Foxboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames took the lead with a goal in the first period and then tacked on two more in the second to record a shutout win over visiting Foxboro. Senior Max Ward scored a shorthanded goal to put the Tigers ahead and Brett Williams scored twice in the second period to pace OA. Freshman Bryan Kearns had three assists and junior goalie Owen Connor made nine saves for the shutout.
Stoughton, 1 @ King Philip, 10 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Franklin scored twice in each the first and second periods to earn two points on the road against Taunton. Colin Hedvig and Matt Holmes scored in the first period for the Panthers while Shane McCaffrey and Scott Elliott tallied goals in the second period.
Canton, 5 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 5 – Final – In a back-and-forth battle, Canton sophomore Maria Femia scored with 1:15 left in the contest to help the Bulldogs earn a draw. The Bulldogs held a 2-1 lead after one period after Lindsay McManus and Lauren Fitzpatrick scored two early goals. Alex Ledin got the Warriors on the board in the first. Katie Trerice extended the lead to 3-1 but Emma Pereira and Lily O’Brien answered for MOA to knot the game at 3-3. Canton’s Maggie Malloy scored with two seconds left in the second to give the visitors a 4-3 advantage heading into the final frame. Mackenzi Fraser scored twice in the third to put MOA ahead but Femia’s late goal secured a point for both teams. Skyler Sharfman had three assists for MOA.
Stoughton, 3 @ Franklin, 8 – Final – Franklin sophomore Katelyn Brown scored a hat trick, senior Lindsey Maloof scored once, and senior Tori MacLeod had three assists to lead the Panthers to a win. Senior Gianna Cornetta made 13 saves, including one on a penalty shot, to earn the win.
King Philip, 3 vs. Ursuline Academy, 0 – Final
Peckham Tournament (Canton, King Philip, Mansfield, Sharon, Stoughton) – Sharon’s depth paid off as the Eagles took second place with 155.5 points despite not having an individual champion on the day. The Eagles had three grapplers take third, four finish third and one take fourth overall. Tyler Cashton (152), Huguens Pierre (138), and Alex Bolt (220) finished second while Vinay Chinnam (126), Max Pozner (145), Jon Wald (182), and Andrew Ableman (160) earned third place finishes. Mansfield had four individual champions and eight total grapplers come in fourth or better but was one point shy of the Eagles, earning 154.5 points for third place. Jayden Curley (170), George Glaropoulos (160), CJ Glaropoulos (152), and Antonios Sevastos (120) each won their respective brackets, Ethan Nirenberg (182) was second, and Max Farley (113), and Ciaran Connolley (152) finished third. King Philip earned 134 points for sixth overall behind individual champions Mohammad Lofti (145) and Luke Fitch (182). Shawn Conniff (195) added a second place finish and Noah Riedel (132) and Jackson Kelley (138) earned third place finishes. Stoughton was seventh overall with 96.5 points, highlighted by CJ Carpenter’s win at 106 and John Santos’ second place finish at 113. Host Canton had 96 points, good for eighth place with Jordan Neundorf (160) and Harry Carter (126) earning second place finishes.
Chelmsford Tournament (Foxboro), 9:00
Natick Red Hawk Duals (Franklin) – Franklin dominated the day, winning five dual meets to earn first place at the Red Hawk Duals at Natick High. The Panthers beat Lincoln-Sudbury (63-9), Merrimack (75-4), Mt. Hope (51-17), Wellesley (60-6), and Natick (63-12). Franklin’s Alex Fracassa, Jordan Carlucci, Ken Sauer, Caleb MacLean, Dominic Sackley, and Riley Downing all went undefeated on the day.
North Attleboro Super Quad (North Attleboro) – The Rocketeers split the day, picking up a pair of wins but also dropping two matches. Big Red knocked off LaSalle Academy (45-22) and Bridgewater-Raynham (57-17) but suffered setbacks to St. John’s Prep (44-21) and Plymouth South (39-28). North Attleboro’s Montrel Jackson (160, two pins), John Kummer (220, pin), and Mateusz Kudra (285, four pins) each went 4-0 for the Rocketeers. Ethan Smith (120) won two matches by fall, one by decision, and one by forfeit to also go unbeaten on the day.
Sandwich Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames picked up a win over Sandwich (42-37) but suffered a setback to Hingham (45-33) to finish 1-1 on the day. Senior Dean Pacini earned his 100th career win at the meet.
Quincy Quad (Taunton) – Taunton went 3-0 on the day, picking up wins over Durfee (54-18), Bellingham (60-24), and host Quincy (39-30). Xavier Sandoval (132, pin), Jackson Mandeville (138), Christian Balmain (152, three pins), and Devin Wilson (220, two pins) each went 3-0 on the day to pace the Tigers. Brandon Mendes (106), Candido Santos (160, pin), and Avery Justa (195, two pins) each had a pair of wins.
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.
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.
Franklin, 63 vs. Brighton, 35 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Franklin clamped down defensively, forcing Brighton into 32 turnovers on its way to a big win over the Bengals. The Panthers forced 12 turnovers in the first quarter alone and hit their first eight shots from the floor, taking a 25-6 lead after eight minutes of play. Junior Chris Edgehill had a team-high 15 points, senior Will Harvey added eight points, and Jack Rudolph finished with seven points and three assists. Franklin will play host Bridgewater-Raynham in the championship game of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament on Saturday at 4:45.
King Philip, 64 vs. New Mission, 72 – Final – King Philip cut the deficit to just three points late in the fourth quarter but New Mission finished strong to close down the Warriors. Bruce Sanitilus scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the final frame to help KP get back into the game. KP scored 38 points in the second half after being held to 26 in the opening 16 minutes. Alex Fritz added 14 points (11 in the second half) while both Andrew McKinney and Tim Nault finished with 11 points. King Philip will play host Auburn in the consolation game on Friday night at 5:00.
Milford, 60 vs. New Bedford, 51 – Final – Milford built an eight-point lead (19-11) after one quarter, led by 11 at half and after three quarters, and held on for a win over New Bedford. Senior Brendan White had a team-high 17 points and hauled in 14 boards while sophomore Jordan Darling also had a big night, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Oliver Ames, 66 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 29 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Oliver Ames turned a dominant performance on the glass into a big win over Dighton-Rehoboth in an opening round game of the Muscato Tournament. The Tigers had an 11-0 advantage on the boards in the first quarter, grabbing six offensive boards to jump out to a 23-7 lead. OA continued to control the boards with a 23-3 advantage at halftime, resulting in a 34-16 lead at the break. Junior Jay Spillane had a career-high 14 points to pace the Tigers while senior Ethan Eckstrom added 11 points. OA will play Cardinal Spellman in the championship game on Saturday.
Taunton, 77 vs. Charlestown, 53 – Final – Taunton outscored Charlestown 24-9 in the second quarter, and put up 48 points between the second and third to earn a double-digit win over Charlestown. Senior Wesner Charles scored a career-high 21 points while junior Dante Law also had a 21-point performance, including 13 in the first half. Senior Mike Quinn added 11 points and Naz Kenion chipped in with 10 points. Taunton will play host Durfee in the finals of the Skip Karam Holiday Classic on Friday at 6:30.
Attleboro, 42 @ North Attleboro, 34 – Final – Liv McCall scored 16 points to send Attleboro into Saturday’s final of the North Attleboro holiday tournament. Attleboro coach Marty Crowley credited the Bombardiers great team defense and added that Lillian Froio played really well off the bench.
Oliver Ames, 47 vs. Needham, 64 – Final – Oliver Ames trailed by just a point after three quarters but the Rockets dominated the final quarter, outscoring the Tigers 23-7 to earn the win. Freshman Caroline Peper had a career-high 19 points for Oliver Ames, who will host Brockton in the consolation game of the Sue Rivard Holiday Tournament on Friday at 6:00.
Sharon, 34 vs. Middleboro, 38 – Final – Emma Eberhardt led the way for the Eagles with 17 points.
Stoughton, 39 vs. Belmont, 70 – Final – Stoughton junior Aliyah Wright had a team-high 11 points for the Black Knights, who will play Newton South on Friday at 5:00.
Taunton, 65 vs. Durfee, 49 – Final – Taunton jumped out to a 13 point lead by halftime (31-18) and kept control in the second half. Sonya Fernandez had another strong all-around game for the Tigers with 20 points, eight rebounds, and nine blocks. Alexa White added 17 points and Lily Patneaude chipped in with 11 in the win.
Franklin, 2 @ Mount St. Charles (R.I.), 3 – Final (OT) – Franklin senior Joe Lizotte and junior Shane McCaffrey each scored once but the Panthers fell in overtime to host Mount St. Charles. Ryan Cameron had an outstanding game in net for the Panthers. The game will go down as a tie for MIAA purposes.
King Philip, 0 vs. Quincy, 3 – Final
North Attleboro, 2 vs. Cumberland (R.I.), 0 – Final – Tyler Sarro and John Connolly scored for the Rocketeers, who earned their first win of the season.
Oliver Ames, 7 vs. Matignon, 0 – Final – Brett Williams scored two goals and assisted on another and Cullen Gallagher had one goal and a pair of assists to power OA to Friday’s tournament championship game against Hanover. Colin Bourne, Max Ward, Ross Carroll, and Brad Powers also scored for the Tigers, while Owen Connor made nine saves to record the shutout.
Stoughton, 5 vs. Tri-County, 3 – Final – Stoughton’s offense exploded for four goals in the second period, helping the Black Knights pick up the win. Senior Carter Gerome and freshman Colin Alessi each scored a pair of goals for the Knights while freshman Joe McNulty scored the other goal.
Taunton, 0 vs. Scituate, 2 – Final
Canton, 3 vs. Medfield/Norton, 2 – Final (2 OT) – After Medfield/Norton scored twice in the third period to grab the lead, Maggie Malloy scored with just 44 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 2-2, forcing overtime and keeping Canton unbeaten this season (both teams get a point for MIAA standings). During the 3-on-3 second OT period, Lauren Fitzpatrick went the length of the ice for her second goal of the game to send the Bulldogs into the Ice House tournament final to face Westwood. Fitzpatrick also opened the scoring for Canton with a second period goal assisted by Lizzie Tassinari and Payton McDonough.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 vs. Walpole, 5 – Final
Lowell Tournament (Canton, Foxboro, Franklin, Taunton), 9:00
Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Sharon), 10:00
Attleboro vs. Norton, 4:30
Franklin, 137.5 @ Mansfield, 147.5 – Final
King Philip @ Taunton, 11:00AM
Sharon @ Taunton, 11:00AM
2017-2018 Record: 9-10-2 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South preliminary round. Coach: Mark Homer
After a two year drought of postseason hockey, the Bombardiers made it to the playoffs last year and are aiming to make it two years in a row. The Bombardiers only had three seniors on the roster last season, so the majority of the squad is back, plus a familiar face is back in the fold this season.
One of the three seniors that graduated was Jake Parker, who led the Bombardiers in scoring last season with 26 goals and eight assists. But Attleboro is slated to return its next three scorers in senior Cam Littig (12 goals, 14 assists for 26 points), junior Ryan Morry (11 goals, 15 assists for 26 points) and senior Kyle McCabe (three goals, 10 assists for 13 points).
Another positive is that the Bombardiers have some experience in goal. Both senior Evan Andrews (13.66 games played) and junior Derrik Rivet (6.33 games) are set to return. Having an experienced goalie is a huge positive but having a strong backup helps even more. Andrews had 270 saves last season with a 0.882 save percentage while Rivet turned away 144 shots and had a 0.842 save percentage. In front of goal, McCabe, Sam Flynn, and Matt Viveiros will be joined by Liam McDonough, Kyle Miniati, and Zach Pierce as members of the defensive unit.
While Littig and Morry will try to replicate their success from a season ago, one name that could help bolster the offense is senior Sam Larkin. Larkin played his freshman year and had seven goals and seven assists before switching over to juniors. His experience should give Attleboro a boost during the season.
“We have had some additions to our team this year that has created a little more depth that had been absent in previous years,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “We are working on maintaining a better consistency in our play. We are still in our tryout mode and hoping to find the right mix to make us more competitive this season, especially in our league games.”
2017-2018 Record: 17-3-4 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South semifinal. Coach: Brian Shuman
Canton comes into every year with high expectations and the Bulldogs will be favorites to bring home a ninth straight Davenport division title and 11th Hockomock League title in the past 12 seasons. While the league campaign is a priority, the Bulldogs will also be comparing themselves to the top teams in Div. 2 and hoping this will be the year to break through in the South sectional and get back to the TD Garden for the first time since 2010.
After a dominant winter, the top scoring line is back in full for Canton. Senior Ryan Nolte, the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, and junior Johnny Hagan, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will draw most of the plaudits but junior Timmy Kelleher gives the Bulldogs strong play on the other wing as well. That line combined for 69 points last season (27 apiece for Hagan and Nolte) and will be one of the league’s best going into this year. Canton also has juniors Tommy Ghostlaw and Chris Lavoie back to add scoring punch to the second line.
At the blue line, juniors Owen Lehane and Jack Connolly will both be expected to eat up a lot of minutes after strong sophomore seasons, and the Bulldogs will be looking for other players to step up and fill in defensively. After consistently strong goaltending from Quinn Gibbs over the past few seasons, Canton will turn to senior Mike Staffiere, who has been a backup the past two years and is drawing great reviews for his play during the preseason.
“Overall, we have a lot of experience returning up front at the forward position, but that’s true for a lot of teams in our league and in our division,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “The real question will be how much these players improved from last year, which we won’t know for sure until the games get going.”
2017-2018 Record: 10-9-2 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South preliminary round. Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Foxboro is coming off the best season in program history, as the Warriors won 10 games and qualified for the state tournament without relying on the Sullivan Rule. Now, the Warriors come back this season hoping to build on that season and make another run at the state tournament behind an offense that, according to coach Mark Cedorchuk, is as deep as it has ever been.
Junior Ronnie MacLellan and sophomore Kirk Leach are two of the forwards to keep an eye on this season for the Warriors after the duo combined for 15 goals and 32 points last season. Also up front will be senior Tanner Kennedy and juniors Sebastian Ricketts and Josh Bertumen, who combined for 10 goals last year and are looking to continue their development to add depth to the attack.
Senior Brendan Tully will lead the defensive effort but is also the team’s leading scorer. The blue line standout scored 18 goals and had 19 assists and is going to be a major factor in all three zones as well as a leader on the penalty kill and power play. He will be joined on the blue line by junior Kyle McGinnis, while junior Espen Reager will be between the pipes this year.
“Even though we had a successful season last year, best in team history,” Cedorchuk said, “our players are not satisfied, they are hungry to improve on that.”
2017-2018 Record: 12-6-5 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round. Coach: Chris Spillane
Franklin started well last winter, reaching the final of the prestigious Mount St. Charles tournament and taking a point off Malden Catholic for the first time, but the Panthers couldn’t carry the momentum throughout the season and were knocked out in the first round of the tournament. As usual, Franklin graduated a lot of players, but also return a strong corps of experienced players to take on arguably the program’s toughest regular season schedule, which is loaded with some of the state’s top teams.
The Panthers return 11 seniors for this season, including eight forwards, but also have a group of eight sophomores that are jumping up from the JV to contribute on varsity this season. The forward line has plenty of experience and should be able to fire in the goals this year. Seniors Joey Lizotte, Zac Falvey, Scott Elliott, Dan Magazu, and C.J. Spillane will all be able to jump into the top scoring lines after playing major roles last year.
Defensively, the top five defensemen will be juniors Tom Tasker (who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last year) and Colin Hedvig and seniors Cam Casella, Matt D’Errico, and Evan Forbes. Three sophomores will also see time on the blue line for the Panthers this season. After graduating three senior goaltenders, the job is open to senior Ryan Cameron and junior Ray Ivers, who are both making the jump from JV.
“Our hope is that team speed will drive the offense and that our returning defense will have the experience to make sound decisions in our end,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane. “The boys are looking forward to the upcoming season. I see the Hockomock as an extremely competitive league this year. We will also challenge our boys with a high-end non-league schedule.”
2017-2018 Record: 8-12-1 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Paul Carlow
King Philip brings 11 players back from last year’s squad and is hoping a tough schedule will result in a battle-tested team ready for the D1 South Tournament at the end of February. It starts with the seniors for the Warriors with four of them back, plus a transfer.
There will be a lot of experience in the top line for KP, as well as its first defensive pair and between the pipes. Captain Ryan Fitzpatrick (10 points) had a strong season last year and will be trying to replicate that this year. Fitzpatrick is joined by assistant captain Luke D’Amico (13 points) as wingers while senior transfer Brendan Shandley steps in at center to give the Warriors a formidable line to work with. Juniors Chris Daniels (13 points), Joe Boselli (11 points), and Jack Coulter (10 points) are all back after successful sophomore seasons and should provide KP with good depth.
On the blueline, veteran Garrett Maxwell is the lone senior back from last year so he will be relied on for leadership. He is one of the strongest players in the league and plays in all situations for KP, including the power play plus the penalty kill. There will be some other familiar faces on defense for KP with junior Kyle Gray (seven points) and sophomore Rocco Bianculli (eight points) both back with varsity experience.
Senior James Lewis takes over in the crease as the starting netminder for the Warriors. Lewis saw action in three games last season, including a pair of wins and shutouts. While new to the starting position, Lewis has plenty of experience and that bodes well for the Warriors. Jesper Makudera and Nate Ihley will be pushing for minutes in net as well.
“I expect the team to have some good chemistry and get off to a good start,” said King Philip head coach Paul Carlow. “Practice has been good, and we have good leadership this year with a strong core. The Hockomock League is always competitive, the Kelley-Rex is a strong division, and we have a tough non-league schedule too, so we want to challenge ourselves.”
2017-2018 Record: 9-7-5 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round. Coach: Mike Balzarini
The Hornets have a strong core of players back this season, along with the addition of a couple of new faces, and head coach Mike Balzarini is hoping that combination will result in success this season.
Experience will be a strong suit for Mansfield as five of its top six forwards played significant minutes last year. Chris Copponi (12 points) and Matt Copponi (16 points) will be on the wings around center Coleman O’Brien for one line while Jake Lund (eight points) and Kevin Bellanger are returners on another line. The sixth forward will be center Jack Garland, who played juniors last year but is back in the fold for the Hornets this year. Ben Ierardo, Cam Page, and Braedon Copparini will be in the mix for minutes as well.
Defensively, while there are certainly some holes to fill, Balzarini has some talent to rely on the blue line. Two-time HockomockSports.com selections Mike Arnold and Tyler Oakley graduated so there is a little bit of a void, but Austin Ricker has stepped on early on to anchor the Hornet defensive unit. Ricker is joined by Brad Grant, who played for the Hornets previously before switching to juniors. Nick Levine and Joe Troiano gained valuable experience last year, and Jack Gormley and Brian Grant should be in the mix as well.
Mansfield also has experience in the goalie position with junior Sean McCafferty back between the pipes after having a breakout sophomore campaign. McCafferty was one of the top goalies in the league last year, earning HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman honors. He had 377 saves and a 92 save percentage, which bodes well for the Hornets this year.
“We obviously want to pick up where we left off after making the playoffs the last two years,” Balzarini said. “With the returning players plus new additions, I think we’re a little bit deeper and we know what we need to do to be competitive and make sure we’re playing well at the end of the season.”
2017-2018 Record: 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round. Coach: Ben McManama
Defense will be key for the Rocketeers during the 2018-2019 season. With a handful of returners back on the blue line as well as veteran goalie Ryan Warren, North Attleboro boasts a talented defensive unit.
Senior captain Brendan McHugh will anchor the defensive group alongside juniors Jeff Baker and Will Yeomans. All three are very experienced players that put defense first. They can all get involved in the offense as well. Warren has shined between the pipes each of the last three seasons, earning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year as a freshman and was a HockomockSports Third Team selection last season. Warren is pushed in practice each day as Chris Ulrich and Nick Digiacomo push for time.
Offensively, North Attleboro only lost two forwards from last year’s group, but those two players (Drew Wissler, Jason McNeany) combined for nearly half of the Rocketeers’ 76 goals a season ago. So this year, Big Red will need forwards to step up and contribute. Captain Anthony Zammiello scored 13 goals last year and will look to continue his success this season. Todd Robinson, Justin Moccia, Dennis Morehouse, Jake Ebert, and Jack Connolly are all candidates to have big years for the Rocketeers.
“We are a very big and physical team that works hard,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “We will need to stay out of the box to have success this year. Defense and depth will be the strength of our team. We will also need three lines that can score. I am very optimistic on the season because it is obvious that all our players put a ton of work in during the offseason.”
2017-2018 Record: 13-9 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round. Coach: Sean Bertoni
Speed has been the strength of the Tigers since Sean Bertoni took over the team and Oliver Ames will be relying on that speed and aggressiveness to try and challenge Franklin at the top of the Kelley-Rex division and to make a run in the state tournament. With a few players coming back from juniors to join with an experienced group, OA has high hopes of pushing the Panthers for the league title.
Senior forward Brett Williams will be the key player in the attack, coming off a season in which he scored 21 goals and recorded 15 assists and was named to the HockomockSports.com First Team. Williams will have plenty of help up front from senior Colin Bourne, who is one of the fastest skaters in the league and had 13 points last season. Senior forward Cullen Gallagher will also give the offense a boost, as he comes back to the program after a year in juniors.
Senior Matt McCormack was one of the league’s top defensemen last year and his steadying presence on the blue line will be critical to OA improving on that end of the ice, after giving up 54 goals as a team last year. Senior James Beatty is back after a year in juniors and should be a big boost to the blue line. Junior Owen Connor is back in net and looking to build off last season’s efforts.
“We are a team that will rely heavily on our team speed,” Bertoni said. “Our aggressive style of defense will lead to a successful offense. We will have to establish our forecheck to be effective. Our transition game will be a strength for us this year, creating turnovers and getting on the attack.”
2017-2018 Record: 1-20-1 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Dan Mark
Overall, the Stoughton Black Knights will be on the young side but they have a veteran first line that will lead the way.
The Knights will be looking to improve on last year’s record, while possibly trying to surprise some teams along the way. Leading the way offensively will be senior Sean Doherty. Doherty was Stoughton’s second-leading scorer last year behind Brendan Campbell (graduated). Doherty was second on the Black Knights with 12 goals and added 11 assists and will be relied upon to be a key piece of the offense this season. Joining Doherty on the first line will be senior Luke Bainton, who brings a lot of varsity experience to the table. Bainton will look to improve on last year after recording seven points (four goals, three assists).
Senior Josh Hough will anchor the blue line for the Black Knights. In his fourth year on varsity, Hough has logged a lot of minutes on the ice over the past couple of seasons and will be one of the most experienced defensemen in the league. Hough is able to create on the offensive end as well, scoring a pair of goals last year along with seven assists. Senior Thomas McCoy is set to return in goal after getting experience between the pipes a season ago.
2017-2018 Record: 12-10-2 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South semifinal. Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton has been a program on the rise for the past few seasons and last year the Tigers took another big step forward by making a push to the Div. 2 South semifinal. That unexpected tournament run as the No. 13 seed, which included wins over No. 4 Old Rochester and No. 5 Nauset, has boosted the team’s confidence heading into a new year in which all but four players are back.
Scoring has not been a problem for the Tigers in recent seasons. Last year, Taunton scored a league-best 98 goals, five more than Davenport champ Canton, and senior forward Cam Sneyd (30 points) and junior Mike Albert (32 points) both eclipsed the 30-point mark. Senior Jack Patneaude added 15 points last year and he is poised for a big year along with classmates Jaden Weyant, Owen Ross, and Nick Vandermeel.
The defense is almost completely returned from last year, led by senior Andrew Carter, who was solid in the defensive zone but also chipped in with 20 points. Senior Brady Nichols and sophomore Dylan Nichols are also back for the Tigers. Junior Sean Bunker returns in net after a solid performance in the tournament run and he will be backed up by classmate Andrew Gomes, who has shown that he is a capable replacement when needed.
“The players have embraced the enjoyment of the journey, the process, and working hard to get better every day,” said Taunton coach Kris Metea. “They have the potential to continue their accomplishment of new heights. They will be fun to coach, and watch grow throughout the season.”
Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Jack Goyetch, Canton
Hockomock League All Stars
Jake Parker, Attleboro
Nick Allen, Canton
John Hagan, Canton
Jack Goyetch, Canton
Ryan Nolte, Canton
Quinn Gibbs, Canton
Aidan Sullivan, Foxboro
Brendan Tully, Foxboro
Luke Downie, Franklin
Owen Ginley, Franklin
Jack McGrath, Franklin
Jeremy Miller, Franklin
Collin Cooke, King Philip
Mike Curtin, King Philip
Cullin Anastasia, Mansfield
Tim Arnold, Mansfield
Jason McNeany, North Attleboro
Drew Wissler, North Attleboro
Matt McCormack, Oliver Ames
Michael Nikiciuk, Oliver Ames
Brett Williams, Oliver Ames
Brendan Campbell, Stoughton
Will Walsh, Taunton
CANTON, Mass. – In overtime, the quantity of shots on goal is less important than the quality and Westwood proved that point on Wednesday night against Oliver Ames in a Div. 2 South first round matchup at the Canton Ice House. Despite the Tigers holding a 7-0 edge in shots through the first five minutes of four-on-four hockey, it was the Wolverines’ only shot in OT that proved decisive.
Conor Donohue notched his second goal of the game with 47 seconds remaining in overtime to give Westwood a 3-2 win over OA (13-9), completing a comeback from two goals down entering the third period and denying the Tigers another shot at league rival Canton in the next round.
Of course, from the Tigers’ perspective, the game should never have gone to overtime anyway.
“They fought us hard,” said OA coach Sean Bertoni after a lengthy postgame team talk in the locker room, “but the overtime was our period. Our forwards and ‘D’ kept them penned in but couldn’t bury one and they come up the ice on a one-on-one and I think it was their first shot.”
He added, “That’s what happens in hockey. You can dominate for half a period and they come down, shoot and score. It’s frustrating.”
OA scored once in each of the first two periods to hold a 2-0 lead heading to the third, but Westwood wasted no time in cutting that lead in half. Donohue fired a shot from the left circle that beat OA goalie Owen Connor on the glove side inside the first two minutes of the period.
The goal turned the momentum and the Tigers did not seem to have the legs to stem the Westwood pressure. Although OA, which beat Westwood 5-2 in the regular season finale, would end up with a 6-5 edge in shots for the period, the Wolverines had loads of offensive zone time and the much better chances.
Donohue nearly added a second three minutes after his first but Connor made the save and Shane Cronin missed a golden chance to tie it right on the edge of the crease.
Max Ward had the best chance of the third period for OA but he was unable to get his stick on a rebound off a save by Justin Anderson (33 saves). A minute later, Mark Horsfall slid to his right along the blue line, picking the right angle to fire a wrister through traffic that went in off the post to tie the game with 2:46 left.
“Up 2-0, we make one mistake coverage-wise when the puck was in our offensive zone, we had a breakdown there, the coverage wasn’t there, they come down and score,” Bertoni explained. “The second goal to tie the game, we couldn’t block a shot, we let the ‘D’ walk to the center of the ice.”
Despite struggling through the third, OA looked suddenly refreshed after a quick break before the start of overtime and the Tigers came out flying in the four-on-four.
“I think we had a little more depth to roll out a few more forwards and everyone was on the attack,” Bertoni said. “We executed well in terms of offensive zone possession and coverage but just couldn’t bury one.”
Brett Williams, Rory Madden, and Eric LeBlanc all put shots on goal and the Wolverines were on their heels for the first five minutes. That was until a pass through the middle caught the OA defensemen pushing forward and allowed Donohue to find space in the left circle. His snap shot beat Connor to the far post and set off a raucous celebration.
The Tigers had started the game well. Huter Costello had the game’s first notable scoring opportunity five minutes in but his shot was kicked aside. Colin Bourne nearly opened the scoring with a shorthanded breakaway but Anderson managed to get a stick check in and the puck rolled to the corner.
It looked like Westwood had gotten on the board when Brian Reissfelder went bar down from the slot, but the puck was ruled to have not crossed the line. Neither team stopped skating, although there were questions raised from the Wolverines bench. Only two minutes later, freshman Ross Carroll put the Tigers in front with an inch-perfect backhand tip over the shoulder of Anderson from a Matt McCormack pass out of the left corner.
In the second period, defenseman Adam Healey made it 2-0 for the Tigers when his shot from the point made its way through a sea of bodies in front of goal. Seconds later, OA could have broken the game open with another chance, but a scrum in front led to a prone goalie and a puck that slipped narrowly wide of the post. Williams had a good look from the slot after a drop pass by Bourne, but he could not find the corner and Anderson blocked it aside.
The missed opportunities during a period in which the Tigers had a 13-5 edge in shots would come back to haunt the No. 10 seed. Westwood finished the second with a quick flurry and then turned the game on its head in the third.
“End of the second and most of the third we were holding on. Our energy just dropped and we couldn’t claw our way back, but then we did in overtime,” said Bertoni. He repeated, “But, we just couldn’t bury one.”
Franklin, 3 vs. Marshfield, 2 – Final (OT) – Brendan O’Rielly scored the overtime winner to hand Franklin the Melchiono Tournament title. Jeremy Miller and Scott Elliott also scored in the win, which will be recorded as a tie for MIAA purposes.
Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Westwood, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames overcame a 2-0 deficit after a period of play with five unanswered goals to beat the Wolverines. Senior Rory Madden scored the first two goals to tie the game with freshman Ross Carroll and junior Adam Lyons earning assists on both goals. Junior Max Ward put OA ahead on the power play with Brett Williams assisting. Madden set up junior Matt McCormack for the fourth goal and Carroll sealed the game with an empty net goal. OA coach Sean Bertoni noted sophomore goalie Owen Connor had a strong performance in net.
Stoughton, 61 @ Waltham, 71 – Final – Stoughton scored 42 points in the second half and outscored the host Hawks over the last two quarters but the Black Knights couldn’t overcome a slow first half. The Knights shot just 25% from the floor in the opening half, falling behind 37-19 at the break. Stoughton hit five threes in the second half to help close the gap. Senior Cam Andrews had a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds while classmate Colin Sanda had eight points, six rebounds, and five assists. Both Andrews and Sanda were named to the all-tournament team.
Foxboro, 58 vs. Natick, 45 – Final – Ashley Sampson scored 27 points and Foxboro closed out the regular season by winning the Warrior Classic and sewing up the top seed in Div. 2 South. Sampson was named the tournament MVP after a 29-point performance on Monday and Lily Sykes was named to the all-tournament team.
Franklin, 52 vs. Shepherd Hill, 43 – Final – Ali Brigham and Bea Bondhus combined for 31 points to help the Panthers beat the top seed at the Westboro tournament and one of the top seeds in the Central. Franklin will face Hopkinton in the tournament final on Thursday night.
Oliver Ames, 77 vs Duxbury, 74 – Final (2 OT) – Oliver Ames sophomore Meg Holleran hit a pair of late three-pointers to help the Tigers edge the Dragons in the Norwell Invitational. “Key combinations of grit and determination earned the win,” said OA head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. Senior Kayla Raymond had a team-high 22 points and 12 rebounds while classmate Abby Reardon had 12 points, including some key free throws down the stretch. Alex Sheldon added nine points and eight rebounds for the Tigers.
Canton, 2 vs. Medfield, 0 – Final – Canton senior Bubba McNeice scored in the first period and junior Ryan Nolte scored in the second to give the Bulldogs a win in the first round of the Joe Quinn Memorial Tournament. Quinn Gibbs recorded the shutout in net. Canton advances to the finals and will take on host Coyle & Cassidy on Thursday at 7:30.
Oliver Ames, 6 vs. Sandwich, 0 – Final – Max Ward recorded a hat trick to lead the Tigers to a big win in the consolation game of the Jeff Hayes Memorial Tournament. Colin Bourne and Brett Williams each scored once in the first period while senior Adam Healy scored in the second. Rory Madden had two assists while sophomore Owen Connor made 16 saves to earn the shutout.
Taunton, 8 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Taunton senior Will Walsh recorded a hat trick to pace the Tigers past the Black Knights at Asiaf Arena.
Attleboro, 2 vs. Old Rochester, 1 – Final (3OT) – Attleboro beat Old Rochester in triple overtime to advance to the finals of the Farleigh Dickinson Tournament. The Bombardiers will play either Martha’s Vineyard or Weston in the final on Sunday at 1:00PM. The game against Old Rochester will go down as a tie for MIAA purposes.
Canton, 2 vs. Lincoln-Sudbury, 1 – Final – Canton overcame a one-goal deficit, scoring a pair of goals in the third period to beat Lincoln-Sudbury. Sophomore Chris Lavoie tied the game at the midway point of the final period and then classmate Johnny Hagan netted the game-winner with 23.7 seconds left.
Mansfield, 2 @ Winthrop, 4 – Final – Chris Copponi and Jake Lund each scored a power play goal but the Hornets fell on the road to Winthrop.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Brockton, 2 – Final – Brockton jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first 15 minutes of play but Oliver Ames tied it in the second period and scored the game-winner in the third. With the win, OA qualifies for the state tournament. Senior Rory Madden scored OA’s first goal on the power play (assisted by Colin Bourne and Michael Nikiciuk) and junior Brett Williams tied the game in the second. In the third period, Bourne netted the game-winner on an assist from Max Ward.
Stoughton, 4 vs. Nauset, 9 – Final – Stoughton’ Sean Doherty recorded a hat trick and Josh Hough scored once but the Knights fell at home to Nauset. SHS head coach Dan Mark said Thomas McCoy played well in goal for the Black Knights.
Taunton, 3 @ Dennis-Yarmouth, 1 – Final – Will Walsh scored a pair of goals to help the Tigers pick up two points on the road and qualify for the state tournament for the third consecutive year. It marks just the second time in school history the Tigers have reached the postseason three straight years (1994-1996). Walsh also had an assist while Cam Sneyd scored once and had two helpers. Jack Patneaude and Nathan Fernandes each had an assist in the win.
Canton, 2 @ Duxbury, 1 – Final – Canton scored less than five minutes into the game and doubled its lead early in the third period to upset Duxbury, ranked fifth in the state. Kendra Farrelly opened the scoring in the first and Maggie Malloy made it 2-0 in the third period. Duxbury scored with 14 seconds left.