Oliver Ames Battles Back To Earn Tie With Rocketeers

Oliver Ames boys hockey
Oliver Ames players celebrate with Brett Williams (second from right) after he scored the tying goal against North Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BROCKTON, Mass. – Win, lose, or tie, there is one thing that Oliver Ames boys hockey coach Sean Bertoni knows about his team: they aren’t going to give up.

Trailing by a goal entering the third period, and without two of their top point producers due to injury and illness, the Tigers battled back to score the tying goal midway through the period and killed off a penalty in the final two minutes to grab a 2-2 tie with visiting North Attleboro.

“It was an awesome effort, I’m really proud of them,” Bertoni said. “We didn’t win the game but it was one of my proudest moments, being down guys and most teams in that situation against a quality team like North Attleboro are in trouble. Our theme is being resilient. No matter what, we just keep fighting, the effort is always there. We showed it against Canton, we showed it tonight. It’s rewarding to see as a coach.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Despite being without leading scorers Cullen Gallagher and Brian Kearns, who each have 17 points, the Tigers twice overcame a one-goal deficit in the game.

North Attleboro took a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game and took that advantage into the locker room during the first intermission. OA knotted the score with 9:50 to go in the second period but the Rocketeers took the lead back with a late goal in the second.

“That’s a bad tie for us,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “That’s taking nothing away from OA, they work their butts off. They have some guys who are sick, some guys who are injured and my hats off to them, they showed something today. We didn’t respond today, we have a full four line, healthy group that just didn’t get it done.”

Rocketeer senior defenseman Brendan McHugh put the visitors up 2-1 with just 1:03 left in the second period. After skating to a relatively even period, McHugh tossed a high shot on net from the blue line that OA goalie Owen Connor (14 saves) never seemed to get eyes on and it fluttered into the back of the net.

The Tigers opened the third by earning a power play but couldn’t muster any chances on goal. Instead, the best chance came for North Attleboro when the penalty expired. Rocketeer junior Jack Connolly came out of the box, took a pass and went flying into the offensive zone alone. But Connolly couldn’t quite get off a final shot with Connor covering the post with the pad.

Three minutes later, Oliver Ames had its equalizer. Senior Brett Williams prevented a clearance along the boards with a strong check that put the puck in the center of the ice. Junior Ryan Gottwald was able to bat the puck back to Williams, who was all by himself, and he deposited his shot five-hole to knot the score 2-2 with 6:47 to go.

North Attleboro had a final chance to go back on top when it went on the power play with 2:13 to go in the game. Oliver Ames’ top penalty killer Matt McCormick was whistled for a boarding penalty but the Rocketeers were only able to get one shot on net during the final two minutes.

Max Ward came up with a big early clear, and then teamed up with Williams to provide an aggressive forecheck that didn’t allow the Rocketeers to leave its own zone. McHugh had the lone shot of the man advantage but Connor easily gloved it.

“Even just getting the penalty with two minutes left in a tie game can deflate a team, especially with our top penalty kill guy in the box,” Bertoni said. “But it felt like we were attacking on it, we didn’t let them set up. I think they only had one shot on net, we had a good chance too. Brett and Max were relentless in the offensive zone. The kids are giving us everything, it’s awesome to see. We haven’t got much puck luck this year but hard work will pay off.

The Tigers even had a chance to score the game winner while shorthanded. Junior Hunter Costello cleared the puck off the boards and senior Colin Bourne used his speed to get around a North defender and get to the puck first. He was able to get a close bid on goal but North senior goalie Ryan Warren (19 saves) made a big pad save to prevent the shorthanded bid.

“They had a lot more energy in the third, they work really hard,” McManama said. “It didn’t feel like one team was better than the other in the third, it felt pretty even but I thought we could have been better. It breaks down into just some simple plays. We weren’t getting pucks in deep, we were turning it over at the blue line. Those little things, they add up. Those little things snowball and can really hurt you.”

North Attleboro struck on a rebound chance 5:31 into the contest. Andrew Zammiello put a shot on goal that Connor turned aside but junior Dennis Morehouse had plenty of space in front to bury it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

North had a couple of chances to add to its lead in the first but couldn’t find the back of the net. The best opportunity came when Todd Robinson fed Connolly in the slot but Connor came up with a big pad stop.

OA’s best chances came off the stick of McCormick, who fired a slap shot that Warren gobbled up and a backhand chance from Jake Gottwald that Warren turned away.

OA senior James Beatty set the tying goal up with an absolute perfect pass. With possession in his own defensive end, Beatty fired a perfectly weighted pass through the neutral zone right onto the stick of Williams as he entered the offensive zone for a breakaway, and Williams used a nice move and lifted the puck into the net to make it 1-1.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Beyond North Attleboro’s first goal, the Tigers’ defense did a nice job of limiting chances for the Rocketeers.

“Defensive positioning has been great all year,” Bertoni said. “We only rolled four defensemen tonight, [McCormick], James [Beatty], Julian [Krowski], and Ryan [Gottwald]. They gave us a ton of minutes, and we had to kill a couple of penalties too. Other than that first goal, where we didn’t get our sticks in there, we didn’t give up a lot of quality chances. And we had some chances in the third too so I’ll get that point for sure.”

Oliver Ames boys hockey (2-2-1 Hockomock, 7-4-1 overall) hits the road on Saturday with a visit to Taunton at 2:00. North Attleboro (3-1-1, 5-5-1) is off until Monday when it takes on Foxboro at 6:00 at the Foxboro Sports Center.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/16/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 71 vs. New Bedford, 48 – FinalAttleboro put a stop to New Bedford’s transition offense in the second half and ran away with a big win over the visiting Whalers. The Bombardiers led 35-31 at half but had a dominant third quarter, outscoring New Bedford 18-5 in the third to pull away. Attleboro limited New Bedford to just three field goals in the second half. Attleboro junior Bryant Ciccio had a team-high 24 points while Qualeem Charlies hauled in 15 rebounds.

Foxboro, 43 @ Bishop Feehan, 40 – FinalFoxboro held Bishop Feehan scoreless in the third quarter and then withstood a late push from the Shamrocks to secure a win on the road. Foxboro led 33-21 going into the fourth quarter and had a seven-point advantage with two minutes left before Bishop Feehan made a late push to get close. Anthony Mollica paced the Warriors with 11 points while Will Morrison added 10 points.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final

Canton, 4 @ Foxboro, 0 – FinalCanton senior Ryan Nolte scored a hat trick as the Bulldogs remained unbeaten in both Hockomock League play and overall.

Stoughton, 1 @ Franklin, 11 – Final

North Attleboro, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

King Philip, 9 @ Taunton, 1 – FinalKing Philip registered 41 shots on net and had three players score a pair of goals in a win on the road over Taunton. Chris Daniels, Aiden Boulger, and Rocco Bianculli each scored twice for he Warriors while Brendan Shandley, Joe Boselli, and Paul McDonald each scored once.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 2 vs. Duxbury, 5 – Final

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 @ Norwood, 4 – FinalEmma Pereira and Alex Ledin scored the goals for the Warriors in the loss.

Stoughton vs. St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia, 7:00

Wrestling
North Attleboro, 39 @ Canton, 19 – Final

Foxboro, 41 @ Sharon, 30 – Final

Franklin, 27 @ Mansfield, 30 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this dual meet.

King Philip, 23 @ Oliver Ames, 45 – FinalSix Tigers scored pinfall victories and OA senior Dean Pacini earned a win in a showdown of two of the Hockomock’s best grapplers at 195 as Oliver Ames knocked off King Philip. John Dobbin, Starvos Constantinous, Nick McGovern, Nelson Malone, Billy Tat, and Andrew Fraser all won by pin for the Tigers. Pacini knocked off KP’s Shawn Conniff, 6-3, in a close match at 195. Remi Creighton and Joe Savino also had wins for OA.

Stoughton @ Milford, 7:00

Taunton, 13 @ New Bedford, 54 – FinalTaunton suffered a loss on the road to New Bedford but picked up wins from Christian Balmain (152), Candido Santos (160, pin), and Joseph Kazlauskas (170).

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro vs. Newton North, 7:00

Canton’s Machuga Makes Return To Basketball Court

Xavier Machuga
Canton senior Xavier Machuga puts up a shot in the opening minute against Mansfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – Less than two years after suffering a life altering brain injury, Canton senior Xavier Machuga hit one of the biggest milestones on his road for recovery.

He made it back onto the basketball court.

A swing player during his sophomore season, Machuga was slated two be a starter for his final two years of high school before suffering a brain aneurysm in early May 2017. He spent over a week in a medically induced coma and could barely move when he regained consciousness after the stroke caused bleeding in his cerebellum. He had to learn to talk and walk all over again.

Over the past 18 months, Machuga has achieved plenty of milestones all while attending Bulldog practices and games during their historic season a year ago. During that run, Machuga and head coach Ryan Gordy, who formed a special bond in 2015 when Machuga moved from Connecticut for his freshman year, had a conversation about what could have been. During that conversation, the idea that Machuga would never play for the Bulldogs again came up.

“Why not?” Gordy asked. “Let’s create that opportunity for you as a senior.”

After months of strenuous rehab, and more recently, hours of layup practice, the moment came in the opening minute of the Bulldogs’ clash with defending D1 State Champions Mansfield. Machuga earned his first career start and scored the first points of the game for Canton, hitting a layup to standing ovation from both teams and fans.

“To be honest, it felt nothing less than awesome,” Machuga said. He was the first Bulldog to be named a captain for this season. “To be out there again with all my teammates, it’s a great feeling. It’s another milestone for me to take the floor with my fellow teammates and score a bucket, that was awesome.”

Machuga has made terrific strides in his recovery, and currently walks with the aid of a cane. And there is no denying his love for basketball. Before his injury, the story goes that Machuga made friends with the custodians at Canton High in order to get in extra shots up inside the gym.

“Xavier’s moment, it’s bigger than basketball,” Gordy said. “To see all the hard work he’s put in to get back to that moment, it’s pretty emotional for me, him and his family, and all the guys on the team. It’s been a long road to recovery and it’s just a really awesome, special moment for him and everybody in our community to see that happen.

“Tonight was pretty special, it was one of the coolest moment I’ve been involved in in my life.”

Gordy was hopeful the moment would happen this year but he left it up it Machuga to pick when. The senior forward hand picked Tuesday’s matchup with Kelley-Rex leading Mansfield, but not because of the showdown between division leaders, but because of his relationship with Hornet head coach Mike Vaughan. It was important for Machuga to have personal connections with both coaches and Vaughan coached Machuga in AAU basketball prior to the incident.

“It’s so much bigger than basketball,” Vaughan said. “Just to be able to recognize a kid who, given different circumstances, would have been here and been a key contributor to the Canton High team, but because of some unfortunate events had to take another path. I knew X before he got sick and now I’ve been able to see what he’s been able to do after he got sick. What’s amazing is he still wants to impact people. You just can’t say enough good things about when people live their life that way and want to do good things. There’s a lot of people who take adversity and fail and he’s doing nothing but being successful out of this. This was an opportunity for him to get highlighted, all the people chanting his name, my kids engaged and excited for him. It was very special, it was very touching. It was something I’ll remember for a long time.”

Canton dedicated last year to Machuga and used the slogan “Soldier X.” The Bulldogs went on to earn a share of the Davenport division title, the program’s first league crown since 1992.

“I was super determined to play again,” Machuga said. “The team winning the league championship last year drove me to make the comeback that I did. I mean I was working hard already but seeing what they did really pushed me inside.”

Machuga’s teammates fed off the moment, trailing by just one (15-14) and leading 26-25 over the once-beaten Hornets heading into the locker room. But Mansfield proved to be too much in the second half, using an early 9-0 run in the third to flip the game. The Hornets outscored Canton 24-9 in the third and finished with a 70-43 victory.

“I can’t thank Mike and the whole Mansfield program enough for their sportsmanship and participation,” Gordy said. “They had the ‘Soldier X’ warmup shirts which were awesome, those were a surprise to us. Xavier got emotional when he saw that, it was a really cool thing. The way the Mansfield kids reacted, it was really cool to see.”

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/15/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Mansfield, 70 @ Canton, 43 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game. Canton held 26-25 at halftime but Mansfield outscored the Bulldogs 24-9 in the third period to take control the game. Mansfield had a 45-17 advantage in the second half. Senior Tommy Dooling had a team-high 15 points, sophomore Matty Boen added 13 points and six rebounds, and sophomore TJ Guy finished with 12 points and seven boards for the Hornets. Canton senior Ryan Lentol finished with a team-high 13 points and six rebounds.

Franklin, 57 @ North Attleboro, 33 – FinalFranklin created all the separation it needed with a big first half. The Panthers led 17-4 after one and took a 31-10 advantage into the break. Junior Chris Edgehill scored 14 of his game-high 18 points in the first half for Franklin while Jalen Samuels and Will Harvey each added 10 points. North Attleboro senior Josh Montague scored a team-best 12 points while junior Ethan Friberg had nine points.

King Philip, 73 @ Stoughton, 55 – FinalKing Philip trailed by nine at halftime but used a monster second half to beat the Black Knights. The Warriors won the third quarter, 23-6, to turn a deficit into a 50-41 lead going into the final quarter. KP added 23 more points in the final quarter to earn the win. Senior Bruce Saintilus scored a career-high 24 points while Andrew McKinney and Alex Fritz both scored 19 points, a career-best for both players. Stoughton junior Obinna Ugwuakazi finished with a team-high 20 points while Zak Paquette recorded a career-high 18 points for the Black Knights.

Taunton, 59 @ Milford, 47 – FinalHolding a 33-26 lead at halftime, Taunton held the Hawks to seven points in the third quarter to create a double-digit lead that it never relinquished in a win over Milford. Taunton senior Lou Vendrell scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter while Mike Qunn (10 points) added a triple to help the Tigers build a 49-33 lead going into the final eight minutes. Taunton junior Dante Law scored a team-high 15 points, including 11 in the opening quarter. Junior Colby Pires and sophomore Jordan Darling each scored 11 points for Milford.

Oliver Ames, 64 @ Sharon, 50 – Final Sharon held a one-point lead with three minutes to go in the third quarter but Oliver Ames finished strong, doubling the Eagles’ production down the stretch (30-15) to earn the win. Ethan Eckstrom scored six of his team-high 15 points in the final quarter and Owen Friel (career-high 10 points) connected on a pair of three-pointers in the fourth to help the Tigers pull away. Senior Sean O’Brien and sophomore Amari Brown each added eight points for OA. Sharon junior Aidan Kane scored a game-high 17 points while classmate Caleb Gayle added 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks.

Girls Basketball
Canton, 51 @ Mansfield, 57 – Final (OT)Mansfield’s Emily Vigeant hit a three-pointer with seven seconds left in regulation to force overtime. The Bulldogs got balanced scoring, led by Sydney Gallery’s 12 points. Kiara Cerruti scored 11, Maggie Connolly had nine, and Julia Hamilton added eight points for Canton, which had its five-game win streak come to an end.

North Attleboro, 33 @ Franklin, 57 – FinalAli Brigham had 25 for the Panthers in the win.

Stoughton, 31 @ King Philip, 73 – FinalKP jumped out to a big lead early in the game and never looked back, as the Warriors clicked on the offensive end of the floor for their sixth win of the season. Faye Veilleux scored 21 points and Julia Leroux added 18 points (on six three-pointers) to spark KP to the win. Shannon O’Connor scored eight as well for the Warriors.

Milford, 23 @ Taunton, 61 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Taunton went on a 25-2 run after Milford opened the scoring and took control of the game before halftime. Alexa White led the way for the hosts with 15 points, while Kelsey White added 12. In the fourth quarter, freshman Abby Souza came off the bench and scored 11 of her 13 points. Ashanty Barreto led the Hawks with six points and Emma Lawrence added five points and 13 rebounds.

Sharon, 50 @ Oliver Ames, 75 – Final Oliver Ames scored 41 points in the first half, building a 10-point lead at the break, and never looked back to earn the win over Sharon. Freshman Caroline Peper poured in a career-high 25 points to pace the Tigers while Caroline Flynn had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Girls Hockey
King Philip, 2 @ Medway, 2 – Final

Boys Swimming
Taunton, 70 @ Attleboro, 95 – Final

Girls Swimming
Taunton, 75 @ Attleboro, 92 – Final

Gymnastics
Taunton @ Canton, 7:30
Sharon, 122.75 @ Canton, 110 – Final

Player of the Week: Brendan Tully, Foxboro Hockey

Morse Insurance
 

Brendan Tully
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Foxboro senior Brendan Tully has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Jan. 6 through Jan. 12. Feid is the 15th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year and the fifth player in the winter season.

Tully, a senior defenseman and the team’s third leading scorer, had a strong week with three goals and three assists as Foxboro pulled off a rare tie against Franklin and a big win against Stoughton that has the Warriors at 11 points for the season and closing in on a playoff spot, which would be the second straight winter that Foxboro reached the playoffs through point accumulation rather than the Sullivan rule.

“The way that handles the puck and sees the whole ice makes him stand out,” said Foxboro coach Mark Cedorchuk. “He can move it up the ice himself if teams give it to him or he can move the puck when he needs to and finds guys making cuts. He just sees the game real well and has a high hockey IQ.”

On Wednesday, Foxboro went on the road to take on perennial power Franklin and jumped out to a 3-1 lead after two periods. Tully scored one and assisted on another as the Warriors pulled ahead of the seven-time defending Kelley-Rex division champions. Although the Panthers battled back to earn a point in the third period, it was an impressive result for the Warriors. Two days later, Foxboro beat Stoughton 9-3, with Tully finding the back of the net twice and assisting on two others.

Tully was the team’s leading scorer as season ago and is third on the team in points this year in goals (seven), assists (eight), and points (15). His play on the blue line and the defensive zone has also helped the Warriors allow only 21 goals this season, good for a little more than two goal allowed per game. The Warriors goal differential of plus-23 is fourth best in the Hock behind only Mansfield, Canton, and Oliver Ames.

The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.

Morse Insurance