WATERTOWN, Mass. – Sometimes you run into the wrong team at the wrong time. Canton (12-6-5) believed it was one of the top teams in Division 2 heading into the state tournament and had the potential to make a run at a third straight title game appearance, but then it got drawn with arguably the top team in D2, Wellesley, in the first round.
The Raiders seemed to have found another gear in the past few weeks and that form continued on Monday night at the John A. Ryan Arena, as Wellesley rolled to a 5-0 victory and a return to the D2 quarterfinal.
“That’s not the team that I scouted that tied Walpole and lost to Notre Dame,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich about Monday night’s opponent. “They’ve got three solid lines, they’re strong with their sticks, their transition game is the best that I’ve seen. We couldn’t get pucks through. It’s just a really, really deep, solid team.”
Wellesley opened the scoring after five minutes when freshman forward Lulu Rourke weaved through a trio of Canton defenders and dropped a perfect pass in the path of her sister Emily, who then fired a shot inside the post. Only 71 seconds later and Wellesley doubled its advantage. Bridget Noonan got the puck in the slot and picked the corner for a power play tally.
“Unfortunately, the slow start, we’ve had that this year a few different times,” Aldrich explained. “I didn’t think we played too badly. Our breakout I thought was fine. We knew some things they were going to do and we counteracted that pretty well.”
The Raiders dominated zone time in the first period, but the Canton defense managed to hold the puck to the outside and limited Wellesley to only three shots on goal. Meg Aldrich, Alexa Maffeo, Katie Trerice, and company were able to block shots and keep the front of the net clear.
On the other end, Canton’s chances were rare. The Bulldogs also managed three shots on goal in the first, but were unable to sustain zone time and take some of the pressure off the defense. Aldrich created a turnover in the neutral zone, which sprung Leah McClellan for a shot from inside the left face-off dot that was saved by Wellesley goalie Liddy Schultz.
The second period was all Wellesley. The Raiders put 13 shots on goal in the second and Canton goalie Ava Pacitti had to hold firm to give the Bulldogs any shot of a comeback. Erin Fleming added a third goal with an unstoppable shot from the right circle to the stick side and Bliss Vernon found the five-hole from the high slot, but Pacitti kept Canton close despite all of Wellesley’s attacks.
Tess Khoury nearly created a goal out of nothing for the Bulldogs when she poke checked a Wellesley defender on the edge of the crease and forced Schultz into a pad stop. McClellan aggressively forechecked shorthanded and tried to stuff the puck in from a tight angle after forcing a turnover.
Although they went into the third period trailing by four goals, the Bulldogs managed to put together their best attacking period of the game. Lauren Fitzpatrick and Maggie Malloy were finally able to create some space to get off shots, as did Lizzie Tassinari.
“There’s only so many things that you can control,” said Aldrich. “People can beat you but they can’t out-compete you and I thought they really brought it in the third period. The seniors, it was their opportunities to sign their names to this game as what they want to leave as a legacy. I was really pleased with the effort.”
Canton would outshoot the Raiders 10-9 in the third, but it was Wellesley that added to the scoreline. Lulu Rourke took the puck down the left side and again showed off her stick skills to dodge a pair of defenders and stick the puck in with a backhand shot that made it 5-0.
“I think we’re one of the top four teams in this division,” said Aldrich, “and to have to meet probably the best team in the division in the first round kind of stinks.”
Below are the seeds and matchups for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Records listed are for MIAA tournament purposes and do not include exclusion games. Times and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.
#5 Franklin (16-2-2) will host the winner of #12 Arlington (13-3-4)/#21 Woburn (11-6-3) at a time, date, and location to be determined.
#27 Mansfield/Oliver Ames (9-8-3) will travel to face #6 St. Mary’s (Lynn) (16-2-2) at the William Connery MDC Rink in Lynn at a date and time to be determined.
#12 Canton (11-5-5) will host #21 Norwood (8-8-4) on Monday, Feb. 25 at 5:00 at the Canton Ice House.
The Franklin girls hockey team suffered its first setback of the season over the weekend at the hands of highly touted Walpole, but the Panthers had no interest in letting that trend continue.
Behind a stellar defensive performance, Franklin got back into the win column as it began its second trip through league play with a 4-1 decision over visiting Mansfield/Oliver Ames.
The Panthers pounced for a 1-0 lead after the first period before tacking on two more in the second period to earn the win. Franklin limited the Warriors to just 15 shots on goal for the game.
“I thought we were good tonight, the first two periods I thought we played very well,” said Franklin head coach Margie Burke. “We got a little lax in the third, which we won’t be able to do when we get to the tournament, but overall I thought we played pretty well. Walpole is a good team, [the loss] was going to happen eventually but we responded.”
Mansfield/Oliver Ames came out with a lot of energy and had some early attacking zone time, but Franklin’s defense was up to the task and thwarted any Warrior attacks before they could turn into scoring chances.
The teams traded offensive spells, and there was a good pace to the game as the teams went back-and-forth up and down the ice. It wasn’t until late in the period that Franklin was able to grab the lead.
Senior Regan Paterson eluded a defenseman before tossing a shot on net that was turned aside by Warrior goalie Jess Widdop with a pad save. But the rebound popped right to Cassi Ronan and she lifted her backhand attempt under the bar and into the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage.
Paterson was awarded an assist on the play, giving her 100 career points.
That momentum seemed to carry into the second period, a frame in which the Panthers had the majority of control over. Franklin earned an early power play on a roughing call and didn’t need much time to capitalize. Off the ensuing faceoff, Paterson battled her way between two MOA defenders and then whipped a low shot on net that found the back of the goal for a 2-0 lead, just seven seconds into the man-advantage.
The Warriors made a push in the middle of the period with the best chance falling on the stick of freshman Skyler Sharfman, who ripped a hard slap shot but it was blocked by Franklin junior Gina Vignone and cleared out.
Franklin added to its lead with just over a minute left in the second period. Ronan jumped in front of an MOA forward to keep possession in the attacking zone, raced in along the boards and then blasted a shot upstairs for a 3-0 lead.
The third period belonged to the visitors, who had a lot of offensive zone time. While Mansfield/Oliver Ames had a lot of time in the attacking zone, it couldn’t register a ton of scoring games to go with it. Franklin’s defense did a nice job of preventing dangerous looks on goal.
“The defense has been solid all year long. All three of them played really well and didn’t give them many chances. We have Cassi listed as a defenseman too but it’s mostly Gina, Gianna [Cameron], Tina [Pisano], and Maddi [Dolan] got some shifts too, she’s young but we’ll get her in there.”
The Warriors finally got on the board with just over nine minutes left in the game. Freshman Sammy Ledin took advantage of a turnover at the blue line and raced in and fired a shot on goal. The first shot was turned aside by Gabby Colace but junior Alex Ledin was in perfect position to bury the rebound.
“We were limited from the good scoring areas of the ice, they kept us to the outsides,” said MOA head coach Roy Bain. “We were able to gain penetration just weren’t able to finish. In the third, the girls were tired of not executing, they really carried the bulk of the play and had a lot of zone time, they skated their butts off. They got a good result out of it but just ran out of time.”
Franklin junior Jordan Dwyer intercepted a pass and scored an empty net goal with just over a minute left to make it 4-1.
Franklin girls hockey (5-0-0 Hockomock, 13-1-1 overall) can clinch its first Hockomock League title with a win over Canton on Saturday. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (2-2-1, 5-5-3) will look to bounce back when it hosts Stoughton at 4:10 on Saturday.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
Canton senior Maggie Malloy has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Dec. 16 through Dec. 22. Malloy is the 12th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year and the second player in the winter season.
Malloy had a big week, scoring seven goals, to lead Canton to a pair of wins, including a win at King Philip in the Bulldogs’ league opener. Malloy now has nine goals in four games this year and the defending Hockomock champions and Div. 2 state finalists are unbeaten at 4-0, outscoring those four opponents 20-3.
Malloy was held scoreless in the opening game of the season, but tallied two goals in Canton’s win against Plymouth South. This week, she boosted her scoring total with a pair of impressive performances. Malloy scored all four of Canton’s goals in a 4-1 win against KP, tallying twice in the first period and once each in the second and third to seal the points for the Bulldogs. On Saturday, Malloy was at it again, recording a hat trick against Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake in an 8-0 victory.
This is the second Player of the Week honor for Malloy, who also earned the recognition in March during Canton’s run to the MIAA Division 2 State Championship game last season. This marks the first time that an athlete has been selected twice for Player of the Week for the same sport.
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.