BRIGHTON, Mass. – Last winter, Canton was the No. 14 seed, an underdog and an afterthought for many of the people picking favorites to make a run at a state championship. This season, the Bulldogs have been considered Div. 2 title contenders for months and earned the No. 2 seed coming into the tournament. There was no sneaking up on opponents this year, instead Canton has had to deal with the weight of high expectations.
While the journey has been very different from last year to this one, the end result is the same. Canton will be heading to the TD Garden to play for the state title on the final day of the winter season.
The Bulldogs earned their spot in the final with a 1-0 victory over third-seeded Archbishop Williams on Monday night at the Warrior Ice Arena courtesy of 16 saves from senior goalie Colleen Kelleher and a goal from junior Maggie Malloy, her sixth of the postseason.
“Last year was insane,” Kelleher explained. “We had no idea we could even do that, it was a joke. We just kept going, game after game, but this year it was more like, we have to make it back and we have to get our second chance and we have to win. I think we were a little more motivated this time but it still feels just as sweet.
Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said, “Last year we snuck up on a lot of people. We were supposed to lose every game last year. To do what these kids have done with the target on their back all year because people knew where we were last year…this is a bigger accomplishment for this program. They stuck together.”
The Bulldogs got off to a strong start to the state semifinal, suffering no hangover from last week’s win over Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) that avenged last year’s title game defeat. Andrea McNeil set up Maria Femia for a golden scoring opportunity just five minutes in only to be denied the opener by Archies goalie Allison Delmonte.
Two minutes later, Lauren Fitzpatrick drove at the net from the left circle but a last-second poke check by the goalie kept her from getting off a shot. McNeil stole the puck on the forecheck but missed the net from the slot and freshman Lizzie Tassinari managed to get off a shot while falling down and forced a pad stop.
Kendra Farrelly nearly picked the top corner only to have Delmonte get her shoulder to the first try and also block Farrelly’s follow up. Canton finished with six shots in the first, despite controlling most of the play and keeping Archies on its heels.
The Bulldogs kept pressing at the start of the second with the forecheck continuing to cause problems for the Bishops, forcing turnovers and leading to shots on goal. The Canton forwards were also putting in shifts in the defensive zone and one backcheck by Femia allowed her to break out quickly and create an odd-man rush with Tassinari but again Delmonte made the save.
The breakthrough finally came with 8:42 left in the second. Malloy, who also scored the game-winners in each of Canton’s two previous playoff games this season, showed off her speed in the neutral zone after an outlet by Alexa Maffeo and got space in the right circle. As she angled towards goal, she fired an unstoppable shot just under the bar for the 1-0 lead.
“There is no one who works harder,” said Aldrich of Malloy. “She deserves everything she gets because she’s the hardest working player on our team. She’s a gamer and she brings it every night. She may not have the polished skill that some people do but what she has you can’t teach.”
Femia and Tassinari continued to cause fits on the second line with both having good scoring chances in the second and Fitzpatrick got free for a shot after Leah McClellan managed to keep a puck in at the blue line.
Before the game, Aldrich talked about trying to wear Archies down and in the second period he used his third line of Marissa Devane, Ellie Rae Roberts, and Katie Halloran a few times to try and add a little energy and give his other lines a short breather.
Aldrich said, “We don’t normally go strictly two lines but we looked to do that in the first period to maybe get a little quick strike on them. It didn’t work as planned but then we were able to spot the third line out there a couple times and it really got us energized. They only got maybe three, four shifts but they were important shifts for us.”
Canton gave Archies the chance to get back into the game with three penalties in the third period, but the Bulldogs were so aggressive on the kill that the Bishops struggled at times to get the puck out of their defensive zone.
“When you’re tired,” Aldrich explained, “if you’re out-worked by the penalty kill it works against you; you have to work harder. I think we wore them out just enough. We take pride in the third period too, whether we’re even strength or a man down, we try to keep it simple and we actually did a great job of that.”
McNeil and Malloy both had chances to seal the win but Delmonte continued to be stout in the Archies goal. Kelleher was largely untroubled on the other end of the ice with the biggest save of note being a second period stop on Mackenzie Heath after she skated in all alone. With 4:35 remaining in the game, Kelleher was called on again after Hanna Bell spun in the slot and fired a snap shot that the Canton goalie was able to kick aside.
It was a solid stop, especially since Kelleher had been mostly a spectator as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-1 advantage in shots in the third.
“It’s so nerve-wracking,” said Kelleher of not having to be ready after a long time between saves. “Even though in the games I face more shots I may let in more goals but I’m more focused in the game and my legs are warmed up. It’s definitely harder in these types of games.”
Archies finished with a flurry, desperately seeking the tying goal. Heath had the final scoring opportunity as she pinched in from the point on the power play, but her shot was saved by Kelleher.
At the final horn, the Canton players raced to their goalie to celebrate. This tournament run may be different than last year, but in the end that feeling of knowing that you are playing for a state title remains.
“I couldn’t stop smiling,” Kelleher gushed. “My heart just like burst. I don’t even know, it gave me butterflies. I’m so excited still.”
Canton (18-3-3) will face top seed Wellesley in the Div. 2 state championship game on Sunday at the TD Garden, time to be determined.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – When Canton faced off against Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) in last year’s Div. 2 state title game at the TD Garden, the 14th seed Bulldogs were the prohibitive favorite against the undefeated defending state champions and the game played out as expected with the Cougars claiming a second straight title.
Fast forward 12 months and the Bulldogs were more experienced, deeper, and full of belief that they could skate with NDA in Tuesday night’s Div. 2 quarterfinal at the Warrior Ice Arena and that was exactly how the game played out.
Junior forward Maggie Malloy continued her hot start to the playoffs with two goals and two assists and Canton’s top line accounted for all but one goal in a 5-2 victory that returned the Bulldogs to the state semifinal and exacted a measure of revenge for last March.
“It feels great,” said Malloy outside the locker room after the game. “We reversed it. We’re calling it the revenge tour.”
Canton coach Dennis Aldrich credited a preseason scrimmage with the Cougars, which finished in a 2-2 tie, for giving the team an extra boost of confidence heading into the season. He was able to remind his team of that performance heading into Tuesday’s rematch.
“It just built a lot of confidence and they came out and just wanted to out-compete them,” he said. “We had the talent level, we had seen enough of them…It was just our time.”
Malloy agreed, adding, “Playing a team like that the first time is going to be shocking but once you play them a couple times we have a better feel for who they are. This year we just said, we’re in great shape, we have great competition, and we’re just working together well.”
When the Bulldogs beat Walpole in the opening round, Aldrich was reminded of how every opponent that Canton beat last year claimed the better team had lost. He should have no concerns about that this season, as the Bulldogs controlled the majority of play right from the opening face-off.
Malloy, who scored a hat trick in the win against Walpole, had an early chance with a backhand that forced NDA goalie Erin Murray into a save. Two minutes later and Malloy put the Bulldogs in front. She stole the puck in the neutral zone, which Canton successfully clogged up all night, and skated in alone on Murray before ripping a shot into the top corner.
“The biggest threat for them that I saw was their transition game and the best way to counter that for us is to get [the puck] behind them and wear them out a little,” Adrich said. “Our defensive reads were better, especially on [Alexa Graziano].”
With 4:39 left in the first, Malloy nearly doubled the lead after Lauren Fitzpatrick’s pass went off the skate of Kendra Farrelly on the edge of the crease and Malloy was able to put the loose puck on net. Just 10 seconds later, NDA had its first good look when Kelly Morrissey got free in the slot but Colleen Kelleher (20 saves) made a smart pad stop.
The Cougars would go into the first intermission level. On the face-off following the game’s first penalty, Canton got mixed up on coverage and gave Kelsey Stewart the time to pick her corner.
NDA seemed to take some momentum from the tying goal into the second period and Kelleher had to be sharp to deny Alexa Graziano has she drove in from the left circle. Canton regained its edge and the lead with 7:36 left in the second. Fitzpatrick centered for Farrelly again and this time the puck found Andrea McNeil on the far post. She took a second and then fired a shot inside the post before leaping in celebration.
“Our second goal came right off what we’re trying to do [on face-offs],” Aldrich explained. “One of their guys is trying to fire out and we just want to set a pick on her coming out and it ended up screwing her up a little bit, puck bounced around and boom it’s 2-1.”
The goal sparked Canton back into action. A Theresa O’Brien shot from the point was stopped by Lizzie Tassinari in the slot but her backhand went narrowly wide. Kelleher then had to make three saves on Graziano, including a nice double save coming off an NDA face-off win.
Aldrich said of Kelleher, “She made some huge saves early on. That Graziano girl, god she’s quite a player. She gave us fits but the only shots that Colleen didn’t save were the ones she didn’t see and that’s our fault.”
As the clock ticked under two minutes left in the period, Malloy struck again (her fifth goal of the postseason). Farrelly’s shot from the left was blocked but not held by Murray and Malloy was quick to dig out the puck from a scrum of sticks and skates and then flick it in for a 3-1 lead.
Malloy deflected praise for her scoring streak onto her teammates. She said, “As a team, everybody’s getting their effort to the net and the fact that I’ve scored them reflects on everyone that is on the ice. You can just tell that everyone in the locker room, on the bench, wants to get the puck in the back of the net.”
The first line has only been playing as a unit for a few games, but it has certainly found a rhythm at the right time of the season. Malloy said, “The first game, I don’t think it went that well but once we decided it doesn’t matter who is putting the puck in the net than things started to go well.”
Fitzpatrick got behind the NDA defense right from the opening face-off of the third period but Murray made a big stop to keep the Cougars in it. NDA then turned on the pressure, out-skating Canton for the first and really only stretch of the contest as it desperately tried to get back into the game. It paid off with a goal a minute into the third, as Merideth Stewart snuck a shot through a crowd in front and past an unsighted Kelleher to make it 3-2.
After a few minutes of NDA pressure, Canton recovered and took back the impetus. Malloy saw a shot glance off the shoulder of Murray and then on the power play Maffeo’s shot from the point and Malloy’s follow-up were both kept out by the NDA goalie.
Murray could only do so much and with 6:25 to play, Fitzpatrick got on the scoresheet when she drove off the right circle and went top shelf at the near post to restore the two-goal advantage. With 1:20 left and NDA putting on some pressure with an extra skater, Farrelly managed to hold off a defenseman and slide into a shot for an empty net goal that sealed the win.
Canton (17-3-3) will await the winner of Archbishop Williams and Natick in the state semifinal on Monday night back at the Warrior Ice Arena.
CANTON, Mass. – With two of the top defensive units in Canton and Franklin going head to head, goal scoring chances were going to be at a premium.
Franklin sophomore Jordan Dwyer took advantage of her chance, scoring the only goal of the game a minute into the final period to give the Panthers a 1-0 upset over Canton.
While Dwyer provided the lone tally of the game, it was Franklin freshman goalie Natalie Stott (35 saves) that put the Panthers in position to get the win.
“She made the difference,” said Franklin head coach Margie Burke of Stott. “Anytime its a one-goal game, you have to give it to the goalie. She gave us the opportunity to put one puck in the net. And it wasn’t until the third period. If [Canton] gets a couple goals early on, then we don’t even have that chance. She played great.”
Stott turned away seven Bulldog shots in the first period, blanked Canton on 17 chances in the second period, and completed the shutout with 15 saves in the final frame, including five stops while trying to kill a penalty.
“She’s terrific,” said Canton head coach Dennis Aldrich of Stott. “We had 17 shots in the second period alone. She’s in such control, her body control is so good and her focus…Maybe a couple of times we didn’t get the crowd out in front that we wanted to and if [Stott] can see it, she can stop it.”
After two scoreless periods, Dwyer broke the stalemate 61 seconds into the third. Off an attacking zone face-off, Dwyer slipped in behind after winning the face-off forward and was able to jump on the loose puck and find the back of the net.
“That’s a faceoff that we practiced but very rarely has worked in a game,” Burke said. “The wing got tangled so Jordan was able to slip right in and finish, it was great.”
The Panthers nearly had an ideal start when freshman Victoria Quinn batted in a loose puck 20 seconds into the game, but one of her teammates had been knocked into the crease and put Canton goalie Colleen Kelleher out of position. The ref waved the goal off due to interference.
Canton had its best chance of the first when junior Lauren Fitzpatrick broke out of her own zone and into the attacking end, finding Lizzie Tassinari with a pass, but Franklin defenseman Jillian McLaughlin was perfectly positioned to disrupt the 2-on-1 chance.
“Everyone stepped up and played well tonight, Burke said. Franklin was without Regan Paterson, one of the team’s top scorers. Burke complimented her team for the ability to adjust. “From beginning to end, I would say that was our best effort all year, all areas of the ice.”
The Dogs continued to pressure Stott in the second period, peppering the goal with 17 shots on target but the freshman didn’t flinch. With nine minutes left, Katie Trerice found Kendra Farrelly in front but Stott denied her with a kick save.
Thirty seconds later, Franklin had a bid when Quinn came off the bench for a line change and had a partial breakaway chance, but Kelleher cut the angle down and Quinn’s bid went just wide.
It looked like Canton was going to take the lead at the midway point of the period but once again, Stott came up big. Freshman Maria Femia found senior Andrea McNeil out front but Stott made a stop on her high shot. Just seconds later, the puck popped free in front and McNeil had another bid but Stoff made a tremendous save to rob Canton of the opening goal.
Fitzpatrick danced her way through three Panthers and fired a wrist shot but Stott made the save and prevented the puck from cross underneath with five minutes to go in the second. On the other end, Franklin’s Jackie Connelly forced Kelleher into a tough save, and the senior made an athletic play to cover the loose puck up.
“We’ve done this a lot this year,” Aldrich said of outshooting Franklin 35-10. “We do a lot well but we can’t seem to get it in enough. A lot of the teams we play kind of crowd the front of the net, so you try to spread them out using the defense. And we’ve practiced it a lot. At this point, I don’t know if the scoring is a mental thing because we’re certainly keeping it out of our net.
“It’s hard to talk to the team and tell them they played really well but didn’t come out on top.”
Franklin girls hockey (2-2-2 Hockomock, 11-3-3- overall) is back in action on Saturday when it travels to Gardner Veterans Arena to take on Leominster. Canton (5-1-0, 10-2-3) will try to bounce back on Saturday when it takes on Mansfield/Oliver Ames in a key league contest.
Foxboro, 1 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Ryan Morry and Jake Parker each scored once to help the Bombardiers earn their first win of the season, a non-league victory over Foxboro. Warriors freshman Kirk Leach scored his first career goal for Foxboro in the loss.
King Philip, 3 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – Final – King Philip bounced back from its season-opening loss with a strong win on the road against the Trojans. The Warriors scored once in each period while junior James Lewis made 15 saves in his first varsity start to earn the win. Mike Curtin opened the scoring in the first off of assists from Garrett Maxwell and Collin Cooke. The Warriors made it 2-0 when Luke D’Amico converted off of a feed from Curtin. In the third, Cooke buried an unassisted goal into an empty net to secure the win.
Mansfield, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final – North Attleboro opened its season in style, scoring the opening goal just 21 seconds into the game and never looking back against the Hornets. Drew Wissler opened the scoring off of an assist from Anthony Zamiello, and then returned the favor to Zamiello later in the period to give Big Red a 2-0 lead after a period. Mansfield senior Cullin Anastasia scored a short-handed goal to bring the Hornets within one but Jeff Baker restored the two-goal lead for North within a minute to make it 3-1. Wissler scored an empty-netter in the third period to ice the game.
Stoughton, 2 vs. St. John Paul II, 5 – Final – Brendan Campbell and Sean Doherty each scored a goal for Stoughton.
Canton, 1 @ Falmouth, 1 – Final – Canton peppered Falmouth with 41 shots but only broke through once to earn a point on the road. Andrea McNeil found the back of the net for the Bulldogs in the first period while Colleen Kelleher finished with 30 saves.
Marlboro Early Bird (Canton) – Canton placed fifth overall among 16 teams. Sophomore Eddie Marinilli won the 138 bracket for the Bulldogs.
Mike Melish Duals (Foxboro, Sharon), 9:00AM
St. John’s Prep Quad (Franklin) – Franklin had the best team at the meeting, sweeping all three opponents. The Panthers opened with a dominant 45-18 win over Lawrence, earned a hard-fought victory over the hosts St. John Prep (31-21) and finished the day with a 58-16 win over Salem (NH). Jordan Carlucci went 3-0 on the day with three pins.
King Philip @ Milford, 10:00AM
Brockton Tri-meet (Mansfield) – Mansfield rallied for a win over host Brockton to pick up its second win of the day. The Hornets beat Barnstable (60-18) before coming back to beat the Boxers (39-31). Sam Isaacson (126), Ethan Nirenberg (195), and Sam Hutton (220) all picked up huge wins for the Hornets to help complete the comeback against Brockton.
North Attleboro Quad (North Attleboro) – North Attleboro picked up three wins on the day, including over one of the state’s best programs in Norton. Big Red beat Hope (RI) 53-22, took down Chariho (RI) 39-22 and picked up a win over Norton, 45-30. Seniors Jake Direnzo, Brady Folan, Zack Gould, Adam Eberle, and Brad White all went 3-0 for the day.
Marshfield Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames dominated the day, picking up four wins to move to 5-0 on the season. The Tigers beat Whitman-Hanson (53-15), Pembroke (47-24), Toll Gate (57-24) and host Marshfield (51-27). Freshman Remy Creighton (106), junior Nick McGovern (113), senior Brandon Belleton (138, three pins), junior Anthony Berksza (145, four pins) and junior Dean Pacini (195, three pins) all went 4-0 on the day for Oliver Ames.
Sandwich Early Bird (Taunton) – Taunton had a successful day at the Sandwich Early Bird tournament with seven wrestlers finishing first, second or third. Josh Grasso (132), Alex Simon (195) and Woudanly Danger (220) emerged victorious from their respective weight classes while Candido Santos (160) and Mason Frank (285) finished second and Tyler Kennedy (152) and Jordan Manning (285) each finished third.
Boys Indoor Track (@ Reggie Lewis)
Attleboro, 29 vs. Oliver Ames, 70 – Final
Canton, 25 vs. Sharon, 75 – Final
Foxboro, 23 vs. North Attleboro, 77 – Final
Franklin, 61 vs. King Philip, 39 – Final
Mansfield, 76 vs. Taunton, 24 – Final
Milford, 46 vs. Stoughton, 50 – Final
Girls Indoor Track (@ Reggie Lewis)
Attleboro, 31 vs. Oliver Ames, 69 – Final
Canton, 17.66 vs. Sharon, 82.33 – Final
Foxboro, 23 vs. North Attleboro, 68 – Final
Franklin, 77 vs. King Philip, 23 – Final
Mansfield, 43.50 vs. Taunton, 56.50 – Final
Milford, 71 vs. Stoughton, 29 – Final
Taunton, 124.1 @ Attleboro, 134.65 – Final
North Attleboro, 136.15 @ Canton, 103.35 – Final – North Attleboro had four different individuals each win a single event in a victory over Canton. Kaleigh DeMarco won the vault (9.1), Caroline Szajda won the bars (8.4), Lindsay Robinson was first on the beam (8.7) and Paige Moore was victorious on the floor (8.8).
2016-2017 Record: 6-12-2 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Mark Homer
Attleboro struggled in its closing games of 2016-17 and narrowly missed out on a place in the state tournament via the Sullivan rule. This year’s Bombardiers are hoping that a mix of youth and experience will be enough to get the team over the hump and back in the playoff mix.
The main scoring threat for Attleboro this season is senior forward Jake Parker, a HockomockSports.com Second Team selection last winter who led the team with 20 goals despite facing regular double teams and playing loads of minutes. Parker will be joined up front by sophomore Ryan Morry, who is coming off a solid rookie campaign and will try to take advantage of the opportunities Parker creates near the net.
Attleboro’s experience is on the defensive side of the ice. Seniors Eddie Noel and Sam MacKenzie and junior Kyle McCabe provide size, physicality, and reading of the game to protect the Bombardiers goal. Attleboro coach Mark Homer, in his second season with the team, is expecting the defensemen to be aggressive in the zone and be more prepared to clear the puck. The Bombardiers are also experienced in goal with junior Evan Andrews and sophomore Derrik Rivet offering a solid one-two between the pipes.
“As a team, we are working on becoming more competitive in our games at all phases of the game, said Homer. “We will strive to be better today than we were yesterday but not as good as we will be tomorrow. Our success will be measured by how hard we work and not by our wins and losses.”
2016-2017 Record: 16-5-3 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal. Coach: Brian Shuman
After another league title in 2016-17 and a run to the Div. 2 South semifinal, Canton has started this season with a win and a draw (that turned into an overtime win in the final of the Gormley Cup) and the expectations remain as high as ever for one of the teams to beat in D2.
Last season, Canton was by far the league’s best defensive team, allowing only 32 goals in 24 games. The next best defense allowed 48 goals. But, the Bulldogs will need to rebuild the blue line this season after the graduation of HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jackson Maffeo and Third Team selection C.J. Martin. Defensemen Brad Murphy and Nick Allen have experience and will be counted on to step up to bigger roles this year.
The key for the Canton defense, which has allowed only one goal in two games so far this season, will be junior goalie Quinn Gibbs. He was a HockomockSports.com First Team choice last year with a league-best 0.924 save percentage and there is hope he can get even better with a year of experience. Offensively, the Bulldogs bring back most of the goals from last year with Ryan Nolte, Johnny Hagan, Bubba McNeice, and Jack Goyetch all returning this season and all having scored big goals in big moments for Canton during last season’s tournament run.
“I think the most important determinant of our success will be whether we can find some depth at forward and defense,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “Teams need more than two lines and four ‘D’ to make a deep run, so we need some guys to compete for those remaining spots.”
2016-2017 Record: 6-12-2 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 3 First Round. Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Foxboro saw improvement last year, increasing its win total, goals for, and allowed fewer goals than the season before. Head coach Mark Cedarchuk is hoping that trend continues this season as the Warriors look to try and compete for the spot in the postseason.
The Warriors will be relying on a mix of experience as well as youth to try and compete in the Hockomock League this year. Senior captain Aidan Sullivan (two goals, six assists) has been an anchor of the team’s blue line unit over the past couple of seasons and will be relied upon to lead the way again this year. Senior captain Taylor Sharfman is another defenseman that gives the Warriors two capable and reliable options in the back. Junior Tanner Kennedy is also back after a solid sophomore year and Warriors added junior Brendan Tully to the defensive unit.
On offense, Foxboro graduated its top three goal scorers but sophomore Ronnie MacLellan (four goals, seven assists) is back after a strong sophomore year. He will be joined up front by senior Sam Garrabrant and sophomore Sebastian Ricketts, who had four goals and two assists last year.
Foxboro will have to find a replacement for goalie John Cronin, a multi-year starter in between the pipes for the Warriors. Foxboro has three goalies – freshman Jack Spinney, sophomore Espen Reager, and freshman Connor Callahan – listed on the roster.
“With a combination of experienced upperclassman and talented underclassman, we’re looking forward to an exciting and competitive season,” Cedarchuk said.
2016-2017 Record: 14-9-1 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Chris Spillane
Although last winter was atypical for the Panthers, losing two games in the league for the first time in several years, Franklin won another league title and with 20 players back for this season the expectation is that a seventh straight league crown is a distinct possibility – not to mention making a run in the state tournament.
Experience will be the key for the Panthers. Most of the forwards were members of the team that won the state championship two years ago and know what it takes to get goals against top competition. Leading scorer Brendan O’Rielly is back after scoring 20 goals and recording 11 assists last season. He should have plenty of help up front with classmates Luke Downie, Jeremy Miller, T.J. Durkin, and Ken Demerchant, who are all three-year varsity players for the Panthers.
Defensively, Franklin has lost several talented young defensemen to other programs in recent seasons, but still boasts a strong defensive corps heading into this winter. Jack McGrath, Matt Crane, Connor Norton, Cam Cassella, and sophomore Tom Tasker will all contribute to the defensive pairings this season and that depth will be important over a long season. The goalie position is a battle between three seniors, including returning netminders Owen Ginley and Dan Sheehan, who both saw time last year.
“I will be looking to our leading goal scorer from last year Brendan O’Rielly to once again lead the offensive charge,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane. “From a small practice sample (one skate) I was impressed with our team speed.”
2016-2017 Record: 4-16-0 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Paul Carlow
King Philip finished just below .500 in the league last season, and just five points out of second place in the Kelley-Rex division, but struggled in the non-league schedule, losing all 11 games outside of the Hock. The Warriors will look to improve that considerably this year with an experienced roster that wants to challenge for a league title.
KP returns 13 players from last year’s squad and that experience will be vital to allow the Warriors to compete not only in the league but against a schedule that has been bolstered because of the program’s move up to Div. 1 several seasons ago. Offensively, the attention will be on senior forward Collin Cooke, who chipped in with 10 goals and seven assists and has been drawing the focus of opposing defenses for several years. Senior Gavin Maxwell had nine goals and eight assists last season and will again be a solid counterpoint to take some of the pressure off Cooke in the attacking zone.
On the defensive side of the ice, KP continues to be a physical team that likes to be aggressive attacking the puck. Senior defensemen Will Connor will get some help at the back with the return of senior Mike Curtin from juniors, who head coach Paul Carlow said could be an “anchor” on defense. Senior Shane Frommer, fresh off a stellar football season and another Super Bowl title, will quickly transition from the gridiron to be the team’s starting goalie, after posting a 2.66 goals against average in 2016-17.
“Our strength is that we have a total of 13 returning players from last years team,” said Carlow. “We have experience up front and on the back end. We should see some team chemistry with this many returning players.”
2016-2017 Record: 12-8-2 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round. Coach: Mike Balazarini
In last year’s state tournament, Mansfield held its own against perennial power Xaverian before losing 2-1 in the opening round and that defeat is spurring the Hornets on this season, as the team has built a deep roster that believes it can challenge for the Kelley-Rex crown.
Team speed is going to be a strength for the Hornets this season, even without several key pieces from last winter, including breakout freshman Chris Jenkins, lost to graduation or to juniors. Senior forward Dylan Tivnan and Cullin Anastasia will be back to man the top scoring line along with freshman Coleman Jenkins. The second line will feature a lot of youth with sophomore Jake Lund and freshman Matt Copponi alongside junior Chris Copponi.
Seniors Tyler Oakley and Tim Arnold will be the leaders on the defensive side this year, while senior Ryan O’Hara and juniors Nick Levine and Austin Ricker will give the Hornets depth in the defensive unit. That depth should make things easier for sophomore Sean McCafferty, who will be stepping between the pipes for Mansfield this season.
“I think everyone wants to pick up where he left off last year,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “We’ve had a good mindset early on this season. We have some new faces and everyone has gelled so far. We can’t take everyone lightly, we have to play every shift as its out last.”
2016-2017 Record: 14-4-4 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Ben McManama
North Attleboro is coming off its most successful season in program history, and will be starting a new chapter with new head coach Ben McManama.
The Rocketeers will be tasked with finding replacements for some of the top players in the league from a season ago. Someone will need to step up in order to fill the void left by Zach McGowan (19 goals, 13 assists for 32 points – third most in the Hockomock) as well as Hunter Sarro’s 22 points and Erik Clements’ 20 points.
Senior Jason McNeany is a key piece back for the Rocketeers, fresh off a terrific football season. He scored 13 goals last season and added 13 assists, and has been a big piece of the offense for many years now. He will be counted on to be a leader this season, both in the locker room and on the ice.
2016-2017 Record: 14-7-1 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Sean Bertoni
Under first-year head coach Sean Bertoni, Oliver Ames proved to be a strong skating team that could cause a number of problems with its dangerous attack. That speed up front will be put to the test again this year, as the Tigers look to jump from second in the Kelley-Rex division to the top of the standings.
The Tigers have a number of talented forwards returning from last season’s team, which reached the Div. 2 South tournament and beat Nauset only to run into state finalist Scituate in the second round. That loss will provide motivation for junior forward Brett Williams, who was on the HockomockSports.com Second Team with 12 goals and eight assists last year, and the rest of the OA forwards. Williams will be joined up front by seniors Eric LeBlanc and Rory Madden and junior Max Ward.
On defense, junior Matt McCormick returns to be one of the top four along with senior Mike Nikiciuk. Both players will provide leadership for a defensive unit that promises to be aggressive in both zones, as Bertoni continues to implement his system at OA. Sophomore goalie Owen Connor will be the new goalie for the Tigers.
“We will continue to use our team speed and play an aggressive style offensively and defensively,” said Bertoni. “We hope to compete at a high level in all three zones. If we bring an aggressive forecheck we can create turnovers which should result in production.”
2016-2017 Record: 7-12-2 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Dan Mark
Numbers are a bit down for the Stoughton High hockey team this season, so the Knights will be relying on their most experienced players to lead the way, especially early on.
On offense, the Knights boast senior Brendan Campbell at center and junior Sean Doherty at wing. Campbell had a team-high in points last season, finishing second with 11 goals while recording a team-best 15 assists for 26 points. Doherty was third on the team, tying for the team lead with 12 goals and finishing with 25 points.
Senior Cam Nelson and junior Josh Hough will be the leaders of the Knights’ defensive unit. Hough is a captain along with Campbell and Doherty and has the most experience on the blue line. Nelson also saw plenty of time last season, recording an assist.
“We are an inexperienced team that will improve as the season goes on,” said Stoughton head coach Dan Mark.
2016-2017 Record: 12-9-2 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round. Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of seasons, setting new program bests for wins and making the state tournament two seasons in a row. This year’s team features only three seniors, so the Tigers will be hoping recent success will continue with a youthful lineup.
Senior forward Will Walsh has returned from junior hockey and will provide a boost to the front line, which head coach Kris Metea has high hopes for this season. Senior Jake Roberts is also back for the Tigers after scoring 18 points last year and junior Cam Sneyd is back after a 16-point season last winter. Metea is counting on high energy from the offensive unit and believes that the roster is capable of creating loads of scoring opportunities.
Sophomore Sean Bunker will be in net for the Tigers and the defensive unit is fairly inexperienced, although the coach believes that by working together Taunton will be able to put together a solid back line. The hope is that defense will become a strength of the Tigers by the end of the season.
“The players enjoy wearing the orange and black and look forward to coming to the rink every day,” said Metea. “The coaching staff has preached about enjoying the journey of a season and the developmental process. These players strive to work hard and get better every day. They will be fun to watch grow throughout the season.”
2016-2017 Record: 14-5-6 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Final Coach: Dennis Aldrich
Canton is coming off a remarkable state tournament run that took the No. 14 seed all the way to the TD Garden and the program’s first state title game appearance since 2006. After years of competing in the SEMGHL Coastal division, the Bulldogs are excited for the first Hockomock League girls’ hockey season and enter the new season as favorites to bring home the first Hock title.
A number of key players are back from the team that battled Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) in the state championship game last March and will be counted on to put together another solid defensive effort that made the Bulldogs so tough to play against during the tournament run. Spearheading that defensive unit is senior goalie Colleen Kelleher, who was stellar throughout the state tournament with clutch saves in key situations.
On offense, Canton returns plenty of firepower. Juniors Maggie Malloy and Lauren Fitzpatrick emerged as big time scorers last year and came through with important goals to help the Bulldogs make a run to the Garden. Senior forwards Melissa Devane, Kendra Farrelly, and Andrea McNeil give Canton a loaded attacking unit that always seemed to pop up with goals when the team needed it most.
“The strength of the Bulldogs will continue to be a tenacious, smothering team defense, strong goaltending, and balanced, opportunistic scoring,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “We are proud to have our roster filled with 11 Canton team captains amongst our 22 rostered players.”
Franklin enters the first Hockomock League girls’ hockey season with a young roster, but one that is expected to compete with the other four teams and have a shot at bringing home the inaugural title.
Junior Regan Paterson and senior Jackie Connelly will be expected to provide leadership and create scoring opportunities for a roster that is loaded with underclassmen. Both players provide speed and playmaking ability in the attacking zone and the Panthers will be counting on their experience to make the difference.
Leadership is going to be critical for this year’s team and head coach Marjorie Burke is looking to her senior class to provide direction for the youthful lineup on both ends of the ice. Among the seniors that Burke is looking to this season are Bella Trask, Caroline Hedvig, Maddie Hinkley, Jillian McGlaughlin, and Connelly.
“We are excited about the upcoming season,” said Burke. “We are young but look to be competitive.”
Three years ago, King Philip was the top seed in Div. 2 and after two more playoff appearance, the Warriors now have the opportunity to bring their recent success into the first ever Hockomock League girls’ hockey season and hope that an experienced lineup could make them the first Hock champs.
Junior Nicole Connor is off to a strong start this season and has the potential, according to KP coach Jack Unger, to be one of the top players in the Hockomock League this year. Connor will play both at forward and along the blue line, crucial versatility that makes her an important piece for KP. The Warriors return five seniors who will be the “backbone” of the squad, said Unger. Kyleigh Remmes, Olivia McCarthy, Jessica Daniels, Katie Crowther, and Talia Quinn give the Warriors depth all over the ice.
Lilly Potts returns for her third year in between the pipes, while sophomore Cristina Coleman will be the backup netminder. Freshmen Avari Maxwell and Jordyn Remmes will be instant contributors on offense, while classmate Marin Cormier will step in on defense. Sophomores Abby Carr and Sammy Robison are also expected to step in at forward this season.
“[The roster is] rounded out by a number of talented juniors who should be able to spread out the scoring amongst the three starting forward lines,” said Unger.
2016-2017 Record: 14-6-1 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 First Round. Coach: Mike Dalton
Mansfield, Oliver Ames, and Foxboro have joined forces since the 2014-15 season and have reached the postseason each of the past two winters, suffering an overtime loss to Walpole in the first round of the state tournament last year, and have started this season with an impressive win in the opener.
The Warriors will be led by Foxboro’s Catherine Luciano. The senior was the team’s leading scorer last year and scored a hat trick in the season opener to get off to another strong start. Joining Luciano on the top line will be Mackenzie Fraser and Isabelle Shanteller. Other contributors in the offensive zone include senior Kayla Dalton, Kristina O’Connell, and Lindsey Corning.
While the Warriors are expected to create a number of scoring opportunities, defense will be just as important if Mansfield/OA (MOA) is going to make it a third straight playoff appearance. Denea Reager, Ali Delano, and Emily Bubencick will all be critical components of the Warriors defensive unit. Senior Kerren Holmes will be back in goal this year to stifle the opposition, while freshman Cate Gallegher will be the backup netminder.
“A strong freshman class will assist the team with help on both offense and defense,” said MOA coach Mike Dalton. “The team looks to compete for a top position in the Hockomock League and secure a spot in the tournament.”
2016-2017 Record: 1-19-1 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Richard Grasso
The newest of the programs in the inaugural season of Hockomock League girls’ hockey, Stoughton is in only its third season of varsity play, but the Black Knights are counting on last year’s experience and the growth in the program to make them a team to watch out for this winter.
Two-time all-star Julia Russell will be one of the key defenders for the Black Knights, but also brings an offensive punch with her speed forcing opponents to worry about her carrying the puck through the neutral zone. Senior Sarah Widrow will join Russell at the blue line and provides consistency in the defensive zone. Both will be expected to provide leadership for the less experienced players on the roster and try to make Stoughton a team that is tough to play against.
The offense will be sparked by a pair of freshmen. Hailey Nelson and Morgan Lesso made an instant impact on their debuts, helping Stoughton start the season with a 6-5 win at Framingham in the season opener. Lesso recorded a hat trick against the Flyers to set a high standard in her first varsity action.
“Stoughton will be a much stronger team this year than last,” said Black Knights coach Richard Grasso. “However, this will be a great challenge for our program. We have a lot of respect for the teams in the Hockomock League. There’s a lot of talent out there and each team is well-coached.”
Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Field Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Christina Hathaway, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Grace Mayer, Attleboro
Andrea McNeil, Canton
Maggie Malloy, Canton
Riley Brown, Canton
Emily Campbell, Canton
Jackie Brion, Foxboro
Lily Daly, Foxboro
Sophia DiCenso, Foxboro
Catherine Luciano, Foxboro
Cassi Ronan, Franklin
Annie Walsh, Franklin
Christina Hathaway, King Philip
Abby Campbell, King Philip
Elizabeth Furfari, King Philip
Alli Meehan, King Philip
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Nicole Berluti, Mansfield
Shannon Cormier, Milford
Emilie Pothier, North Attleboro
Kaley Gorman, North Attleboro
Sarah Stevens, Oliver Ames
Hannah Stryke, Oliver Ames
Leora Levitt, Sharon
Kamryn Oliveira, Stoughton
Kya Enos, Taunton
Liana Duarte, Taunton
#3 North Attleboro vs. #19 Medfield – Postponed to Tuesday, 11/7 at 2:00.
Girls Soccer D2 South
#10 Canton, 0 @ #7 Holliston, 3 – Final
Field Hockey D1 South
#2 King Philip, 5 vs. #7 Needham, 2 – Final – King Philip senior Liz Furfari scored a pair of goals inside the final five minutes of the first half create a two-goal cushion for the Warriors, a lead they never let up. Nicole Connor opened the scoring before Needham tied the game. In the second half, Raegan Simeone and Christina Hathaway added to the Warriors’ lead. Furfari also had a pair of assists in the win, Hathaway had one and Alli Meehan finished with two helpers. #2 King Philip advances to play #6 Duxbury in the D1 South Semifinal on Wednesday, at 7:00 at home. Duxbury beat #2 Walpole, 3-2, in overtime.
#4 Canton, 3 vs. #12 Barnstable, 2 – Final – Canton scored a pair of goals in the first ten minutes, but needed a late goal to break the tie and earn the win over Barnstable. Andrea McNeil put the Bulldogs up 1-0 and Maria Femia doubled the lead at the ten minute mark. Barnstable cut the deficit to one just before half, and then tied the game with 12 minutes to play. Sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch scored the game-winner for the second straight game, converting a corner with five minutes to play. #4 Canton advances to play #1 Somerset-Berkley in the D1 South Semifinal on Wednesday, with a time to be announced.
Volleyball D1 South
#4 North Attleboro, 3 vs. #5 Walpole, 1 – Final – North Attleboro opened its tournament run with a 25-10, 25-19, 23-25, 25-16 win over visiting Walpole. Amelia Murphy had a terrific night at the net, putting down 17 kills along with two blocks, plus three aces. Kezia De La Cruz added 12 kills and six aces and middle Tori Melanson had eight kills, six blocks and three aces in the win. #4 North Attleboro advances to play at #1 Barnstable on Wednesday, at 6:00.
Boys Soccer D1 South
#5 Mansfield, 0 vs. #12 Braintree, 1 – Final – Braintree scored the lone goal of the game in the 33rd minute, eliminating the Hornets from the D1 South tournament. Mansfield keeper Nick Ferraz made 10 saves in net.
#8 King Philip, 1 vs. #9 Natick, 0 – Final – King Philip senior Thomas Lugten was in the right spot at the right time, ripping a one-timer off a rebound to net the lone goal of the game and help the Warriors advance. In the 49th minute, junior Anthony Bozza attacked down the left side, cut it back and ripped a shot that bounced off the post. The rebound fell to Lugten just inside the 18 for his one-timer. King Philip advances to play top-seeded Brockton on Monday at 6:00.
Girls Soccer D1 South
#7 Mansfield, 0 vs. #10 Marshfield, 2 – Final – Marshfield scored a pair of goals in the second half to land the upset on the road. Mansfield finishes the season 13-2-2.
#8 North Attleboro, 2 vs. #9 Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final (North wins 3-2 in PKs) – North Attleboro junior goalie Emma Noreck turned away two penalty kicks and three Rocketeers converted their chances from the spot as Big Red denied an upset bid from the Shamrocks. Feehan took a lead on a penalty kick early in the first half but Kayla Pasquel netted an olimpico – scoring directly off a corner kick – with five minutes to play in the half to knot the score. Feehan regained the lead in the 55th minute but Haley Guertin had an answer, finding the back of the net out of a scrum off a service from Pasquel. After two scoreless overtime periods, the teams went to PKs. Noreck made saves on Feehan’s first and fifth shots while Pasquel, Aine Mendonca and Ashlyn Gaulin scored from the spot. NAHS head coach Bill Wallace added Leah Jette, Emma Gaulin and Felicity Monfils played great and Sam Hawkins was outstanding, shutting down Feehan’s leading scorer.
#4 Canton, 2 vs. #13 Dartmouth, 1 – Final – Senior Andrea McNeil opened the scoring early on to give the Bulldogs the lead but Canton needed a late-winner to fend off an upset bid by the Indians. McNeil scored just a minute into the contest but Dartmouth knotted the score with 18 minutes left to play. Sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch netted the game-winner off of a corner with 2:09 left.
Taunton, 0 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final – Isabella Salviati scored the game’s lone goal in the first half off a Kara Thornton assist. Attleboro coach Steve Santos said that the seniors “played great” for the Bombardiers on senior night.
Foxboro @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Friday, 10/27 at 3:45
Oliver Ames @ Mansfield – Postponed to Saturday, 10/28 at 1:00.
Sharon @ Norwood – Postponed to Monday, 10/30 at 3:45.
Stoughton, 0 @ Canton, 6 – Final – The Bulldogs clinched the Davenport division title outright behind a hat trick from senior Andrea McNeil.
Sharon, 0 @ Bellingham, 5 – Final
Attleboro, 3 vs. Norton, 1 – Final
Milford, 2 vs. Hopedale, 3 – Final