Category: Girls Hockey
Canton Can’t Overcome Tough Start in Finals Defeat
BOSTON, Mass. – Even when you’ve played at the TD Garden before, the experience of skating on the biggest stage with the chance to win a state championship can be daunting. In the first period of Sunday morning’s Div. 2 final, Canton (19-3-4) struggled to find its footing against No. 2 seed Duxbury.
The Dragons were flying from the start, held Canton to just one shot on goal in the first, and jumped out to a two-goal lead. Despite twice battling back within one, the Bulldogs were never able to overcome that tough start to the game. Duxbury skated to a 5-2 victory and its first state title since 2014.
It was the fifth state final appearance for the Bulldogs in the past seven seasons, but Canton is still looking for that first win at the TD Garden.
“The nerves and the stage and they did to us what we wanted to do to them, just get a consistent flow, heavy forecheck, over the red line, and get it deep and we were just struggling to do that,” said Canton coach Nikki Petrich about her team’s difficulties in the opening period.
She added, “They’re nervous too, but they’re applying more pressure. So, once we started to relax a little bit, as you saw in the second period, and really get into our game plan we had several scoring opportunities.”
Duxbury wasted no time creating chances. Samantha Norton circled the net and teed up Addyson Harrington for a quick shot that hit the outside of the post. Izzy Cusack worked hard on the forecheck to earn Canton a scoring opportunity, but Devan Spinale’s shot from the point went wide on the blocker side.
Zoey Madigan then fired a pass to Megan Carney for a chance from close range and Maya Battista had to be in the right spot to block. Seconds later, the Dragons went on the first power play. It took only eight seconds for them to convert. Madeleine Greenwood’s slap shot from the edge of the right wing circle snuck through a crowd and past Carolyn Durand’s pad.
Play continued to be almost exclusively in the Canton zone. Carney forced a blocker save from Durand, who then had to react quickly to smother the rebound attempt from Harrington.
With 1:43 left in the first, Duxbury doubled the lead on a stellar solo goal. McKenna Colella picked up the puck behind her own net, skated the length of the ice weaving through Canton players, and then slipped a backhand shot under the pads of Durand to make it 2-0.
Canton came out with more energy to start the second, although Colella nearly added a third after forcing a turnover, but she flicked her shot wide. Ellie Bohane worked hard to force a turnover on the other end and had a good look blocked by Lucia Rose.
Midway through the period, Canton got back into the game. Tori Carr collected the puck at the right point and fired a shot through bodies in front and past Duxbury goalie Anna McGinty.
“That’s kind of been the beauty of our postseason run,” Petrich said about Carr providing the score. “We’ve had several different scorers every single game and that’s what we really needed. It was great that she scored that goal to really get us going.”
The goal was a momentum builder for the Bulldogs, who were inches away from tying the game. On the power play, Kayleigh Koen shot one from the high slot that just missed the stick of her sister Audrey, who was stationed on the post. Battista got room in the right wing circle for a wrister, but put it just wide.
Cusack would get the best chances of the period when she connected with a pass across the crease from Audrey Koen, but could only tip it wide. Seconds later, they tried it again and this time it was on target only for McGinty to flash a pad and keep it out.
The save turned out to be huge because Duxbury would add a third against the run of play. Colella fired a shot from the point and Greenwood was able to get a telling touch to lift it over Durand with a minute left in the period.
Petrich explained, “When another team is doing what we want to do and you can’t get your shots through, they’re incredible with blocking shots, and it was just another kind of punch in the face. Every time we were able to punch, they were able to punch us back twice as hard.”
Although the swallowed up any of the momentum that the Bulldogs had built in the second period, Canton continued to push in the third to try and get back into the contest. Durand (11 saves) was called into action again early in the period, stopping a backhand try from Harrington.
Kayleigh Koen had a shot from the point stopped by McGinty (10 saves) and the rebound popped out to fellow freshman defenseman Georgia Campbell. She fired the puck back on net but classmate Abby Stock’s tip was wide.
The chance to make it a game was presented with six minutes to go when the Bulldogs went on the power play. Canton took the chance. Cusack got it started with a good forecheck on the side of the net, winning possession and dropping a pass back to Battista, who was pinching in from the right point. The senior threaded the needle with an angled pass to the back post and Audrey Koen was in right spot to tap in.
It was game on again with 5:19 to play, but it was Duxbury that responded better. Durand had to stay strong to deny a point-blank tip from Greenwood, but the Dragons just kept coming. Carney set up Harrington in the slot for a one-timer that made it 4-2 with 2:30 to go. Just a minute later, Greenwood nearly completed her hat trick with a power move that Durand stopped only for Parker Metzler to follow up and put the game away.
“Just a phenomenal feeling,” Petrich said, reflecting on taking Canton to the Garden in her first season in charge. “We got here extremely early and to see the ice, to see no one in the stands and to see their faces, to be able to take those pictures on the bench, and to kind of visualize and understand the moment that they’re in was really, really special.
“I just really enjoyed seeing them. It’s why hockey is so awesome because we get to play here.”
Girls Hockey Photos: Canton vs. Archbishop Williams
Late Koen Winner Sends Canton Back to the TD Garden
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – It was at that stage of a tied hockey game when every shot towards goal was met with triumphant cheers from one end of the stands and a collective intake of breath from the other. Time was winding down and it felt like one goal would either end a team’s season or give it the chance to play for a state title.
With 2:38 left to play in Saturday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at the Gallo Ice Arena, Canton seniors Audrey Koen and Ellie Bohane went flying into the Archbishop Williams zone. The Bulldogs pride themselves on their aggressive forecheck and the two senior forwards set the tone.
After forcing the puck to the end boards, Koen won the battle for possession and skated behind the Archies goal. She popped out on the other side and slid a backhand shot into the skates of the goalie, squeezing her shot through the five-hole and across the line.
That would be enough to lift Canton to a 1-0 win over the top seed and send the Bulldogs to the final at the TD Garden for the fifth time in six seasons.
Canton coach Nikki Petrich said, “Before the game, I saw [Audrey] briefly in between watching our boys team, she was literally over there in the corner, had her headphones on, and was just in her zone. I said, I guarantee she scores today. It just shows the work that she puts in and her senior leadership as a captain really taking on that responsibility of relentless effort and commitment to make her team better.”
Senior goalie Carolyn Durand said, “It’s amazing. It’s a different experience every single time because we have a new group of girls and it’s just so awesome because we get to go with the boys (who beat Duxbury in the game before). The whole town goes to the Garden. It’s just everybody’s dream come true. I’m so excited.”
Canton won the regular season meeting with the Bishops by a single goal, so it was expected to be another tight, hard-fought encounter. A physical first period played out as expected, with neither team able to create much in the attacking zone.
Bohane had one chance coming down the slot that was saved by Archies freshman goalie Evelyn Lacey (22 saves). Tori Carr had a shot from the point that Bohane tipped in front but Lacey kicked aside. The best chance for the Bishops in the first came in the final minute of the period, as Abigail Dunn fed Caroline Batchelder for a shot from the right wing circle, but Durand (18 saves) was equal to it.
After a period with very few notable scoring chances, both goalies were called into action early in the second.
Anna Lehan made a nice play at the blue line to get free on a shorthanded breakaway and tested Lacey with a slap shot from the right wing circle. A minute later, Grace Mottau teed up Dunn in the slot, but Durand held her ground and made the stop and then quickly recovered to block Mottau’s rebound effort as well.
Lacey needed to be on her toes again just seconds later when Koen found Bohane on the edge of the crease. Kate O’Toole would get two chances to try and beat Durand from about five feet away, but both of her shots were smothered by the Hockomock League MVP. Late in the second, Georgia Campbell threw the puck to the front of the net and Lehan whacked it just wide of the post.
Canton came out of the locker room intent on finding the breakthrough. Just 30 seconds into the third, Koen forced a pad stop with a backhand shot and Carr fired one from the point that Lacey was able to spot through a crowd of bodies.
A minute into the period, Bohane, who seemed to be everywhere on Saturday, was an inch away from the opener. She got free in the slot and ripped a shot off the inside of the top corner and back out. A couple of Canton players, and the Canton bench, raised their arms thinking that the puck had gone in.
Petrich said, “Ellie is almost underrated, sneaky fast. When she really goes after it, she flies and throughout the season you could really see some of her field hockey stick-handling skills come into play on the ice. There were a couple of great moves where she slid it through the D’s stick and cut to the middle.”
The chances kept coming for the Bulldogs. Freshman Izzy Cusack gained the zone and dropped a pass off to Bohane, who forced a blocker save. Soon after it was Koen that flew down the right wing and dropped a pass back to Cusack for another shot on target. Freshman Christina Curran dragged the puck out of the corner on her backhand and nearly found the corner.
With three minutes to go, Archies had its best chance of the third. Maggie Lynch played a nice give-and-go with Mottau and got free to fire a shot from the circle that Durand was able to glove and hold.
Just 30 seconds later, Koen found a way to get the puck through and put the Bulldogs in front. Archies started pressing, but a major penalty meant that the Bishops finished the game down a player. Durand was called into action once in the final minute, but calmly pushed the shot aside.
When the final horn sounded, the bench exploded onto the ice. The Bulldogs were back in the final.
“I don’t think I’ve ever yelled so loud in my life,” Durand said about the moment she saw Koen’s shot went in. “Normally I don’t really celebrate, but I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, we only have two minutes left, we’ve got this, it’s over.’ It’s awesome.”
Although this is her first year on the Canton bench, Petrich is no stranger to state title games at the Garden. She was part of the coaching staff last winter at Austin Prep, which won the D1 championship.
“I was joking with them, we both went there last year, I know how it feels to win and I want you to experience that too,” Petrich said. “That feeling we just had today, now imagine that on the Garden ice. You’re going to remember that for the rest of your life. It’s really something special that we have here.”
Canton (19-2-4) will face No. 2 seed Duxbury in the championship game at the TD Garden next Sunday, at a time to be determined.
Girls Hockey Photos: Canton vs. Algonquin
Canton Exacts Revenge on Algonquin to Return to Final Four
CANTON, Mass. – Although Canton won when the teams faced each other near the end of the regular season, the Bulldogs still remembered how it felt when Algonquin found the back of the net in overtime of the 2022 Div. 2 title game and there was still a desire to fully avenge that loss.
On Thursday night at the Canton Ice House, the Bulldogs got the opportunity for revenge and they took it.
Behind a stellar performance from senior goalie Carolyn Durand (21 saves) and a pair of goals from freshmen, Canton knocked Algonquin out of the tournament with a 3-0 victory and, in the process, booked a return to the D2 Final Four.
“This game was definitely our revenge game,” said senior Audrey Koen. “This time with the stakes and taking a little piece away from them that they took from us last year, I think everyone had it in their mind that this was our time and we’re the better team. We’ve all come so far and we work so hard together and we’re going to do it for each other.”
Canton got off to a strong start, putting the pressure on the Algonquin defense by getting the puck deep, letting the forecheck get to work, and using the defense to pinch in at the blue line to maintain possession. It led to a 9-4 edge in shots in the first.
The first good chance came after six minutes, when freshman Kayleigh Koen’s shot from the point was tipped in front by Anna Lehan. Algonquin goalie Kaitlin Mathews was able to get a pad on the puck and quickly covered up. It took more than 10 minutes for the Titans to create a quality chance, with Olivia Bower’s shot from the point forcing a late kick save from Durand.
Pressure started to mount in the closing minutes of the first, as Canton had a flurry of chances. Freshman Izzy Cusack won the puck along the right wing boards and fired a wrister that Mathews managed to get a blocker to, with Audrey Koen following up but not getting full purchase on the rebound.
Ellie Bohane forced another blocker save from a tough angle and then, with Canton on the power play, she found herself in the slot with shooting space, but narrowly missed the top corner. With just seconds left in the first, Algonquin nearly stole the lead, as Emily Johns took advantage of a turnover for a shorthanded breakaway, but Durand stood tall to make the stop as the horn sounded.
“Her biggest strength is she’s just cool and ready and willing and wants to win so badly for her teammates that she will do anything to stop that puck,” Canton coach Nikki Petrich said of Durand.
Canton came out strong to start the second. Three minutes in, the Bulldogs finally got the breakthrough. Koen, who had a good shot saved a minute before, created the chance when she circled behind the net and flicked a pass out in front. Cusack was in the slot and managed to not only settle the puck but then chip it up over the goalie to make it 1-0.
“These freshmen are incredible,” said Koen. “They came into this team and they just clicked right away. I think all of these freshmen have stepped right into place. They don’t play like freshman, they play like they’ve been here for three or four years.”
The hosts had some chances to try and double the lead. Bohane sacrificed herself to block a shot in the defensive zone and that gave Lehan the chance to get out into open ice. As the back check reached her, Lehan spun onto her backhand and forced a save out of Mathews.
With six minutes left in the second, Devan Spinale’s shot from the point skidded wide but Bohane chased it down and snapped off a quick shot that went off the goalie’s skates and stayed out.
Algonquin sensed that it needed to step up its work in the offensive zone and had several chances in the final five minutes of the period. The best opportunity fell to Harper Ruderman, but Durand was in perfect position to make the point-blank stop. Maya Battista nearly doubled the Canton lead shortly after when she fired one from the point but Mathews stuck out the blocker and got a piece of it.
There was a different intensity about Algonquin in the third. The defending champs were on the front foot for the first time in the game, with Johns coming closest on a redirection that slid just wide of the bottom corner.
While the visitors were pressing forward in search of an equalizer, Canton struck again. The Bulldogs had several chances in close succession and finally freshman Christina Curran pounced on a loose puck and slammed the rebound just inside the post to give Canton that crucial two-goal cushion.
“Depth is huge and we want to give every girl an opportunity to play,” Petrich said about Curran, the third-line center getting on the board. “To get the experience, you have to have the opportunity. When other girls can step up and provide scoring opportunities, as well as not get scored on, it’s great.”
Petrich also noted that two freshmen scored for the Bulldogs. She added, “The seniors have done an exceptional job off the ice of welcoming the freshmen and making them feel a part of the team, a part of a family. They’re able to really build that chemistry off the ice and translate that on the ice.”
Most of the remainder of the game was played in the Canton zone. Algonquin had three power play opportunities in the third and was playing with the desperation of a team that saw its season on the brink. But, Durand stood in the Titans’ way and the Hockomock League MVP was equal to the task, making 11 saves in the third, including one off the mask from Johns and then again sticking out the blocker to stop a fierce wrister.
“She definitely plays a huge role in why we’re so good,” Koen said about Durand. “We know that she’s going to make the big saves and that we’re going to make the big plays in the offensive zone. I love how we all come together.”
With just 22.5 on the clock, Koen got free at the blue line, skated the length of the ice, and deposited an empty net goal that finished off the Titans and sent the Bulldogs to the next round.
“It was incredible,” Koen said about scoring the final goal. “I was just trying not to miss. I just wanted to make sure that it went in and just being able to feel that feeling and know that we’re putting it away was awesome.”
Canton (18-2-4) will face top seed Archbishop Williams, who the Bulldogs also beat in the regular season, on Saturday evening at Gallo Ice Arena.
Girls Hockey Photos: Canton vs. Westwood
Canton Starts Playoff Run By Beating Westwood
CANTON, Mass. – When the current crop of Canton seniors were freshmen, they were part of a tournament run that ended with a berth in the final and being named the Div. 2 co-champions. After yet another run to the TD Garden last winter, the program’s third title game in five seasons, the senior class brings plenty of playoff nous to the ice each game.
Of course, adding a new group of talented freshmen ready to step into the spotlight that comes with trying to continue the recent playoff success certainly helps.
Canton’s blend of senior savvy and youthful energy was on full display on Wednesday night at the Metropolis Rink. With two goals from seniors and two more from freshmen, the Bulldogs beat Westwood 4-1 to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
“They have the experience from playoffs and from the regular season this year,” said Canton coach Nikki Petrich. “Several games we’ve been up [and the other team came back]. It’s a long hockey game. We know we’re going to score, they’re going to score, but it’s who’s going to finish the battle to the end.”
The game could have been a much bigger win, but Westwood goalie Marissa Poma finished with 37 saves, many of them spectacular.
Canton came out flying in the first period, nearly finding the back of the net inside the opening two minutes when freshman Kayleigh Koen slipped a pass across the crease to Izzy Crugnale, only for Poma to somehow stretch and get a pad on the shot. Tori Carr had a shot from the point saved and Poma was able to cover up when Lilah Spinelli crashed the net to get on the rebound.
The breakthrough came on the power play. Senior Maya Battista collected the puck on the right point, picked her spot, and flung a shot towards the far post. Canton had plenty of bodies in front and the puck flew past Poma and inside the post.
“February was tough for us,” said Petrich, referencing Canton’s strong schedule, “but we didn’t start the games as hard, fast, and strong as I wanted us to, so that was the emphasis here starting playoffs was to really get after it, but their goalie just played phenomenal. All the credit to her. I tried to give her a hug because she played phenomenal.”
Westwood finally got going after falling behind, although Canton would finish the first with a 15-4 edge in shots on goal. Four minutes after allowing the opener, the visitors leveled the score. Freshman Livvy Hicks sent a knuckling puck through a crowd and over the shoulder of goalie Carolyn Durand to make it 1-1.
Audrey Koen nearly restored the lead with a nice wraparound attempt on her backhand, but Poma made the save. With less than 30 seconds left in the first, freshman Izzy Cusack stole the puck in the offensive zone and got the puck into the slot to Koen, who partially fanned on the shot but managed to put it on frame only for Ava Krouson to block the shot on the line.
Durand was called into action early in the second, making a nice glove save on a Kate Sullivan effort. Cusack nearly put the Bulldogs in front, but her chipped shot from close range clipped the bar on its way across the net.
With 9:33 to go in the second, Kayleigh Koen scored what turned out to be the game-winner. She pinched in from the blue line, blocking a chip up the boards and keeping possession. Koen pushed up the left wing boards and cut towards goal, forcing a pad stop from Poma. The puck squirted out in front and Koen was able, on the second attempt, to redirect it into the open net.
“No longer a freshman and no stranger to big moments,” Petrich said about Koen. “Big players step up in big moments and that’s what she does for us every time. Her ability to skate with the puck as a defenseman, she’s so offensive-minded but so strong and solid on the blue line you almost don’t expect it.”
Poma continued to excel, keeping Canton from extending the lead on the power play. Battista had another good look from the point and Ellie Bohane pounced on the rebound, but the goalie stuffed the point-blank chance. Battista then tried to follow up with a quick wrister, but Poma recovered in time to glove it.
Canton started the third period on the kill, but it didn’t stop the Bulldogs from continuing to pepper the Westwood goal. Cusack had a good chance almost directly from the face-off, and Poma also had to be alert to stop the rebound as well. Bohane would come close after good work by Audrey Koen down the wing and a nifty behind-the-back-pass into the slot, but the shot went either off Poma’s glove or the post and stayed out.
Another dominant start to a period finally paid off with a goal. Freshman Georgia-Ann Penders, who was injured to start the season, made a perfect pass across the crease to classmate Abby Stock. Stock was able to pick the five-hole and give the Bulldogs a two-goal cushion.
With 4:34 to go, Canton wrapped up the win. This time, it was the seniors who got on the score sheet. Bohane raced out on a two-on-one, drew the defender, and saucered a pass to Koen on her right. Koen ripped a shot into the top corner to book Canton’s place in the next round.
“The message from me is always to play the right way, which is passing the puck,” Petrich explained. “Several times we came out of the corner right here and we missed the net, and it’s a breakout. I said, listen, play hockey the right way, smarter hockey, move the puck. I said, stop playing hero hockey and start playing smarter hockey.”
Canton (16-2-4) will face the winner of No. 13 Milton and No. 20 Framingham on Saturday night at the Canton Ice House. The time is to be determined.
Hockomock Hockey Playoff Seeds & Matchups
Below are the seeds and matchups for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Seeds, times, and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.
#12 Franklin (16-5-0) will host #21 Andover (11-5-4) on Wednesday, 3/1 at 8:00 at Pirelli Rink.
#30 King Philip (12-5-3) will travel to #3 Hingham (14-3-5) on Thursday, 3/2 at 7:00 at the Canton Ice House.
#3 Canton (17-4-0) will host the winner of #30 Medford (11-8-1)/#35 Agawam (11-6-1) on Thursday, 3/2 at 5:00 at Metropolis Rink.
#21 Oliver Ames (10-9-1) will travel to #12 Gloucester (12-7-1) on Wednesday, 3/1 at 6:00 at Talbot Rink.
#25 North Attleboro (9-7-1) will travel to #8 Hopkinton (16-4-0) on Wednesday, 3/1 at 7:10 at the New England Sports Center.
#28 Mansfield (4-14-2) will travel to #5 Silver Lake (14-7-1) on Wednesday, 3/1 at 3:30 at Hobomock Arena in Pembroke.
#17 Taunton (13-9-0) will travel to #16 Seekonk (15-4-1) on Wednesday, 3/1 at 7:00 at New England Sports Village.
#31 Foxboro (7-12-1) will host #34 Easthampton (12-7-1) on Monday, 2/27 at 5:00 at Foxboro Sports Center.
#4 Canton (15-2-4) will host #29 Westwood (8-11-1) on Wednesday, 3/1 at 5:00 at Metropolis Rink.
#19 Franklin (9-8-3) will travel to #14 Pembroke (13-6-1) on Thursday, 3/2 at 5:30 at Hobomock Arena in Pembroke.
#22 King Philip (10-11-1) will travel to #11 Lincoln-Sudbury (16-4-0) on Wednesday, 3/1 at 8:00 at Valley Sports Arena.