hockey coach Jim Sullivan and Mansfield hockey coach Rick Anastos both knew heading into Wednesday night that a contest between two of the top teams in the Hockomock League would be evenly matched.
They were right.
OA tied Mansfield at the Asiaf Arena in Brockton, 1-1.
"I knew going in it was going to be a pretty good game," Anastos said. "I was kind of hoping that we'd capitalize on some mistakes but we weren't able to."
The Tigers visited the penalty box six times as opposed to the Hornets two times, but OA was still able to edge Mansfield in shots, 23-21, largely because of solid defensive play led by Freshman goalie Jimmy Tierney, Sullivan said.
The Tigers gave up their lone goal in the first period at the hands of Mansfield Senior Captain Steve Folan with an assist from Eric Foley.
OA's goal was scored by defenseman Andrew Romans in the second period.
"Our defense has been fantastic," Sullivan said. "I wasn’t worried about the goals against. It was goals for. We’ve been having a tough time with our forwards getting goals. We tied Franklin and we tied these guys. We can’t get those forwards to stuff it in."
Anastos credited his defense for the low scoring game, but added that Mansfield was unable to capitalize on opportunities and penalty minutes.
"We figured that they would get a lot of penalties," he said. "They didn’t get as many as we thought but they started to and we just didn’t capitalize. That was our game plan going in – having discipline."
The 8-1-1 Hornets will have another difficult task ahead of them on Saturday when they take on perennial power, Canton. Meanwhile, the 5-2-2 Tigers will look to get their offense going against Attleboro.
"Hopefully we’ll come out to play," Sullivan said. "Attleboro’s not on the top of our list and these kids think they can just breeze by and it doesn’t happen. The Hockomock’s too tough."