MIAA Boys Division 2 Tournament Semifinal: Early Four-Goal Barrage Helps Canton Overwhelm Gloucester, Return To State Title Game

Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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Canton’s win streak reached 22 games Tuesday. But just as important, the Bulldogs now have won 13 consecutive times in MIAA postseason play, and are one more win away from a third consecutive Division 2 state championship.

The #3 Bulldogs scored four times in the opening 4 minutes, 21 seconds and never looked back in rolling past #2 Gloucester, 6-3, in a state semifinal at Tsongas Center in Lowell.

The final step will be a tough one, as Canton will face top-seeded Tewksbury in Sunday’s title game at TD Garden. It’s a rematch of the 2019 state final won by Canton, 6-2, before the Bulldogs shared the D2 crown in 2020 after the championship game was canceled at the start of the COVID outbreak.

Gloucester actually had the first chance in the opening moments, when Emerson Marshall was upended on a clean break and denied by Canton freshman goalie Colin Davis. The play went back up the ice, where Brennan Pecararo circled out with a loose puck and sniped it to the top right corner just 58 seconds into the game.

Canton’s Brian Middleton and Gloucester’s Robbie Schuster go for puck during MIAA Boys D2 semifinal game won by the Bulldogs, 6-3.

If that didn’t stun the Fishermen, then what came in the next minute-plus might have done the job.

Sean Connolly Canton

Senior captain Sean Connolly took a drop pass at the right point and whistled the puck into the net to make it 2-0 at 2:22. Then an unsportsmanlike penalty put the Bulldogs on the power play, and Connolly made the Fishermen pay when he cut backdoor and buried at great diagonal pass from Brendan Tourgee.

It was 4-0 by the 4:21 mark on an Eddie Gillis turnaround goal in the slot. Canton’s scoring barrage finally slowed from there – at least until the second period, when AJ Thomas and Pecararo added tallies to make it 6-0.

Gloucester finally got on the board late in the period with goals from Joe Orlando and Brett Cunningham. Jack Costanzo capped the scoring in the final minute of the game.

Pecararo added a pair of assists to his two goals, while Marshall had two assists for Gloucester.

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