Fast Start Lifts Franklin to Win Over Title Rival KP

Franklin boys hockey
Ben Jarosz celebrates the opening goal for Franklin in its title showdown with rival King Philip. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Last season, Franklin and King Philip shared the Kelley-Rex division crown. On Saturday night, at a packed Pirelli Veterans Arena, the teams met again for a showdown between the top two teams in the division standings. Feeding off the home crowd, Franklin came out firing on all cylinders and that fast start proved decisive.

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The Panthers dominated the opening period, taking advantage of their team speed to put the Warriors on their heels. Franklin scored four times in the first 15 minutes, digging a deep hole that the Warriors were unable to climb out of and skating away with a 5-3 win that puts them three points up on KP.

“We try to put them on their heels first,” said Franklin coach Anthony Sarno. “We want to come out with that nice hard fore-check, take away both D, take away options up the wall and seal off the middle. We’ve got four lines of speed and when they put it together and use their speed and work the system, then we usually come out and get a goal in the first period.”

KP coach Paul Carlow admitted that his team struggled in the opening period and that it put them in a difficult position for the rest of the night.

“The same thing happened to us here last year,” he explained. “We came out flat and they jumped on us early and they dominated us the whole first period, out-worked us, out-played us. Then I thought we got our composure a little in the second and made a game of it.”

It didn’t take long for Franklin to get on the front foot. Ben Jarosz forced KP goalie Kyle Abbott (32 saves) into a blocker stop a couple minutes in. Franklin would hold a 13-8 edge in shots in the period and half of KP’s efforts on goal in the first came from outside the blue line.

A little over three minutes in, the Panthers grabbed the lead. Jarosz got loose in the left wing circle and whipped a quick-release shot through bodies in front and under the goalie’s pads.

It took four minutes for Franklin to double its lead. On a four-on-four, Dylan Marchand sped into the high slot and fired a shot that Abbott was able to get a piece of, but it trickled behind him and Justin Magazu reacted quickest to tap it across the line.

With five minutes to go in the first, Logan Marchand kept the puck in at the blue line and got it to Magazu. He went dot-to-dot with a pass to Domenic Lampasona, who struggled to control the puck at first but then spun and flicked a backhand shot inside the far post for a 3-0 lead.

Three minutes later, it was four and it seemed that a rout was on. Jack Mackinnon won a battle along the boards in the defensive zone, allowing Franklin to break out. He then jumped into the attack and got the puck as he entered the zone, wristing a shot through a screen and into the top corner.

KP’s best chance of the period came right at the end. Shaun Fitzpatrick drove to the net and forced Franklin goalie Cole Pouliot-Porter (26 saves) into two stops from close range before the sophomore was able to cover up. The puck ended up in the back of the net but only after the officials had blown play dead.

The game looked to be well in hand for the Panthers, but KP came out of the intermission with a purpose and would turn things around in the second, with help from a series of Franklin penalties. Nolan Feyler had the first good chance, forcing a save our of Pouliot-Porter and then sliding the rebound right across the goal line. Marchand almost added a fifth on the other end, as he sliced through the zone but his attempted pass in the crease was covered by Abbott.

Franklin was still pushing for more. On the penalty kill, Abbott had to be strong to deny Jarosz from close range and denied Ryan Sicchio on a couple of shots from the point. He then got the shaft of the stick on a shot from Anthony Lampasona that looked destined for the corner.

KP turned it on over the final five minutes of the second and by the end of the period Franklin appeared to be just hanging on. Colin Lightbody had a good chance from the edge of the crease but Pouliot-Porter flashed a left pad to deny him. Kevin Birenbaum tried to take advantage of a poor clearance and handcuffed the goalie with a shot but the loose puck was covered just before it crossed the line.

With 4:35 left in the period, KP finally got on the board Brad Guden jumped up into the attack and forced his way to the net. Pouliot-Porter made a couple of saves from close range as Guden, Feyler, and Cam Lehan-Allen all crowded the crease, with one of them able to force the puck through.

Three minutes later, and just 17 seconds into a 5-on-3, the lead was sliced to two. Guden was given room to walk into a wrister and the sophomore defenseman sniped the corner to make it 4-2 heading into the locker rooms.

“There’s a few guys over there with real speed,” said Carlow. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t get caught, but just the little things, winning face-offs, winning wall battles, we could’ve been a lot better. We were chasing and we don’t want to be chasing a team like that.”

Only 30 seconds into the third period, Franklin had restored a three-goal cushion. Liam O’Rielly forced a pad save with a shot from the point and the rebound fell right on the stick of Jarosz, who buried the chance for his second of the night.

“We told them in the locker room, calm down, take a deep breath, you’re in control,” Sarno said. “The only way you lose is if you beat yourself, so let’s get back to our nice forecheck that we had in the first period. Once you put a puck in let’s just see if we can keep it going and stay out of the penalty box.”

Abbott was busy in the third period, as the Panthers got back on top. Anthony Lampasona, Magazu, and Marchand all forced the goalie into good stops. KP had only one shot for the first 12 minutes of the third, but then out of nowhere got right back in the game. Guden was the impetus again, skating behind the net and finding Rowan Boulger at the post. On his second attempt, the sophomore forward slid the puck past Pouliot-Porter.

The Warriors had a power play opportunity to close out the game but, after Marchand hit the bar on a shorthanded breakaway, Franklin was able to clear the rebound from Birenbaum’s shot and complete the win.

“In the Hock, everyone brings their best games and you’ve got to be ready,” said Sarno. “These teams are all well-coached. We know it’s going to be a good, hard-fought battle every night.”

Franklin (9-5-0, 4-1-0) will be back on the ice on Wednesday when it travels to the Foxboro Sports Center to face Mansfield in another top of the league clash. King Philip (3-6-1, 2-2-1) will get a day off before it travels to Bishop Feehan on Monday.

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Tourgee, Blake Net Canton Comeback Win Against KP

Canton boys hockey
Sophomore Brendan Tourgee (13) celebrates the game-tying goal with less than three minutes remaining in the third period, helping Canton to a come from behind win over King Philip. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Despite Canton dominating play in the third period and holding King Philip to just two shots in the final 15 minutes, the Warriors went into the final three minutes holding onto a one-goal lead. It would be a rare win for KP in the series, a rare win for any Hockomock League team against the Bulldogs, and a chance to take a big early step towards a second straight league title.

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But, there is a reason that Canton went into Wednesday night’s game at the Metropolis Rink having won 36 straight league games. The Bulldogs scored a pair of goals in 1:39, completed a comeback after being down two goals twice in the game, and pulled out a dramatic 4-3 victory.

“It’s huge for our psyche,” Canton coach Brian Shuman said. “It’s good for our guys to see that they can come from two goals down. Hopefully they’re not in that position too often, but it’s still good to build that mental toughness.”

After the game, KP coach Paul Carlow rued the missed opportunity to grab a lead in the Kelley-Rex division, even if it is just three games into the league campaign.

“They pinned us in in the third,” he explained. “They outshot us and outplayed us in the third period. Instead of continuing to take it to them, it felt like we were more trying to hang on. That never works.”

It was all KP at the start of the game. The Warriors came out flying and needed only 27 seconds to pick up the opening goal. Shaun Fitzpatrick did good work down the right wing, driving at the net and drawing a couple of Canton defensemen. He flipped the puck out in front to Sean Crowther, who sent the puck through a crowd of legs across the crease where James Boldy was standing all alone to tap into the empty net.

Rather than being a wake up call for the home team, the goal seemed to spur the Warriors on for more. Fiztpatrick collected the puck against the right wing boards and turned towards goal. He had a free path right at Canton goalie Aiden French (18 saves) and stuffed the puck under the pads to make it 2-0 less than six minutes in.

Shuman said, “KP does a great job of getting pucks and bodies to the net and you saw that on the first goal. That’s their bread and butter and we struggled with that mightily tonight. We just weren’t tough enough out in front, we were puck watching, and losing guys. They play a tough brand of hockey.”

KP got a chance on the power play midway through the first and Max Robison forced French into a tough save on a shot from the point. Canton cleared the rebound. It was one of a couple chances that the Warriors had to try and extend the lead, but the Bulldogs held on and got the kill.

Only 13 seconds after getting back to even strength, Canton was on the board. AJ Thomas’ pressure on the forecheck caused a turnover in the attacking zone. His first shot from point-blank range was stopped by KP goalie Kyle Abbott (28 saves) but Thomas stuck with it and knocked in the rebound, cutting the lead in half.

The goal seemed to give Canton momentum, as the Bulldogs went into the locker room on the front foot, but it didn’t carry over to the second period. Only nine seconds elapsed before KP added a third. Boldy snapped off a wrsiter just as he was entering the zone on the left wing and French appeared to be unsighted as the puck flew under the bar on the stick side.

“We had some really good chances and then didn’t convert,” said Carlow. “Canton had the momentum off the kill and then I think they scored the very next shift and now it’s a one-goal game. We got a goal to start the second and I think we just kind of ran out of gas.”

Canton needed a spark. Sophomore Brendan Tourgee nearly had a quick response when he sailed into the zone, split a pair of defensemen and got off a backhand shot from a tight angle that Abbott kept out. Sam Carlino had a partial break for the Bulldogs but Robison hustled back to get a piece of the shot from the right face-off dot.

The Bulldogs were able to cut into the lead midway through the second. After a couple of shots from the point by Sean Connolly that Abbott pushed aside, they swung it across the blue line to Ryan Doucette. His shot was heading wide of the post but sophomore Brian Middleton was able to get a telling touch on it to sneak it past Abbott low at the near post.

“To get one there was big and that line of Middleton, (Patrick) Drury, and Blake continue to get it done and I think our other guys can learn a little bit from them because they’re having success and getting big goals just by getting to the tough, dirty areas,” said Shuman.

KP tried to hold on in the third, blocking shots and trying to keep the Bulldogs away from the crease. Eddie Gillis nearly set up Thomas for a tying goal, but Abbott stayed with the tip in front and kept it out. Tourgee then showed off his strength on the puck, holding off two defensemen to allow the Bulldogs to get back onside and then turning into the zone, forcing Abbott into a good save with his shoulder.

Connolly had another shot from the point that forced Abbott into a save. Tommy Phaneuf corralled the rebound in front but was pressured off the puck and couldn’t get a shot on target.

While the chances were piling up, the clock was winding down. Finally, with 2:42 to play. Tourgee found the back of the net. He dragged the puck through a stick check on the left wing boards and then angled towards goal. His backhand shot through the crease somehow snuck through a thicket of legs and found the far corner.

“He’s so gifted on the puck,” Shuman said of Tourgee. “He’s strong on the puck, he’s fast, he’s just got a nose for the net. I think he’s got to trust getting pucks to the net instead of always trying to pick those corners because you can see how offensively gifted he is.”

The pressure continued, as Canton outshot KP 13-3 in the final period. With 1:03 to go, the Bulldogs got the winner. Brennen Pecararo dropped a pass back to sophomore Colin Blake and he pounced on the chance in the slot, slamming the puck into the back of the net.

KP had one last look with the goalie pulled and less than 10 seconds on the clock, but Brad Guden’s shot from the point hit a body to the side of the post and ricocheted into the corner.

“We just got off to a tough start this year with injuries and illness,” Carlow said. “I think we had eight out sick the first week of the season, so we got off to a tough start and we’re just trying to get rolling.”

Canton (4-2-1) will be back home on Saturday afternoon to face Mansfield, which was the last team to hand the Bulldogs a league loss back in February 2017. King Philip (2-4-1) returns to Canton on Saturday night, this time at the IcePlex, to take on Archbishop Williams.

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Player of the Week: Jack Watts, Foxboro Hockey


 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Foxboro senior Jack Watts has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Dec. 27 through Jan. 1. Watts is the 14th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2021-22 school year and the third of the winter season.

Watts has been critical to Foxboro’s perfect start to the season and last week he had 14 points (five goals and nine assists) as the Warriors picked up road wins against Old Rochester and Blue Hills. He had a hand in all but one of the 15 goals that the Warriors scored over the two games, as they improved to 3-0 on the season.

After scoring a goal in a season-opening 2-1 victory over Northbridge, Watts took his offensive game up a notch last week. He accounted for all five goals in a win against Old Rochester, scoring twice and adding three assists. Less than 24 hours later, Foxboro was back on the ice against Blue Hills and the Warriors scored 10 goals as a team. Watts was a part of all but one of those scores, recording a hat trick of his own and assisting on six other goals, proving unstoppable in the offensive zone.

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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.

Jack Watts
Jack Watts 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. Jack Watts 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.