Pair Of Mashpee Power Plays Lifts Falcons Over Middleboro
By: Rich Maclone
Every team that lines up to compete in MIAA sanctioned team sports has one common goal, to qualify for the state tournament. The Mashpee/Upper Cape Tech hockey team wants badly to be included in the Division III hockey tourney this year, and they took a nice step towards that goal with perhaps their most impressive victory of the season on Monday evening in Bridgewater.
MHS/UCT rallied from a 1-0 deficit to net two, third-period goals, upending the Sachems by a 2-1 score, as Sean Foley’s power play goal with just 83 seconds to play turned out to be the difference. It was the second, power play goal of the third period for the Falcons as they improved to 4-7-1 on the season. While their record leaves them with a lot of work left to do to get into the tournament, Head Coach Shawn Chicoine said that the task is certainly attainable, especially since the Falcons’ slate seemed to be heavily front-loaded with difficult foes.
Middleborough certainly did not want to let the Falcons escape with a win and they kept the pressure on throughout the second and third periods, but Nick Cannata made the saves for the Falcons in the net. The goalie made a handful of nice stops, including one on a break-in with only 45 seconds remaining in the game that could have tied it up for the Sachems. But, the netminder stood tall and kept the puck out of his net. The final few seconds were certainly harrowing for the Mashpee defense. With the goalie out for an extra attacker, Middleborough buzzed around the net with hopes of teeing up one last quality-scoring chance. The Sachems got off a nice shot from the left face-off dot with 18 ticks to go, but the blast sailed wide of the cage. Mashpee was able to tie it up shortly after that and finish off the clock before the home team could try again.
“It’s definitely a good win. We’ve been spending time on special teams and to get two power play goals is great. The kids worked hard and they were patient. If you only get one shot on a power play but it goes in, then it was a good power play, and tonight they did a good job of waiting for the quality shots to come up,” the coach said.
Mashpee came out with purpose in the third, but it looked like Middleborough might escape as every bid the team had seemed to either just miss the mark or get gobbled up by the goalie, Patrick Nicholson.
Finally, at the 5:35 mark of the last period, Mashpee got on the board with a nice power play goal by Sean Conaway, who batted in a rebound off a Conor Delorme shot to knot the count at 1-1. Tyler Conaway also assisted on the goal that drew the team even.
Mashpee took control of the action from that point and had several chances to grab the lead, with Taylor Nickerson denied a few times from point-blank range. The Falcons were cited for a tripping call with 4:22 to play, giving Middleborough a golden chance to pull ahead, but Cannata made two big stops, one on a redirect from the doorstep and another on an attempted coast-to-coast break.
With 2:15 to play the Falcons came painfully close to taking the lead when Foley came off the wall and put the puck out front where Anthony Bartolomei and Nickerson chopped at it. Somehow Nicholson, who was prone on his side, kept the pellet from finding the twine. But, in the middle of the scrum, Middleborough got a bit too physical with the Falcons and were cited for roughing, which gave the Falcons a late power play.
That was the break Mashpee/Upper Cape Tech needed, and they did not squander it. The Falcons worked the puck around the offensive zone with the man advantage and Nickerson came off the left wing wall and zipped it towards the far post for Foley. The captain got his blade on the pass and redirected up and in the far upper triangle to give MHS the lead for good.
On Saturday the Falcons gave a strong effort against league-leading Abington/East Bridgewater, coming painfully close to an upset win. They dropped a 2-1 decision but showed that they could hold their own against the league’s top dogs. The Falcons struck first, with Frank Inzirillo putting the team on top with a goal at the 4:24 mark off a feed from Tyler Conaway.
A/EB tied it later in the first and got the eventual game-winner with 28 seconds to play in the second period.
Cannata kept the Falcons in the game with a great showing, making 40 saves in the contest.
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