CANTON — It was not the Algonquin girls hockey team’s night.
In a Thursday night clash at the Canton Ice House, No. 5 Algonquin’s championship hopes came to an end with a 3-0 loss to the No. 4 Canton Bulldogs.
The game was the latest meeting between the budding rivals. Last year, Algonquin defeated Canton in overtime in the state championship game. Canton avenged that loss in a close win over Algonquin earlier this season.
This time, a spot in the state quarterfinals was on the line.
The Bulldogs were able to draw first blood with 11:52 remaining in the second period. Freshman Izzy Cusack scored her 13th goal of the season to put Canton ahead 1-0.
The Titans almost had an answer. At the end of the second, Canton’s goalie Carolyn Durand made an impressive save to thwart an Algonquin offensive attack. The puck grazed Durand’s right leg pad and came within inches – maybe centimeters – of evening the score.
Algonquin’s offense kept the pressure on the Bulldogs throughout the game, but the Canton defense proved too much to handle.
The Bulldogs would score again in the third period. Freshman Christina Curran grabbed a loose puck and flipped it into the net to double Canton’s lead. The goal, which was unassisted, was the first of the season for Curran.
With 22 seconds left in the game, Audrey Koen scored an empty-net goal to put the Bulldogs ahead 3-0.
In an interview with the Community Advocate, Algonquin head coach Tina Beauchemin said Canton had a “good game plan.”
“They shut us down,” she said. “They were quick with their feet and just had a little more than we did today.”
Though the Titans suffered a disappointing season-ending loss, Beauchemin was impressed by her team’s resilience throughout the game.
“They gave everything that they had. They kept trying. They never quit. Unfortunately, you try hard and sometimes you don’t end up on top,” she said.
After nine players left the Algonquin team that defeated Canton in the championship last year, many wondered if the Titans would find any success this year. Beauchemin was optimistic about the future of the program and said that the team is well ahead of schedule.
“This [season] was a pleasant surprise for us,” she shared. “We thought it was going to be rebuild year… but we far exceeded expectations.”
“I’d like the girls to keep their heads up; they had an amazing season,” Beauchemin said.
Canton moves on to the quarterfinals of the MIAA Division 2 tournament. The Bulldogs will face No. 1 Archbishop Williams at Gallo Arena on Saturday night.
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