Girls Hockey: Ten Players to Watch in 2020-2021

Senior Emma Pereira (22) is one of the players to watch this season, as she tries to lead Mansfield/Oliver Ames to its first league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Player are listed alphabetically

Gabby Colace, Senior – Franklin

One of Franklin’s strengths the past few seasons is being difficult to break down. While the Panthers don’t have the same experience on the blue line as in years past, Colace is still between the pipes and that should make Franklin tough to score against this winter. She allowed only 1.95 goals per game last season, making 357 saves, and stopping more than 90 percent of the shots she faced. One of the league’s top shot stoppers, Colace uses her quickness and ability to read the play to be in the right positions. She sees the puck well through traffic and her athleticism allows her to cover a lot of ground quickly. Colace’s consistency and composure in net will be a big help to a relatively young Franklin defensive group this season and her experience as a three-year starter gives Franklin high hopes of reclaiming the league title.

Carolyn Durand, Sophomore – Canton

Goalie is not an easy position to step into and produce right away, especially not at a state championship-caliber level, but Durand jumped between the pipes for Canton last year and put together a remarkable season for the league champs. As a freshman, Durand allowed only 0.71 goals per game and made 293 saves, stopping 95 percent of the shots she faced and recording 14 shutouts. She was solid positionally all season, rarely over-committing and making sure to be in the right spot to deny someone on the rebound. Durand also showed poise under pressure, not backing down as teams crowded the crease in search of late goals or being over-awed by the moment during Canton’s run to the final. It was a great way to kick off her Canton career and Durand’s continued development is one of the reasons the Bulldogs remain the favorite to repeat as Hock champs.

Maria Femia, Senior – Canton

Canton doesn’t just count on its forward to find the back of the net, the Bulldogs also need them to start the defensive pressure with a tireless forecheck. Femia is a good example of defending from the front. The senior forward is relentless in chasing the puck in the offensive zone, allowing her teammates to get into good positions, forcing turnovers, and wearing teams down as they try to get the puck out. She scored four goals and had 13 assists last year and was a big reason for the program winning its first ever state title. A four-year varsity player, Femia has the speed to harass the opponent and the vision to turn a loose puck into a scoring opportunity for either herself or a teammate. With a few new faces on the roster this year, Femia will be counted on to pick up the scoring and try to make it three league titles in four years in Hock play.




Alex Ledin, Senior – Mansfield/Oliver Ames

Mansfield/Oliver Ames has top players back in each position on the ice and is looking to make a run at its first Hockomock League title. One familiar face back is senior Alex Ledin, a veteran that will be apart of the Warriors’ top line. Ledin is also joined by returners Reese Pereira and Ella Waryas, the trio combined for the majority of MOA’s points last season. Ledin’s speed gives the Warriors a lot of options in the attack and her experience means she knows what spots to be in on the ice. Having familiarity with her two linemates will also mean the trio can pick up where they left off last season. As a junior, Ledin was among the league’s leading scorers with nine goals scored and seven assists.

Morgan Lessa, Senior – Stoughton/Sharon

Stoughton/Sharon took a step forward last season, picking up three wins and another point through a tie and a big reason for that was forward Morgan Lessa. Lessa is among the most dangerous players in the Hockomock League and the surrounding area, possessing a combination of skill, hockey IQ, and speed that makes her very hard to stop. Despite getting a lot of attention from opposing defenses, Lessa finds a way to get space and is a great finisher in front of the goal. She logs of a lot of minutes during five-on-five but is also a key piece when the Black Knights go on the power play. And during the penalty kill, Lessa is often flying around the ice to disrupt opposing power plays. She was one of the top producers in the league last year, scoring 21 goals (second-most in the league) and adding 10 assists for a total of 31 points, one point off the league lead.

Amanda Lewandowski, Senior – Franklin

A standout in the rink and the field hockey field, Lewandowski knows how to find the back of the net and her tenacity means that opposing defenses don’t get to take a minute off while she’s on the ice. She was fifth in the league in scoring last year (and tops on the Panthers) with eight goals and 13 assists. Lewandowski can drive Franklin forward from her own zone, helping back defensively and then carrying the puck to a scoring opportunity on the other end of the ice. Quick, with good stick skills, and a motor that doesn’t stop, Lewandowski is able to find the little seams in a defense to get her shot on goal and isn’t afraid to get to the front of the net sniffing out rebounds or deflections. She can also cause the opposition fits with her forecheck, pushing teams back and making it difficult to get the puck out of the zone. She will be hoping to cap off her four years on varsity with a second league title in the past three seasons.

Avari Maxwell, Senior – King Philip

You could pick any of the three members of King Philip’s top line to be on this list like juniors Morgan Cunningham and Sydney O’Shea, but we’re going with the senior captain Avari Maxwell. A longtime member of the Warriors, Maxwell will lead the charge offensively this season for a team that is looking for its first Hockomock League title. Maxwell sets the tone with her work ethic, a strong two-way player that gets back and factors in defensively while also being a strong offensive player. Working alongside Cunningham (24 points) and O’Shea (20 points), Maxwell completes one of the most dangerous lines in the league. As captain, her leadership both on and off the ice will be key.




Allie McCabe, Junior – Canton

Canton has become known for its impressive defensive record during its recent run of three state title games in four seasons. That should be no different this year, as the Bulldogs try to become the first team to repeat as Hock champion. McCabe will be one of the main factors for Canton’s continued defensive solidity. Strong and imposing in her own zone, McCabe is also a good skater who can beat a forward to the puck or get physical in the corner and take the puck away. She read angles well to cut off space and keep everything away from the front of the net. Although not a prolific scorer from the blue line, McCabe has a good shot from the point and good vision for an outlet pass to spring the forwards into the offensive zone. Graduation and transfers took away some of the top defensive pairings from last year, but McCabe’s experience will make her a leader for the new faces on the blue line this season.

Haley Nelson, Senior – Stoughton/Sharon

No matter the situation happening on the ice, you’re like to find Haley Nelson in the lineup for the Black Knights. Whether it’s five-on-five, a power play opportunity, or Stoughton/Sharon is on the penalty kill, Nelson is likely out there especially for the biggest moments of the game. The leader of the defensive corps for the Black Knights, Nelson is a veteran player with plenty of experience. We saw Stoughton/Sharon take a big step forward last season after a tough 2019 campaign and Nelson was a big reason why. Not only is she a reliable defenseman for the program, she gets involved in the offense. Her work ethic is contagious and sets the tone for the Black Knights. Last season, Nelson had nine goals and six assists.

Emma Pereira, Senior – Mansfield/Oliver Ames

An MVP candidate a year ago, Mansfield/Oliver Ames senior Emma Pereira returns as one of the top players in the Hockomock League this season. The Warriors will have one of the toughest defensive units in the league this year with the entire group back from last year. Pereira will lead the way as a very reliable player, doing a good job of breaking up passes and blocking shots. She reads the play really well and always seems to be in the right position defensively. On top of that, Pereira is a weapon on the offensive end of the ice. She carries the puck out of the back, through the neutral zone, and into the attacking zone and makes a play on her own. She plays on both the penalty kill and power play units and logs a lot of minutes on ice for the Warriors. Last season, she recorded 16 goals and added seven assists to lead Mansfield/Oliver Ames in scoring.

Canton Shuts Out Title Rival Franklin in Season Opener

Canton girls hockey
Canton sophomore Audrey Koen (17) scored a pair of goals to lead the Bulldogs to a season-opening win against Franklin. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – So much about this season is unfamiliar and out of place, but with its return to the new and improved Metropolis Rink (aka Ponky) Canton found something recognizable. It was a lot brighter (and considerably warmer) than its previous incarnation but the Bulldogs looked right at home in Wednesday night’s season opener.

Audrey Koen scored twice and Carolyn Durand made 12 saves to record a shutout, as defending Div. 2 state co-champ Canton beat rival Franklin 4-0 to kick off its league title defense.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin started quicker. The Panthers tested Durand early, forcing her into three saves in the opening minutes. Lindsay Atkinson had the best chance for the visitors after a shot from the point bounced to her on the edge of the crease but Durand stayed with it to make the stop.

“Our big thing was making sure we had a good start and I think we did that but as the game went on we may have gotten a little away from our position,” said Franklin assistant Mike Lubin, who was in charge in the absence of head coach Margie Burke. “For us having a few girls out and it being the first game, I thought we played excellent. I think we’ll definitely build on it.”

It took Canton seven minutes to get its first shot on target, as sophomore Maya Battista forced Gabby Colace into a glove save. Battista went almost all of last season before scoring her first career goal, but she was Canton’s best offensive threat in the first period, recording five of the team’s seven shots on goal.

“I thought she was going to be better, but she’s been awesome, the confidence she’s been playing with” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said of Battista. “My personality is that I’m a defensive coach, but I’ve got to let the horses run a little bit and we’ve got to talk about picking our spots. She was incredible.”

With 4:35 left in the first, the Bulldogs got a power play opportunity that seemed to flip the momentum of the game. Although Canton wouldn’t find the back of the net, the ice started to tilt towards Colace.

Payton McDonough set up Battista in the slot for a good chance then McDonough got a stick on a blast from Allie McCabe that Colace tipped aside. Koen drove to the net and left the puck for Ellie Rae Roberts but Stephanie Bell was able to clear off the line. Roberts teed up Battista for a drive from the point that Colace (28 saves) was able to stay with through a crowd.

“I told the girls the first five minutes are going to be crazy and don’t get too high or too low,” said Aldrich. “They just grind and you’ve just got to withstand and then hopefully our legs will take over. You don’t have to score on the power play, you just have to turn the momentum a little bit. We’ve been working on it and I thought we got some good looks.”

The momentum carried into the second, which was dominated by the home team. Canton outshot the Panthers 14-2 in the period. Another power play early in the second sparked the Bulldogs into life. Battista’s cross-ice pass to Maria Femia forced a pad stop from Colace and then McDonough went cross-ice to Battista, drawing another good stop.

Colace continued to impress, stopping McDonough on a breakaway after the forward snuck behind the defense.

“Gabby always comes up big,” said Lubin. “She’s just a rock and such a calming presence for everyone. It’s just nice to know she’s back there and always competing.”

The pressure finally paid off with 5:10 left in the period. Tess Khoury’s initial shot was saved and the rebound led to a scrum in front of goal. Lizzie Tassinari managed to knock in the loose puck for what turned out to be the game-winner. One minute and one second later, Koen picked off a pass and was free in the slot, ripping a wrister to the blocker side for a 2-0 advantage.

Aldrich noted that the Bulldogs are missing 30 goals from last season, after standout freshman Olivia Maffeo transferred, and he is counting on a team effort to make up the difference. He said, “Last year Audrey worked so hard and I think she got half her goal output tonight that she had all last year and that’s what we’re expecting. I need six [players] to get five [goals] and I think that’s the mentality.”

Franklin bounced back in the third period and created a few chances to try and get back into the game. Nina Iannuzzi set up Atkinson in front but Durand stayed with the tip. Ashley Puleo would later force a blocker stop from the Canton goalie and Maggie McCaffrey weaved her way through traffic and found Atkinson at the post but Durand was in the right spot to make the save.

By then Canton had put the game away. Again, the Bulldogs struck twice in a short span, this time two goals in 41 seconds.

Ellie Bohane got free in the left circle and her wrist shot was blocked down by Colace but right to the stick of Koen, who smashed in the rebound. McCabe would tack on one more with a shot from the point that went through a crowd in front and snuck inside the post.

It was a convincing win to start the season, but Aldrich knows there are a lot of challenges to overcome for the Bulldogs to claim another league crown. He chuckled, “We’re carrying this target. I’m good friends with all of those coaches but I know they want to beat me every time they see me.”

Canton (1-0) and Canton (0-1) will meet again on Saturday afternoon at Pirelli Arena.

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2020-2021 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

2020-2021 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview
Canton held on for a scoreless tie at Franklin that secured the Bulldogs the outright league title last season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
2020-2021 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2020-2021 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

Canton

2019-2020 Record: 19-1-4
2019-2020 Finish: Division 2 State Co-Champion
Coach: Dennis Aldrich

The pandemic has cost Canton an opportunity to defend its first D2 state championship, but the Bulldogs have an experienced squad that will be looking to claim a second straight league title. Although dynamic defenseman Olivia Maffeo has transferred, Canton can count on 13 returning players, including nine forwards, so there is plenty of continuity as the program makes its move to the rebuilt Metropolis Skating Rink.

Maffeo’s goals will certainly be missed, but the Bulldogs will expect the forward lines to pick up the slack. Seniors Maria Femia, Lizzie Tassinari, and Ellie Rae Roberts all have four years of experience at the varsity level and each is capable of putting the puck in the net on a consistent basis. The forwards will also be the first line of defense, as their forechecking ability puts pressure on the opponents in all three zones.

Defense has been a strength for Canton throughout this impressive run of success. This year, there will be a few new faces on the blue line but junior Allie McCabe and sophomore Maya Battista will lead the defensive unit and both stood out last year for their strength, skating, and passing out of the zone. Backstopping the Canton defense is sophomore goalie Carolyn Durand, who recorded 14 shutouts as a freshman.

“I look for our team defense to be a strength as usual and am looking for our experienced forwards to find the back of the net more often with the confidence gained by capturing the first state title for Canton High School Girls Ice Hockey,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich.

Franklin

2019-2020 Record: 7-9-5
2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 Preliminary Round
Coach: Margie Burke

2020-2021 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

Last winter, Franklin pushed its league title defense right to the final game of the regular season and this year the Panthers will be hoping to reclaim the crown in what should be a typically competitive league campaign. Franklin will hope that a young defensive group can get up to speed right away to complement the experience that the Panthers have in attack.

The forward line should be a strength for Franklin this season. Senior Amanda Lewandowski is back to be the focal point after recording 21 points as a junior. Fellow seniors Libby Carter and Katelyn Brown will add experience and energy to the forward line, providing not only scoring punch but also helping out in the defensive zone as well. Sophomore Lyndsey Atkinson is coming off an impressive rookie season in which she led the team with 10 goals.

Defensively, Franklin graduated a group of players that had several years of varsity experience so it will be new faces that will have to step in this year. Junior Katie LeBlanc and sophomore Shaw Downing are two of the defenders back from last year’s squad. If teams get through the Franklin defense, senior goalie Gabby Colace is back to keep things difficult for opposing forwards. Colace was one of the league’s top shot stoppers last year, allowing fewer than two goals per game.
“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to get on the ice and compete,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke. “This year we expect to have a balanced squad. The Hock should be very competitive as always. ‘Play every game like it’s the last’ will be our motto.”




King Philip

2019-2020 Record: 10-11-1
2019-2020 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ken Assad

After coming up just one point shy of the state tournament last season, the Warriors are entering the 2020-2021 campaign with a lot of determination, ready to make a run at the Hockomock League title.

The Warriors have a large amount of returning players back for this season and all now have a year of experience under their belts playing for head coach Ken Assad, who enters the season with plenty of optimism and excitement. Assad will look to role three to four lines throughout the season, giving the Warriors a lot of flexibility with their offensive looks. In senior captain Averi Maxwell (18 points) and juniors Moran Cunningham (24) and Sydney O’Shea (20 points), King Philip has one of the most dangerous attacking units in the league. Not only will the Warriors get a lot of production from that line, but it should also open things up for everyone else on the ice.

Junior Jen Daniels (16 points) is back after a breakout sophomore campaign, sophomore Katarina Precobb will look to follow up a strong freshman season, and seniors Nicole Brady, captain Olivia Donovan, Kara McWhinnie, and sophomore Bridgette Nally will all be in the mix offensively for the Warriors. There will be a lot of familiar faces on the defensive end for the Warriors as well with senior assistant captains Gabriela Trujillo and Libby Curran anchoring the blue line unit. Juniors Meg Sherwood and Alison Donovan bring key experience from last year while sophomores Brielle Hearon and Emma Sullivan will factor in defensively as well.

Mallory Johnston picked up some valuable experience between the pipes last season filling in for an injury and will now take over the starting job in net for KP. The Warriors also have a strong freshmen class ready to contribute right away with Kelly Holmes (forward) and Mara Boldy (defense) in the mix.

“With the experience we have this year and always being very optimistic for a good start, I expect them to work hard in all three zones and be a top contender for a Hockomock title this year,” Assad said. “There is great team chemistry on this team and with our captains’ leadership, they will definitely give it 110%. The girls accept the fact there is not going to be a tournament and are very excited to get on the ice no matter what the season will look like and for that, I continue to be very proud of them and what they have gone through.”

Mansfield/Oliver Ames

2019-2020 Record: 10-10-1
2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 Preliminary Round
Coach: Roy Bain

Coming off a strong 2020 campaign and with a group of veteran players on the roster, MOA head coach Roy Bain has a positive outlook on the upcoming season for his Warriors.

MOA recorded double-digit wins last season and nearly pulled off a gigantic upset in the opening round of the state tournament (5-4 loss to #8 seed Boston Latin). The Warriors have 11 seniors on this year’s roster and that, plus a strong mix of experienced underclassmen, should mean good things for the season. The defensive unit for the team remains intact with senior Emma Pereira, the team’s MVP from a season ago, back to anchor that unit. She’ll reunite with junior Julia Muttart for one pairing while seniors Melissa Shanteler and Megan O’Hara are back together on the blue line again this year.

Not only will there be familiar faces along the blueline, junior Jess Widdop returns for her third season between the pipes for MOA. Widdop had a strong season in goal for MOA a year ago and with so much familiarity among the defensemen, the Warriors will be one of the toughest teams to score against. Freshman Kata Callanan will push for time in net as well.

On the other end of the ice, Bain has compiled four lines that could all see time on the ice. Senior Alex Ledin (16 points), senior Ella Waryas (15 points) and sophomore Reese Pereira (17 points) accounted for the majority of the Warriors’ scoring last year and will be among the most dangerous lines in the league. The line of Sam Ledin, Kylie O’Keefe, and Emma Garland will provide a change of pace, using their speed on both ends of the ice; the trio of seniors Lily O’Brien and Tess Luciano centered by junior Cierra Doherty will provide veteran leadership; and sophomore Mya Waryas will be surrounded by freshmen Maeve Anastasia and Cam Shanteler for a youthful option.

“This team only graduated two players, it has essentially the same personnel from last year, but with a renewed sense of the possibilities of what they can build for this program,” Bain said. “Some of the seniors were cheated out of their seasons in other sports and know what’s at stake for girls hockey. I’m impressed by the focus they’ve shown this far. The rules they play under may have changed, but their mindset and their love of the game has not.”

Stoughton

2019-2020 Record: 3-15-1
2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Rich Grasso

2020-2021 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

The Black Knights took a step in the right direction last season, picking up points in four contests including three wins. Stoughton will look to build on that this year in a very competitive Hockomock League.

Morgan Lessa was one of the best forwards in the Hockomock League last season, second in the entire league with 21 goals scored and tied for second-most in points with 31. Haley Nelson also had a strong junior campaign and was a big reason for Stoughton seeing an improvement on the ice from the season before. Nelson accounted for nine goals and six assists.

Zofia Bangs made an immediate impact for the Black Knights last season and is coming off a strong field hockey season. Both Bangs and Jillian Parker played key roles in the attack for the Black Knights. Stoughton will have to replace goalie Brianna Buckley (graduation). Buckley recorded over 350 saves last season and was a key piece in the Stoughton defense.

2020 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars

Below are the official 2020 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Makenzie Shandley, King Philip

Hockomock League All Stars

Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Alexa Maffeo, Canton
Olivia Maffeo, Canton
Meg Aldrich, Canton
Gabby Colace, Franklin
Tina Pisano, Franklin
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Makenzie Shandley, King Philip
Morgan Cunningham, King Philip
Sydney O’Shea, King Philip
Sammy Robison, King Philip
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Melisa Shanteler, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Alex Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Morgan Lessa, Stoughton/Sharon
Haley Nelson, Stoughton/Sharon

Honorable Mentions:
Carolyn Durand, Canton
Jordan Dwyer, Franklin
Avari Maxwell, King Philip
Ella Waryas, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Sherman, Stoughton/Sharon

Canton Beats Norwell and Heads Back to Title Game

Canton girls hockey
Canton players celebrate after a 3-1 win against Norwell that sends the Bulldogs to the D2 state title game at the TD Garden. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BRIGHTON, Mass. – For the third time in four seasons, Canton will have the chance to play for the Div. 2 state championship at the TD Garden.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Three different Bulldogs scored in Sunday night’s state semifinal against Norwell at the Warrior Ice Arena and Canton’s defense put in a strong display of how to block shots and clear the middle of the zone. The Bulldogs skated away with a 3-1 victory and they will now face top seed Wellesley in next week’s title game.

“It’s awesome,” said junior forward Lizzie Tassinari, whose second period goal turned out to be the game-winner. “You kind of feel like a celebrity when you’re out there and you see your whole entire school and everyone you know out there cheering you on. It’s the best feeling ever.”

Norwell proved to be a tough out, with its speed through the neutral zone causing problems for Canton early in the game. Allie McCabe had to be quick to backtrack and prevent Margaret Leivi from getting off a shot on a break just a minute into the game and Carolyn Durand stayed tall to stop the loose puck at the near post.

Canton started to get some luck in the offensive zone through its aggressive forecheck. Ellie Rae Roberts nearly teed up Maria Femia for a chance in the slot, but they couldn’t connect. Olivia Maffeo got the first shot on target for the Bulldogs with a trademark rush through three zones and a wrister that was blocked aside by Norwell goalie Nicole Prescott.

It was a freshman defenseman that put Canton in front, but surprisingly it wasn’t Maffeo (who was coming off a four-goal game in the quarterfinal). Her Junior Eagles teammate Maya Battista, who moved up from Texas this year, sent in a shot from the point that fooled Prescott and snuck under the bar.

“Maya has been playing so well,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “She’s just a steady, stay-at-home defenseman. She scored in our very first scrimmage and I thought, we’ve got someone who’s going to score a lot for us, but she hasn’t scored again until now. What a big goal, so I’m so happy for her.”

The lead lasted six minutes before the Clippers found an equalizer. Casey Messina had her first shot saved by Durand (20 saves) but she stuck with the play and managed to squeeze the rebound across the line to make it 1-1.

Norwell carried the momentum into the second period and started with a flurry of chances that Durand and the Canton defense repelled. McCabe, Maffeo, Battista, and seniors Meg Aldrich and Alexa Maffeo were putting their bodies in front of as many shots as possible to kill off a pair of Norwell power plays.

“The amount of blocked shots tonight was incredible,” said Aldrich. “Every time I looked up, we were in a shooting lane. That’s kids who are putting the team and the game ahead of themselves because that hurts.”

Just four seconds into their own power play, and on their first shot of the period, the Bulldogs regained the lead. McCabe showed off her skating ability to gain the zone down the left wing. She threw a puck towards goal and it was picked up by Tassinari, who flung a backhand at Prescott. It was only partially saved and the puck trickled over the line.

“She kind of fumbled it a little, so I kind of saw the opportunity to take the puck and I shot it kind of blindly just to get shots on net,” Tassinari said. “We both saw it turning, her kind of leaning backwards and couldn’t grab it, and it was just trickling in and across the line.”

The goal seemed to energize the Bulldogs, who finished the second period with several chances. Ellie Bohane did well behind the net and put a shot on goal and the loose rebound was snapped on goal by Caroline Tourgee, forcing a pad stop from the goalie.

Leading by one heading into the third period, Canton upped the pressure on its forecheck and remained aggressive in the offensive zone.

“Everything we do, get the puck deep and establish the forecheck and just kind of remember everything we do every single day and tire them out,” Tassinari said about the discussion ahead of the third period. “Just never give up really.”

Aldrich explained, “We knew how we wanted to attack them and got away from that a little bit, so we went in the third period to more of a 2-3 because we were getting caught deep and giving up too many odd-man rushes. It wasn’t like they didn’t have chances, but I like the flow of the third period much better than the first two.”

Audrey Koen forced a pad save after dragging the puck away from the boards and then Tassinari hit Tess Khoury with a nice cross-ice pass but Khoury’s one-timer was skewed wide.

Norwell had a great chance to try and tie the game. Casey Ward raced into the zone and cut across the slot from right-to-left. As a Canton defender slipped, Ward suddenly had acres of space to wind up, but Durand was in the right position to make a smart pad save.

The missed opportunity proved to be costly for the Clippers. With six minutes remaining, Olivia Maffeo put the game away. She weaved her way through the neutral zone and into the right face-off circle. She showed great patience to pick her spot, lifting a shot up over Prescott’s glove hand and just under the bar.

“She’s pretty good huh?” Aldrich asked with a smile. “It’s fun to have a kid like that because it just brings everybody up. She’s the first one in line for drills. She has to win, has to be first, and it’s just contagious in that locker room. The whole attitude in there is different having her around.”

Canton (19-1-4) will face the two-time defending state champions Wellesley at the TD Garden. It is a rematch of the 2018 final that the Raiders won and last year’s first round game, also won by the Raiders.

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Maffeo Nets Four and Secures Canton a Spot in Semis

Canton Girls Hockey
Canton freshman Olivia Maffeo scored four goals in the D2 quarterfinal to lift the Bulldogs past Ursuline Academy. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BRIGHTON, Mass. – Up in the rafters at the Warrior Ice Arena hang the numbers of some of the top players in Boston Bruins history, including Bobby Orr’s famous No. 4. Down on the ice, Canton’s wunderkind was showing that it never gets old to see a defenseman who can skate circles around an opponent and be as effective in the attacking zone as any forward.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Ursuline Academy had no answer for freshman Olivia Maffeo in Wednesday night’s Div. 2 quarterfinal in Brighton. She scored four times to eclipse the 30-goal mark for her rookie campaign and to power Canton to a 5-0 victory that puts the Bulldogs in the state semifinal for the third time in the last four years.

“It’s awesome,” said senior defenseman Alexa Maffeo about her sister’s goal-scoring heroics. “It’s hard to go to the net sometimes because you just want to watch whatever move she does. It definitely helps having a star like that.”

Maffeo’s classmate Carolyn Durand was also impressive in the win, recording 17 saves for her 14th shutout the season. The freshman class, including defenseman Maya Battista and forwards Audrey Koen and Ellie Bohane, has been instrumental in Canton’s success this season even as the team makes another run at a TD Garden trip.

“They don’t play like freshmen,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich when asked if he was surprised about the continued success of the younger players. “Maya is one of Liv’s teammates on the Junior Eagles and they’re as composed as you get. I’ve seen Carolyn have 14 shutouts this season. They’re playing well.”

While youth has been at the forefront for Canton this season, there is experience in the lineup, particularly seniors Meg Aldrich and Maffeo in the defensive corps. They have both been in the mix for the Bulldogs in each of their recent playoff runs and are key to shoring up things in the Canton zone.

“We’re definitely a defense-based team, so having two captains back there we can motivate the girls from the back,” Maffeo explained. “We know that offense comes from defense. We can be there to support them, even if they make mistakes we’ll be back there.”

There wasn’t a lot of offense in the opening period, as both teams looked to get the puck in deep and send the forecheck to try and force turnovers. The first chance came after two minutes when Durand gloved aside a shot by Tess Marchi that went off Alexa Maffeo’s glove on its way to goal. Olivia Maffeo had Canton’s first look with a trademark rush from her own zone and a slap shot from the high slot that Ursuline goalie Lucy Reardon saved.

Tess Khoury showed off her stick skills to dance through a pair of Ursuline defenders, gain the zone, and then force a pad save with a wrister from near the blue line. Maffeo almost got her first with a rip from the right circle that just caught Reardon’s shoulder and stayed out.

The game remained scoreless heading into the final minute of the period. Maffeo collected the puck on the left boards, dragged it between a pair of Ursuline players, beat a third into the middle, and then roofed a shot from the slot while falling down to give Canton a spectacular lead.

Canton wasn’t creating a lot of offense with its forecheck, but was causing Ursuline problems with getting the puck out of the zone. Early in the second that led to a pair of chances, the first from Lizzie Tassinari and the second from Alexa Maffeo. A couple of minutes later, Maffeo hit Maria Femia with an outlet pass down the right wing and her centering pass to Tassinari was tipped just wide.

Ursuline nearly evened the score when Marchi led a 3-on-2 breakout, but her shot was right into the chest of Durand. Tassinari connected with Femia, who managed to wriggle free of a pair of Ursuline players for a breakaway but Reardon came up with a big stop.

Olivia Maffeo got back into the act, as she dragged the puck past a pair of players and forced a blocker stop from Reardon.

In the final minute of the second, Canton not only doubled, but tripled its lead. On a power play, Khoury went circle-to-circle to find Maffeo in space and she buried the chance through the save attempt of the goalie. Just 27 seconds later, Maffeo followed up a loose puck and picked a corner to make it 3-0.

Aldrich said, “They played with a lot of energy the first five [minutes] but I think because we were able to roll three lines and five ‘D’ and the first two periods we had three goals and I think it was from wearing them down a little bit.”

It only took 1:05 into the third for the win to be wrapped up. Maffeo again raced up the ice and got space in the right circle before firing a shot through the goaltender. Durand made seven stops in the third to preserve the shutout, including a nice pad stop on a shot through a screen.

Payton McDonough’s pressure forced a turnover that gave Faith Nelson a chance that hit Reardon and the post on its way by. With 2:03 to play, Canton got a fifth. Koen’s snap shot smacked off the end boards and came right to Khoury, who showed great patience before lifting a shot over the sprawling goalie.

“We’d certainly like to see some other people get some pucks behind some goalies but as long as they’re going in I think these guys are okay,” said Aldrich.

Maffeo credits her years of experience for making things easier when it gets to this stage. She said, “My first year, freshman year, definitely I was nervous and I think playing with those nerves helped me, but moving forward having been here two times already I feel comfortable on this ice. I feel set in my position, I know what to do, I know how to win games of this caliber.”

Canton (18-1-4) will play the winner of Norwell and Notre Dame Academy in the state semifinal on Sunday back at the Warrior Ice Arena at a time to be determined.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton Starts Playoff Run With Win Against Norwood

Canton girls hockey
Canton freshman Olivia Maffeo scored the game-winning goal in Saturday’s D2 first round game, her fourth goal in two games against Norwood. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Canton had allowed only 15 goals in 21 games coming into Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 first round game against Norwood, including a shutout of the Mustangs in the regular season. So, it came as a little bit of a shock when Norwood took advantage of a huge deflection to tie the game at 1-1 in the first period.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The goal gave Norwood momentum that carried into the second period, but the Bulldogs managed to hold out and regained control, scoring once in each period and pulling out a 3-1 victory at the Canton Ice House and advancing to the quarterfinal round.

“For the last part of the period, they really came at us,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “We talked beforehand that no matter who scored first it was going to be a battle.”

Olivia Maffeo, who scored a hat trick in the regular season meeting between the teams, had the first good chance for the hosts with a long rush up ice and a shot from the slot that forced a save. Fellow freshman Audrey Koen followed up, but that was also stopped by Norwood goalie Jenna Mazzola.

Three minutes later, the same combo created the opening for the first goal. Maffeo had the first effort that was stopped and Koen forced a pad save from in close. The puck popped out to Caroline Tourgee and she slipped a shot under the goalie and it trickled across the line.

Lizzie Tassinari also had a good look for the Bulldogs in the first when her shot from the left wing was gloved by Mazzola.

Canton freshman goalie Carolyn Durand had only had to make one save to that point, but Marissa Cataldo took advantage of a loose pass to get free in the slot. Her shot hit the back of a Canton defender and took a horrible ricochet that left Durand stranded and the net gaping.

Maffeo nearly had the perfect response when she smashed a shot off the post 20 seconds later, but the Mustangs finished the first with energy and came out of the locker room with a flurry of chances.

Durand responded exactly as the Bulldogs would have hoped. The freshman goalie stood strong to deny Maeve Glavin’s drive to the net and then made stops on a pair of shots from Erinn Wagner.

Aldrich said, “Carolyn, as a freshman, her mental toughness that’s the thing I was really worried about especially playing with a team that’s had success in the past and knowing that she’s basically it. Not only has she handled it well but she’s embraced it and she’s been very confident.”

Tourgee had a good chance for her second of the game, but it was blocked at the post by the Norwood defense. Maffeo forced a blocker save with another strong wrister and then Meg Aldrich tested Mazzola with a shot through the screen of Ellie Bohane. Maria Femia teed up Tess Khoury for a look in front, but again the goalie was up to the test.

The breakthrough came on the power play and it was Maffeo that provided the dagger. As she raced up ice and just as she was gaining the zone, Maffeo let loose with a rocket of a slap shot that picked the top corner.

“They were trying to take Olivia out,” said Aldrich about Norwood’s approach to Canton’s leading scorer. “It’s not too often you see a defenseman get shadowed like that early on but I think they realized it probably wasn’t going to work too well for them.”

Five minutes into the third period, Canton doubled its lead on the power play. Khoury controlled the puck on the near boards and she picked out Tassinari alone in the slot. She took a touch before ripping a wrister, while being knocked down, that made it 3-1 and put the Bulldogs in a more comfortable position.

“I was waiting for another squirter too,” said Aldrich about leading by just a single goal. “I told them I didn’t think they’d get one more but I knew they weren’t getting two more so if we got one then we’d be all set. I wanted them to have the confidence that we’re not in trouble here.”

The Bulldogs hadn’t played in 10 days between the end of the regular season and the playoff opener. Aldrich admitted, “We had to shake some of the rust off. We had some uncharacteristic things, lost a couple of marks there, but hopefully we’ll fix that going forward. The first game of the tournament is really hard to win, especially when you’ve played the team before.”

Canton (17-1-4) will face No. 6 seed Ursuline Academy in the Div. 2 quarterfinal. At the time of writing, the date, time, and location had not been determined.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/19/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
North Attleboro, 50 @ Attleboro, 62 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The game remained tight until the closing minutes, as North stayed within three at the half and trailed by only six heading into the fourth quarter, but the Bombardiers scored 22 points in the final eight minutes to earn their 16th win of the season. Bryant Ciccio scored 11 of his game-high 21 in the fourth, including three shots from beyond the arc, to lift Attleboro to the win. Qualeem Charles added 14 points and 12 rebounds and Tim Callahan had 11 points in the win. George Ladd matched Ciccio with 21 points, 15 of them in the first half, to lead North. Edan Kelley added 12 on four three-pointers and Ethan Friberg had nine on a trio of shots from deep.

King Philip, 59 vs. Hanover, 51 – FinalKing Philip outscored Hanover in three of the four quarters, and were even in the other, building an early lead and riding that to a win in the Blue Raider Classic final at Somerset Berkley. KP took a 12-9 lead at the end of the first and kept a three-point lead (28-25) going into halftime. The Warriors extended the lead by two (40-35) going into the fourth and finished strong to get the win. Senior Alex Fritz scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the second half, classmate Tommy Donahue added 15 points, and Andrew McKinney chipped in with 12 points in the win. Held to just one three-pointer through three quarters, both Fritz and Chris Roy connected from deep in the fourth to help ice the win.

Oliver Ames, 81 vs. Southeastern, 27 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this game – Oliver Ames’ offense poured in 23 points in the first quarter and 25 more points in the second, seizing a 48-14 lead at halftime and never looked back, rolling to a win that qualified the Tigers for the state tournament. Senior Jay Spillane connected on eight three-pointers and went for a career-high 32 points along with five assists, four rebounds, and four steals. Adam Cann hit four three-pointers and finished with a career-high 16 points and senior Amari Brown had 13 points and four assists in the win.

Mansfield, 59 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 72 – FinalAfter falling behind by 20 points through three quarters of play, the Hornets rallied to get within eight points late but ran out of time in a loss to Whitman-Hanson in the Roundball Classic finals. Mansfield had a 10-9 lead but the Panthers had a strong second and took a 27-23 lead into the halftime break. That momentum carried into the second as Whitman-Hanson used a 13-4 surge to start to pull away. Senior Sam Stevens scored a team-high 24 points while TJ Guy added nine points for Mansfield.

Milford, 49 vs. Wellesley, 45 – FinalWith the game tied 45-45, Milford senior Colby Pires connected on a turn around jumper with 3.5 seconds left to give the Scarlet Hawks the lead for good. The Raiders missed on the front end of a one-and-one on the other end and Tyler Wetherbee sank two free throws to ice the win, denying Wellesley a spot in the state tournament. Pires scored six of his 11 points in the final quarter for the Hawks while junior Jordan Darling had a team-high 15 points.

Taunton, 66 vs. New Bedford, 44 – FinalTaunton finished the regular season on a high-note, running away with a big win over New Bedford. The Tigers built a 33-19 lead at halftime before pushing the advantage to 60-32 at the end of the third quarter. Sophomore Trent Santos scored 19 of his team-high 21 points after the break to help the Tigers pull away with the win. Junior Tyler Stewart added 15 points, junior Josh Lopes added 11 points, and sophomore Tristan Herry sank a pair of threes, finishing with eight points.










Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 55 @ North Attleboro, 42 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Mansfield, 37 vs. Natick, 68 – FinalNatick won the Roundball Classic title with a strong defensive performance. Ashley Santos scored seven points and Becca Hottleman scored six points, dished out five assists, and had three steals for Mansfield. Santos and Hottleman were both named to the all-tournament team.

Oliver Ames, 51 @ Norwell, 63 – FinalOliver Ames took a 44-42 lead into the final quarter but the Clippers clamped down defensively, holding the Tigers to just seven fourth quarter points, pulling away to get the win. The teams were tied 15-15 after one, and Norwell had a 28-23 lead at halftime before the Tigers surged ahead with a 21-point third quarter. Caroline Peper led OA with 16 points, Caroline Flynn added 10 points, and Tori Harney chipped in with nine points.

Taunton, 61 vs. New Bedford, 67 – Final

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 2 @ Seekonk, 3 – Final

Foxboro, 4 vs. Abington, 1 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Franklin, 4 vs. Weymouth, 0 – FinalFranklin scored twice in the first period and then once in each of the next two to skate to a 4-0 win over Weymouth in the first round of the Coach Melchiono Showdown. Tom Tasker got the Panthers on the board with a power play goal (assisted by Kyle Hedvig and Declan Lovett), while Kyle Hedvig (from Colin Hedvig and Joe LeBlanc) doubled the lead in the first. LeBlanc picked up his second assist, setting up Justin Abely in the second to make it 3-0. Ben Jarosz scored his first career goal, unassisted, in the third period to cap the scoring. “[Ben] made the most of [his opportunity],” said Franklin coach Anthony Sarno, noting Jarosz’s hard work to earn a varsity spot after starting the year on JV. “Perfect example of a JV player never giving up and working hard no matter what.” Franklin will take on Marshfield in the tournament final on Thursday at 5:00.

Mansfield, 6 vs. Barrington (R.I.), 2 – Final

Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Stoughton, 2 – FinalSenior Cam Perron scored twice and classmate Brad Powers registered three assisted to help Oliver Ames skate to a win over Stoughton/Brockton in a battle of teams that call Asiaf Arena home. Senior Matt Nosalek scored his first career goal in the win while classmates Jake Gottwald and Hunter Costello each scored once. Sophomore Wes Towers recorded his first varsity assist in the win for OA. Senior Owen Connor posted a first period shutout while freshman Brandon Burke took over for the second and third to earn his first career win. Joe McNulty and Colin Alessi each lit the lamp once for Stoughton/Brockton.

Taunton, 3 @ Somerset-Berkley, 1 – FinalTaunton picked up a win in the final game of the regular season to earn a trip to the state tournament, marking their fourth postseason appearance in the past five years. Nathan Fernandes scored a pair of goals while Michael Albert scored once to lead the offensive charge for the Tigers. Jack DeMoura and Brady Nichols each had two helpers while Cam Faria, Loran Corcoran, and Ethan Ross each finished with one assist. Sean Bunker made 19 saves in net to get the win.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 4 @ Walpole, 0 – FinalOlivia Maffeo scored a hat trick and Meg Aldrich added one, as the Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season. Carolyn Durand made 23 saves to earn her 13th shutout of the season. Canton heads into the playoffs with just one loss.

Franklin, 7 vs. Leominster, 2 – Final

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 @ LaSalle Academy, 4 – FinalA day after taking down one of the top teams in Massachusetts in Westwood, the MOA Warriors came up just short against LaSalle Academy, the top team in Rhode Island. MOA got within one goal, down 3-2, in the third period but the Rams scored less than a minute later to regain a two-goal lead, one it held until the final buzzer. Lily O’Brien (from Emma Pereira and Reese Pereira) put the Warriors up 1-0 in the first period but LaSalle Academy tied the game before the end of the period, and scored twice in the second to seize a 3-1 lead. Melissa Shanteler (from Kylie O’Keefe and Emma Pereira) fired a wrist shot in to make it 3-2. MOA needs one point from its final game against Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake on Thursday.

King Philip, 3 vs. Ursuline Academy, 3 – Final

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/17/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 71 vs. Tech Boston, 66 – FinalAttleboro used an 8-0 surge at the end of the third quarter to take the lead back, Jason Weir hit a pair of big three pointers in the final quarter, and Bryant Ciccio went 7-for-8 at the line to help the Bombardiers secure a win over Tech Boston. Attleboro led 16-15 after one and 32-31 at halftime before Tech Boston took a lead late in the third. Justin Daniels hit a three, Tim Callahan hit two from downtown, and Qualeem Charles had five of his 17 in the third to help Attleboro take a 48-45 lead entering the fourth. Weir finished with 12 points and Ciccio had a game-high 25 points, going 9-for-10 from the line overall, hitting four three-pointers in the first quarter.

Canton, 54 @ Bishop Feehan, 59 – FinalCanton rallied to get within striking distance in the fourth quarter but Bishop Feehan iced the game at the free throw line to get the win in the Bulldogs’ season finale. After a close first quarter (9-8), the Shamrocks created a nine-point advantage (24-15) at halftime, a lead they carried into the fourth (38-29). Nick Cushman (12 points) hit a pair of threes in the fourth while Eric Mischler (17 points), Will Keefe, and Matt Giglio each hit one, and Robbie Gallery added four of his 12 in the final frame, but the Shamrocks made just enough of their chances from the line to get the win.

Foxboro, 82 vs. Holliston, 40 – FinalFoxboro’s offense poured in 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back in a big win over Holliston. The Warriors built a 46-11 halftime lead with 10 players getting into the scoring column over the first 16 minutes. Senior Brandon Borde scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the opening quarter while Donald Rogers had nine of his 11 points in the same frame. Freshman Alex Penders added a career-high nine points and sophomore Dylan Gordon had eight points. Foxboro will play Randolph in the tournament final on Tuesday at 4:30.

King Philip, 80 @ Somerset-Berkley, 60 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this game – King Philip closed the first half on a 12-0 run to create the separation it needed to get the win and punch its ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2015. Senior Alex Fritz (five assists) scored 10 of his game-high 26 points in the second while Andrew McKinney (eight rebounds) had a big second half, netting 11 of his 16 points. Tommy Donahue added 12 points and nine rebounds and Robert Jarest finished with 11 points and four rebounds for KP, who will play Hanover in the tournament final on Wednesday at 6:30.

Mansfield, 63 vs. Needham, 58 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Milford, 67 vs. Tantasqua, 56 – FinalMilford senior Colby Pires poured in a career-high 41 points to lead the Scarlet Hawks to a win at home over Tantasqua. Pires got off to a hot start, hitting three three-pointers in the first, finishing with 14 points in the frame. He added eight more in the second and then went back to the three-point line in the third, hitting a trio of three-pointers again. He closed strong with 10 points in the fourth. Jordan Darling added seven of his nine points in the fourth to help the Hawks close the win out.

Sharon, 47 vs. Dedham, 59 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameSharon got within eight in the second half but couldn’t overcome a slow first half against Dedham in the final game of the season. The Eagles were limited to eight points in the first and five in the second, going into halftime down 29-13. A strong start to the third capped by a bucket from Aidan Kane (nine points, five rebounds) made it 33-25 but Dedham finished the quarter with a 7-3 burst to push the lead back to double-digits. Andrew Burton led the Eagles with 11 points and four rebounds while Sam Cohen chipped in with eight points.

Girls Basketball
Franklin, 73 vs. Cathedral, 56 – FinalFranklin closed out a perfect regular season with its second straight 17-point win against a highly-ranked opponent at the Comcast Classic. Ali Brigham scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, but she also got plenty of help, as Franklin got another strong team effort in the win. Megan O’Connell scored 16 points and Olivia Quinn had a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

Canton, 66 vs. Nauset, 50 – FinalThe Bulldogs earned an impressive win against a potential playoff opponent and split the season series with the Warriors. Canton led 17-10 after one quarter, extended the lead to 13 by halftime, and by 16 heading into the fourth. Kiara Cerruti paced the offense with 16 points, while Fay and Sydney Gallery each scored 14 points. Fay added six assists and eight rebounds. Kayla Albert had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds and Samya DaSilva finished with eight points and 10 boards.

Foxboro, 60 vs. Scituate, 48 – FinalFoxboro won the opening game of the Warrior Classic to advance to tomorrow’s championship. Katelyn Mollica knocked down six three-pointers and scored 24 to lead the Warriors. Yara Fawaz had 10 points, Shakirah Ketant had nine, and Lizzy Davis added eight in the win.

Mansfield, 47 vs. Bishop Feehan, 44 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Mansfield rallied from eight points down heading into the fourth, outscoring Feehan 18-7 over the final eight minutes to grab the win in the semifinal of the Roundball Classic. Kayla Vine scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth, including 7-of-8 at the line, and had what turned out to be the game-winning free throw. Ashley Santos had a game-high 17 points, including six in the fourth quarter, and Kelly Doherty knocked down a pair of clutch free throws in the closing seconds to seal the win. Feehan jumped out to a 15-10 lead after one, but the Hornets held the visitors to only four points in the seconds. A last second bucket put Feehan up by one at half and the Shamrocks came out of the break with 18 points in the third to extend the lead to eight. Santos scored four points in the third to try and keep Mansfield close and Allison Prentis knocked down a clutch three. Sarah Dooling added six points and seven rebounds in the win.

Taunton, 65 @ Durfee, 47 – Final The Tigers went on the road and picked up their fifth win of the season. Youth was served for Taunton, with freshman Kameron St. Pierre and eighth grader Sam Lincoln continuing their impressive rookie campaigns on varsity by leading the team with 16 points apiece. Junior Jaelyn Fernandez also got into double digits with 11 points. Taunton closes out its season at home against New Bedford on Wednesday.

Boys Hockey
Canton, 4 vs. Boston Latin, 2 – Final

Foxboro, 3 vs. East Bridgewater, 0 – Final

King Philip, 3 vs. Norwood, 3 – FinalKing Philip erased a 2-1 deficit to take a third period lead but the Mustangs of Norwood scored with less than a minute left to steal a point from the Warriors. Nolan Feyler gave the Warriors a 1-0 first period lead before Norwood responded with a pair of second half goals to seize a 2-1 advantage. Aidan Boulger made it 2-2 with just under two minutes to go in the second and Feyler netted his second just under six minutes into the third to put KP ahead 3-2. With the goalie pulled, Norwood tied the game with 17 seconds left to make it 3-3.

Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Westwood, 3 – Final

Taunton, 3 @ Auburn, 6 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 3 vs. Barnstable, 0 – FinalOlivia Maffeo, Lizzie Tassinari, and Payton McDonough each scored as the Bulldogs skated to a win over Barnstable. Freshman Carolyn Durand recorded her 12th shutout of the season in net.

King Philip, 3 vs. Walpole, 0 – Final

Canton Ties Franklin to Win Outright League Title

Canton girls hockey
Canton held on for a scoreless tie at Franklin that secured the Bulldogs the outright league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FRANKLIN, Mass. – In two seasons of Hockomock League play, Canton and Franklin have established themselves as the teams to beat. The Bulldogs won the inaugural league championship and then last season Franklin took the crown for the first time. In year three, the two teams went into the final game of the regular season separated by just two points at the top of the standings.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

As has become the standard when the two teams meet, Wednesday night’s game at Pirelli Veterans Arena was close, defensive, and physical and, in the end, Canton was able to hold out for a 0-0 tie that secured the outright league title.

“It means a lot,” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said about not sharing the title. “Especially here. When I used to coach the [Canton] boys, anytime we came here or [Franklin] used to come to Ponky, they called it the ‘Dungeon of Doom’, it’s just something about it. The crowd wasn’t the same, but the emotion was.”

With 1:37 remaining and with the Panthers setting up for an offensive zone face-off, Franklin coach Margie Burke called timeout and pulled goalie Gabby Colace (19 saves). There were several surprised reactions from beyond the glass, but it underscored the importance of the title race and how little one point would impact Franklin’s likely seed in the playoffs.

“A win gets us a championship,” said Burke. “I explained it to the kids and they understood why we did it. I had to do it. I’m extremely proud of my girls tonight, they played their heart out.”

The move nearly paid instant dividends, as the Panthers won the draw into the corner and puck was played out in front before being scrambled away. Olivia Maffeo came close to winning the game with 50 seconds left, but the Canton freshman sent a shot from beyond the red line inches wide for icing.

Another face-off led to another good chance for the Panthers, but Lyndsey Atkinson couldn’t keep her shot down from just inside the right circle. Canton pressured to try and get an empty net winner, but the Panthers defense was able to block a couple of shots heading towards goal. The pressure kept the puck in the Franklin defensive zone though and allowed the Bulldogs to run out the clock.

“I have so much respect for her and what she does,” said Aldrich. “It’s a lot of fun for our kids. She’s got a certain style. It’s throw three kids out front, throw the puck there, and see if you can beat them up. We knew that coming in, so we were really stick on stick. We had to commit on that.”

Franklin had more of the attacking play in the first period, outshooting Canton 6-3. Libby Carter had the first good look for the Panthers with a quick shot from the slot that Carolyn Durand (15 saves) was able to stop and then cover before Amanda Lewandowski could pounce on the rebound.

Canton took more than eight minutes to record its first shot, which came off a rush from her own zone by Maffeo. Less than 30 seconds later, the Bulldogs had another good chance when freshman Audrey Koen corralled a loose puck forced a save from Colace.

Atkinson had a near breakaway with six minutes left in the first but the puck was poked away as she tried to pull it onto her backhand and round the goalie.

The visitors started to gain a foothold in the game and ended up with a 10-6 edge in shots in the second. Koen teed up Tess Khoury for an early look right in front but Colace got a pad to the shot. With five minutes left in the second, Maffeo made another long rush into the attacking zone and fired a pass in front by Lizzie Tassinari couldn’t redirect it on net.

Tina Pisano forced a good pad stop from Durand with a wrister from the point and then Canton came inches away from the lead when Maffeo struck the post with a shot from the right circle. Maria Femia followed up the rebound but Colace got across to block the shot.

It remained tense into the third period and it felt like one goal could decide it. Ellie Rae Roberts had a great chance for the Bulldogs, as she collected a deflected puck on the edge of the crease, but Colace again flashed a pad to make the stop.

“It’s so important because we have that confidence that defensively we’re going to do well,” Burke said about the play of her goalie. “It’s putting the puck in the net and we had our opportunities tonight.”

With two minutes to go, Shaw Downing had a shot from the point that was knocked down in front and the Canton defense was able to get it out of the danger area before Lewandowski could get a stick to it. Twenty seconds later, Franklin had a two-on-one rush. Atkinson flipped a pass to Carter on the left wing, but Maffeo came sliding across to block the first chance, and Durand had the angle covered on the second shot.

That set up a frantic finish with the Panthers throwing an extra skater out there in hopes of stealing a share of the title, but the Bulldogs held on to the shutout and both teams got important experience playing in a playoff-like atmosphere.

“We talked about how it was such a good game for us because we should expect that type of game,” Aldrich explained. “It’s going to be that type of punch you in the face, throw the puck to the net. Overall, defensively I thought we did what we wanted to do.”

Burke added, “Franklin and Canton just have that hockey rivalry. They always have and always will.”

Canton (14-1-4) will close out the regular season with a visit from Barnstable on Monday and a trip to Walpole on Wednesday. Franklin (6-8-5) will finish up its regular season when it hosts Leominster next Wednesday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.