Oliver Ames Hockey Ready for South Sectional Finals Tonight
A win against Franklin tonight will mean a trip to the TD Garden in Boston.
It's been six days since the Oliver Ames hockey team has played in a game.
But, according to OA coach Jim Sullivan after a Monday practice, the Tigers are feeling fresh, well-rested, and unaffected by the delay caused by last week's storm.
"We set up a few things to get a few things ready," he said. "We want to be ready. I don’t think the layoff is going to bother us. They might think it is but I don’t think so. I think we’re ready to play."
OA is playing Franklin tonight at 5 in the South Sectional Finals at Gallo Arena in Bourne. The winner will play at the TD Garden for the state title on Sunday.
It is the second time the two Hockomock League teams have met this season. On Feb. 6, OA defeated Franklin, 3-1.
The No. 4 Tigers are coming off playoff wins against No. 13 Dennis-Yarmouth, No. 5 Coyle Cassidy and No. 1 Canton. Franklin is ranked fifth in the South Sectionals.
"I think [Franklin] is going to be an even match - closer than Canton," Sullivan said. "I thought Canton was a good match but we played Coyle better than we played Canton. Coyle really put some pressure on us and we had to respond to it."
The run for the Tigers didn't start when the playoffs started, though.
Since losing to 5-12 Brockton to close out a 2-5 midseason slump, the Tigers have been near perfect. Including playoffs, OA is 11-0-1 since Jan. 26.
"They were starting to have more fun with it," Sullivan said. "They went over that hump when they lost a few games in a row and we switched the lines a little bit – not much. But, it seemed to work so we kept it."
Defense and OA's standout sophomore goalie Jimmy Tierney have been exceptional for the Tigers over the last 12 games. Since Jan. 26, Tierney has given up more than one goal in a game only once and has recorded four shutouts - including last week's win against top-seeded Canton.
"If he let’s one up, he shuts down," Sullivan said. "There is nothing going in after that first one. He really takes it to heart. Even at practice – he puts himself out there. He doesn’t like it to go in. Even on a breakaway he doesn’t like anything to go in."
Still, the Tigers need one more win for the right to skate on the same ice as the Boston Bruins. Sullivan said he still reminds his team to take things "one game at a time."
The team spent Monday night at a team spaghetti supper resting up and "staying focused" for Tuesday's game.
"They’re pretty excited," he said. "They’re having fun, which is the main part. They’re pretty confident, which I like. We beat [Franklin] once and that confidence is there so they know they can do it again."
Use our comments section below to send your well-wishes to the Tigers as they prepare for the big game tonight.