The Canton Golden Bears Varsity Boys Hockey team split the weekend with a win and a loss. The Bears played their worst 51 minutes of hockey of the season Friday night against Cicero-North Syracuse, but battled back on Saturday with a thrilling 5-4 win against Penfield.

The Bears started off playing well on Friday night but as soon as the first goal found the back of the net for Cicero, the game fell apart for the Bears. A lack of effort and hard work on Friday night contributed to the 6-0 loss.

The Bears could not find any offense, and were turning the puck over in their defensive zone. Lots of pucks were thrown up the sidewall to the defenseman waiting at the point, and it was a shooting gallery on netminder Hayden Todd. Although he let in six goals, Todd did not find any help from his team and came out with an astounding 46 saves.

Canton’s power play continued to struggle and they let up a goal on the power play. After that poor showing,  it was unclear if the Bears success last weekend was just a fluke.

The Bears, fueled by the crowd, played a complete 51 minutes of hockey on Saturday, and were rewarded for their efforts with a win. It was a close game throughout, but Canton struck first on the power play. Garritt Palmer dropped the puck to Rhett Palmer, who carried it to the sidewall to draw the defender out with him,  and he made a pass to Drew Blevins in the high slot. Blevins shot past the screen by Garritt Palmer to get the first marker of the game. Penfield struck right back on a fast break the other way off the resulting faceoff, and a bouncing puck found its way to the back of the net to tie the score at 1.

The Bears showed their mental toughness by not breaking down after this unfortunate series of events, and continued to battle. The game remained tied at 1 going into the second period. The Bears took a penalty in the second, and that penalty had almost expired when Penfield found the back of the net on a shot that beat goaltender Cade Chezum on the short side.

The Bears rallied in the second period with a goal from Rhett Palmer off a shot by Garritt Palmer. That was it for scoring the second period, which ended with the score tied at 2-2.

The game got exciting in the third frame when Canton got into penalty trouble. No stranger to the 5-on-3 situation, with two 5-on-3’s already in the game, Canton looked to kill it off. Unfortunately, a well-placed pass found its way to the back door for a one-timer that was not being stopped. The Bears trailed 3-2 early in the third.

This wouldn’t stop the Bears as Josh Aldous found the back of the net on a pass from Rhett Palmer on the power play. Aldous continued to have a great game when on the penalty kill, as he intercepted a pass to the point and took it down 2-on-1. He beat the Penfield defense and slid the puck across to Rhett Palmer for another goal. The score was now 4-3 and favored the Bears, but the question was whether they could hold on. The Bears got a burst of energy when Rhett Palmer completed the hat-trick after his initial shot deflected and missed the net, but the puck bounced out to the low circles and he backhand slapped the puck into the net putting the Bears up 5-3.

Penfield was far from losing this game however and the Bears continued to battle to keep the puck out of their own net. This pressure was only added to when two late penalties gave Penfield a 5-on-4 advantage. Penfield opted to pull their goalie at this point, and the power play became 6-on-4 in favor of Penfield.

A simple numbers game in front of the net was lost by the Bears due to their lack of players on the ice, and Penfield managed to bury the puck making the score 5-4 with a 1:30 left in regulation. Penfield had multiple opportunities in the last 90 seconds on goaltender Cade Chezum, but he managed to shut them down, including a tricky save with .8 seconds left in regulation time. The Bears advance to 3-1 on the year and will travel to Vermont for two challenging games next weekend. 

Photos come courtesy of Shelly Pike.

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