Top Seed Duxbury Puts End to Franklin Tourney Run

Franklin boys hockey
Franklin junior goalie Ray Ivers makes a save against Duxbury in the third period of the D1 South Final. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – In the last game of the league campaign, Franklin had a chance to clinch the Kelley-Rex division title with a win against North Attleboro, but the Rocketeers pulled out the victory leaving the Panthers worried that not only would the league title be lost, but also its playoff hopes.

A few hours later, thanks to results at other rinks, Franklin had its title in hand and a place in the state tournament.

Fast forward a little more than a month and the Panthers, who entered the playoffs as the lowest seed in Div. 1 South and with a below .500 record, took on top seed Duxbury in Sunday evening’s sectional final with a chance to return to the TD Garden.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Unfortunately for Franklin (12-10-4), its improbable tournament run ended at Gallo Arena with a 3-0 loss to the Dragons.

“We left the rink saying we’re not going and then an hour later alright we have second place and then an hour and 15 minutes later we have first place,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane about the turnaround that the Panthers experienced that night against North. “It was crazy. We made the most of it.”

The top seed got off to a great start, scoring within the opening two minutes and setting the tone with its speed and physicality. Todd Jones put the Panthers on the back foot right away when he split a pair of defensemen and then flicked a shot over the shoulder of Franklin goalie Ray Ivers.

Spillane said, “They were good. They came out fast, they were physical, we just couldn’t match their energy. We had six kids who couldn’t practice the last five days with the bug. It’s part of hockey and you have to fight through it, but it was obvious tonight that we didn’t have our legs to keep up with a team like that.”

Ivers was forced to make a couple of stops from close-range just a couple minutes after the opening goal, while the Panthers tried to get a foothold in the game. Franklin’s first good scoring chance came with seven minutes left in the first after Joey Lizotte stole an outlet pass and set up Shane McCaffrey in the slot but his shot was saved by Steve Pisani.

Brendan Sicchio followed up a rebound off a shot from outside the blue line and nearly stuffed it past Pisani. Sicchio then set up C.J. Spillane for a backhand chance in front that was stopped. Colin Hedvig nearly got the Panthers on the board at the end of the first when he dangled past a defender and forced a save.

Franklin carried that momentum into the second period and had a good start with three quick shots, but then Duxbury struck again. Ben Cheney fired an inch-perfect stretch pass to Tanner Smith and he sniped the top corner to make it 2-0.

“That’s a credit to that team because every time they had an opportunity to score, they scored,” Spillane remarked. “We were outshooting them…but they’ve got some snipers.”

Hedvig gloved an attempted clearance and forced a blocker save and Cam Cassella forced a kick save from the left-wing circle after he stole a pass at the blue line. Tom Tasker had a shot from the point redirected in front by Dan Magazu, but it went off Pisani’s mask and stayed out.

In the final minute of the period, Kyle Hedvig got a good look right in front but Pisani was able to smother. The Panthers turned over the puck off the rebound and almost instantly Duxbury was back on the attack. James Lawlor got loose on the quick break out and he beat Ivers (21 saves) to make it 3-0. It was a deflating goal for the Panthers to give up.

“When you playing at not-100 percent, the safe play is to chip it out and that’s what we were doing,” said Spillane. “We didn’t carry the puck, we didn’t make plays or passes, it was all chip, chip, chip, chip and we just didn’t have it.”

Franklin came out of the locker room for the third period with the intent of putting together a comeback, but the lack of healthy bodies took its toll and the Panthers never got going. Kyle Hedvig had a decent chance with a tip in front but Pisani got his blocker to it. Ivers made a good stop after Zack Stewart weaved through the defense.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Dragons neutralized the Panthers in the third, limiting them to only six shots, and closed out the game to book its place in next weekend’s state championship.

“I thought we were going to get one early in the third and it might change the energy on the bench, give them something to fight for, but it just didn’t happen,” said Spillane.

He added, “It was a good ride. They showed a lot of heart and character. We knew what we had in the locker room. Our record may not have been indicative of that, but we knew we played some good hockey teams and we competed and we knew that we could run with anyone.”

Franklin Rides First Period Goal Past Falmouth

Franklin boys hockey
Franklin’s Zac Falvey sets up for a shot in the third period against Falmouth. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BOURNE, Mass. – The 2018-2019 Franklin boys hockey team has seen it all.

Despite their record, which earned them the lowest seed in the D1 South tournament, there aren’t many teams that are as battled tested as the Panthers.

The gauntlet of a regular season, which featured wins over inaugural Super 8 selections Marshfield and St. Mary’s, paid off for Franklin in its first postseason game of the year, earning a 1-0 win over #6 Falmouth in a game that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate.

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The Panthers pounded the Clippers with chance after chance, registering 38 shots on goals while limiting the hosts few quality chances. But despite the dominance, missed chances left the door open for the Clippers and Franklin had to hold in the final seconds to preserve the win.

“We talked about our schedule, our last four or five games were against quality opponents and not only did we hold our own, we beat most of them,” said Franklin head coach Chris Spillane. “Falmouth wasn’t that physical tonight, we had a good scout on them based on the film we saw and I thought our kids responded well to what we wanted to do.”

Franklin came out flying in the opening period, applying a lot of pressure in the offensive zone that resulted in early scoring chances. Five minutes in, senior Brendan Sicchio found classmate CJ Spillane but his backhand chance was turned away.

Just seconds later, senior Zac Falvey sent a pass across the crease to classmate Dan Magazu, but Falmouth goalie Kevin Duarte made a terrific save to rob Magazu of the opening goal.

While Magazu had his chance taken away, the Panthers were able to capitalize on the faceoff that it earned. First it was senior Scott Elliott that blasted a shot that was turned aside. The rebound found its way out to junior Tom Tasker, who blasted a shot through traffic. Duarte again made the save, but the rebound popped out to senior Joey Lizotte.

Lizotte had the chance to try and put a shot on goal from in close but instead made a terrific unselfish play, sliding the puck across to junior Kyle Hedvig for an easy tap in to make it 1-0.

While that was Franklin’s lone goal of the game, it was far from the last chance for the Panthers.

Four minutes after the goal, Elliot came flying in but his wrist shot hit off the crossbar and stayed out. Franklin earned a power play opportunity with under a minute in the first, and took 1:38 of the man-up chance into the second, but couldn’t convert.

The Panthers were whistled for a slash three minutes into the second period but the defense prevented the Clippers from any dangerous chances. First it was Elliot coming up with an early clear, and then Falvey made a nice play near the blue line that forced a turnover and led to a clear.

Franklin junior goalie Ray Ivers (21 saves) made two stops on the power play to preserve the lead.

A crosscheck call put Franklin back on the power play with 7:40 left in the second, and the Panthers went on a 5-on-3 opportunity for 28 seconds after an interference cal, but the Panthers were unable to get a good look on goal.

The best chance of the period came at the end of the second penalty when junior Colin Hedvig passed up on a shot to deliver a pass through traffic but Duarte was able to get his pad to the puck just before Elliot could connect.

In the final couple of minutes of the second, Colin Hedvig found Shane McCaffrey but his bid hit off the post, and Kyle Hedvig’s follow up chance was somehow stopped by Duarte. In the final minute, Cam Cassella blasted a slap shot that handcuffed Duarte but the senior goalie was able to keep the puck out.

“A whole lot of missed opportunities by the Panthers, had a couple of open nets we missed on,” Spillane said. “I thought we did very well with our forecheck, but the story of our season is lack of finishing. We had some beautiful tick-tack passing just didn’t find. But the effort was there, they were grinding hard so that’s something we can definitely build on. Overall a good team win for the kids.”

Chances were sparse in the final period, with Casella getting a shot through traffic with Kyle Hedvig and McCaffrey in front trying to bat in the rebound. With just under three minutes to go, Spillane used a self pass to beat the defense but Duarte came flying out of goal and made a diving poke check to thwart the chance.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin came within inches of scoring an empty net goal when the Clippers pulled Duarte in favor of an extra attacker in the final two minutes, but shots from their own defensive zone ended up as icing. After matching minors, the Falmouth bench was called for a misconduct and Franklin finished the final 40 seconds on the power play.

The Panthers will now renew acquaintances with league rival Mansfield, the third seed in the D1 South tournament, Franklin boys hockey will play the Hornets on Saturday at 3:30 at Gallo Arena. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie on January 21st.

“We’re capable, but we haven’t put together a big run,” Spillane said. “The last four or five games, it’s been consistently there for us and we’re building on that. Anytime you get the first win the tournament, that builds a whole lot of confidence. All of a sudden, everyone is a believer and the game is election. Now playing Mansfield, it’s a devil we know. It’s going to be a lot more physical compared to this one, there won’t be much time and space. We’re going to have to match their grit and grind. It will be a fun game.”

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/02/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 14 @ East Boston, 0 – Final

Canton, 6 vs. Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final

Franklin, 3 vs. St. Mary’s (Lynn), 1 – FinalFranklin junior goalie Ray Ivers made 29 saves to lead the Panthers to a huge win over highly ranked St. Mary’s of Lynn, who is considered to be a top 10 team in the state by most rankings. Franklin took a 1-0 lead in the first on a goal midway through the period from Kyle Hedvig. Brendan Sicchio made it 2-0 on a redirect of Cam Cassella’s shot with under five minutes in the second period. Cassella then scored himself, blasting in a shot early in the third period to make it 3-0.

Mansfield, 6 @ King Philip, 3 – Final King Philip raced out to a 3-0 lead less than five minutes into the game but Mansfield scored six unanswered over the final 40 minutes of the game to shock the Warriors. Brendan Shandley, Conor Cooke (from Ryan Fitzpatrick), and Rocco Bianculli (from Aiden Boulger) scored each scored within a four minute span to open the game to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead. But Mansfield scored three goals in a matter of two mintues to tie the game before the end of the first period. Matty Copponi (from Brian Grant and Brad Grant), Kevin Belanger (from Brian and Brad Grant), and Chris Copponi (from Matty Copponi) scored first period goals to level the scoring. After a scoreless second, Mansfield broke the tie with just over two minutes left in the third period. Jake Lund made it 4-3 on the power play, assisted by Matty Copponi and Brad Grant. Coleman O’Brien (from Belanger) increased the lead with a goal with 1:27 left before Chris Copponi (from O’Brien) iced it with an empty net goal in the final seconds.

North Attleboro, 5 vs. Beverly, 2 – Final

Stoughton, 0 vs. Old Rochester, 5 – Final

Taunton, 6 @ Cardinal Spellman, 2 – FinalTaunton senior Jack Patneaude scored a hat trick and junior Mike Albert recorded four points as the Tigers scored a win on the road. Albert had a pair of goals and a pair of assists for Taunton while Cam Sneyd added a goal and two assists, Andrew Carter had three helpers, and Dylan Nichols finished with two assists. Andrew Gomes made 14 saves in net for the win.

Girls Hockey
King Philip, 0 @ Canton, 5 – FinalAfter a scoreless first period, Canton senior Maggie Malloy scored two of her three goals in the second period to give the Bulldogs a lead it never relinquished. Canton scored three goals in the final period, including a goal and assist from Malloy.

Stoughton, 0 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 8 – Final

Wrestling
D1 State Dual Meet (Franklin, Mansfield) – Franklin and Mansfield each won their first matches of the day but lost in the second round. The Panthers took down Needham (55-13) and the Hornets pinned down BC High (53-18) to advance to the quarterfinals. Mansfield lost to top-seeded St. John’s Prep 42-27 and Franklin bowed out with a 30-25 setback to West Springfield. In the fifth place match, Franklin beat Mansfield (36-26) with pins from Jordan Carlucci (132), Dylan Nawn (195), and Matt Leofanti (220). Mansfield’s CJ Glaropoulos (152) had a pin in the loss to the Panthers.

D2 State Dual Meet (North Attleboro, Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames scored a pair of upset wins to advance to the semifinals and finished third overall, the program’s best showing at the state dual meet. The Tigers upset #11 North Andover (38-35) in the opening round and then shocked #3 Masconomet (11th in the state) with a 33-33 (tiebreaker, coach misconduct on Masco). OA’s Max Anderson (220) and Stavros Constantinous (113) had big wins to help the Tigers knock off Masco. The Tigers lost to #2 Plymouth South (45-27) in the semifinals. North Attleboro pinned down wins over Arlington (52-15) and Dracut (43-20) but lost to top-seeded Central Catholic in the semifinal (44-27). OA beat North Attleboro (1-0) in the consolation match. For OA, Nick McGovern, Joey Savino, and Dean Pacino each went 3-0.

D3 State Dual Meet (Foxboro)

Canton Quad (Canton) – Canton went 1-2 on the day, opening with a win over Scituate (42-27) but dropped its second two matches, falling to New Bedford (42-18) and Hingham (43-24).

Franklin County Tech Tournament (King Philip), 10:00

Bridgewater-Raynham Super Quad (Sharon, Stoughton) – Sharon shined at the B-R super quad, going 4-0 and picking up the program’s 350th win overall. The Eagles had wins over the hosts (61-13), Silver Lake (61-16), Duxbury (54-15), and Southeastern (27-12). Max Pozner and Tyler Freedman both went 4-0 for Sharon while Tyler Chaston, Jon Wald, and Alex Bolt each posted 3-0 records for the day.

Braintree Quad (Taunton) – Taunton first year wrestler James Collins (106) earned a first round pin to help the Tigers clinch a win over Nauset, giving Taunton its second win of the day. The Tigers went 1-2, losing to Braintree (52-0) but bounced back to record wins over Cambridge (33-0) and Nauset (45-34). Other winners for Taunton included Ben Mandeville (113, pin), Tyler Lima (120, pin), Wansly Perceval (126, pin), Jackson Mandeville (138, pin), Christian Balmain (152, two pins), Joseph Kazlauskas (160, pin), Jackson Wellman (182), Nico Sallaway (195, pin), and Mason Frank (285, pin).

Swimming
Hockomock Girls Swim Championships – Click here for a recap and photo gallery from this meet.

Gymnastics
Attleboro, 165.8 vs. Lowell, 137.7 – FinalAttleboro sophomore Andrae Butler set a new school record by scoring a 9.5 on the floor in the Bombardiers’ win.

Panthers Get Late Goals to Grind Out Win Against OA

Franklin boys hockey
Franklin senior forward Joe Lizotte (11) scored the tying goal midway through the second period of the Panthers 4-2 win over Oliver Ames in the league opener for both teams. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FRANKLIN, Mass. – When you are struggling to get into a rhythm offensively and everyone is grabbing the stick a little tighter, it takes players grinding in the corners and making the effort to get to the front of the net to turn things around.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After watching Oliver Ames tie the game early in the third period of Wednesday night’s league opener at Pirelli Veterans Arena, Franklin needed a little inspiration to avoid extending its winless streak to six games (0-3-2 after opening the season with an exclusion win against Malden Catholic). Up stepped senior forward Joe Lizotte.

Despite being the only Panther in the offensive zone, Lizotte managed to hold possession in the corner against three OA defensemen. He squeezed the puck out to the right boards where it kicked to Tom Tasker, who sent a puck across the crease. The puck was deflected by C.J. Spillane, and several bodies in front of goal, to the far post and Zac Falvey popped up to knock the loose puck into the back of the net.

It was the spark that the Panthers needed. Franklin scored again three minutes later to seal a 4-2 victory and kick off its league title defense with a much-needed two points.

“He’s by himself and we get help off the bench and next thing you know it’s in the back of the net,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane about the game-winner. “A dead play, with a little effort, turned into a positive play. It’s just hard work. He’s a good player and we love having him on our team.”

Franklin came out strong in the first period, holding a 9-3 edge in shots after the first, despite giving up a power play only 50 seconds into the game.

Sophomore Declan Lovett had a good look from the dot that he sent just wide and the puck bounced out to Cam Cassella at the point, who forced a save from OA goalie Owen Connor (26 saves). Lizotte forced a save from the left circle and then Spillane and Tasker put shots on goal only to be denied.

“He kept us in it,” OA coach Sean Bertoni said of his goaltender. “It was his best game of the year. We just didn’t take sticks out on those last two goals. He played excellent.”

OA’s best chance of the opening period came with just under six minutes left. Jake Gottwald slipped a pass into the slot where Ross Carroll put a shot on net only to have Panthers goalie Ryan Cameron (10 saves) kicked it aside. The hosts nearly took the lead with just seconds left in the first but Tasker’s shot came back off the post.

“Our forecheck non-existent to be honest,” Bertoni admitted. “The first period was one of our weakest of the year, which was kind of disappointing. They know if we don’t establish our forecheck, then we’re not going to win anything. We rely on our speed.”

The Tigers started the second on the power play and needed only 19 seconds to make it count. Following a Connor save, Brett Williams broke down the right side and was able to play the puck across the crease into defenseman Matt McCormack, who forced a save from Cameron, and Cullen Gallagher was on hand to tap in the rebound.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Gallagher was injured not long after the goal and forced to leave the game, one of two OA forwards to get injured on Wednesday.

Lizotte had a decent chance at an instant response only for Connor to make the save and then the OA goalie kept out Kyle Hedvig on a tip of a Cassella slap shot. Brendan Sicchio came close too with a shot off the post.

Finally, with 7:33 left in the second, Franklin’s pressure paid off. Lizotte got behind the OA defense in the left circle and cut across goal onto his backhand before sliding it under Connor.

Just seconds after Williams and Carroll had chances on the other end, the Panthers took their first lead of the night. Again it was Lizotte that created the opportunity by riding a challenge and keeping hold of the puck. It skipped behind the net to Matt Holmes, who flung a pass out to the point where Cassella fired a wrister through traffic and into the top corner.

“We worked on chipping the puck into space and every time you have No. 11 (Lizotte) on the ice you’re going to win those races and we had a couple of other kids pick up pucks too,” said Spillane. “It’s not the prettiest brand of hockey but it’s effective.”

Franklin almost doubled the lead in the third when Falvey made it three posts for the Panthers, but OA answered back to tie it. Off a face-off in the attacking zone, Gottwald had a chance from the slot that Cameron saved, but the rebound was knocked out of mid-air by Colin Bourne and slammed into the back of the net.

Bertoni said, “Their energy was there to start the period, their effort was there, and they didn’t get down on themselves when two guys went down and that’s all you can ask for.”

Williams almost gave the Tigers the lead but Cameron made a sprawling save. It was one of the few times that OA managed to get in behind the Franklin defensemen.

Spillane explained, “I thought we did very well defensively with our gap control, slowing them down as they came in the zone and not giving them space to move around.”

With 8:49 left, after Lizotte’s effort in the corner, Falvey put Franklin in the lead. Three minutes later, the Panthers sealed the win. Dan Magazu threw a puck in front from the right boards and Shane McCaffery managed to squeeze the tip under Connor’s pads for a 4-2 lead.

“We have nine forwards and when you lose two of them it’s hard,” said Bertoni. “I threw a guy out there on the ice cold and they scored the goal to make it 3-2. That’s on me but it’s hard when you’re short-benched against a team with so much depth.”

Freshman Bryan Kearns had one more good chance for the Tigers but his shot was kicked out by Cameron and the Panthers got their first two points (for MIAA purposes) of the season.

Spillane said, “We just need to find an offensive flow. We had plenty of shots, we missed the net way too much, so we need to clean things up offensively.”

Franklin (2-3-2) will travel to Taunton on Saturday, while Oliver Ames (5-3) will look to bounce back when it hosts Foxboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.