2019 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars

Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Espen Reager, Foxboro

Hockomock League All Stars

Ryan Morry, Attleboro
Sam Larkin, Attleboro
Ryan Nolte, Canton
Michael Staffiere, Canton
John Hagan, Canton
Owen Lehane, Canton
Espen Reager, Foxboro
Brendan Tully, Foxboro
Joseph Lizotte, Franklin
Thomas Tasker, Franklin
Shane McCaffrey, Franklin
Brendan Shandley, King Philip
Rocco Bianculli, King Philip
Jack Garland, Mansfield
Brad Grant, Mansfield
Ryan Warren, North Attleboro
Anthony Zammiello, North Attleboro
Brendan McHugh, North Attleboro
Max Ward, Oliver Ames
Brett Williams, Oliver Ames
Matthew McCormack, Oliver Ames
Sean Doherty, Stoughton
Andrew Carter, Taunton

Honorable Mentions:
Kyle McCabe, Attleboro
Jack Connolly, Canton
Ronnie MacLellan, Foxboro
Cam Cassella, Franklin
Ryan Fitzpatrick, King Philip
Chris Copponi, Mansfield
Dennis Morehouse, North Attleboro
Bryan Kearns, Oliver Ames
Carter Gerome, Stoughton
Cameron Sneyd, Taunton

North Attleboro Notches First Ever Win Over Franklin

North Attleboro boys hockey Ryan Warren
North Attleboro’s Anthony Zammiello (left) joins Jeff Baker and Matt McSweeney celebrating with goalie Ryan Warren following the game. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The North Attleboro boys hockey team didn’t take any points from its game against Canton this past weekend, but it might have skated away with something more valuable: confidence.

The Rocketeers skated with, and arguably outplayed, the top team in the Hockomock on Saturday before the Bulldogs grabbed a late winner. While North Attleboro didn’t win, it learned that they can play with top teams in the area when playing at the top of their game.

That confidence was on full display on Wednesday night in Franklin as the Rocketeers raced out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, skating to a 5-2 decision over the Panthers.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We’ve kind of compared ourselves to the 2001 Patriots,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “They played the Rams in the regular season and they realized they could play, that they could hold their own. And it was about getting that next big victory and I think we got that today. Guys are realizing we’re good enough but we still have a lot to work on because we can’t rely on Ryan Warren giving us performances like that every game, it’s too much to ask for him.”

Despite the loss, Franklin clinched its eighth straight Kelley-Rex division title with other results around the league. The Panthers (6-6-4 overall) finish 5-2-2 in league play for 12 points, one ahead of both Mansfield and Oliver Ames. A division title also gives the Panthers a berth in the state tournament.

Senior Anthony Zammiello scored a hat trick to pace the offense, and senior Ryan Warren (29 saves) was terrific in net, helping North Attleboro record its first-ever win over perennial power Franklin.

“That one feels good,” McManama said. “Franklin was coming with everything, they were really working hard and Ryan Warren stood on his head. He absolutely kept us in that thing. But for the school, for the town, that’s the first time we’ve ever beat Franklin so we’ll definitely take it.”

Before gaining the lead, the Rocketeers had to withstand a strong push from the Panthers to begin the game, including a power play opportunity less than two minutes in. Warren set the tone for the night with a terrific save late in the man-advantage opportunity, denying a one-timer from Scott Elliott after a nice feed from junior Colin Hedvig.

North Attleboro took the lead a minute into its first power play opportunity. Just when it looked like the Panthers had killed it off, junior Jake McNeany snuck a shot from a tough angle into the net, giving the Rocketeers a 1-0 lead with one second left on the power play.

From there, the Rocketeers finished the period off strong. North Attleboro continued to apply pressure and found the back of the net less than a minute later. Senior Brendan McHugh pounced on a loose puck at the top of the circles and blasted a shot through traffic. The rebound fell to the stick of Zammiello and he tucked it in for a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The Panthers once again came out with a lot of energy to begin the period and had another solid opportunity less than two minutes into the game. After a scrum in front, a North Attleboro defenseman covered the puck in the crease resulting in a penalty shot.

Warren was up to the task again, getting the pad to the post to stop a low shot to his left.

Minutes later, Franklin’s Joe LeBlanc blasted a frame that was kicked aside, with the rebound falling to Zac Falvey but his bid somehow went straight through the crease and stayed out.

After a strong first five minutes, a turnover in the defensive zone hurt the Panthers. Zammiello was able to latch onto the turnover, deked past a defenseman and then slotted his shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.

Warren turned aside two good Franklin chances a minute apart after the Big Red took a three-goal lead. First, it was against a rebound chance from CJ Spillane after a shot from Hedvig, and then it was a diving stop on Shane McCaffrey after Matt D’Errico put one on frame.

Franklin got on the board when it converted on its third power play of the game. The Panthers needed just 13 seconds as Joey Lizotte maneuvered his way past the North defense and slid a pass over to freshman Declean Lovett for an easy tap in to make it 3-1.

“I don’t think we handled taking the lead very well, especially in the second period, it was all Franklin that period,” McManama said. ”We were battling with some penalties, trying to get away from some of that old North Attleboro mentality. But we battled back, it was an up and down kind of game, and we got a couple of breaks but I’m really proud of the kids.”

North Attleboro started the third on the power play but couldn’t convert. The Rocketeers did get a break five minutes into the final frame and took advantage of their opportunity. On a breakout, a Franklin defenseman slipped, and Zammiello went in on a partial break, firing a wrist shot into the back of the net to make it 4-1.

“He finished his chances too,” said McManama about Zammiello. “He worked his butt off tonight, he worked from the drop of the puck for the entire game. He’s been an unbelievable captain for us this year. He’s the guy that I thought would be the guy to step up he did. Him and Ryan Warren really stepped up tonight.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin went on a power play with 8:10 to go but it was the Rocketeers the found the back of the goal. After a pass trying to cycle in the offensive zone was missed, the puck came out of the zone, and Zammiello quickly grabbed onto it, skated in, and passed across to Todd Robinson who redirected the puck into the net for a 5-1 advantage,

Franklin added a power play goal when Spillane found Falvey, and the latter picked out a spot to make it 5-2.

North Attleboro boys hockey (6-2-1 Hockomock, 8-6-1 overall) finishes second in the Davenport division with 13 points and second overall in the Hockomock League. It marks the first time in league history that the top two teams in the league are from the Davenport. North continues its push for a playoff spot when it hosts Beverly on Saturday. Franklin hosts a talented St. Mary’s (Lynn) team on Saturday.

Nolte Hits Milestone and Canton Edges North to Title

Canton boys hockey
Canton senior forward Ryan Nolte (22) scored one goal and set up two others, reaching 100 career points and helping the Bulldogs to a dramatic win that clinched a ninth straight league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The puck was dug out on the near boards and angled towards Canton defenseman Owen Lehane, who was hanging at the blue line. The junior lined up a slap shot that deflected almost immediately off a North Attleboro stick and knuckled, weaving its way through traffic, past North goalie Ryan Warren and somehow under the bar.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

For the second straight game, the Bulldogs had pulled out a win in the closing minutes. Lehane’s goal with just 2:08 remaining in Sunday afternoon’s matinee at the New England Sports Village handed Canton a 3-2 victory and clinched the program’s ninth league title in a row.

“It’s a long season and especially this time of year when you get into the middle of January and guys are sick, guys are hurt, so if you can pull out a win when it’s not your best day it says a lot about a team and it says a lot about our guys,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman, who gave a lot of credit to the Rocketeers for making it tough all game.

He added, “I think they dominated most of the game. They had more puck possession than we did, they had certainly more zone time than us, they had more shot attempts, and they really did outplay us. Even the first period didn’t feel right. We had two goals but they were making it very difficult for us and I didn’t think the score reflected the game.”

North Attleboro coach Ben McManama could only shrug at the way the game ended, as the Rocketeers had gone toe-to-toe with (and at times outplayed) not only one of the Hockomock League’s perennial powers but a team that was just added to the initial watch list for the Super 8.

“We realized something about ourselves today, which is great,” McManama explained. “We wanted the win or even the tie, but we realize that when we move our feet and work hard, then we can hang with anybody. I think it’s a good lesson that we learned today but we just have to keep on going.”

Digging the puck out on the boards to set up the Lehane winner was senior forward Ryan Nolte. It was his second assist of the day, to go along with the one goal he scored, and with his three-point haul on Sunday he reached the 100-point milestone for his career.

“He’s someone that always seems to show up and make big plays in a game like this,” Shuman said of Nolte. “He made little plays that he normally wouldn’t do like throw a big hit in the neutral zone in the middle of the game when we needed that. He was important in all areas of the ice tonight.”

The Rocketeers came out of the gates trying to set a physical tone and looked faster and sharper, but it was the Bulldogs that got the goals. Nolte set up the opener five minutes into the game when he fired a pass from behind the goal line out to Matt Pigeon at the point. The defenseman’s shot was tipped in front by Chris Lavoie, giving Warren (22 saves) no chance.

North almost leveled the score just a minute later when Justin Moccia found himself alone on the edge of the crease. Canton goalie Mike Staffiere (20 saves) managed to scramble and get a piece of the shot and then got a piece of luck when the rebound looped up and landed on the bar before bouncing behind the goal.

Only a minute later and Canton had doubled its lead. Nolte cut across the slot and initially lost control and whiffed on his first attempt, but he stayed with the puck and whipped a backhand on goal. The puck caught Warren trying to slide across and it slipped through the five-hole to make it 2–0.

“Our group’s very good in that they’re very resilient,” said McManama. “Some teams would’ve gone in the tank after the two goals, I mean it’s Canton, but we just kept battling back. Since day one when I got here that’s the team I was trying to bring out. I’m happy with what we did today.”

The game changed in a span of 23 seconds. First a slip on the blue line allowed Dennis Morehouse to steal the puck and find space to rifle a shot from the right circle inside the far post to cut the lead in half. Nine seconds after the goal, North went on the game’s first power play. Fourteen seconds after that, the game was tied.

Brendan McHugh started the offensive set by making a grab at the blue line to keep the puck in the zone. North got a shot on goal and Staffiere made the first stop. The rebound was initially played into the side of the net but Anthony Zammiello kept following the puck and knocked it in.

Lavoie nearly nabbed his second of the game but Warren flashed a quick glove to deny his shot from the left circle. Shane Marshall had a good chance for the Bulldogs as well when he flicked a quick shot from the slot but Warren was just as quick with his pad. Zammiello had a pair of chances, one set up in front by Jack Connolly and the second on a breakaway, but both times Staffiere had the answer.

“We were dumping the puck in and that’s what happens when you play a team physical, stay up in the neutral zone, and close your gaps,” said Shuman about Canton’s struggles to develop consistent attacks. “We had so many opportunities to make that one pass for an odd-man rush and we would just dump the puck in and that’s all credit to their play that got us a little antsy with the puck.”

The first half of the third period was all Rocketeers. North came flying out of the locker room and had the first six shots of the period. Canton didn’t get a puck on net until the 7:40 mark of the third. The best chance fell to Matt McSweeney, who was picked out in front by freshman Nik Kojoian, but Staffiere made a big pad stop to keep the scores level.

Despite all the North pressure, Canton held onto the tie and then got the one moment it needed to keep its perfect start to the season alive.

“I’ve been around hockey for a long time,” McManama said. “It’s no secret that good teams get those good breaks. We also did very well defensively, we worked really hard, they made some big saves, and I thought it was all-around a great hockey game.”

It is the ninth straight league title, and 11th in 12 seasons. No other team has won a Davenport crown in the nine years since the league split into different divisions. It speaks to the level of consistency as a program that the Bulldogs have displayed down the years.

Shuman said, “We talked about how fortunate we are to be competing every year for league championships. It’s a testament to the guys before and to our guys now that they are able to rise to that level every year. We don’t take it for granted.”

Canton (13-0, 9-0) will try to complete a perfect league campaign when it hosts Taunton on Wednesday. North Attleboro (7-6-1, 5-2-1) will try to make history on Wednesday when it travels to Pirelli Veterans Arena to face Kelley-Rex division leader Franklin, which the Rocketeers have never beaten.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Oliver Ames Battles Back To Earn Tie With Rocketeers

Oliver Ames boys hockey
Oliver Ames players celebrate with Brett Williams (second from right) after he scored the tying goal against North Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BROCKTON, Mass. – Win, lose, or tie, there is one thing that Oliver Ames boys hockey coach Sean Bertoni knows about his team: they aren’t going to give up.

Trailing by a goal entering the third period, and without two of their top point producers due to injury and illness, the Tigers battled back to score the tying goal midway through the period and killed off a penalty in the final two minutes to grab a 2-2 tie with visiting North Attleboro.

“It was an awesome effort, I’m really proud of them,” Bertoni said. “We didn’t win the game but it was one of my proudest moments, being down guys and most teams in that situation against a quality team like North Attleboro are in trouble. Our theme is being resilient. No matter what, we just keep fighting, the effort is always there. We showed it against Canton, we showed it tonight. It’s rewarding to see as a coach.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Despite being without leading scorers Cullen Gallagher and Brian Kearns, who each have 17 points, the Tigers twice overcame a one-goal deficit in the game.

North Attleboro took a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game and took that advantage into the locker room during the first intermission. OA knotted the score with 9:50 to go in the second period but the Rocketeers took the lead back with a late goal in the second.

“That’s a bad tie for us,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “That’s taking nothing away from OA, they work their butts off. They have some guys who are sick, some guys who are injured and my hats off to them, they showed something today. We didn’t respond today, we have a full four line, healthy group that just didn’t get it done.”

Rocketeer senior defenseman Brendan McHugh put the visitors up 2-1 with just 1:03 left in the second period. After skating to a relatively even period, McHugh tossed a high shot on net from the blue line that OA goalie Owen Connor (14 saves) never seemed to get eyes on and it fluttered into the back of the net.

The Tigers opened the third by earning a power play but couldn’t muster any chances on goal. Instead, the best chance came for North Attleboro when the penalty expired. Rocketeer junior Jack Connolly came out of the box, took a pass and went flying into the offensive zone alone. But Connolly couldn’t quite get off a final shot with Connor covering the post with the pad.

Three minutes later, Oliver Ames had its equalizer. Senior Brett Williams prevented a clearance along the boards with a strong check that put the puck in the center of the ice. Junior Ryan Gottwald was able to bat the puck back to Williams, who was all by himself, and he deposited his shot five-hole to knot the score 2-2 with 6:47 to go.

North Attleboro had a final chance to go back on top when it went on the power play with 2:13 to go in the game. Oliver Ames’ top penalty killer Matt McCormick was whistled for a boarding penalty but the Rocketeers were only able to get one shot on net during the final two minutes.

Max Ward came up with a big early clear, and then teamed up with Williams to provide an aggressive forecheck that didn’t allow the Rocketeers to leave its own zone. McHugh had the lone shot of the man advantage but Connor easily gloved it.

“Even just getting the penalty with two minutes left in a tie game can deflate a team, especially with our top penalty kill guy in the box,” Bertoni said. “But it felt like we were attacking on it, we didn’t let them set up. I think they only had one shot on net, we had a good chance too. Brett and Max were relentless in the offensive zone. The kids are giving us everything, it’s awesome to see. We haven’t got much puck luck this year but hard work will pay off.

The Tigers even had a chance to score the game winner while shorthanded. Junior Hunter Costello cleared the puck off the boards and senior Colin Bourne used his speed to get around a North defender and get to the puck first. He was able to get a close bid on goal but North senior goalie Ryan Warren (19 saves) made a big pad save to prevent the shorthanded bid.

“They had a lot more energy in the third, they work really hard,” McManama said. “It didn’t feel like one team was better than the other in the third, it felt pretty even but I thought we could have been better. It breaks down into just some simple plays. We weren’t getting pucks in deep, we were turning it over at the blue line. Those little things, they add up. Those little things snowball and can really hurt you.”

North Attleboro struck on a rebound chance 5:31 into the contest. Andrew Zammiello put a shot on goal that Connor turned aside but junior Dennis Morehouse had plenty of space in front to bury it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

North had a couple of chances to add to its lead in the first but couldn’t find the back of the net. The best opportunity came when Todd Robinson fed Connolly in the slot but Connor came up with a big pad stop.

OA’s best chances came off the stick of McCormick, who fired a slap shot that Warren gobbled up and a backhand chance from Jake Gottwald that Warren turned away.

OA senior James Beatty set the tying goal up with an absolute perfect pass. With possession in his own defensive end, Beatty fired a perfectly weighted pass through the neutral zone right onto the stick of Williams as he entered the offensive zone for a breakaway, and Williams used a nice move and lifted the puck into the net to make it 1-1.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Beyond North Attleboro’s first goal, the Tigers’ defense did a nice job of limiting chances for the Rocketeers.

“Defensive positioning has been great all year,” Bertoni said. “We only rolled four defensemen tonight, [McCormick], James [Beatty], Julian [Krowski], and Ryan [Gottwald]. They gave us a ton of minutes, and we had to kill a couple of penalties too. Other than that first goal, where we didn’t get our sticks in there, we didn’t give up a lot of quality chances. And we had some chances in the third too so I’ll get that point for sure.”

Oliver Ames boys hockey (2-2-1 Hockomock, 7-4-1 overall) hits the road on Saturday with a visit to Taunton at 2:00. North Attleboro (3-1-1, 5-5-1) is off until Monday when it takes on Foxboro at 6:00 at the Foxboro Sports Center.

Ebert Scores Winner As North Battles Back To Beat KP

North Attleboro hockey
North Attleboro celebrates after Jake Ebert scored the game-winning goal against King Philip with only a minute play. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro came into Saturday afternoon’s game with King Philip a game below .500 and already thinking about how many points it will need to ensure a playoff spot. When games are tough and points are at a premium, then it take goals of all kinds to build momentum.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With one minute left to play, Jake Ebert fought his way to the crease and was the first to react when a shot slipped past KP goalie James Lewis. Ebert tapped the rebound into the open net and secured the Rocketeers a much-needed, come from behind 3-2 victory that pulls North back to .500 on the season.

“That’s what we’ve been focusing on,” said North coach Ben McManama. “I asked him after the game, how did you score that and he said, ‘dirty goals,’ and that’s what we’re trying to do. Hopefully they understand now that it doesn’t have to be pretty.”

Through two periods it didn’t look like the Rocketeers would need late heroics to pull out the win.

North grabbed an early lead on a two-man advantage inside the opening five minutes of the game. Will Yeomans had the initial shot from the slot that Lewis (28 saves) was able to get a piece of but not fully collect. The puck fell behind the goalie and Justin Moccia was in the right place at the right time to tap it in.

It took the Warriors more than nine minutes before they recorded their first shot on goal. Jack Coulter picked off a cross-ice pass and forced Ryan Warren (20 saves) into his first stop of the night.

The Rocketeers kept pushing for a second goal. A scrum in front forced a last-ditch, goal line clearance by KP defenseman Kyle Gray. With a minute left in the first, Lewis was forced into two reaction stops to deny both Jack Connolly and Ebert from point-blank range.

In the second period, the Warriors struggled to stay out of the box. KP picked up four penalties in that period alone, including a five-minute major that carried over to the third.

“We’ve got to stay out of the box,” KP coach Paul Carlow said. “You have to play even strength hockey to win. I would’ve like to have played them even strength more. We were shorthanded most of the night.”

Joe Boselli had a good look dragging the puck into the slot but he shot over the net and then Luke D’Amico forced Warren into a good glove save from a tight angle. Jake McNeany tested Lewis with a shot from the point that was kicked aside and Todd Robinson set up Connolly for a tip on the edge of the crease but it was sent just past the post.

North led 19-10 in shots heading into the third period and with 4:51 remaining on a major penalty, the Rocketeers looked like they were in control. But, KP stormed out of the locker room looking like a completely different team and, despite being down a skater, started to take the game to the hosts.

“You have to give credit to KP on that,” said McManama about North only scoring once while up a skater. “Our power play has been working at 33 percent coming into today and that’s the hardest our power play has had to work. They did a great job. They have a very good system and they work their butts off.”

Ryan Fitpatrick missed the net on a backhand seconds into the third and Warren was forced to make a sprawling save to deny Brendan Shandley when the rebound caromed to him at the far post. North nearly doubled its lead seconds later when Robinson’s shot forced a save out of Lewis and Connolly flicked the rebound wide of an open net.

That miss looked costly as KP skated down the other end and tied the game. Coulter had the initial shot from the right circle and Boselli was right there to follow up the rebound to make it 1-1.

“I think it was good that we had locker room time to talk about the kill and get the guys ready to go out for the kill,” said Carlow. “When you’re getting penalties all night, not only does it take away your chance to score but it kills your guys’ legs, so now when you come back from the kill then you don’t have any legs.”

Both teams continued to get chances in an end-to-end period. Robinson had a shot tipped inches wide by Ebert in front and Anthony Zammiello set up McNeany but his shot was blocked in front. Rocco Bianculli tested Warren with a blast from the edge of the right circle but the goalie got his blocker to it and Shandley forced another save that left the North defense scrambling.

With 5:47 to play, KP stunned the home crowd by grabbing the lead. Coulter played the puck into Conor Cooke, who was parked in the slot with a defenseman on his back. The forward collected the pass, spun, and ripped a shot over the shoulder of Warren and into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.

“Once we killed that penalty,” Carlow said, “it gave everyone a boost of confidence and then we were able to play some 5-on-5. When we played 5-on-5, we scored.”

Rather than get down, North turned the game around again. After KP cleared off yet another penalty (its eighth of the game), North got space in transition with Connolly finding a lot of room on the left circle. He opened his body up and went top shelf, far corner to beat Lewis and tie the game seemingly out of nowhere.

McManama explained, “Not much needed to be said. Everyone just started to step up and really it was one shift that got the other guys going. Winning a battle here or there and that built momentum for the last couple minutes.”

Zammiello hit the post from a very tight angle a minute later and then Ebert popped up 30 seconds after that with the dramatic finish that North needed to pull out a crucial two points at the midway point of its season.

“I thought they were playing very hard in the third period and they were winning all the battles,” McManama said. “It was very difficult to play them, even when we were on the power play…we didn’t match it in the third and that’s why the wheels started to come off a little bit, but I’m proud of the boys for battling back. It’s not an easy thing especially at this point in the season.”

North Attleboro (5-5, 3-1), which is just a game back of Canton in the Davenport title race, will travel to Oliver Ames on Wednesday, while King Philip (6-5, 2-2) will get a week off and be right back at the NESV to face Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield Skates Past North For Balzarini’s 100th Win

Mansfield boys hockey
North Attleboro goalie Ryan Warren (left) makes a pad stop on a backhand shot from Mansfield sophomore Matty Copponi in the first period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For two periods, the Mansfield Hornets boys hockey team controlled the game, finally solving North Attleboro senior goalie Ryan Warren in the final seconds of the second period.

And after that, Mansfield turned to their own netminder, junior Sean McCafferty, to thwart a furious comeback attempt from the Rocketeers in the third period, resulting in a 2-0 decision for the visiting Hornets.

“That was a great game. North Attleboro is relentless, they really are, in all aspects of the game,” said Mansfield coach Michael Balzarini, who earned his 100th career win with the result. “[North Attleboro] got better period by period, they just kept coming and coming. But this was a team win, we played as a team tonight. And Sean McCafferty played out of his mind. His rebound control was great, he was phenomenal.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Balzarini previous had successful stints at Dover-Sherborn and Milford before coming to Mansfield two seasons ago.

A dominant first period saw the Hornets skate to an 8-1 advantage on shots on goal, but no advantage on the scoreboard. While North Attleboro asserted itself more in the second frame, the Hornets still had the edge in play and shots (19-8).

Warren denied Mansfield sophomore Matty Copponi in the first period on a nice backhand attempt with a sprawling pad save. The senior goalie kept senior Jack Garland off the board six minutes into the second on a nice chance at the back post, made a terrific stop on a one-timer from senior Chris Copponi with 7:30 to go in the second, and then gobbled up a hard slap shot off the stick of junior Joseph Troiano.

It wasn’t until the 20th shot, with less than 10 seconds to go in the second period, that the Hornets struck.

North Attleboro had its first power play of the game with 2:43 left in the second period but couldn’t generate any serious scoring chances. Mansfield capitalized on the momentum gained from the kill and took the lead with 8.4 seconds left to go in the frame.

Chris Copponi got the play going, forcing a turnover in the attacking zone with a hit along the boards. The puck popped to senior Brad Grant and his blast was knocked over the net by Warren (26 saves). Garland was first to the puck, he connected with Matty Copponi, who quickly fed older brother Chris right in front for the goal.

“I thought we controlled the play for the most part but getting that goal was huge, with only nine seconds or so left, it was huge,” Balzarini said. “It helped put the momentum our way. We knew they would come out hard in the third period.”

For North Attleboro, it was a tough goal to swallow after just having a power play and an improved period over the first.

“The minute, minute and a half after a power play is so important and we have to tighten that up,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “It’s a crucial part of the game. After a power play and the end of a period, one of the most important times in a game. We just have to get better there.”

Despite giving up a late goal int he second, North Attleboro came out flying in the third period, putting 15 shots on frame. Just seconds into the period, the Rocketeers were testing McCafferty, who was clearly up for the challenge.

North senior Anthony Zamiello found senior Justin Moccia in the slot for an open wrist shot but McCafferty turned it away. The Rocketeers earned another power play and had a big chance off the stick of junior Jeff Baker but McCafferty knocked it down and stood tall on a pair of rebound chances.

Just after the power play expired, the Rocketeers had one of their best chances when Zammiello and senior Todd Robinson found themselves alone in front of the net, and a pass from the former to the latter led to a one-timer in close but McCafferty made an amazing stop to keep the puck out.

“He stepped up tonight — he was calm, he wasn’t frantic, he was in the zone the entire game,” Balzarini said of McCafferty. “Coming off of the loss against Canton, I thought he really elevated his game tonight.”

Mansfield couldn’t capitalize on a power play attempt with 9:16 to go, and was whistled for a trip with 5:46 to go to put the hosts back on the man-advantage. The Hornets were whistled for another penalty 44 seconds into the advantage, giving North a 5-on-3 for 1:17.

But one save for McCafferty and a terrific individual defensive play from senior Coleman O’Brien canceled the power play chance for the Rocketeers. With just under three minutes to go, North Attleboro sophomore Tyler Sarro made a nice read on a clearance attempt, intercepting the pass to go in alone on net but whistled his shot wide of frame.

Junior Dennis Morehouse had another big chance with a minute to go on a loose puck at the back post but he couldn’t get the puck past McCafferty (25 saves).

With just under a minute to go, North Attleboro had an attacking zone faceoff but Matty Copponi won it back to Troiano, who alertly flipped the puck out into the neutral zone and Chris Copponi won the foot race and tapped it into the empty net to go up 2-0 with 50.9 to go.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We’re trying to get better starts,” McManama said. “When our guys are going and we’re forechecking hard, we’re a very good team. But we’re not seeing it for 45 minutes, we’re seeing it spurts. It’s something we know about but we’re working about.

“We have to be tougher in front of the net, we have to bear down. We’re still not going at 100 percent in front of the net, that’s how goals are scored. It doesn’t have to be pretty.”

Mansfield boys hockey (2-1 Hockomock, 8-2 overall) concludes its three-game road trip on Saturday when it travels to Aleixo Arena to take on Taunton at 2:00. North Attleboro (2-1 Hockomock, 4-5 overall) returns to action at the New England Sports Village on Saturday against King Philip at 4:30.

Shamrocks Stun North Attleboro With Late Winner

North Attleboro hockey
North Attleboro senior goalie Ryan Warren made 26 saves to keep Bishop Feehan off the board until the final two minutes of the game. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The parking lot was packed on Saturday afternoon, fans forced to make the trek up to the New England Sports Village from the street, and the stands were filled to the brim for a battle of neighbors. Bishop Feehan’s reaction after pulling out a 1-0 win over North Attleboro matched the atmosphere pulsating down from the crowd.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Feehan’s players swarmed each other at the final horn, while North players dropped to the ice in anger and frustration. This felt like a Div. 2 playoff game, not one being contested before Christmas with the teams having played only a handful of games between them.

“We did enough to win, but we’re fighting through back breaks,” said North Attleboro coach Ben McManama. “It’s tough. The kids are working hard, they’re good kids, so it’s harder for me to watch them have to go through that. We’re turning the page; it’s not where we start, but where we finish.”

Having had a week off between its opening game against Oliver Ames and its meeting with Feehan, North took a while to get its skates under it. Senior goalie Ryan Warren (26 saves) was on top of his game, however, and held the Shamrocks off the board during a dominant opening period.

Warren made nine saves in the first, while the Rocketeers managed only three on the other end. Just two minutes into the game, Warren was forced into a big pad stop to deny Ben Gaucher as North freshman defenseman Austin Comery chased back to hassle the Feehan forward.

With six minutes left in the first, Warren got a big helping hand from his defense. After Warren was knocked out of goal making a save, junior Jeff Baker reacted first to clear a loose puck off the line. Warren was caught wide of the goal in a mass of bodies and the puck went out to the point, Comery stepped in front of a goal bound shot to prevent the opening goal (in the process suffering an injury that forced him out of the game).

Feehan continued to attack and Gaucher had another chance with a tip on the edge of the crease but again Warren managed to get his pad across to make the stop.

“He was great,” McManama said of Warren. “That’s what we need from him for the rest of the season and I’m confident we’re going to get it from him.”

North’s first good scoring chance came early in the second when Dennis Morehouse dragged the puck through a pair of defensemen and was stopped from a tight angle. A minute later, the Rocketeers were positive that they had the lead. John Connolly got free in the slot and his shot clanged off a post and out towards the corner. North was sure that it hit the back of the net and everyone seemed to pause for a second but there was no signal from the officials.

“We did get the puck in the net, but they called it back,” said McManama, who was clear in his disdain for Saturday’s officiating. “It’s not right. It’s hard for our boys to work hard and compete when they really get the short end of the stick.”

Feehan had its fair share of chances to grab the lead as well. A minute into a penalty kill, North was given a major penalty, meaning 50 seconds of a two-man advantage and then more than four more minutes of power play to kill.

C.J. Botelho had a pair of chances, one saved by Warren and the other that he sent wide of an open net, and Jack Murphy’s shot from the point was redirected in front by Kevin Barrera but Warren managed to keep his pad on the ice to keep the shot out.

Surviving the long power play opportunity seemed to spark the Rocketeers into life. Jake Ebert had a good chance right after North got back to even strength and Will Yeomans had a shot from the point kicked aside. With 90 seconds left in the second, Todd Robinson backhanded a pass across ice to Connolly, who rode a check and managed to get a shot on net.

It was a good flurry for North in the attacking zone and foreshadowed a strong third period push. After being outshot 20-11 through the first two periods, North outshot Feehan 14-7 in the third.

McManama explained, “I think we have to do a better job getting pucks to the net. They did a good job blocking shots, but we’re trying to stickhandle it into the net instead of get it on net and go after the rebounds.”

Anthony Zammiello saucered a pass to Robinson on an odd-man rush and the senior forward forced Feehan goalie Rory Geraghty into a shoulder save. Connolly had another chance from inside the left circle but that was stopped too.

“It’s just because we spent the rest of the game in the box,” said McManama about the North attack in the third period. “It was nice to be able to play five-on-five for a little bit. The captains just talked about, we know what to do, we know we’re the better team, let’s just show it. We just ran out of time.”

Warren was forced into two big stops on the other end to keep the game scoreless and North broke up ice quickly with Justin Moccia forcing Geraghty (24 saves) into another stop. The chances kept coming for North, which was in control of the period, including a series of close calls on a power play opportunity with four minutes left.

But, with just 1:43 on the clock, Feehan managed to find one good scoring chance and made it count. Kevin Borah roofed his shot as he cut across the crease to give the Shamrocks the lead.

North had one more great chance when Robinson, despite Feehan going on the power play during a scrappy closing sequence, got behind the Shamrocks defense but Geraghty stood tall again and made a solid pad save to deny the breakaway and the opportunity for a tie.

North Attleboro (0-2) will be back on the ice on Thursday afternoon at Levy Rink when it opens the Burrillville (R.I.) Hockey Winter Classic against Cumberland (R.I.).

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/15/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 4 vs. Old Rochester, 0 – Final

Canton, 5 vs. Plymouth North, 0 – Final

King Philip, 4 @ Bishop Feehan, 0 – FinalAfter a scoreless first period, King Philip scored twice in the final five minutes of the second period to gain control of the game. Joe Boselli put KP up 1-0 on an unassisted goal with 4:33 to play in the middle period and Chris Daniels made it 2-0, converting a pass from Rocco Bianculli on the power play with 2:19 to go to make it 2-0. Ryan Fitzpatrick made it 3-0 on a feed from Brendan Shandley, who made it 4-0 with an empty net goal. The Warriors went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, including a five minute major in the third. James Lewis made 23 saves and posted his second straight shutout.

Mansfield, 5 vs. Winthrop, 2 – FinalMansfield built a two-goal lead in the first period and never relinquished it for a win over Winthrop. Five different players found the back of the net for Mansfield, who went a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. Brian Grant (from Jake Lund) and Chris Copponi (power play from Matt Copponi and Brad Grant) put the Hornets ahead after one period and Brad Grant (Matt Copponi) made it 3-0 before Winthrop got on the board. Coleman O’Brien (Matt Copponi, Austin Ricker) and Lund (empty net goal) scored in the third period. Junior Sean McCafferty made 28 saves for the win in net.

Oliver Ames, 3 @ North Attleboro, 2 – FinalAll of the scoring game in the opening 15 minutes, Oliver Ames gaining a 3-2 edge through the first period and holding onto it for the next half hour. Oliver Ames junior Hunter Costello scored the first two goals for the Tigers and then set up freshman Bryan Kearns for his first career goal, which turned out to be the game-winner. Senior Cullen Gallagher added two assists and junior Owen Connor made 20 saves in net. Anthony Zammiello and Jeff Baker scored for the Rocketeers.

Stoughton, 0 @ St. John Paul II, 5 – Final

Girls Hockey
Franklin, 5 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

King Philip, 11 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.

Wrestling
Marlboro Tournament (Canton), 9:30 – Canton had seven wrestlings earn fourth place or better and scored 135.5 points as a team to take fourth place at the Marlboro Early Bird Tournament. Eddie Marinilli was the 145 champion, earning three pins on the day including in the finals in just 39 seconds. Harry Carter (132) and Jack Turano (113) each earned second place finishes, Derrell Brown (220) took third, and Cole Murphy (170) and Zach Peters (106) finished fourth overall for the Bulldogs.

Mike Melish Duals (Foxboro, Sharon) – Both Foxboro and Sharon each won three matches at the Mike Melish duals, with the Warriors going 3-0 and the Eagles posting a 3-1 mark. Foxboro opened the day with a 54-11 win over Scituate, highlighted by 10 pins including the first varsity falls for Sean Bubencik and Cam Prescott. The Warriors beat Bridgewater-Raynham, 47-18, with TJ Whitehouse, Tom Cullen, and Aaron Kaplan all earning pins, and . then closed the day with a 55-12 victory over Bristol-Plymouth/Coyle & Cassidy. Adam Lanctot earned his 100th career win in the final match. Sharon picked up wins over Northbridge (63-12), Nauset (71-12) and Bristol-Plymouth/Coyle & Cassidy (1-0, forfeit) and lost to Plymouth South (65-12).

Lawrence Quad (Franklin) – Franklin started the day with a pair of setbacks, falling to Lawrence and Salem (NH). The Panthers dropped match to Lawrence (40-30) and Salem (37-37, criteria). Franklin finished strong by picking up a win over St. John’s Prep (36-29). Jake Carlucci, Jordan Carlucci and Caleb MacLean each went undefeated on the day.

Milford Tournament (Milford, King Philip), 10:00

Mansfield Quad (Mansfield) – Mansfield swept the competition at its own quad, going 3-0 with three big wins. The Hornets knocked off Barnstable (64-17), Braintree (49-24), and Brockton (58-18) to improve to 7-0 on the season.

North Attleboro Quad (North Attleboro) – North Attleboro hosted its second quad meet of the season, suffering three losses on the day. The Rocketeers suffered close losses to Norton (44-33) and Chariho (39-33) as well as Hope (44-21). Michael Burns (145, one pin), Liam Rizk (195, two pins), and Mateusz Kudra (285, one pin) all went 3-0 on the day for the Rocketeers.

Marshfield Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames had a terrific day at the Marshfield Super Quad, posting a 4-0-1 record. The Tigers posted wins over Duxbury (60-24), Pembroke (52-19), Whitman-Hanson (60-18), and Tollgate (45-34) while finishing level with host Marshfield (40-40). John Dobbin, Billy Tat, and Dean Pacini each posted perfect 5-0 records on the day while Nick McGovern and Andrew Fraser were both undefeated at 4-0.

BC High Quad (Stoughton) – Stoughton went 1-1-1 on the day at the BC High Quad. The Black Knights beat Weymouth (48-24), tied the hosts BC High (36-36) and suffered a loss to Hingham (42-30).

Sandwich Tournament (Taunton) – Taunton had a tournament-best four individual champions and had seven grapplers finish fourth or better. The Tigers had 154 points to take third overall in the tournament. Candido Santos (180), Christian Balmain (152, named Most Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament), Devin Wilson (220), and Woudanly Danger (285) each won their brackets, Taunton tying Sandwich with four champions. James Collins (106) and Mason Frank (285) took third and Wansley Perceval (120) was fourth overall.

Gymnastics
Sharon 100.7 @ Franklin, 134.7 – FinalFranklin’s Mia Lizotte and Sadie Rondeau took first and second overall in the All Around to pace the Panthers to a season-opening win over Sharon. Lizotte scored a 35.95 to take first with Rondeau right behind in second with a 33.10. Franklin freshman Kate Rudolph had a memorable debut, scoring in three events – bars (8.1), beam (8.25), and floor (8.55) – for the Panthers.

Boys Indoor Track
Stoughton, 79 vs. Foxboro, 20 – FinalThe Black Knights took first place in 10 events, including both relays, on its way to a big win over Foxboro. Winners for Stoughton included Jeff Grier (55M dash, 6.93), Clayton Rahaman (300M, 38.37), Colin Rahaman (1000M, 2:55.53), Robert Currier (2 Mile, 11:48.32), David Peters (55M hurdles, 7.70) and long jump, 20-03.25), Mark Edge (shot put, 40-01.00), and Jaden Falaise (high jump, 6-02.00). Foxboro’s Will Regan won the 600M (1:27.68) and Ryan Proulx (4:49.29) and Trey Lawson (5:02.47) took first and second, respectively, in the 1 Mile for the Warriors.

Attleboro, 39 vs. Franklin, 61 – FinalFranklin won a total of nine events, including both relays, and took first and second in four of those events. The Panthers had the top two finishes in each the 600M (Daniel Barrow [1:30.52] and Michael Hagen), the 1000M (Camden Harrington [2:51.98] and Nicholas Calitri), the 1 Mile (Tyler Brogan [4:40.69] and Dylan Kehoe) and the 2 Mile (Brogan [10:05.23] and Calitri). Other individual winners for Franklin included Liam Pek (300M, 38.19), Jared Cain (high jump, 5-08.00), and Andrew Faught (long jump, 19-08.00). Attleboro swept the 55M dash, with Colin Levis taking first (6.90) followed by Dante Williams and Henry Boateng. David Cataloni (55M hurdles, 8.26) and Ethan Crosby (39-04.00) also won for Attleboro.

Sharon, 50 vs. Milford, 50 – FinalMilford earned its second straight tie to start the season, finishing level at 50-50 with Sharon. Sharon won seven events while Milford took first in five events. Sharon’s Chris Gong (55M dash, 6.71 and long jump, 20-05.00), Alexander Starovoytov (1 Mile, 4:49.13 and 2 Mile, 10:07.60), and Patrick McManus (55M hurdles, 8.47 and high jump, 5-10.00) were double winners for the Eagles. Milford’s Hugo Lopes (300M, 37.73), Ryan Kelley (600M, 1:30.38), Joey Madden (1000M, 2:43.80), and Josh Ligor (shot put, 37-07.50) won events for the Hawks.

North Attleboro, 66 vs. Canton, 34 – FinalThe Rocketeers won nine of 10 individual events, including a sweep of the high jump, to pick up a victory over Canton. Owen Nassaney (6-02.00), Omar Jasseh, and Nick Taylor took the top three spots in the high jump. Other winners for North included Jasseh (55M dash, 6.92 and long jump, 21-01.00), Liam Monahan (600M, 1:28.90 and 2 Mile, 10:33.84), Jack Clarke (1000M, 2:55.07), Skyler Poirier (1 Mile, 4:52.42), Nick Taylor (55M hurdles, 9.31), and Emmett Ruote (shot put, 38-00.50). Canton’s Jonathan Cherry won the 300M (38.61) while Junior Sainvil took second in the long jump (20-02.50) and the 55M dash (6.98).

Mansfield, 87 vs. King Philip, 13 – FinalMansfield swept five events to roll to a big win over King Philip. The Hornets wept the 55M dash (Greg Waters [6.95], Aidan Sacco, Joe Cappelletti), the 300M (Dan Knight [38.55], Tyler King, Jack Rivard), the 1000M (Mike Mullahy [2:50.77], Peter Sullivan, Peter Oldow), high jump (Andrew Williams [5-10.00], Ethan Thevenot, Jake Wall) and the long jump (Sacco [19-01.00], Williams, Thevenot). Mansfield freshman Dylan Buchanan earned his first victory in the 55M hurdles (9.31), senior Paxton Howard ran a personal best 10:12 in the 2 Mile, and Colbey Eason had a meet-best shot put toss of 50-00.00. King Philip’s Joshua Smith (600M, 1:31.30), Michael Norberg (2 Mile, 10:13.48), Alexander Hagen (55M hurdles, 9.45), and Terrell Jacobs-Baston (shot put, 47-06.25) each had second place finishes.

Taunton, 47 vs. Oliver Ames, 53 – FinalOliver Ames and Taunton split first place in all 12 events but it was OA that took seven second place finishes to get the close win. Sean Flaherty (1:30.29) and Ryan Petrillo took first and second in the 600M, Rory McLaughlin (4:44.13) and Nate Reservitz were the top two finishers in the 1 Mile, and Aaron MacDonald (19-11.25) and Chukwubuikem Akanegbu were the top two jumpers in the long jump. Flaherty also won the 55M hurdles (8.97) while Kyle Sarney won the 2 Mile (10:25.05) for OA. Taunton’s Dylan Kullas (55M dash, 7.08), Sebastien Celestin (300M, 37.66), Cameron Parker (1000M, 2:51.42), Mark Brown (shot put, 43-04.00), and Steven Westgate (high jump, 5-10.00) all had first place finishes.

Girls Indoor Track
Stoughton, 54 vs. Foxboro, 46 – FinalStoughton won both relays and a total of eight events, including a sweep in the 55M dash, to pick up a close win over Foxboro. Junior Chinazo Odunze (7.83), senior Gabriela Diaz, and senior Karly Estremera took first, second, and third, respectively, to sweep the 55M dash for Stoughton. Diaz won the 300M (46.17), Rebecca Lally earned first in the 600M (1:49.51), Cintia Khouzami won the 55M hurdles (9.51), Molly Tuner was the winner of the high jump (4-08.00), and Odunze earned second win with a 14-08.00 leap in the long jump. For Foxboro, Lexi Quinn was a triple winner, taking first in the 1000M (3:24.44), 1 Mile (6:11.95), and the 2 Mile (12:42.15) while junior Grace Groves won the shot put (26-07.00).

Attleboro, 36 vs. Franklin, 64 – FinalFranklin showed its depth, taking at least two of the top three spots in all individual events by one to earn a victory over Attleboro. Jillian Fenerty (300M, 45.86), Samantha Powderly (600M, 1:48.44), Julia Fenerty (1000M, 3:18.54), Daniella Pierre (55M hurdles, 9.37), and Dreya Martin (high jump, 4-10.00) each had individual wins for Franklin. Attleboro’s Kelly Neuendorf and Abisola Olaogun were two-time winners, wih Neuendorf taking first in both the 1 Mile (5:39.04) and the 2 Mile (12:36.36) and Olaogun crossing first in the 55M dash (7.82) and winning the long jump (14-10.00). Tianna McDonald (shot put, 28-06.50) also had a win for the Bombardiers.

Sharon, 60 vs. Milford, 40 – FinalMilford won three events and swept relays, but Sharon earned first place finishes in seven individual events to earn the win. Jada Johnson was a triple winner for Sharon, taking first in the 55M hurdles (8.84), the high jump (5-08.0), and the long jump (17-05.00) while Daphne Theiler won both the 1 Mile (6:00.83) and the 2 Mile (13:01.27). Elliana Hershman (1000M, 3:26.07) and Claudia Sevi (shot put, 29-02.00) rounded out the winners for Sharon. Milford’s Sarah Flanagan (55M dash, 7.61), Kerry O’Connor (300M, 42.64), and Bella Gonzalez (600M, 1:49.57) won for Milford.

North Attleboro, 73 vs. Canton, 26 – FinalNorth Attleboro swept the 600M and 55M hurdles and took first in a total of eight individual events to earn a win over the Bulldogs. Sophomore Tess Collins clocked in at 1:42.51 to win the 6O0M with Sam Hawkins and Allison Carter taking second and third, respectively. In the 55M hurdles, Ari Preacher (9.23) took first with Sabrina Hauer and Cassidy Becker right behind. Stephanie Hawkins (1000M, 3:19.47), Marta Botelho (1 Mile, 6:29.71), Catherine Hanewich (2 Mile, 13:01.54), Julia Mechlinski (shot put, 33-03.25), Air Preacher (high jump, 4-08.00) and Celine Ibrahim (long jump, 15-10.25) also won events for North. Canton’s Nicole Brown was a double winner, taking first in both the 55M dash (7.59) and the 300M (43.85).

Mansfield, 68 vs. King Philip, 32 – FinalMansfield won 10 of the 12 events and swept the 1000M race to earn a win over King Philip. Sophomore Grace Fernandez took first in the 1000M in 3:21.52 with freshman Katherine Miller and junior Jessica Alestock taking second and third, respectively. Amanda Mangano was a triple winner for the Hornets, taking first in the 55M dash (7.63), high jump (5-00.00), and long jump (16-05.25). Other winners for Mansfield included Alexis Kiyanda (300M, 45.37), Bryn Anderson (600M, 1:48.03), Tessa Lancaster (1 Mile, 5:34.55), and Margaret Riley (2 Mile, 12:04.56). King Philip’s Sarah Vigevani won the shot put (29-08.50) and the Warriors swept the 55M hurdles (Abigail Dunne [9.48], Victoria Priestley, Milan Simmons).

Taunton, 69 vs. Oliver Ames, 31 – FinalTaunton junior Kerla Sylvestre won a pair of events and the Tigers swept a pair of events to earn a victory over Oliver Ames. Sylvestre was first in the 55M dash (8.05) followed by teammates Marissa Desir and Morgan Zakrezewski, and then won the 300M (44.53). Taunton also swept the 1 Mile with senior Maggie Sullivan (5:45.93) taking first and Kailey Melito-Santos and Olivia Weber finishing second and third, respectively. Other winners for Taunton included Melito-Santos (2 Mile, 12:48.20), Olivia Dias (600M, 1:44.60), Nia Mainer-Smith (1000M, 3:22.36), Victoria Gravel (55M hurdles, 9.23), and Annabella Chavez (shot put, 28-11.00). OA’s Gabrielle McLaughlin was a double winner, taking first in the high jump (4-10.00) and the long jump (14-11.75)

North Orchestrates Third Period Comeback Over OA

North Attleboro hockey
North Attleboro’s Anthony Zammiello (right) carries the puck into the offensive zone in the first period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
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BROCKTON, Mass. – After coming out on the wrong end of back-to-back, back-and-forth games, North Attleboro staged a third-period rally to earn two points on the road in a win over Oliver Ames.

North was coming off narrow losses to both Mansfield and Fxzƒranklin despite having leads in both contests.

Big Red took the lead in the first period but faced a 2-1 deficit heading into the final period. Junior Anthony Zammiello scored a natural hat trick in the final frame, helping the Rocketeers improve to 6-4-0 overall.

“A team like Oliver Ames, they work hard and they work hard the whole game. For us, we needed to match their intensity,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “Their coach really gets them going, so if we take a shift off, we were going to be in trouble. We had to bring it to the next level and I thought we did that in the third period.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Zammiello gave the Rocketeers an instant boost in the third period. Just 32 seconds into the final frame, Zammeilo was parked out in front of the goal, burying a rebound chance after a shot from the point was turned away by OA goalie Owen Connor (16 saves).

Big Red capitalized on the momentum it picked up with the early tying goal. North’s first line struck again as Zammiello came away with a loose puck after a scrum to the right of the goal. The junior took a stride towards the slot and fired a low wrist shot to make it 3-2 with 9:34 to play.

With the goalie pulled in the final minute, Zammiello completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal with just a second to play.

“It’s big to score that early, obviously that’s what we want to do,” McManama added. “But the important thing is that the kids did what we asked them to do. OA blocks a lot of shots so we needed to find ways to get pucks in and also block out guys in front of the net. It was exactly what we had talked about and then they went out and executed.

“We’re searching for that second line to step up and I think they are but its a process, it takes some time and that’s okay. Each game we play, we’re getting better and better. That first line has to show us the way right now, and they are. And we just have to learn from that.”s

North Attleboro took the first lead of the game just over the midway point of the first period. Junior defenseman Brendan McHugh ripped a wrist shot that redirected by the traffic in front, leaving Connor with little chance for a save.

Oliver Ames had three serious scoring chances that went without a goal in the first period. After a shot rocketed off the boards behind the net, the puck fell right in front of goal but freshman Ross Carroll had his shot go just over the bar.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Senior Michael Nikiciukaa forced a big kick save from junior Ryan Warren (23 saves) and just seconds later Eric LeBlanc had his one-timer bid denied by Warren.

But finally with just 3:15 left to play in the first, the Tigers broke through. Both sophomore Jake Gottwald and junior Jordan Bello made hustle plays to keep the puck in the attacking zone for OA. The puck then ended up on the stick of junior defenseman Matt McCormack, who rifled his shot from the blue line off the post and in for a 1-1 tie.

“Our best game of the year was when we played them the first time, and even tonight I felt we played three full periods,” said OA head coach Sean Bertoni. “We’re still down a couple of guys, missing our first line center but it didn’t show a ton tonight. We generated 31 shots against a good opponent. The effort was definitely was there, we aren’t big on moral victories, it’s a little disheartening not to have the win. We established our forecheck, a lot of loose pucks in the slot we just couldn’t out-battle them or finish at the net.”

It looked as though Oliver Ames had taken the lead in the first minute of the second period, but the referee ruled it no goal. Sophomore Ryan Gottwald moved the puck up ice to junior Brett Williams and it looked as though Williams’ hard shot hit the middle bar inside the goal and came out, but the ref waved it off.

“I think the kids responded well to it,” Bertoni said of the no-goal decision. “We didn’t talk about it between periods, they stayed focused. I think getting the next goal to make it 2-1 certainly helped. If North had taken the lead there it might have been different. But it was a great breakout from the defensive end. Sophomore Ryan Gottwald chipped it out, indirect to our center, who broke Brett free, and he has a great shot. You can’t blame the refs, it happened so quickly. But I think our kids moved on from it right away.”

The Tigers did take the lead four minutes later. After a save on a shot from the point, LeBlanc gained possession and skated behind the net, firing a hard pass to junior Colin Bourne for a one-timer and a 2-1 lead.

North Attleboro hockey (2-2 Hockomock, 6-4 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Milton at 12:30. Oliver Ames (1-2, 3-4) will travel to Walpole on the same day with a 2:40 start.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield Edges North Behind Late Arnold Winner

Mansfield hockey
Tim Arnold (4) celebrates his power play goal with five minutes remaining that turned out to be the game-winner for Mansfield against North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Chris Copponi’s shot was scuffed. The forward barely making contact with the puck just outside the right circle, but enough contact was made to redirect it past several sliding North Attleboro players trying desperately to block the Mansfield junior’s attempt at a power play goal.

The puck squirmed through the crowd of bodies right to senior defenseman Tim Arnold, who took advantage of the space and a wrong-footed North goalie Ryan Warren to one-time it into the empty net.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Arnold’s goal with five minutes remaining in the third period turned out to be the game-winner for the Hornets, who held on to beat North 3-2 in Saturday night’s league encounter at the Foxboro Sports Center.

“He whiffs and it still gets through, but we’ll take it,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini outside the locker room after the game. “We’ve been working on our power play because we knew they’d be a tough opponent from the first time we played them (a 4-1 North win in the season opener) and we were just patient. Yeah, it was a misfire, but we’ll take it.”

The Hornets converted on two-of-five power play opportunities in the game, including the game-tying goal in the second period and the eventual winner in the third. Arnold’s goal came on the third power play chance for the Hornets in the final period.

“Penalties are part of the game,” said first-year North coach Ben McManama, “but we’re getting too many lazy penalties where we’re playing defense with our sticks and not our feet. It was a game where we were in it but we shot ourselves in the foot.”

He added, “We also have to have more energy all game. We’re not having a consistent effort and that’s hurt us.”

There was no lack of energy from the Hornets at the start of the game. Mansfield came out flying in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, part of what has made this one of the league’s top rivalries in the last few seasons.

Freshman Justin McIvor created an early scoring chance with a big hit on Will Yeomans on the half-board. The puck popped loose to Copponi for a one-timer from the slot, but Warren (21 saves) stood tall to stop it. Warren then came up with a big pad save to rob Jake Lund in the slot and then blocked the follow-up effort too.

“The first period has been a struggle all year because we’ve come out flat,” Balzarini explained. “We played Stoughton on Wednesday and we scored three goals in the first period and that was the stresser during practice on Friday to come out with intensity.”

The Hornets made the good start count. Senior defenseman Tyler Oakley jumped up to join the attack, skating right down the middle of the North defense. His first shot was saved but he collected the rebound and finished. It was the first of two goals and three points out of the senior defensemen in the game.

“That’s why they where the ‘C’ on their jerseys,” said Balzarini of Oakley and Arnold. “They’re both really good captains, really good leaders and for those guys to step up not only on the ice but off the ice has been huge for us.”

With 7:11 left in the first, a fire alarm went off, momentarily forcing the stands to empty and the teams to head back to the locker rooms. It also stole the momentum from the hosts and allowed North the chance to regroup.

Drew Wissler had North’s first good scoring opportunity when he caught Mansfield up ice and found space in the left circle, but his shot was saved by Hornets goalie Sean McCafferty. The Rocketeers tied the game two minutes later, with only 25.1 on the clock, when Wissler fed the puck to Anthony Zammiello for a shorthanded breakaway and the junior went five-hole for the score.

“Before I could even have a chance to talk to them, they knew that they didn’t come out ready,” said McManama of the fire alarm break. “We’ve had a lot of bad starts this year and it really needs to change. The team is aware of it, but we just need to suck it up and come out ready to play.”

North took its first lead early in the second period. Wissler flew down the left side again, opened his body and unleashed an unstoppable shot over the shoulder of McCafferty and just inside the top corner.

The lead lasted six minutes before Mansfield responded with a power play goal of its own. Oakley lined up a blast from the point that Warren could only parry. The puck fell to Cullin Anastasia and he deposited it into the open net.

The Hornets had the chance to get back in front early in the third but Patrick McCafferty saw his shot carom off Warren’s mask and off the boards behind the net. After Arnold scored, defenseman Nick Levine nearly got into the act for the Hornets but Warren again made an important close-range save.

With time running down and North scrambling for an equalizer, Jason McNeanyhad a tap in at the back post that went wide of an open net and Nick Raneri had a shot in the final minute that was kicked aside at the post.

“The penalties in these games disrupt the flow, so things may be going our way but a penalty for or against if we don’t capitalize changes the whole momentum of the game,” said McManama. “A good hockey team doesn’t get affected by these things, but we’re not there yet. We’re going to get there, but we’re just not there yet.”

Mansfield has now won two in a row and Balzarini is hoping the Hornets can build off a strong week. He said, “The momentum was ours from Wednesday to today and I’m hoping it continues [at practice] on Monday and Tuesday.”

Mansfield (3-3-1, 2-0-0) will host Brockton in a non-league game on Wednesday. North Attleboro (5-3-0, 1-1-0) will host Franklin at the New England Sports Village.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.