the puck flew under the bar on the stick side.

“We had some really good chances and then didn’t convert,” said Carlow. “Canton had the momentum off the kill and then I think they scored the very next shift and now it’s a one-goal game. We got a goal to start the second and I think we just kind of ran out of gas.”

Canton needed a spark. Sophomore Brendan Tourgee nearly had a quick response when he sailed into the zone, split a pair of defensemen and got off a backhand shot from a tight angle that Abbott kept out. Sam Carlino had a partial break for the Bulldogs but Robison hustled back to get a piece of the shot from the right face-off dot.

The Bulldogs were able to cut into the lead midway through the second. After a couple of shots from the point by Sean Connolly that Abbott pushed aside, they swung it across the blue line to Ryan Doucette. His shot was heading wide of the post but sophomore Brian Middleton was able to get a telling touch on it to sneak it past Abbott low at the near post.

“To get one there was big and that line of Middleton, (Patrick) Drury, and Blake continue to get it done and I think our other guys can learn a little bit from them because they’re having success and getting big goals just by getting to the tough, dirty areas,” said Shuman.

KP tried to hold on in the third, blocking shots and trying to keep the Bulldogs away from the crease. Eddie Gillis nearly set up Thomas for a tying goal, but Abbott stayed with the tip in front and kept it out. Tourgee then showed off his strength on the puck, holding off two defensemen to allow the Bulldogs to get back onside and then turning into the zone, forcing Abbott into a good save with his shoulder.

Connolly had another shot from the point that forced Abbott into a save. Tommy Phaneuf corralled the rebound in front but was pressured off the puck and couldn’t get a shot on target.

While the chances were piling up, the clock was winding down. Finally, with 2:42 to play. Tourgee found the back of the net. He dragged the puck through a stick check on the left wing boards and then angled towards goal. His backhand shot through the crease somehow snuck through a thicket of legs and found the far corner.

“He’s so gifted on the puck,” Shuman said of Tourgee. “He’s strong on the puck, he’s fast, he’s just got a nose for the net. I think he’s got to trust getting pucks to the net instead of always trying to pick those corners because you can see how offensively gifted he is.”

The pressure continued, as Canton outshot KP 13-3 in the final period. With 1:03 to go, the Bulldogs got the winner. Brennen Pecararo dropped a pass back to sophomore Colin Blake and he pounced on the chance in the slot, slamming the puck into the back of the net.

KP had one last look with the goalie pulled and less than 10 seconds on the clock, but Brad Guden’s shot from the point hit a body to the side of the post and ricocheted into the corner.

“We just got off to a tough start this year with injuries and illness,” Carlow said. “I think we had eight out sick the first week of the season, so we got off to a tough start and we’re just trying to get rolling.”

Canton (4-2-1) will be back home on Saturday afternoon to face Mansfield, which was the last team to hand the Bulldogs a league loss back in February 2017. King Philip (2-4-1) returns to Canton on Saturday night, this time at the IcePlex, to take on Archbishop Williams.

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Canton Edges Defensive League Title Clash at Foxboro

Canton boys lacrosse
Canton goalie Dylan Coyne makes one of his eight saves, helping the Bulldogs to a 7-6 win at Foxboro in a league title showdown. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Midway through the second quarter, it looked like Canton could be running away with Wednesday evening’s showdown against fellow Davenport division leader Foxboro at Sam Berns Community Field, but with both defenses and both goalies on top of their games, the Warriors were able to creep back into the game.

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Dylan Coyne came up with a pair of big saves in the final two minutes and was able to run nearly all of the final 40 seconds off the clock on a clear to preserve a 7-6 win for the visitors and gave the Bulldogs the upper hand on winning the league title. Canton was able to pull out the win despite scoring only two goals over the game’s final 30 minutes.

“It was a really good start for our guys,” said Canton coach Ryan Quinn. “I think we got a little bit lost in the middle of the game. Foxboro is a hell of a team. We expected a close game. Fortunately for us, like we’ve talked about all year, timely goals for our offense, really good job by our goalie not only making the saves but making the clears, and our defense doing what they always do.”

The Warriors had a great chance within the opening minute of the game, as midfielder Max Beigel broke free and had a good look at goal only to slam it off Coyne’s mask and out. Canton dominated the rest of the quarter, controlling the ball for long stretches at a time. Foxboro only had one other chance late in the first when Conor Noone spiked a shot on the edge of the crease that bounced wide.

It took eight minutes for the breakthrough goal. Freshman Brendan Tourgee got his hands free to the left side of the goal and went with a low-angle rip for a man-up goal. A minute later, Tourgee nearly added an assist when he picked out Jeffrey Chaput at the post only for Foxboro freshman goalie Adam Addeche to make a big stop.

Canton doubled its lead with another man-up chance. This time it was a sidearm effort through traffic by Jeff Fitzpatrick. Inside the final minute, the Bulldogs tacked on a third. Freshman Patrick Drury was able to beat Addeche (five saves) with a shot on the run.

“It was a lot to overcome with the heat,” said Foxboro coach Matt Noone. “I’m telling you, my team didn’t come ready to play today and that was a very tough Canton team.”

After the rough start, Foxboro settled down to start the second and got on the board when Jack Avery fired a pass across the crease to Noone, who managed to jump, catch, and fire a behind-the-back shot all in one motion to beat Coyne.

The momentum was short-lived, as Canton restored its lead just 30 seconds later after Jack Albert made a great defensive play and a great clear up the sideline in front of the benches. Albert got the ball to Sam Carlino, who spun and fired a shot inside the post. A turnover was converted into a fifth goal, as Tourgee got the ball ahead to Chaput for a free run on goal.

With the game slipping away, Foxboro again came up with a big response, as Noone went with a low-angle shot to make it 5-2 heading into halftime. The Warriors had a little bit extra energy and seemed to be getting control on the defensive end.

Early in the third, Foxboro got one closer. Tom Sharkey used a turnover in the defensive zone to get a free run at Coyne and was able to score from close range.

Carlino had a good look at goal stopped by Addeche midway through the quarter, but the Bulldogs were suddenly struggling to maintain possession and creating very few chances.

Quinn explained, “We weren’t running to the ball, our offense was kind of taking for granted the possessions we had, but I got to tell you Foxboro’s defense is a hell of a defense. They put a lot of pressure on our guys and threw a couple different mixes in.”

Freshman Lincoln Moore almost got Foxboro back within one but his point-blank leaping shot was denied by Coyne (eight saves). The Warriors would get closer when Sharkey added his second of the quarter, beating his marker with a quick dodge and scoring at the near post to make it 5-4.

Noone noted, “My kids battled. We’re young. I only have two seniors on this team.”

After going scoreless in the third, Canton was able to finally find the back of the net 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. Carlino showed his strength to ride several checks and hits from multiple defenders to get to the crease and he grabbed his second of the night.

One minute later, Foxboro was right back in the game. After a Canton turnover on the sideline, Nick Penders cut in from the right, took a hit, and managed to squeeze his shot past Coyne while falling to the ground. This time, Canton needed only a minute to respond. Out of a timeout, Chaput was able to draw defenders at the ‘X’ and find a cutting Carlino, who made a nice catch on the high pass and finished, completing his hat trick and making it 7-5.

The score stayed the same for almost five minutes, but the young Warriors weren’t done yet. Moore was able to beat his man on the left side of goal and fired a high shot past Coyne to bring the hosts back within one with 3:30 to play.

Foxboro had its chances to try and force overtime. Sharkey got free with two minutes to go but Coyne made the stop and then it was Sharkey again getting the run on his marker, this time from behind the goal, but Coyne was again equal to it. The Canton goalie raced upfield on the clear and used up almost all of the remaining time.

“I don’t know if I’ll make it through the year,” Quinn joked. “I’m going to have a heart attack. These games are so good. We’ll have a big practice tomorrow and then hopefully take care of business on Friday.”

At the final whistle there was plenty of back-and-forth between the two teams, as Canton (11-0, 10-0) took a lead in the title race. Nothing has been decided yet though. Foxboro (10-3, 8-1) will have its chance to answer back when the teams meet again at WWII Vets Memorial Field on Friday afternoon. If the Warriors win the rematch, then they will clinch at least a share of the title and Canton will need to win its final game against Oliver Ames to match.

“My team is going to feed off that. You believe me, my team is going to show up to play,” said Noone. “We’re going to get to work tomorrow and I’m telling you we’re going to be ready to play on Friday. If we lose, power to them because they’re going to have to play their best game to beat us.”

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