Canton Beats KP to Secure Fourth Straight Hock Title

Canton girls hockey
Canton senior Audrey Koen (17) celebrates her third goal of the night, on the power in the third period, leading the Bulldogs to a 5-2 win over KP. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Since the Hockomock League introduced girls hockey six years ago, the games have always been competitive but Canton has stood above the others as the team to beat each winter. King Philip went into Wednesday night’s showdown at the Foxboro Sports Center looking to knock Canton off its perch and bring home its first league title in the process.

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Canton’s title-winning experience proved to be too much to overcome. Behind an Audrey Koen hat trick, the Bulldogs pulled out a 5-2 victory, winning their fourth straight Hock championship and fifth in the past six years.

“Experience is everything and unfortunately the only way to get it is to get it and to go through it, so I couldn’t have asked for a better balance,” first-year Canton coach Nikki Petrich said about her roster’s blend of youth and experience.

She continued, “Having a more tenured player maybe working with some of the younger girls and walking them through, you’re going to feel this way, you’re going to feel that way, but remember what we do in practice, remember to listen for our voices. It’s been great to have their leadership and experience because big players step up in big games.”

The Bulldogs outshot KP 11-5 in the opening period (and 36-15 for the game), but each Warriors shot was a quality scoring chance.

Nicole McDonald had the first look when she reacted to a loose puck after a face-off and was stopped from close range by Canton goalie Carolyn Durand. McDonald also forced a turnover in the attacking zone and played a pass across the crease to Katarina Precobb, but Durand somehow got across to the far post to make the point-blank pad stop and keep the game scoreless.

“I was like okay it’s 1-0,” Petrich said, thinking about that moment. “Carolyn makes the save and we go down, and to me it’s always transition hockey, but a huge save like that really lifted our team and the momentum to fight some more. Every single game she makes a save like that and we’re able to get energy from it.”

Kelly Holmes would have another good chance for KP after keeping the puck in at the blue line, but Durand got her blocker to it. On the other end, Tori Carr had one of Canton’s best early chances with a steal in the neutral zone and hard shot that KP goalie Mallory Johnston knocked aside. Abby Stock also had a chance from the high slot that forced a glove save.

Things felt even in the early going, but Canton got the game’s first power play and made sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Maya Battista collected the puck just outside the right wing circle and played a diagonal pass across the zone to the back post. Koen was pinching in from the boards and collected the puck, despite a slight deflection, before roofing a shot over Johnston’s glove side from a tight angle.

With the lead, Canton came out of the intermission full of energy. Koen almost doubled the lead after two minutes when she won the puck on the left wing boards, cut hard towards the net, and forced Johnston into a good save.

About 30 seconds later and the Bulldogs did make it 2-0. Freshman Izzy Cusack had her shot from the slot saved. The rebound kicked out in front of Johnston, who attempted to dive out and cover the loose puck, but Cusack stayed with it and was able to slide it past the goalie. KP argued that the whistle had gone to blow the play dead, but the goal stood.

KP continued to create chances. Mara Boldy slipped a pass between a pair of defenders and Holmes was able to slam the puck towards goal, but Durand got the pads down to make sure of the save.

With 9:10 left in the period, KP was back in the game. Holmes intercepted an outlet pass at the blue line and skated in alone on Durand before flicking a shot into the top corner. About a minute later, Canton was back in control. Koen flew down the right wing and rifled a shot just under the bar to make it 3-1 and steal back all the momentum from the hosts.

“I always tell them hockey ebbs and flows like life,” Petrich explained. “I don’t like to say we need another goal, it’s always one shot. To me, when you say a goal, it’s so much pressure. Never get too low, never get too high, so when you come out next shift clear your mind, clear your head, and go after it. For her to score that fast, I couldn’t have written it better.”

The goal sparked the Bulldogs back into life and they dominated the rest of the period, creating a 14-5 edge in shots on goal. Ellie Bohane had a good two tries to extend the lead when she drove towards goal and forced Johnston into a stop and then fired the rebound on net only for the KP goalie to flash a pad out and make the save.

Canton opened up a three-goal cushion with 3:46 left in the second. Anna Lehan came from the right wing and attempted a wrap around that was saved, but the loose puck came right out into the middle where Stock was charging towards goal and the freshman buried the chance.

KP’s hopes of a comeback in the third period were blunted by starting on the penalty kill and Canton wasted no time putting the game away. Koen completed her hat trick just 13 seconds in, whipping a wrister into the bottom left corner and making it 5-1.

The next several minutes were played almost exclusively in the KP zone. The Warriors finally got some chances down the other end of the ice with less than five minutes to play. While falling down, Holmes was able to slide a pass across the crease to McDonald, but Durand made the save. About 30 seconds later, Holmes again drove towards goal and got the puck in front and this time McDonald was able to squeeze it home.

Canton finished with a flourish, getting scoring chances from Cusack and Kayleigh Koen, but the work had already been done. The Bulldogs swarmed Durand at the final horn, having retained their Hock title once again.

“That was more pressure on me, I couldn’t let them down,” Petrich joked when asked about how it felt to bring home a fourth title in a row. “It feels amazing to accomplish that with them in our first year. As I’ve said all year, we’re continually learning from each other. The girls that have been here on the team who know the players and the teams and (assistant coach) Kevin [Cleary] and I and our knowledge of hockey and the teams we’ve played. It’s coming together.”

Canton (11-2-2) will be off until Monday when it faces Archbishop Williams, currently the top-ranked team in Div. 2, and then follows that with a trip to Duxbury, the No. 2-ranked team in the division. King Philip (7-9) will host Arlington Catholic on Monday night.

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Sawyer Dominates, KP Rallies for Win at Mansfield

King Philip Girls Basketball
Emily Sawyer scored 28 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to lead King Philip on a come from behind win at Mansfield. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – With starting point guard Jordan Bennettt in street clothes and shooting guard Jackie Bonner forced to the sidelines with an injury in the second quarter, King Philip had its backcourt depth tested in Tuesday night’s visit to the Albertini Gym. While freshman Jessi Persky did an admirable job of staying composed against Mansfield’s pressure, senior Leah Santoro stepped up with the biggest shots of the night.

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Twice in the final minutes of the game, Santoro, who hadn’t scored since the first quarter, found herself all alone in the corner in front of the KP bench, and both times she hit nothing but net. Santoro’s threes gave KP its biggest lead since the end of the first quarter and the second effort turned out to be the game-winning bucket in a 59-55, come from behind victory.

“I feel like last year there were some games that we let get away from us,” KP coach Jeff Miszkiewicz said about his team’s ability to find a way to win this season. “So, I feel like that’s something we’ve really been focusing on, the mental side of the game, staying in it no matter what. Such a big credit to the team for constantly believing in it, for really executing some amazing plays down the stretch. That execution’s what got us this win.”

KP’s backcourt played well in tough circumstances, but once again it was senior center Emily Sawyer that put the Warriors in a position to win. She scored 14 points in each half, finishing with a game-high 28 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Sawyer’s put-back in the fourth quarter put the Warriors in front for the first time since it 22-21 and she buried a pair of free throws with just nine seconds remaining to seal the win.

“I’m so proud of her because that was one of the first things I tried to preach to her was how to move without the basketball and how to play with the ball in her hands,” Miszkiewicz said of Sawyer. “Not be biased, but she’s the MVP of the league. The fact that she gets double-, triple-, quadruple-teamed and she still has 20 and 20 almost every night is unbelievable.”

“She scored 28, and I thought our bigs handled her nicely in terms of physicality,” Mansfield coach Heather McPherson said. “I think KP rose to the challenge of [Bonner] being out and they kind of avenged that injury nicely. I think matchups were a bit of an issue, Sawyer of course, but Natalya has been playing really well for us but she’s an under-sized four.”

The game started off end-to-end, as Mansfield tried to negate KP’s size advantage in the paint by running at every opportunity. Abby Wager got going right away, hitting a jumper and then burying a three after Kara Santos (11 rebounds) snagged an offensive board. A Santos steal and long outlet turned into an easy fast break bucket.

KP climbed right back into the game. Santoro hit a tough runner and Bonner (eight points) drilled a pair of threes and another shot with a foot on the line. Olivia Salisbury (eight points) got an and-one to help the Hornets, but the rest of the scoring was all Wager. She hit a second three and finished with 13 of Mansfield’s 16 first quarter points.

Sawyer was also off to a strong start. She took a nice feed from Santoro on a sideline inbound play to score in the paint and showed off an array of moves on the block, including a nice turn around jumper that made it 20-16.

Mansfield trailed by six after one, but found a way to lock things down defensively in the second. Bonner was forced to the sideline after getting whacked on the nose and KP struggled to find any rhythm on that end of the floor.

Natalya Gill started the comeback with a banked in three and Hallie Popat knocked down a jumper. Santos added a put-back and Bridget Hanley got a steal under her own basket and went coast-to-coast to cap an 11-0 run and give the Hornets a 27-22 lead. Sawyer got a pair of baskets to cut the lead to one but Salisbury hit a jumper and Wager nailed another triple to extend the lead back to seven going into the locker room.

Each time KP seemed poised to be making a run in the third, Mansfield had an answer. Persky scored in transition to make it a four-point game, but then Hanley fed Santos (six points) on a nice dive to the rim. Sawyer grabbed a put-back, but then Hanley (eight points) drove to the basket, Ella Palanza followed with one of her own, and Gill grabbed a loose ball in the paint for a layup.

Down 10, KP went on a critical 4-0 run to close out the quarter and build momentum. Sawyer got behind the defense on the break for a layup and Persky took the contact and sank a runner on the baseline.

Paschke (nine points and nine rebounds) was proving to be a tough matchup all night and she got a couple of buckets to start the fourth quarter. Then it was Sawyer’s turn to get going again, grabbing offensive rebounds on back-to-back possessions to put KP in front 49-48.

McPherson admitted, “We have this momentum shift where we start to get down in the points and instead of trusting our offense, we kind of go rogue. KP played a great game, but what we need to do now is learn from that and figure out how we can get that momentum to shift back in our favor. We deflate instead of kind of rising to the occasion.”

Santoro looped another long sideline inbounds pass over the defense and into Sawyer’s hands for a close-range finish, but Palanza responded with a nice lefty drive through the lane to tie the game at 51 apiece. Santoro would prove to be the hero. She drilled one from the corner and then Paschke’s baseline drive drew a crowd of defenders and she kicked it out to Santoro in the same spot, with the same result.

“You don’t just replace two ball handlers like that and Leah hit some really big shots in the fourth quarter,” Miszkiewicz said of his backcourt players stepping up late. “Maddie with some strong drives. Two freshmen, Maddie Keough and Jessi Persky stepping up in that situation is really unbelievable.”

King Philip (9-4) will try to make it seven straight wins, and move one closer in the Kelley-Rex title race, when it hosts league-leading Franklin on Friday. Mansfield (8-6) will travel to Davenport-leading Foxboro on Friday looking to hand the Warriors their first league loss of the season and keep them from clinching the league title.

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Attleboro Avoids Canton Upset Bid in Defensive Battle

Attleboro girls basketball
Lily Routhier knocked down a pair of jumpers in the fourth quarter, helping Attleboro hold off Canton’s bid for an upset of the Kelley-Rex title challengers. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – With just under four seconds left to play in Monday night’s game at the Masciarelli Gym, Samya DaSilva got two hands on a defensive rebound and Canton was able to get a quick timeout to draw up one last play. Down three points and needing to go the length of the court, the attempted baseball pass was picked off near mid-court by Vanessa Ellis (five steals), who dribbled out the clock.

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The steal allowed Attleboro to squeak past the Bulldogs 32-29 in a competitive game that featured plenty of energy and effort but not much offensive flow and even less scoring.

“It’s a ‘W’ in the win column, so I’ll take it, but there’s things we need to work on,” said Attleboro coach Bri Bracken. “We learned a lot and again we’ve just got to play through contact. I think we look a lot for drawing fouls and just go up strong. It’s going to be a long week ahead of us, so we just need to take it day-by-day.”

Canton has lost seven times this season by 10 points or less. In the past two weeks, the Bulldogs have faced the top three teams in the Kelley-Rex and lost by a combined 11 points, while holding all three to under their season scoring marks.

Defense has been Canton’s calling card all season, but the Bulldogs, who graduated a combined 3,100 career points from last year’s roster, haven’t gotten the baskets they need to covert those impressive defensive performances into victories.

“We knew coming into the summer that defense was probably going to have to be something we hang out hat on and at least give us a chance to play with any of the teams,” Canton coach Jim Choquette explained. “In the third quarter we didn’t even give them a field goal, it was just a couple of free throws. The girls work so hard to set screens the right way, run plays the right way to get themselves opportunities.”

Things started out fine for the Bombardiers, who scored nearly half their total points in the opening quarter and jumped out to a 15-7 lead. Avery James buried a three and Kayla Goldrick (10 points, nine rebounds, and four steals) took a long lead pass from Lily Routhier for a quick layup.

Han Hong (five points) grabbed an offensive rebound to get Canton on the board and Erin Beatty followed a Goldrick layup with a put-back that cut the lead to 7-6. It set a pattern, as Canton was aggressive on the glass to limit the Bombardiers to one shot and earn extra possessions on offense. Beatty (four points) would finish with 19 rebounds, including 13 in the first half.

“She might be the best player I’ve ever coached in terms of overall rebounding in her career,” Choquette said of Beatty. “Without those extra possessions that Erin and Emily and all the girls come up with defensively, we’d be in real trouble. Those extra opportunities give us the chance to take extra shots, get back into our sets.”

Attleboro closed the first on an 8-1 run. Routhier (eight points and eight boards), who recorded a triple-double last week, drilled a three and James followed with a tough, pull-up jumper. Merry Bosh then closed the scoring for the Bombardiers by knocking down a deep two for an eight-point lead at the first intermission.

The Bombardiers scored 15 points in the opening eight minutes. Over the next 16 minutes, they managed just two field goals and eight points.

“We were just being too passive,” Bracken said. “Kids were trying to give it to another girl, thinking they may have a better shot. They were trying to be unselfish, but they always play unselfish. There’s a difference between playing passive and unselfish. It was a mess.”

Canton was hardly lighting up the scoreboard on the other end. The Bulldogs would score seven in the second and just five in the third, managing to only cut the first-quarter deficit in half heading to the fourth.

Bosh opened the second with a three to extend the lead to 11, Attleboro’s largest of the night, but those would be the only points for either team until the final 2:30 of the quarter. Beatty again turned an offensive rebound into points, using a nice post move to score. After freshman Tia Williamson got her only basket of the night (off a nice entry pass by Bosh), Jess Wright knocked down a pair at the line and DaSilva (seven points and three blocks) drained a three from several steps behind the line. Attleboro went to the locker room ahead 20-14.

Offense seemed to get even harder to come by after the break. Emily McCabe (five points and nine rebounds) turned a steal into a layup, but the score remained the same until Goldrick made a pair at the line with 3:19 left in the third. A minute later, Hong was able to slice through the lane for a layup and cut the lead to just three, but Ellis would add one free throw (her only point of the night) in the final minute of the quarter.

The fourth quarter almost felt like an offensive explosion compared to the previous two. Mercia Kolokithas drilled a three on a kick-out by DaSilva. Routhier followed with a baseline jumper to go back up three, but then Kolokithas got free from straightaway and nailed a second triple to tie the game at 25-25 with 6:06 to play.

Attleboro finally got a little going on the other end when Routhier restored the lead on another jumper. Goldrick followed with a tough runner in the lane to make it 29-25. Down five with 2:14 to go, McCabe would get a clean look at a straightaway three and brought Canton to within just two points.

DaSilva had a chance to tie the game at the line with 1:38 left, but hit one of two. As the shot clock was winding down 35 seconds later, Goldrick hit the biggest shot of the night, pulling up on the baseline for a short jumper and a three-point lead.

Attleboro was 4-of-8 from the line coming into the fourth, but went just 1-of-8 in the final eight minutes, giving Canton chances to tie, but the Bulldogs couldn’t find the clutch shot and the Bombardiers escaped, pulling even with Franklin in the win column.

Bracken told her team after the final whistle, “You guys need to have confidence in yourself. I know I have confidence in them. We’re a really good team. We have a long road ahead of us but, and I didn’t want to jinx it, us and Franklin are battling right now and you have to keep that in the back of your mind and we need to grind it out. Keep working hard and hustling every game no matter what.”

Attleboro (9-3) travels to Durfee on Wednesday in a game that could have a lot of say in Div. 1 power rankings. Canton (2-10) gets a second look at Notre Dame Academy, which held off the Bulldogs by four points in Hingham in early January.

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Sharon Hangs On Down the Stretch to Beat Stoughton

Sharon Girls Basketball
Sharon junior Jasmine Davis scored 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds to lead the Eagles to their first road win of the season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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STOUGHTON, Mass. – Jasmine Davis stepped to the line with just a few seconds remaining on the clock with the opportunity to seal Sharon’s first road win of the season and cap yet another big game from the league’s leading scorer. Despite missing both on her last trip to the line, Davis calmly sank two, making it a two possession game and ending Stoughton’s furious comeback attempt.

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With those free throws, Davis finished with 30 points, 20 rebounds, two blocks, and three assists, and Sharon needed just about all of that to pull out the 51-47 victory.

Sharon coach Matt DellaBarba said, “Jasmine is clearly the focus, she’s obviously very talented, but we keep telling the other girls, when they double- and triple-team Jasmine, they’re going to have opportunities and we need to make the most of them. They did exactly that tonight.”

Stoughton fell behind by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but rather than allow the game to get out of hand (and after scoring only four points in the third) the Black Knights rallied. Katrina Varnum (six points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks) hit a short jumper on a dish from freshman Kirsten McKay. Freshman Molly Fox followed with a shot on the baseline, again off a pass from McKay, to cut the lead down to 42-37.

After Davis scored again in the post, Leah McCarty (seven points and four steals) hit one of two shots at the line on back-to-back trips. Davis made two more at the line, but Raina Tat (15 points) stole the ball in the backcourt and converted the layup to stay within five. With the Black Knights closing fast, Sharon got the ball back into Davis’ hands, but Stoughton collapsed defensively and the junior forward kicked it out to classmate Eva Poulton (seven points and six rebounds) for a clutch three.

“We just try to keep building them up,” DellaBarba said about keeping the rest of the team confident to take shots when they get the chance. “Jasmine is incredibly talented but you need more than one girl to win and the girls are buying into that. We’re starting to click.”

Varnum made one of two at the line to make it a four-point game and Tat snatched the rebound, dribbled to the perimeter, and buried a jumper. The first official signaled that the shot was a three, but it went down as a long two, keeping Sharon’s lead at five. Tat made sure her next effort was well behind the line, drilling a big three and making it 49-47 with 16 seconds left.

“I think that’s what we’ve been doing all season long is battling back and not laying down,” explained first-year Stoughton coach Eric Adams. “We’re not giving up. As a young team, every day they come out here to practice from baseline to baseline and they play hard. That’s all I can ask for from a young team.”

Sharon nearly turned it over but managed to get to half court. After a timeout, the Eagles got the ball inbounds and 13 seconds ran off the clock before the Black Knights were able to get a foul. Davis stepped up and sealed the win.

The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the teams’ leading scorers. Davis looked unstoppable in the paint, scoring 11 of Sharon’s 14 in the first, with Tess Letendre (seven points and five assists) burying a three for the only other points from the visitors. McKay got off to a great start as well, nailing a step-back three to start the game and scoring seven in the quarter. Tat added another five to help Stoughton build a 17-14 lead.

Sharon rallied in the second. Davis kicked out to Letendre for a big three to go ahead 22-21, although Tat answered with one from deep to tie the game at 24 apiece. Davis continued to battle inside, scoring another nine points in the second, and Poulton came up with a couple of big buckets to help the Eagles go in front 32-28.

While the Eagles lean on Davis, for good reason, other players were stepping up with important shots. Bailey Garte hit a baseline jumper and a corner three to start the third quarter. Sharon would only get two more points in the frame, but the Eagles also held Stoughton to just one made field goal and four points, all from McKay (17 points).

“As a freshman, she exceed what we all expected of her,” Adams said of McKay. “Sometimes we ask too much of her, but she says that she can handle it and we’re going to ride that as long as we can.”

One key for Sharon was the play of point guard Olivia Landstein, who was pressured full-court all night but seemed unperturbed and able to get the Eagles into their sets. “She’s really been thrown to the wolves this year,” DellaBarba said about Landstein. “We didn’t start her for the first couple minutes tonight and let her see the game and watch it develop and I think she did a great job coming in and taking advantage of it.”

It looked like the Eagles might cruise to the win after going up by double digits, but the Black Knights kept fighting back, effort that their coach thinks has the team on the right track.

“Going against the No. 1 scorer in the Hockomock League,” Adams said, praising his team’s work on the defensive end. “All we have to do is adjust a few things for the next game and we’re going to have another thriller.

Sharon (3-11) will try to build on the win when it hosts North Attleboro on Tuesday. Stoughton (2-11) will face a tough visit from Franklin next week.

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Franklin Holds Off KP Charge, Gets Back in Title Race

Franklin girls hockey
Franklin players celebrate after Lindsey Dennett’s second period goal put the Panthers ahead 2-0 over rival King Philip. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – When the two teams met way back in the second week of the season, King Philip pulled out a one-goal victory that gave the Warriors momentum at the start of the league campaign. As the final horn sounded on Thursday night’s game at Pirelli Veterans Arena, the Franklin players raced together to celebrate, and the cheering lasted long after the Panthers made their way back to the locker room.

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After taking a two goal lead through two periods, Franklin was outshot 11-2 in the third and went on the penalty kill twice, but managed to hold off KP’s charge and pull out a 2-1 victory. Franklin’s adds a new dimension to the league standings, as the Panthers face co-leader Canton on Saturday and, with the Warriors and Bulldogs due to face-off next week, have the chance to insert themselves right back in the title mix.

“We’ve had a lot of battles this year,” said first-year Franklin coach Mike Lubin. “Today, we wanted to take those close games, those close ties, close losses, and turn them into wins. We stayed composed. We stuck to our game plan and that’s what I’m proud of them for, the effort, everything from start to finish.”

KP started the game with good puck possession and zone time, but the Panthers managed to limit the Warriors to only two shots on goal over the first five minutes.

One quick transition later and Franklin was in front. Lindsay Atkinson, who missed all of last season with an injury, broke out of the defensive zone and carried the puck across the blue line before feeding it to Julia Flynn. The team’s leading scorer deked KP goalie Mallory Johnston to get a seam and scored with Franklin’s first shot on goal.

“Izzy’s definitely the backbone and then it’s just playing structure,” Lubin said about his defense. “It’s the middle of the season, everyone knows their roles and just the fundamentals of everything we practice all the time. It’s that and then the transition to offense.”

The goal turned the momentum of the game into the home team’s favor. In a first period that featured far more action than you would guess from eight combined shots on goal, the Panthers started to tilt the ice in their favor.

Flynn was a constant menace. She got behind the net and flipped a pass out to Atkinson in the slot, but her shot was high and the second attempt in front went off the post. Molly Hurley then went on a nice rush through the neutral zone, slipping by defenders to force Johnston into a glove save.

“We weren’t picking bodies up in front of the net for the first two periods and they had a ton of shots down there because of it,” said KP coach Ken Assad. “We worked that out in the third period but we need to be more consistent.”

With five minutes to go in the first, Flynn raced up the right wing and fired a pass straight across the crease to Haley Wernig at the back post but the sophomore forward couldn’t get a touch as it went through a crowd of legs. Play turned over and Kelly Holmes sped up the other end, weaving through traffic but putting her shot over the bar.

Franklin came out for the second with more intensity. Hurley had a steal at the defensive blue line and turned it into a chance that Johnston (15 saves) turned aside with the handle of her stick. Johnston came up big again just a couple minutes later when Flynn stole the puck in the right wing circle and tested the goalie’s glove side.

The lead was doubled with 5:21 left in the period. Lindsey Dennett collected the puck on the half boards and skated across the zone to the right wing circle before firing a shot on goal. The puck appeared to take a touch on its way to Johnston and slipped past the goalie to make it 2-0.

KP was changing up its lines trying to find the right combinations. Holmes was the constant for the Warriors, creating chances seemingly every time she was on the ice. The junior forward danced through a couple of defenders to force Franklin goalie Izzy Brown into a save and then put a quick shot on goal right from a face-off that Brown (18 saves) was able to hold.

The message for the Warriors heading into the third period was clear, find more energy and get more pucks to the net.

“I told them they were getting outplayed, out-hustled, outworked,” Assad explained. “I said they need to pick up the intensity, you can’t let them go through you and make all the plays. They talked after I said that and they worked it out. If they played like that in the first two periods, we would’ve been fine.”

Eighth grade defenseman Calleigh Brady made a nice play along the boards to keep the puck in the zone and it turned into a chance for Holmes. Just seconds later, Aaron Wentling made a nice play with the puck and fed Holmes for a shot on target.

KP was definitely playing with more edge in the third and got an extra spark when the first penalty of the night gave them an extra skater. Holmes wasted no time, just 26 seconds into the power play, she slipped by two defenders, put the puck through a third and then roofed her shot from close range to get the Warriors right back into the game with 10:03 to play.

“She’s amazing,” Assad said of Holmes. He noted that as lines got moved around, Holmes found herself on the ice with a couple of KP’s eighth graders. About the young players, he added, “You try to help Kelly out on her line and you tell her they’re going to make passes you’ve never seen before and you’ve got to be ready for them. They’ll get there, they’re smart players, but that’s what you have to deal with.”

Flynn nearly answered back immediately, but her shot came back off the bar. KP got another chance on the power play and went right back to work. Holmes was peppering Brown with shots, but the Franklin goalie kept fighting everything off. The puck was then centered right into the edge of the crease for Mara Boldy to try her luck, but Brown was again up to the task.

Despite having the significant edge in chances in the third, KP only managed the one goal and Franklin was able to skate away with the big win.

“It was really just sticking to our game plan, nothing too crazy,” Lubin said about the effort down the stretch. “They can get a bit excited and I think it was just keeping that composure and playing those 45 minutes all the way through. It’s just playing good disciplined hockey. I’m happy with how they played together today.”

Franklin (5-7-3, 2-2-0) has an opportunity to make things very interesting in the league title race, and set up the possibility of a three-way tie, if it can beat Canton on Saturday night at the Metropolis Rink. The teams went to overtime in the first meeting. King Philip (6-8-0, 3-1-0) still controls its own destiny and would win its first title if it beats the Hockomock Stars on Saturday and Canton next Wednesday night.

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