BOURNE, Mass. -- The last time Canton lost in regulation was back on Jan. 2. That game was a 1-0 shutout against Oliver Ames and sophomore goalie Jimmy Tierney.
History repeated itself on Wednesday night in Bourne.
In the Division 2 South semifinal against the Tigers at Gallo Ice Arena, Canton once again ran into a dominant goaltender and failed to find the back of the net. Despite 37 shots on goal, the top seeded Bulldogs were shutout 2-0, sending Oliver Ames (17-4-2) into the sectional final.
“If I was younger, I would stand on my head too and show you what he did,” said Oliver Ames head coach Jim Sullivan of his star netminder. “He kept us in that game as usual. What a kid!”
Canton head coach Brian Shuman could only shrug and praise Tierney for once again proving to be too tough to beat.
“He’s probably not only one of the best goalies in D2, but in the state,” remarked Shuman. “We had our chances but we just couldn’t bury them. He’s one of those guys that haunts other teams with how well he plays.”
The Oliver Ames defense limited the opportunities for Canton’s top scorers, Brian Brooks and Pat Ward, through physical play and by keeping the Bulldogs (16-4-2) out of the middle of the attacking zone. Andrew Mancini and Andrew Romans continually cleared Canton players from in front of the crease to give Tierney a chance to see the puck.
Tierney credited his defenders for the shutout and noted that he was ready for a barrage of shots from the Hockomock League champions.
“It’s definitely better because you start feeling the shots earlier,” Tierney said. “The defense kept all the shots outside so it was good. I don’t think they had any shots in the slot.”
OA’s goalie may have stolen the show, but it was Romans that gave the Tigers the win. The defenseman pinched in on a power play and flicked an unstoppable wrist shot into the top corner from the edge of the faceoff circle. Tyler Provost picked up the assist.
The goal came with 7:55 left in the second period. The remaining 23 minutes of the game were increasingly desperate for Canton, as the Bulldogs threw everything at the OA net. Unfortunately for Canton, there was no way past Tierney.
Justin Davidner wrapped up the win for the Tigers with an empty net goal with 48 seconds left on the clock.
Sullivan was thrilled that his team was heading to the finals and even happier to do it by going through a league rival, which he believes is proof of the strength of the Hockomock. He was already looking forward to the next game against the winner of Franklin and Mansfield.
“It’s nice to get this far,” Sullivan said. “We haven’t been this far, I think since the 80’s. It’s just one more step, one more goal, and one more game.”