A two-goal lead less than two minutes into the third period wasn’t insurmountable, but when Holliston’s Max Turcotte scored with 10:41 left to play giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead, it ended the season for the Bourne Canalmen.
Monday night 14th seeded Bourne (11-9-1) hosted 19th seeded Holliston (11-9-1) in a preliminary round game of the MIAA Division 3 South Sectionals at Gallo Ice Arena. A scoreless opening period and a 1-0 Holliston lead after two periods made it either team’s game to win entering the final period. Bourne outshot the Panthers 16-4 in the final 15 minutes, but there was nothing they could do to get the puck past sophomore netminder Brad Arvanitis, who made some outstanding saves. Arvanitis finished the regular season with a 2.31 goals-against average. Monday was his third shutout of the year for the Panthers.
“We just couldn’t get a break,” Coach Tom Welch said. “We played our game and got the shots on net, but it just wasn’t in the cards.”
Bourne outshot the Panthers 28-21.
The third period opened with the Canalmen skating on the power play, but they were unable to crack the defense. Holliston sophomore Preston Trudeau gave the Panthers some breathing room 1:39 into the third when he fired a shot from the right side that found its way through a crowd in front of the net and past the screened BHS goalie.
A Holliston visit to the penalty box for cross checking 3:29 into the period landed the Canalmen a power play, but Holliston’s leading scorer, Max Turcotte, who entered the night with 25 goals and 21 assists and had been named to the Tri Valley League All-Star team and the league’s MVP, broke free and closed on the Bourne net, wristing a hard shot from the left side that flew high and inside the far post.
“We banged them around a bit,” Welch said, “and we played our game. They’re a good team.”
Holliston finished sixth in the eight-team Tri Valley League regular season.
Bourne goalie Mike Wiggin kept things scoreless after one period, making eight saves in the first 15 minutes with two big stops in the final minute, getting his glove on a blast from the blue line and kicking away another bid up close to his left.
The Panthers came right back in the opening minute of the second stanza testing Wiggin two more times, with the second save a 1-on-1 stop of a shot by Holliston’s Trudeau.
Bourne had two power play chances in the second and managed three shots on each occasion, but were stopped by Arvanitis.
Midway through the final period the Canalmen had a four-minute final power play opportunity when the Panthers were called for boarding. Jimmy Commesso fired off two solid shots, but the Holliston defense proved too much.
“I’m proud of our team,” Welch added. “Wiggin did a great job for us, he’s come a long way. We have five seniors and they’ll leave having made this a better team.”
The Canalmen, who got off to a slow start, going 1-5 in their first half dozen games, finished second in the South Coast Conference with 17 points, just a single point behind Old Rochester. Bourne finished the regular season having won four out of their final five games outscoring opponents 35-5.