Blue Knights Bring Home Canal Cup
By: Dan Crowley
The one-two punch of Steve Lessard and Dan Branzetti struck just over two minutes into the second period Saturday night. The Blue Knights broke the scoreless tie with goals just 44 seconds apart on their way to a 4-1 victory over Bourne in the 29th Annual Canal Cup at Gallo Ice Arena.
For Sandwich it was their fifth successive Canal Cup victory. Bourne last held the cup in 2006 when they posted a 4-2 win over the Knights. SHS holds a 17-11-1 advantage in cup games.
After a scoreless first period in which Sandwich outshot the Canalmen 8-0, Lessard took a pass from C.J. Dolan and broke up the left side of the ice and into the BHS end. His wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle flew past Bourne goalie Josh Eddy into the top corner of the net, giving SHS a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Branzetti slipped the defense on the right side of the Bourne net and tucked the puck between the post and the skate of Eddy, putting the Knights up by two.
“That first goal we viewed as critical,” Coach Jordan Mohre said. “We were carrying play but had nothing to show for our eight shots in the first. And then that follow-up goal gave us a 2-0 lead. We showed up to play. I liked the way our seniors stepped up in their last Canal Cup game. It was nice for them to end their careers never having lost a Canal Cup.”
Both teams had power-play scoring chances later in the second but came away empty. Dom Lasorsa made a bid with 4:08 left in the second but was denied by Eddy. Drew Buckland jumped on the rebound, but the Bourne goalie’s quickness stopped a Sandwich goal.
Blue Knight goalie Pat Farrington made a big save down the stretch off a hard shot by Bourne’s Conor Hanley and Eddy blocked a shot up close off the stick of Sandwich’s Jon Cassista, sending the teams into the locker room after two periods of play with the Blue Knights on top, 2-0.
The Canalmen opened the third period pushing the puck hard into the Blue Knight end, but penalties put the breaks on the offense.
Lessard took the puck across center ice for the Knights and passed it ahead to Jake McCombs on the left side. Just 1:43 into the final period, McCombs fired a backhander that went high past Eddy and into the net giving the Knights a 3-0 advantage.
The Knights did a nice job most of a penalty midway through the third, but in the final seconds the Canalmen broke through as Beau LaFlamme fired from just inside the blue line with his shot slipping through the pads of Farrington. Will Humfryes set up the play from the right side corner passing the puck out to LaFlamme to put BHS on the scoreboard.
Devin Welch and Humfryes hammered away at the Sandwich net in the final minutes but could not get past Farrington. With 4:03 remaining, Alex LaRocco set up Dolan in front of the Bourne net for the final SHS goal.
“Beau (LaFlamme) is one of their better shooters,” Mohre noted. “Pat got a piece of that puck but not enough. I sensed a little momentum shift after that goal, but C.J. (Dolan) was able to shut the door.”
Sandwich outshot the Canalmen 25-11.
“Bourne has done some good things this year,” Coach Mohre added. “They have won a lot of games. For us it was probably the best defensive game we’ve played this season. We did a great job of eliminating their odd-man rushes and I thought it was our best back-checking game of the season.”
Blue Knight senior captain Steve Lessard received the team MVP, with Welch taking home the MVP for Bourne.
The Knights (5-8-2) dropped a 3-1 decision to Falmouth Wednesday night.
The Clippers took a 1-0 lead in the opening period on a tipped shot by Matt Kinchla that knuckled under Farrington. The Clippers made it 2-0 just 2:39 into the second with P.J. Moore slipping the puck past Farrington stick side on a 2-on-1. Thirty seconds later Falmouth was back on the scoreboard taking a 3-0 lead.
The Knights got their lone goal 13:51 into the second when Branzetti beat FHS goalie Brandon Moore on a shot set up by Lessard that went far post.
The Knights had a last chance in the third on a late-game power play, pulling Farrington with 56 seconds left, but were unable to find the net.
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