BROCKTON, Mass. – The rallying cry of the Bourne Canalmen this season has been “Never give up!” a phrase they adopted following the passing of former Bourne hockey player Ryan Kent who lost his battle his cancer over the summer.
It was also the phrase reiterated by coach Tom Welch to his team as the Canalmen we’re facing a 1-0 deficit entering the third period of Monday’s Div. 3 South Preliminary Round showdown with Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk.
As the Canalmen entered that final frame shutout in their previous eight periods dating back to Feb. 17, it didn’t take long for Bourne’s Connor Torpey to respond, setting the stage for the dramatics of senior co-captain Dawson Prophett.
With 1:03 remaining in the game a loose puck found Prophett high in the zone. Not bothering to skate with it, the senior rifled off a slap shot, finding the top-right corner and lifting the Canalmen to a 2-1 victory over their South Coast Conference rivals.
“I saw the puck and basically just shot it,” Prophett recalled. “I’ve been trying to shoot all night and it wasn’t going in, so I finally just took all my anger out.”
Prophett’s late-game heroics were a result of Torpey’s early third-period goal that changed the complexion of the game. With the Falcons taking a 1-0 lead late in the second period on tally from Kyle Frias, the pressure set in on the Canalmen to find the equalizing goal.
Between periods, the Canalmen coaching staff kept the team confident despite the power outage on the offensive end over the last three games.
“I wanted to remind them of that, as we told them between periods, the moment you give up, that’s the moment you let someone else win,” Bourne coach Tom Welch said. “Don’t give up! That’s been our theme all year, dig down and find some way to win.”
At the 1:41 mark of the period, the pressure was lifted off the shoulders of the Canalmen squad, when Torpey hit the brakes behind the D-R/Seekonk net and stepped inside the right circle, firing a quick wrist shot to tie the game at one.
“If we didn’t score early, it would have put more pressure on us to score, so scoring early was definitely a necessity,” Prophett said of Torpey’s goal.
Following the equalizer, Bourne carried play the remainder of the way and outshot Falcons 9-4 in the final frame after an even battle the first two periods.
“It was nice in my end, the team played so well in front of me, only had a couple of shots,” Senior goaltender Jack LaCasse said. “They created opportunities and things happened just like that.”
With just over a minute remaining and the game shaping up to be decided in overtime, a loose puck bounced its way to Prophett for the game winner.
South coast rivals: The Canalmen have had the Falcons number over the years, winning all 14 matchups since D-R/Seekonk’s inception in 2009.
While Bourne has had their way in the past, they certainly didn’t take for granted that a victory was on its way.
In both regular season games this season, the Falcons made Bourne work for its victory as the Canalmen escaped with one-goal victories, which was once again the case on Monday.
“It speaks to the competitiveness of our league now,” Welch said. “In the South Coast Conference, a lot of teams have improved, and that team is well coached and played well.
Two in a row: For five years, the Canalmen had no luck in the postseason with five trips to the sectionals with no playoff wins to show for it.
Last season, Bourne righted the ship with a first-round victory over Nantucket and continued that trend again this season with a preliminary round victory.
Now, Bourne hopes to keep the win streak alive with a victory over No. 3 Hopkinton Thursday evening at Gallo Ice Arena.
“Lets get two more, that’s what we are trying to do, take a step forward,” Welch said. “There’s 12 seniors on the team, it’s emotional, it could always be there last game.”
While Bourne may not feature the fastest skaters or biggest defensemen, both Prophett and LaCasse said that it is the tight-knit bond that fuels the teams victories.
“This team is one of the tightest teams, along with last year,” Prophett said. “My freshman and sophomore years, we were a little diverse, so over the last two years we’ve just become a band of brothers.”
LaCasse added: “We aren’t the most talented group, we don’t have a lot of studs on the team, but we all play together and play for each other.”
BOURNE 2, DIGHTON-REHOBOTH/SEEKONK 1
D-R/S 0 1 0 – 1
Bourne 0 0 2 – 2
First Period: No scoring. Penalties: D-R/S-0, B-0.
Second Period: 1. D-R/S-Kyle Frias (Matt McDonald), 11:42. Penalties: D-R/S-0, B-1.
Third Period: 2. B-Connor Torpey (Joe Estey), 1:41. 3. B-Dawson Prophett (Jack Perry), 13:57. Penalties: D-R/S-1, B-1.
Shots On Goal:
D-R/S 7 7 4 – 18
Bourne 6 9 9 – 25
Goaltenders: D-R/S-Dan Loiselle, B-Jack LaCasse.