CANTON, Mass. – Michael Denehy scored 12 minutes from full time to bring the Canton Bulldogs back from a two-goal deficit and snatch a point in an exciting 3-3 draw on Saturday night with the Milford Hawks on the turf at World War II Veterans Memorial Park.
Denehy, a senior captain, took a feed from Liam Collins on the edge of the box and made a quick move to his left foot and escaped his marker. He was able to finish over the top of on rushing Milford keeper Michael DaSilva. Denehy also had two assists including a shot that was parried by DaSilva into the path of sophomore Damian Kozak to make it 3-2.
Canton coach Dan Erickson was proud of his team’s comeback, “I was real proud of the fact that, even though we dug our own hole, we fought back against a good team. I thought we had more chances than they did on the day…either team could have won, but I’m proud of my guys for fighting back.”
The hole that Erickson referred to took only a minute to dig. Milford raced to a 3-1 lead within the first minute of the second half. It took only 18 seconds for Justin Asam to give the Hawks their first lead with a nice left-foot finish off a great through ball by senior Lucas DeAguiar. Not more than 30 seconds later it was sophomore Juan Quintero extending the lead with an assist by Hugo Silva.
While pleased with his team’s start to the half, Milford coach Jim Asam was disappointed that the Hawks could not hold the lead, “I just told them that we need to play our game and come out a little more aggressive and win the 50-50 balls. Unfortunately, I think it might have happened a little soon. They held with us and they got their opportunities and they capitalized on them. They could have won the game.”
The game was end-to-end and thrilled the big crowd that braved the cold weather. There were chances galore for both teams. Kozak, who drew praise from his coach following the game, opened the scoring with a great finish in the bottom corner off a pass from Denehy. He just missed a shot from the edge of the box a few minutes before halftime and had a great chance for a hat trick saved by DaSilva.
Milford leveled the score at 1-1 after a spell of pressure in the first half. In the 23rd minute, sophomore Kevin Ribeiro had a shot from just outside the 18-yard box find the back of the net thanks to a heavy deflection. Asam got the assist.
Canton had chances to win the game in the final 10 minutes. First, junior forward eric Wong had a penalty shout turned down as he raced in on goal. Then junior defender Sam Larson had a header saved and Collins had a tame shot held by DaSilva. The freshman goalie would follow those saves with a brave sliding effort at the feet of Wong to prevent a last-minute winner.
In the end, a draw seemed a fair result for the attacking efforts of both teams and the solid play of both DaSilva and Canton goalie Art McNally.
After struggling at the beginning of the season, Canton (6-5-2) is now 4-2-2 in their last eight games. The Bulldogs travel to Oliver Ames on Wednesday. Milford (7-2-5) continues its impressive first season in the Hockomock League on Wednesday with a tough trip to Sharon
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