CANTON — The unbeaten streak is over. Now the question is whether any hopes No. 8 Canton had of getting consideration for the Super Eight tournament are gone along with it.
Johnny Oblak and Brendan Cullen had a pair of goals each and No. 19 Lincoln-Sudbury pulled out a wild 6-4 victory Wednesday night at the Canton Ice House, snapping the host Bulldogs’ 43-game unbeaten streak.
“They’re an awesome team, really well-coached, just a great team all around,” L-S coach Matt Carlin said outside of a jubilant Warriors locker room. “We were just happy to compete with them tonight.”
Canton’s last loss before Wednesday night was March 8, 2018, a 5-3 defeat to eventual state champion Plymouth South in the Division 2 South semifinals. The Bulldogs proceeded to go 25-0-1 last season in taking the reins as state champs, then were 15-0-2 this season before running into a Lincoln-Sudbury squad eager to prove it belonged among the state’s best in Division 2.
The Warriors (14-3-1) got more than a little motivation before the game, watching a video of a news clip talking about Canton’s streak and its Super Eight hopes after getting bypassed a year ago.
“We showed that around the team and the guys were so motivated to beat them,” Lincoln-Sudbury senior goalie Jack Hankey said. “We also had a lot of teams that were rooting for us, wanting to break that streak. So we figured go out there, give it our hardest shot, and sure enough, we got the win.”
Oblak scored once each in the first and second periods, the latter giving L-S a 2-0 lead. Chris Lavoie finally got Canton on the board midway through the second, and from there the Bulldogs turned up the heat and seemed on the verge of taking over the game at any moment.
Until the Warriors hit them with the combo of haymakers late in the second. First it was Cullen’s tough angle shot that made it 3-1 with 3:01 left in the period, and then the dagger from Brendan Quinn streaking down the left side with just 10.9 ticks left in the period to push it to 4-1.
Even with that, Canton nearly got back into the game to start the third, thanks to a major slashing penalty in the opening seconds. Johnny Hagan cut it to 4-2 just 50 seconds into the period, then made a perfect dish to Jack Connolly cutting in from the right point and it was 4-3 with 9:32 still to play.
But once again, the momentum was short-lived and L-S answered exactly a minute later. The Warriors had a sequence of good zone pressure and the puck was bouncing all over before it settled on the doorstep for Angelo Venuto, who tapped it in for a 5-3 lead.
“Huge. Can’t even put it into words,” Oblak said. “Angelo Venuto, a guy that just eats, sleeps and scores goals. Huge one there. We got the major penalty, and [Canton scored] a couple of goals, but we know we can bend, not break.”
Cullen’s second goal with 3:13 left sealed the deal for L-S. Timmy Kelleher added a goal for Canton with 32.4 seconds left, but for a team that had rallied from a two-goal deficit in the final 1:10 earlier this season to tie Duxbury and keep the streak going, this time it wasn’t enough.
Jim Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.