With revenge in mind after last year’s loss to in the Division 2 South quarterfinals, the Canton High School hockey team was looking to retain its status as favorites in the Davenport Division
That revenge didn't come to fruition, however, as OA handed Canton its first loss of the 2011-12 season with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night at ASIAF Rink in Brockton.
OA is now 2-2 on the season (1-1 Hockomock League, 1-0 Davenport) while Canton drops to 3-1 (0-1 league/Davenport).
“They came out to get us back and it just didn’t work out [for them],” said first-year OA coach Jim Sullivan. “That’s a very good team they have and it was a great win for our program.”
OA was undoubtedly the better team, but they also benefited from puck luck along the way.
Defenseman Andrew Mancini used a screen on Canton goalie Rich Nee to score the game’s first goal just 3:16 into the contest. Towards the end of the first period, forward Kyle Johnson scored a power play tally when the puck bounced off the helmet of one of the Canton defenseman.
While the goals weren’t the prettiest, OA took what they could get against the perennial Hock powers.
“Anyway you can get them, right?” Sullivan said. “We got the first two goals and from there it came down to the wire.”
Canton, meanwhile, couldn’t buy a bounce, thanks in large part to OA freshman goaltender Jimmy Tierney. The first year varsity goalie made 33 saves on the night and stood tall for his second victory of the year.
“Our freshman goalie was great for us all night,” Sullivan said. “He made a bunch of saves for us and stood tall when we needed him.”
Tierney also had the benefit of the doubt when sophomore forward Nick O’Connor hit the post during a penalty shot towards the end of the second period.
“They had some goals early on that found their way to the back of the net,” Canton coach Brian Shuman said. “They had a couple of puck luck bounces and they were up 2-0. I thought their goaltender played terrific all night and we just couldn’t find an answer.”
While Canton couldn’t overcome the early deficit, they bounced back after the first period and cut the lead behind a power play tally by O’Connor just 4:07 into the middle stanza.
As the clock started to wind down in the third period, Canton threw everything towards Tierney. But, the freshman goalie and his defense tightened up in the final seconds to secure the victory.
While Shuman was pleased with his team’s effort towards the end, the Bulldog coach admitted that OA was the better team on this night.
“I was happy with the response [after the first period],” he said. “I thought we played a much better second period. We had our chances throughout the period but towards the end we had the penalty shot that hit the post and it seemed to take the wind out of our sails.
“Having said that, I thought they outplayed us, they outcoached us and outworked us. And I think its something we need to learn from going forward.”
OA will look to put the win behind come Saturday when they hit the road to face an improved Foxborough squad at 7:10 p.m.
Canton, meanwhile, looks to bounce back against Stoughton Saturday at 5:20 p.m. at ASIAF Rink.