After 374 days the Canton boys varsity hockey team finally returned to action with a triumphant win in game one of the Route 11 Rivalry.

Junior Forward Rhett Palmer enters the offensive zone in the first period Thursday night against Potsdam. Palmer had two goals and four assists in Canton’s 11-2 rout of the Sandstoners. (Photo courtesy of Amy Hunt)

The Bears struck first in the opening period, and never looked back as they went on to an 11-2 victory on their 2021 Senior night.

Junior defenseman Daniel Mahoney opened up the scoring for Canton after receiving a feed from senior defensive partner Peter Coakley midway through the first period. Senior forward Trey Bessette then added another tally with help from line mates senior Parker Hunt and junior Rhett Palmer to give the Bears a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.

Junior forward Tanner Hazelton gave the Bears a 3-0 lead early in the first by cashing in his first career varsity goal with help from junior forward Kaden Baxter and Coakley. This seemed to open the floodgates as they struck with four more goals before the second period was over.

Junior forward Tanner Hazelton celebrates his first career varsity goal Thursday night against Potsdam. (Photo courtesy of Amy Hunt)

Bessette followed up Hazelton with his second tally of the game, with assists going to Mahoney and Palmer. Coakley then scored a goal of his own from the point with feeds coming from Hunt and senior defenseman Dustin Dodd. Palmer then contributed a pair of shorthanded goals, the first being unassisted and the second coming with help from Bessette giving the Bears a 7-2 lead after two.

Hunt added a pair of goals himself to open third period scoring with help from Bessette and Palmer on the first and Palmer again on the second. Baxter then notched his own first career varsity goal late in the third, and shortly after senior forward Charles Grandaw popped his first career varsity goal with the assists going to sophomore forward Josh Aldous rounding out the scoring and giving the Bears an 11-2 edge.

Junior defenseman Daniel Mahoney cheers on his teammate, senior forward Charles Grandaw after Grandaw’s first career varsity goal Thursday night against Postdam. (Photo courtesy of Amy Hunt)

Junior goaltender Hayden Todd and sophomore Cade Chezum split time between the pipes for the Bears, Todd finished with 7 saves while Chezum added 10.

After months of waiting, setbacks, and frustration it appeared as though the Bears could not have been more ready to go on Thursday. Senior defenseman Peter Coakley added “We waited so long for Thursday night, and when it finally came we were ready to go.”

The Bears are back in action Thursday March 18 against Potsdam. They are slotted to have a three game season, facing Potsdam all three times because of competition restrictions imposed by the Board of Education.

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