Now he can add his first career win as a high school hockey coach to that list.
A state champion as a player in 1983 and a state champion as an assistant coach in 2016 with the Franklin boys hockey team, Assad traded in his Panther baby blue for the King Philip green and gold this season, taking over the helm of the Warriors girls hockey program.
In the second game of the season, Assad guided the Warriors to a 2-1 win over the Panthers for his first career victory.
“The girls earned it, they came in and played above our expectations today coming off a tough loss to Mansfield,” Assad said, adding he couldn’t have asked for anything better than getting his first win at Pirelli. “We didn’t come out flying in that game, and they got three goals on us in the second period. So to see them play the way they played today, it was fantastic.”
“That’s what we’re looking for. They’re always practicing hard, they are listening to the coaches, and that showed out there. We want them to go hard the entire game and that’s what they did tonight.”
King Philip took the lead just a couple of minutes into the game only for the Panthers to find the equalizer late in the first period. Franklin had a big chance to break the game open with a five-minute power play, but the Warriors killed it and changed the game.
KP senior Makenzie Shandley opened the scoring just three minutes into the contest for her first goal. After winning possession at the blue line, Shandley fired a shot that was originally saved but the rebound came right back and she fired a shot past the goalie.
While it looked like a goal, and the players’ reactions dictated the same, there was no whistle and the game carried on. After nearly 30 seconds of play, the refs got together on the next stoppage to confer. The decision ended up being a goal for Shandley and a 1-0 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the first.
Despite taking the lead, the ice tilted in favor of Franklin for the rest of the period. The Panthers peppered the net with 11 shots, including a nice chance set up by freshman Lyndsey Aktinson, finding classmate Molly Hurley for a one-timer but her shot was denied by a stick save from KP senior Cristina Coleman (26 saves).
The Panthers couldn’t take advantage of a power play just before the midway point of the period, and then had a pair of chances inside a minute denied. Gina Vignone fired a shot that was loose in front with both Libby Carter and Ryan Sullivan digging in before Coleman covered. Less than a minute later, Coleman came up with a nice save on a strong shot from Franklin senior Gianna Cameron.
Franklin’s pressure finally paid off with just over four minutes to go in the frame. Senior Tina Pisano skated through a pair of stick checks, briefly losing control before settling the puck back on her stick and she roofed a shot from straight away to make it 1-1.
The first chance of the second period fell to the stick of KP junior Jen Daniels. After blocking a shot in the defensive zone, Daniels skated the puck across both blue lines before firing a wrist shot that was turned away by Franklin junior Gabby Colace (20 saves).
The Panthers went on the man-advantage for five minutes after a major with 8:37 to go in the period. Franklin put a handful of shots on net, including a big chance on a pass across the crease but Coleman denied the chance. King Philip’s Sydney O’Shea came up with a nice play on a stick check to thwart a breakaway chance as well.
A minute after killing the penalty, the Warriors went on the power play themselves after an interference call on the Panthers. KP didn’t waste much time to cash in with O’Shea firing a shot from the slot that was blocked wide. Shandley was first to the loose puck, and after calmly collecting it, buried a tight angle chance into the open net for a 2-1 lead.
“It took three lines to kill that penalty, and that third line (Nicole Brady, Olivia Donovan, Katarina Precobb) was unbelievable during it,” Assad said. “They just go out there, they hunt the puck down, and they clear it out and you can’t ask for anything more than that. To be able to kill that major was huge for us. And then we’ve been practicing our power play, and the girls are like sponges because they pick it right up. We got that shot in the slot that we wanted.”
King Philip nearly put the game away early in the third period when O’Shea and Shandley nearly linked up but Vignone stepped in to deny the connection. Seconds later, the Warriors had a big clank off the crossbar and stay out.
Atkinson found junior Amanda Lewandowski but her deflection was gobbled up in front by Coleman. Donovan had a breakaway chance for KP but again Vignone intervened.
Franklin was on the verge of a good chance with just over three minutes to go with Lewandowski and Atkinson skating in the offensive zone but Daniels made a nice hustle play to prevent a chance on goal.
“Coming off the Mansfield/Oliver Ames games, we really wanted to take away loose pucks in front of the crease,” Assad said. “We really focused on that and they did a great job with it tonight. [Mansfield] scored three of their four goals on scrums in front so we really worked hard getting our sticks on the puck and it really showed today. And [Coleman] was just fantastic. She made some key saves for us, she had a huge one during that power play.”
Franklin (1-1, 1-1) will try to bounce back on the same day when it hosts Austin Prep.
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