TUPPER LAKE - Canton started and finished strong on the way to a 5-3 win over Tupper Lake on Saturday.
Canton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Cody Moore and Tanner Sanderson.
"First period has been killing us all year," Tupper Lake coach Dan Cook said. "We didn't play very well in the first. We didn't play awful but the two goals, (we) just had some D-zone breakdowns."
Tupper Lake’s Elliot Fletcher takes a shot in front of Canton’s Garrett Glasgow during the third period of Saturday’s game in Tupper Lake. Canton won 5-3.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
Tupper Lake played its best period of the game in the second period when the Lumberjacks scored a pair of goals to forge a tie.
Thomas Sexton scored the first, with an assist from Broyce Guerette 7:18 into the period. That was followed by a score from Josh Fowler, with assists coming from Dylan Lohr and Gabe Burns.
The score was tied until 2:41 left in the second when Sanderson picked up his second goal of the game.
Once again, Tupper Lake bounced back with a goal from Hudson Sparks, with assists going to Sexton and Elliot Fletcher.
This time, though, Canton answered with two goals from Matt Mende and Mark Mahoney.
"We just don't know how to win games," Cook said. "We haven't won enough in the last six years to know how to win games and that's really what it comes down to. It's 3-3 with five minutes left and they are more skilled than we are but we just get really nervous. That's really what it came down to. They aren't bad plays, just plays that we don't make if the situation isn't what it is."
Canton coach Randy Brown was happy with his team's play.
"I think we did a nice job of cycling in and making pressure," Brown said. "Got to give Tupper a lot of credit. They hung in there. After the first period, it didn't look like it was going to be so close. They stuck with it and they got a couple of timely goals. I thought we did a good job with our forechecking. They established some offensive chances. Their goalie played phenomenal today, I thought."
Garrett Kopp had 32 saves for the Lumberjacks. Canton goalie Jake Facey stopped 13 shots.
With the win, Canton improved to 4-4 while Tupper Lake fell to 0-7-1.
One thing that Tupper Lake seems to have going for it is a strong nucleus of sophomores. There are a dozen on the team, which could make for a strong foundation going forward. It seems they just need to learn to come out stronger and more aggressive in the opening period. After that, they've been doing well recently.
"If we take our second and third periods against most of these teams, we're either even with them or ahead," Cook said.