Canton Boys Win Thriller; Lady Bears Break Through
BY DAVE SHEA
The Canton Boys Soccer team diverted the flow of the recent history of games against OFA and the Lady Bears continued the recent trend of matchups with the Blue Devils in Thursday's NAC Central Division action.
In Boys Soccer OFA had ended Canton seasons in Section 10 Class B action in five of the last six years. On Thursday the 9-0 Bears' continued a memorable drive toward the division title with 3-2 win which dropped OFA to 6-3. Canton will took to take a stranglehold on the title facing 7-2 Malone on Saturday while OFA hosts Potsdam at 1 p.m. in the second game of a Girls-Boys Soccer doubleheader.
The OFA Girls will be looking to rebound from a 2-0 loss to Canton hosting Potsdam at 10 a.m. The Lady Bears scored twice in the second half against OFA overcoming the latest in a series of strong efforts in the series between the two teams.
Canton climbed to 6-2 and dropped OFA to 1-7.
CANTON BOYS 3 - OFA 2
An exciting contest featuring dramatic mood swings was decided by a dramatic winning goal by Chris Schuckers with just 6.4 seconds to go.
A contest where Canton scored in the fifth minute of the game when Colin Taylor converted from Nick Eastrabooks on a hard 15-yard shot and maintained an edge in play throughout the first half. The Devils regrouped at halftime, pulled even and surged into the lead.
Four minutes into the second half defender Logan Horton moved forward to take a throw-in and when the ball was directed back to him floated a long crossing shot which went into the corner of the net. Eleven minutes later Karson LaRose converted a break-way goal for a 2-1 OFA lead after Holden Woods controlled a a 50-50 ball in the midfield and relayed it to London Jackson who found LaRose with a throughball.
"I don't really like the mask break. But we needed a break today. OFA really turned it on and we used it to regroup," said Canton Coach Matt Caufield.
Canton countered with an equalizer by Schuckers off a sliding through pass from Taylor with 12 minutes to play and overcame a penalty shot stop by OFA keeper Dave Vernsey with four minutes to play when Shuckers scored in a wild scramble in the waning seconds.
"This was one of the most exciting finishes which I have ever been associated with. I put it right up there with a game we won at Potsdam State with no time on the clock many years ago to the go the final four. When Dave Vernsey made that great save on the penalty shot I told the guys that they just had to keep pushing and they did, " said Coach Caufield.
"I have never had a perfect season here at Canton and now we if can win at Malone and then beat Potsdam at home we will have it. Not having sectionals or states this year is really disappointing but we have a bunch of good soccer players and soccer guys who really want a special season. Right from day we talked about how this season could end at any time and to play every game like your last."
The deciding scramble was especially exciting and started when Vernsey went out into heavy traffic and knocked down a direct kick from midfield but was unable gain control of the ball and Shuckers directed it high into the net. "Dave Vernsey made an outstanding save on a penalty shot and was bumped going for the direct kick and couldn't keep control of the ball as he fell," said OFA Coach Matt Morley.
"We struggled in the first half but we got things together in the second. It was a disappointing loss but Canton is a very good team. They are fast and very athletic."
Vernsey finished with 10 saves and Canton's Parker Hunt stopped four shots.
"On the the winning goal I pulled everyone up and moved fullback Sam Pfotenhauer across the field to take the direct kick," said Coach Caufield.
"Sam has a very strong leg and je lofted the direct kick perfectly and the ball bounced around right to Chris Shuckers. Dave Vernsey was on the ground and Chris Shuckers lifted a shot over two defenders guarding the post."
CANTON GIRLS 2 - OFA 0
Etta Coburn figured in both second half goals which gave Canton a season-sweep over OFA and a 8-2 record in the NAC Central Division season which was unfortunately touched tragically by the COVID-19 pandemic which ended the year of an undefeated Gouverneur team.
OFA dropped to 1-8 but continued its season long improvement according to Coach Julie Hynes.
"We have definitely improved over the course of the season, we play hard and we have been in almost every game. We played well against Canton and held them scoreless into the second half. We just made a mistake and committed a foul which led to the direct kick and they converted," said Coach Hynes.
"Defensively we played well and Emily Jo Sovie did a good job in goal. Our other goalie Emma Chapman played out and did a good job. We moved Kathie Smith into the midfield and she created some offense for us."
Etta Coburn opened the scoring in the 12th minute of the second half with a perfectly struck direct from 22 yards out. OFA keeper Emily Jo Sovie made a leaping deflection on the shot but couldn't stop the ball from tucking itself under the crossbar. The Devils held Canton off the board until 3:25 remained when Coburn flagged a pass to the left wing which Megan LaFlair controlled and skillfully drove the ball back inside of the right crossbar.
"We played much better offensively in the second half. We communicated much better and made some nice passes in the final third," said Canton Coach Greg Kiah.
"We are having a very good season and now we move on to a big game with Potsdam. We are very happy because it looks like we are going to complete our season with just two games to play. I wasn't sure that was going to happen."
Sovie finished with 11 saves for OFA and Emily Wentworth finished with four saves for Canton.
POTSDAM SWEEPS SALMON RIVER
Kennedy Emerson scored two goals for the 6-2 Potsdam girls who downed Salmon River (1-8) Luca Pecora also scored and Taylor Benda made two saves for the shutout.
P.J. Ghostlaw scored the winning goal in the 65th minute as the Salmon River Boys (4-5) overcame a gritty Potsdam effort for a 2-1` NAC Central win. Donovan Lauzon also scored for Salmon River and Alex Baxter netted the lone Potsdam (0-8) goal.