As the seconds ticked off the clock at Gallo Ice Arena in the 38th Canal Cup, Sandwich boys’ hockey coach Jordan Mohre was trying to quell the Blue Knights bench like a cowboy steadying a chute fighter.
“Hold it! Hold it,” he yelled from the back bench until the clock finally read zero.
And as the horn sounded the Blue Knights flooded the ice, equipment carelessly tossed aside in jubilance, packing the boards along the south end of the rink in front of their Blue Knight faithful.
“For [the kids in] that room to win this cup and bring it back, I know it means a lot to them,” Mohre said. “They put in a tremendous amount of work this past offseason and we set this as one of our goals. It’s nice to get out and accomplish it.”
The eruption of emotion had been building over the last two years as the Bourne Canalmen staked their claim to the coveted cup and came to a head on Saturday, February 1, with Sandwich scoring a 2-0 win over their Cape Cod Canal neighbors.
Sophomore defenseman Drew MacKinnon drew first blood with roughly six minutes left in the first period while freshman Colin McIver added the insurance goal on a power play in the second period. Junior captain Mike Barrasso assisted on both goals while senior goalie Carson Schemenaur stopped all 20 shots he faced. For his efforts, the netminder earned MVP honors.
“Playing in the third period, up 2-0... it’s just awesome,” Schemenaur said. “The clock definitely moves slow in those situation. I think [losing the last two years to Bourne] definitely gave us that push.”
With the win, the Blue Knights improved to 23-14-1 in the all-time series.
“Regardless of the shot total, I think Carson made a few saves towards the end that really sealed it for us,” Mohre said.
From the opening puck drop, Sandwich touted three lines that played with an aggressive mindset. They attempted 40 shots on net in the game, never recording fewer than 13 in a period, and regularly possessed the puck in the Canalmen’s end and create traffic in front of the net. That was the approach Mohre wanted to deploy heading into the game, knowing Bourne boasts a standout goalie in senior Kyle McGuire.
“We knew they had a good goalie. We knew they weren’t going to quit,” Mohre said. “Against McGuire you have to have guys setting screens. You can’t let him see the puck.”
MacKinnon’s tally sliced through traffic in front of McGuire and ended high stick-side to break the scoreless tie. With both teams riding high given the fanfare of the day, getting an early goal was key for the Knights.
“To see one fall in early allows everyone to settle in because we were a little nervous coming out to start,” Mohre said. “Playing ahead is definitely better than playing behind.”
Sandwich struck again in the second the period, this time special teams playing a key role. Using a similar formula of crowding the crease from their first goal, Barrasso fed McIver—fresh off his first career varsity goal earlier in the week—and the freshman lit the lamp from the point. The goal gave Sandwich a 2-0 lead with 9:18 left before the second intermission.
Down, but not out, the Canalmen fought to get themselves back in the game. They appeared to do just that with 6:40 left in the frame. About to go on the power play, Bourne crashed the net and thought it had cut the Knights’ lead in half, but the referees had other thoughts—waving the goal off, citing a whistle being blown before the puck crossed the line.
The Canalmen failed to convert on the ensuing power play and went scoreless in the third period, despite pulling McGuire in favor of an extra skate with roughly 1:30 left in the game.
Falmouth 3, Sandwich 0
The game will go down in the box score as a three-goal shutout home loss, but the Knights went toe-to-toe with the visiting Clippers for the better part of 45 minutes on Wednesday, February 5.
Falmouth sprung for a goal in the opening minute off the stick of Stone Devlin and the 1-0 lead held up until early in the third period when the Clippers scored a four-on-four goal from Max McDonald.
The final goal of the game came in the last few seconds after Sandwich had pulled its goaltender in favor of the extra skater in an attempt to find two quick goals. But it was Falmouth’s Nick Champani who recorded the final tally on the empty-net goal.
Sandwich (7-9-1, 2-4 C&I Atlantic) hosts Nantucket on Monday, February 10 at 4 PM.