Icemen top North Attleboro in key Davenport clashBy Jay Turner
With a thrilling and at times harrowing 4-3 win over Davenport newcomer North Attleboro last week, the Canton High boys ice hockey team strengthened its grip on first place in the division while continuing to build its case as the best team in the Hock.
Although the week would later end in disappointment — with a 1-0 loss on Saturday to nonleague power Medway — the Bulldogs came to play in both contests last week and are nicely positioned for the stretch run with seven games remaining and a stellar overall record of 9-3-2.
In last Wednesday’s win against the highly touted Red Rocketeers, what looked to be a blowout early in the second period soon morphed into a nail-biter as NA scored three times in a four-minute span to completely erase a 3-0 Canton lead. Still, the Bulldogs refused to panic and would eventually regain the lead for good late in the period on a goal by Charlie O’Connor, assisted by Bubba McNeice.
Junior goalie Quinn Gibbs also had a big hand in the victory, making several key stops in a clean third period against the Hockomock League’s second highest scoring outfit.
Offensively, the Bulldogs got goals from four different players in the win, including linemates Mike Dadasis and Jack Goyetch as well as senior captain Tommy Kilduff.
While far from a perfect performance, head coach Brian Shuman said he was quite pleased with the overall effort and thought the team deserved to come away with the W.
“It was a win against a real quality opponent that a lot of people, including myself, said was going to be a strong team this year and they haven’t disappointed,” said Shuman. “And it was good to see our guys show some mental toughness and resiliency.”
The win also put some distance between the two teams in the standings with Canton improving to 6-0-0 in league games and the Rocketeers slipping to 4-2-1.
As for Saturday’s loss to Medway, Canton actually out-shot the Mustangs 21-18 and played them tough from start to finish, but Medway made a few more plays at critical moments and capitalized on a third-period scoring opportunity to escape with the win.
“Our guys wanted that one badly,” Shuman acknowledged afterwards. “It was such an evenly matched game that you knew it was going to come down to one or two plays, and Medway made the plays. But I do think our guys learned our lesson.”
This week, the Bulldogs had another tough slate with a home game on Wednesday against a 9-3-2 Taunton squad followed by an away game Saturday versus Mansfield (6-6-1). The team will then travel to Franklin to take on the rival Panthers in a rematch of the season opener and will host nonleague Pembroke next Saturday, February 11.
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