Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Hockomock League All Stars
Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Carolyn Durand, Canton
Allie McCabe, Canton
Maya Battista, Canton
Gabby Colace, Franklin
Amanda Lewandoski, Franklin
Libby Carter, Franklin
Lindsay Atkinson, Franklin
Avari Maxwell, King Philip
Sydney O’Shea, King Philip
Jen Daniels, King Philip
Morgan Cunningham, King Philip
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Reese Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Melissa Shanteler, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Haley Nelson, Stoughton/Sharon
Morgan Lessa, Stoughton/Sharon
Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league.
Stoughton, 46 @ Attleboro, 58 – Final – Stoughton surged back from a deficit in the first half but Attleboro didn’t let the visitors do the same in the second half in a crossover non-league win. The Bombardiers found success in the first quarter, building a 19-10 lead with five players contributing to the advantage but Stoughton stormed back in the second quarter with 16 points of their own to make it a two-point game, down 28-26 at halftime. Attleboro was able to create some separation in the third with Justin Daniels scoring seven of his 23 points in the ram and Evan Houle adding five of his eight points to grab a 43-37 lead. Daniels added eight more in the fourth to help the Bombardiers ice the win. Joe Francois-Annevil adde 12 points in the win and Chris Holcomb chipped in with nine points. Stoughton junior Connor Andrews hit four threes and finished with a career-high 17 points, Waseem Sablon added 12 points and Brett Pendenza finished with 10 points.
Foxboro, 35 @ North Attleboro, 58 – Final – Buoyed by a strong start, North Attleboro used a consistent offense and solid defense throughout to win the first meeting with the Warriors. The Big Red scored 16 points in the opening quarter and reached double figures in scoring in all four quarters, staking a 16-8 lead after one quarter and a 31-17 lead by halftime. North’s defense clamped down even more in the third, limiting the visitors to just six points to take a 42-23 lead. Senior George Ladd hit six shots from the field and went 7-for-8 from the line for a game-high 19 points to lead the hosts. Junior Casey Poirier added 12 points and Edan Kelley, who hit half of North’s four three-pointers, had 10 points. Foxboro junior Dylan Gordon had a team-high 16 points while sophomore Alex Penders chipped in with 11 points.
Sharon, 51 @ Oliver Ames, 54 – Final – In a much closer contest than the first meeting between the two teams last week, Oliver Ames was able to hold on to earn the season sweep and clinched at least a share of the Davenport division title with the win. OA held a slight advantage throughout, leading 13-7 after one quarter and a 25-23 at halftime. Sharon kept pace in the third as well, trailing just 42-38 going into the the fourth where the teams went back-and-forth, trading baskets to keep it close. Sharon’s Kiran Chandrasekaran hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to bring the Eagles within one, 50-49, with just under two minutes to play but OA’s Amari Brown (21 points) raced the length of the court and laid it in for two to extend the lead. Kevin Duggan added a free throw to push the lead to 54-49 but Sharon’s Sam Cohen sliced through traffic and finished up-and-under to make it a one-possession game with 1:45 to go. The score would stay that way and the Eagles had the final possession but OA’s defense didn’t allow the visitors to get a clean look at a tying three and held on the for the win. Drew Nickla added 10 points in the win, Will Whiteside chipped in with nine points and Drew Baxter finished with eight points for OA. Senior Matt Baskin led the Eagles, scoring 14 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. Chandrasekaran and Cohen each finished with 10 points.
North Attleboro, 41 @ Attleboro, 54 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Bombardiers held North to six points in the second quarter to open up a 12-point halftime lead and never allowed the Rocketeers to mount a comeback in the second half. Narissa Smith got Attleboro off to a great start, scoring all 10 of her points in the first. Meghan Gordon scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the third to keep North at bay. Lindsey and Hailey Perry both knocked down big threes in the fourth quarter and Ryan Johnson had four of her eight points in the final eight minutes to secure the win. Amanda Kaiser tried to get North back into the game with seven of her game-high 13 points in the fourth and Siobhan Weir added four of her nine points, but Attleboro was able to maintain its double-digit advantage. Lydia Santos added eight points for North and Emma Reilly had seven for Attleboro.
Mansfield, 57 @ Taunton, 40 – Final – Ashley Santos scored a season-high 17 points, powering Mansfield to a road win in the season finale. Kayla Vine added nine points. Nine Hornets were on the score sheet on Monday, helping the team close the year with five straight victories. Sonya Fernandez scored 17 to lead the Tigers.
Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton got a shutout in the season finale, securing the team’s third league title in four years and making the Bulldogs the first team to repeat as league champion. Faith Nelson had the eventual game-winner off a great assist by Payton McDonough. Maya Battista doubled the lead and Tess Khoury added a third for Canton. Ellie Rae Roberts closed out the win with a late fourth goal. Lizzie Tassinari and Meghan LaBelle each had two assists and Carolyn Durand picked up the shutout in net.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Canton has developed a well-earned reputation for being a team that finds ways to win big games. The Bulldogs focus on the defensive zone, get the puck deep and forecheck, and take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them. Saturday evening’s league title showdown with King Philip at the Foxboro Sports Center was another example.
Even after falling behind inside the opening two minutes of the game, Canton never looked flustered. The Bulldogs went 3-for-3 on the power play, got three goals from defensemen, made timely saves to prevent KP from getting momentum, and skated to a 5-1 win that puts them just two points from clinching their third league title in four years and becoming the first Hock team to repeat as champion.
As if winning the title wasn’t enough motivation, the Bulldogs were also playing with head coach Dennis Aldrich in mind.
“They realized that they had an opportunity and I think they’re really motivated by Coach Aldrich,” said Canton assistant Nick Maffeo. “I think it means a lot to them that he’s watching from the hospital and that he’s pulling for them. They really believed in themselves and that was huge for us.”
He added, “That’s their goal in this shortened season, this crazy season, to try and capture the Hockomock League. It’s important to them, especially for the seniors.”
Just like in the first meeting between the teams, the Warriors got off to the perfect start. Freshman Kelly Holmes split a pair of defenders and drove to the net. Carolyn Durand (15 saves) made the initial stop but the rebound popped out to Jen Daniels on the post and she knocked it in for a lead just 1:44 into the game.
Unlike the first meeting, KP was not able to sustain that momentum past the opening few minutes.
“In their barn, we were flying the whole game, we were chasing pucks, were first on pucks, won one-on-one battles,” said KP coach Ken Assad. “Today was nothing like that except the first one or two minutes and I just don’t know why it’s not consistent.”
A power play sparked the Bulldogs into life. Maya Battista camped out on the edge of the right circle and she fired a wrister in off the post to tie the game. It was only Canton’s second shot on goal in the opening eight minutes.
KP nearly regained the lead a minute into the second. Daniels went one-on-one with Canton defender Kylie Martone and forced Durand into a good pad save.
Again it was a penalty that would stall the KP energy and put Canton in front for the first time. This time it was Allie McCabe that popped up with the goal, as she eased in from the blue line, taking the space that the KP defense was giving up, and fired a wrist shot through a crowd and inside the post.
“I think our defense has been a strength for years and years and this is something we’ve worked on all season,” Maffeo explained. “Our defense is committed to offensive zone, neutral zone, and defensive zone and we work on that and practice that and they have confidence in that.”
Sydney O’Shea was one of KP’s best outlets on offense and she forced Durand into another good stop, but Canton was taking control of the game and doubled its lead with 6:59 left in the period. Battista’s shot from the point was kicked aside, but Canton kept the puck in the zone and it cycled around to Koen in the left circle. She turned and fired and found the back of the net to make it 3-1.
The game could have been put away in the second. Canton outshot the Warriors 15-7 in the period and dominated zone time. Johnston came through with a pair of point-blank saves to deny Tassinari on the doorstep and then McCabe saw a shot come back off the post.
“The depth they have is incredible,” said Assad. “You have to match line-for-line with them and we tried. A team like that, once you score a goal you’ve got to stay on them, keep pressuring them.”
Even with Canton controlling play, KP had a couple of chances to make it a one-goal game. In the final seconds of the period, Avari Maxwell got free for a one-timer inside the left circle that seemed destined for the back of the net only for Durand to get across with her blocker. Fifteen seconds into the third, Katarina Precobb fired a pass from the near boards out in front to Morgan Cunningham but she was unable to get a clean shot off and Durand covered.
“It was there and I thought it was a goal but she came out of nowhere with that pad,” said Assad about Maxwell’s chance. “I thought that would’ve been great being down one going into the third. We had a great talk between periods, they came out and did exactly what we wanted to do, went after the net, and it just didn’t happen.”
Those misses would be costly. Just 32 seconds into the third, Battista whipped a shot in from the left point that somehow eluded the bodies in front and snuck past Johnston to make it 4-1.
Canton is a tough team to play against when they have a lead late in the game. The Bulldogs spent long stretches in the attacking zone. Although they weren’t creating a lot of chances, they were keeping the Warriors pinned back.
Maffeo said, “Because of our commitment to the defensive style of play, once we can get some offense generated then we can play the game we’re most comfortable with, all of our forwards back-checking and supporting our D.”
KP did have a couple of opportunities to maybe get back into the game. Holmes and Daniels forced a double save out of Durand with 10 minutes remaining. A minute later, O’Shea drove at the goal from a tight angle and tried to stuff in a backhand, but again had no way past the Canton netminder.
With 1:18 to go, on another power play, Tassinari wrapped up the win for the visitors. She spun on the puck in the high slot and ripped a shot past Johnston’s outstretched pad to make it 5-1.
Canton (7-1, 5-1) will take on Mansfield/Oliver Ames twice in the next two days needing a point to clinch at least a share of the league title. King Philip (4-3-1, 3-2-1) will face Stoughton/Sharon and root for the Warriors to trip Canton up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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
Carolyn Durand, Canton
Jordan Dwyer, Franklin
Avari Maxwell, King Philip
Ella Waryas, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Sherman, Stoughton/Sharon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.