Staunch defense and timely scoring has been the hallmark of Canton Central Boys Soccer in the tenure of coach Matt Caufield.
The formula was never more apparent than on Monday night at SUNY Canton when the 14-3-1 Golden Bears withstood waves of offensive pressure by OFA to secure a 2-0 victory in the Section 10 Class B Championship game.
Goaltender Scott Wight turned in a brilliant 12-save performance and an entrenched Canton defensive backfield denied the Devils who fashioned a 19-5 shots-on-goal advantage.
The guys in front of me, Evan LaPoint, Shawn Rodee, Ryan Caldwell and Keegan Sovie all played crazy good tonight and have all year. We all communicate so well, said Wight after the Bears followed up a 1-0 win over Potsdam in the semi-finals.
I knew I had to be extremely focused tonight and never lose sight of the ball. Especially on the restarts. Everyone played very well tonight and we managed to hold them off.
The Devils pressed to take early control but were snake-bitten on a missed penalty shot in the eighth minute and then got stung when Cantons striker duo of Josh Huiatt and Jake Facey opportunistically scored six minutes apart.
With 28:18 remaining in the first half, Huiatt ran onto a skip header by Rodee and hammered a sharp angle drive from the left flank just inside the goalpost.
The Devils countered with near misses in the space of two minutes.
A throw-in by Seth Pinkerton was headed just wide of the net and sophomore Peyton Lalone, who was dangerous everytime he touched the ball, lasered a shot off the left corner of the goal.
But it was Canton that struck for the all-important second goal.
Facey converted from short range past OFA keeper Jake Sias (3 saves) after taking a one-touch feed from Matt Mende 22:43 who had controlled a deflected clearing attempt in the middle of the field.
I couldnt ask for a team to do more tonight. We kept the play in their end most of the night but the ball just wouldnt go in, said OFA Coach Matt Morley after his NAC Central Champion Devils finished the season at 12-3-2.
We had a great season and I am extremely proud of the guys. We played with poise tonight even when the time was winding down and we were down 2-0.
Canton will be back at SUNY Canton on Friday night at 6:45 p.m. looking to repeat a Final Four appearance of 2002. The Bears play the winner of a game between Section 7s Beekmantown and Section 2s Ichabod Crane.
Canton Coach Matt Caufield says his team is ready to chase a great opportunity.
We have always been all about defense here but this year has been really nice because we had a lot of good scoring games. Jake Facey and Josh Huiatt have come up big all year and it is really nice because they are both sophomores, said coach Caufield.
OFA is an outstanding team and they really came us. Evan LaPoint was huge with his headballs on their corner kicks and throw-ins. We gave up a lot of shots but in the second half we able to cut down the rebounds and those scrambles in front of the net where they are just lethal.