Foxboro, 69 vs. Randolph, 58 – Final – Foxboro had a strong third quarter, turning a five-point lead into a double-digit advantage (57-45) going into the final quarter. It was a balanced scoring attack for the Warriors with four players scoring in double-figures. Senior Andrew Block led the way with 14 points, freshman Brandon Borde added 12 points and Joe Morrison and Joe Bartucca each scored 10 points. Mark Clagg added nine points and Jamaine Few finished with eight points.
Franklin, 70 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 66 – Final – Franklin was impressive in the first three quarters, building an 18 point lead before Spellman closed the gap in the final quarter. Franklin senior Josh Macchi registered a career-high 22 points while junior Paul Mahon added 15 points and sophomore Jalen Samuels finished with 14 points.
Milford, 73 vs. Medway, 46 – Final – With its back against the wall, Milford put on a dominant performance to qualify for the state tournament for the second straight year. Scarlet Hawks seniors combined for 52 points to lead the way. Anthony Arcudi had a team-high 18 points while Nate Davila had 14 points, Zack Tamagni had 13 points and Alex Macek chipped in with seven points. Junior Kayden Kelley had 11 points and 17 rebounds in the win.
Oliver Ames, 66 @ Walpole, 53 – Final – Oliver Ames finished the regular season on a high note, taking the consolation game in the Rebel Classic at Walpole. Junior Jack Spillane poured in a team-high 25 points to pace the Tigers while Carter Evin added 15 points and Dylan Mahoney chipped in with 12 points. OA now awaits seeding for the D2 South tournament.
Sharon, 62 vs. Xaverian, 58 – Final – Sharon won the 2017 Walpole Hoop Classic win a win over Xaverian, ending the 2017 campaign on a four-game win streak. Junior Malik Lorquet was named tournament MVP, scoring 12 points and adding 14 rebounds. Junior Jimmy Fitzhenry was named to the all tournament team after scoring 14 points. Senior Ricardo Ripley finished with a team-high 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Stoughton, 64 vs. Tantasqua, 59 – Final – Stoughton junior Cam Andrews dropped a team-high 20 points and senior Cam Gomes chipped in with 13 points as the Black Knights advanced to the finals of the Warrior Classic to play Foxboro.
North Attleboro, 51 @ Attleboro, 47 – Final – The Rocketeers avenged an earlier loss to the Bombardiers. Emily Schromm was the top scorer for North with 13 points and fellow senior Samantha Taggart scored 12. Attleboro was led by Sarah Deyo’s 22 points.
Foxboro, 54 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 39 – Final – Recently named league MVP Ashley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 27 points and senior Kristen Bortolotti added 12 in the win. Foxboro will face Lincoln-Sudbury in the final of the Warrior Classic on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Stoughton, 8 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Junior forward Brendan Campbell scored a career-best four goals to lead the Black Knights. Sophomore Sean Doherty netted a hat trick and classmate Luke Bainton found the back of the net once.
Franklin, 1 vs. Lasalle Academy, 4 – Final
King Philip, 1 @ Norwood, 4 – Final
Taunton, 3 @ Mansfield, 5 – Final – Mansfield scored three goals in the third period to earn two points and qualify for the state tournament. The teams were level 1-1 after the first period, and then 2-2 during the second period. Tim Arnold gave the Hornets the lead in the third period on assists from Chad Piotti and Cullin Anastasia. Freshman Chris Jenkins gave Mansfield a 4-2 advantage on the power play, taking a feed from Anastasia. Taunton cut the deficit to one but Matt Farragher scored a shot handed goal off an assist from junior Tyler Oakley. Joe Olsen scored in the first period on assists from Farragher and Oakley while Farragher scored in the second on an assist from Olsen.
Oliver Ames, 0 vs. Lowell Catholic, 1 – Final
Franklin, 0 vs. Ursuline, 3 – Final
King Philip, 0 @ Westwood, 3 – Final
FOXBORO, Mass. – Because of the snow that forced a postponement of Saturday’s game with Taunton, Mansfield had gone a week without taking the ice for a competitive game. It may have played a role in the Hornets getting off to a rough start against visiting Brockton on Wednesday evening at the Foxboro Sports Center.
Mansfield managed to shrug off the sluggishness, controlling play for the majority of the game, and pulling out a 2-0 victory thanks to a pair of goals by senior Joey Olsen that moved the Hornets to 4-3-1 on the season and extended their win streak to three games.
“It was definitely sluggish,” said first-year Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini of the slow start. “I thought we had two good days of practice but it didn’t translate to the game. We couldn’t get anything going. Granted we held them to three shots, but we weren’t mentally prepared.”
The Hornets struggled to get the puck moving from defense into the attack. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, until the final few minutes of the first when Mansfield strung together several chances to take an 8-4 lead in shots.
Freshman Chris Jenkins had the first real scoring opportunity for the hosts on a two-on-one with Cullin Anastasia, catching Brockton in a line change, but his shot was stopped by Adam Stagnone. The third line chipped in and brought some energy, nearly creating the opening goal when Adam Anastos fed Jaden Mezner in front only for Spagnone to again come through with the stop.
Jenkins had another chance when he dove forward to knock a bouncing puck on goal in the final minute of the first but the Hornets went into the intermission scoreless.
“We talked to them in between periods and said, this is not how we’re used to playing,” said Balzarini. “We had to switch some lines around…and guys had to get used to each other, but still no excuse.”
(The change in lines was forced by an off-ice injury to senior Chad Piotti, who was in a car accident this week that will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Piotti was at Wednesday’s game.)
Mansfield started the second period with a two-man advantage and it seemed to get the Hornets clicking with Matt Farragher, Jenkins, and Olsen each having chances. Shortly after the power play ended, the Hornets got the lead. Olsen was in the right place on the edge of the crease to backhand a loose puck under the bar (assisted by Jenkins and Farragher).
Four minutes later, a major penalty forced Mansfield to try and clear off four minutes of man advantage for the Boxers. Tony Rullo (19 saves) came through with a few clutch saves but the shots were mostly from the outside thanks in large part to the play of defensemen Tim Arnold and Tyler Oakley, who were both immense in limiting the Boxers to shots from the edges.
Balzarini explained, “It was huge. For the past week, we’ve changed our penalty kill and it’s worked to a ’T’. We wanted to be a little more aggressive, face the play a little more, keep them to the outside, and it was a huge four-minute kill.”
With three minutes left in the second, again just after the Hornets had a power play, Olsen popped up with his second of the night. The senior, who played last season with his club team, raced onto a puck through the middle, got a step on his defenseman, and roofed a backhand shot over Spagnone’s shoulder. Jenkins picked up his second assist on the play.
“I didn’t get a chance to coach [Joey] and didn’t know how good he was,” said Balzarini, who coached Milford prior to taking over the Hornets this season. “It doesn’t matter who his linemates are. He’s a grinder, he’s skillful, and he sees the ice really well. Him and Matt have been playing well together.”
In the third period, Mansfield sought to protect its two-goal lead and looked for the third that would seal the points. The Hornets outshot Brockton 13-5 in the period and but for the heroics of Spagnone, who robbed Mansfield on several great scoring opportunities, it could have been a much bigger win.
Farragher had his shot ricochet off the goalie’s mask and Anastasia saw his backhander from the slot kicked aside. Olsen had a bid for a hat trick denied as well. Meanwhile Rullo looked comfortable in goal for the Hornets and was largely untroubled in the third.
“We want to make sure that we’re not trying to get that third goal by costing a turnover,” said Balzarini. “I told them I didn’t want anyone being a hero and I wanted to play 5-on-5 hockey. We almost scored off the face-off, but we’ll take the two points.”
Mansfield (4-3-1) will try to keep the win streak alive after another break. The Hornets will have a week off before their next game, against Foxboro next Wednesday.
2015-16 Record: 7-11-2 (1-8-1) 2015-16 Finish: Missed playoffs Head Coach: Mark Homer
Attleboro narrowly missed out on a playoff spot last season, losing in its final game against a Div. 3 opponent and this year’s team will be motivated to try and get back in the postseason under new head coach Mark Homer, who made the switch from Oliver Ames where he coached the past three years, and with a new home – moving from Aleixo Arena in Taunton to the new England Sports Village just a couple minutes from the school.
In what has become a common issue for the Bombardiers program, Attleboro will not have
a lot of depth to call on this winter with only 15 skaters and two goalies on the varsity roster, but there is some experience coming back. Senior P.J. Elliott is a talented skater and stick handler who will be counted on to provide the scoring punch along with Jake Parker and Dylan Weallac on the first line.
Sam McKenzie emerged last year as a physical presence and senior captain Eddie Noel will partner him on the top defensive pairing. Sophomore Evan Andrews and freshman Derek Rivet will battle it out for the starting goaltender position for the Bombardiers. There are several other underclassmen who could make immediate impacts, including sophomore forward Cam Littig.
“With the new facility in Attleboro the hopes are that in the coming years, the roster will grow to include increasing depth to the program,” said Homer. “The goal of this years team is to stay healthy, work together as one unit on and off the ice, and get better each day. It’s a new day for Attleboro High School Hockey with a promising future.”
2015-16 Record: 18-4-5 (8-0-2) 2015-16 Finish: Won the Div. 1 State Championship Head Coach: Chris Spillane
After being the first Hockomock League team selected for the prestigious Super 8 tournament in 2014-15 and then graduating 21 players, Franklin was supposed to need a year to rebuild, but the Panthers showed just how strong their program is by bringing home the Div. 1 state championship in a dramatic double overtime thriller against St. Mary’s at the TD Garden. It was the program’s first state title at any level since 1983.
The Panthers graduated another large class of 13 seniors from last year’s champions and lost promising freshman defenseman Kevin Mackay who transferred to Dexter. Still, expectations remain as high as ever for the Panthers, who have won four straight league titles. Much of that excitement comes from the potential in the offensive zone with Franklin returning last year’s title game hero Luke Downie, leading goal scorer Jeremy Miller, and Brendan O’Reilly and the top line of seniors Joey Blasie, Adam Assad, and James Kilroe. Sophomores Matt Holmes and Zach Falvey will add depth to the offense.
Defense is where the Panthers will have some new faces, although seniors Tom Sicchio and Stan Carter will add some experience to the back line. Juniors Jack McGrath and Connor Norton will make the jump up from the JV team to add to the defensive lines and freshman Collin Opet will also see playing time on the defense as well. For the third season in a row, Franklin will have a new No. 1 goalie with senior Cam Benhamand junior Owen Ginley will battle it out for the starting spot.
“For the Panthers to be successful this year it will be a result of a team defense concept,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane. “The offense will take care of itself, we will be focusing on strong play in our zone.”
2015-16 Record: 9-8-4 (5-2-3) 2015-16 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 South playoffs Head Coach: Paul Carlow
The Warriors made strides last winter under first-year head coach Paul Carlow, including a regular season tie with Franklin and reaching the postseason for the first time since the program was moved back up to Div. 1. This season, Carlow is hopeful for a return to the postseason and to challenge for KP’s first league title since 2007, despite losing 10 seniors from last year’s roster.
The offensive zone should be strong for the Warriors this season with several key returning players that put up solid totals last winter. Junior forward Collin Cooke is the main weapon after putting up 11 goals and 15 assists for a team-high 26 points to be named a league all-star. He is joined up front by senior Ritchie Lucente, who scored 10 goals and had nine assists last year, and senior Jacob Kelly, who finished with 11 goals and nine assists.
KP will also return a few important pieces on the defensive side of the puck, including junior goalie Shane Frommer, who was 3-1-1 in his five starts last year. Frommer’s start to the hockey season will be slightly delayed after helping the football team win its first Super Bowl title. In front of the Frommer will be senior Jeremy Smith, who chipped in with three goals and four assists last season.
“We had some success last season qualifying for the D1 playoffs,” said Carlow. “We have our work cut out for us this season… We are a young team with only five seniors but I expect us to get back to the playoffs.”
2015-16 Record: 5-10-5 (4-4-2) 2015-16 Finish: Missed the playoffs Head Coach: Mike Balzarini
Last winter was atypical for the Hornets, who missed out on the playoffs and finished fourth in the Kelley-Rex division, but Mansfield is hoping for a quick turnaround under new head coach Mike Balzarini, who makes the move from Milford. The Hornets have a number of returning players, including several from club or other school programs to bolster the depth.
One of the returning players is Joe Olsen, who spent last year with a juniors program but will be a significant addition to the Hornets top attacking line alongside fellow seniors Matt Farragher and Chad Piotti, who both had solid years in 2015-16. Junior Cullen Anastasia is another forward to come back to the program and could step right in to make an impact. Freshman Chris Jenkins is going to be the center on the third line and classmate James Bezeau will also see playing time this year.
On defense, the Hornets will be led by senior Cullen Murphy, a physical presence at the back and one of the leaders on the ice. Juniors Tim Arnold, Ryan O’Hara, and Tyler Oakley will also be important pieces on the top defensive pairings. Freshman Joseph Troiano will also be on the defense after he decided against attending Xaverian this year. The defense will be protecting senior goalies Brendan McKenna and Tony Rullo, who will each see time.
“We’re a lot deeper,” said Balzarini, who said that the Hornets would be carrying four lines and four sets of defensemen and is excited about the potential on the team. “It’s been good having two weeks to prepare. They have to get used to our new system and adhering to the structures that we’re putting in place.”
2015-16 Record: 10-10-1 2015-16 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Head Coach: Sean Bertoni
Oliver Ames will be looking to keep its postseason streak alive under new head coach Sean Bertoni – a former standout goalie for Franklin.
If the Tigers want to get back to the state tournament, they’ll need some help from their younger players; Oliver Ames has eight sophomores and four freshman on its roster this year. OA does have seven seniors and a group of experienced juniors that can help lead the way.
“The goals of the team are to progress from Day one to the end of the year,” Bertoni said. “We have to use our team speed and forecheck extremely hard. We will be a disciplined, hard working aggressive team.”
2015-16 Record: 13-10-0 (3-7-0) 2015-16 Finish: Reached the Div. 2 South playoffs Head Coach: Kris Metea
The Tigers got to experience what the state tournament is like last season for the first time since 2006-07 and only the second time in the past two decades. Taunton had the fourth most wins in a season in the 44-year history of the program and scored a remarkable 106 goals last season, which was the best in the Hock.
This year, Taunton will try to build on its historic season and make a quick return to the postseason. Leading scorer Tyler Pietrzyk has graduated but there is plenty of firepower returning for the Tigers this season, including senior forward Zack Albert who is coming off a 30-point campaign. He will be joined up from by classmate Jordan Hoey, who had 17 points last season and senior Cam Carnes, who had 10 points. Sophomore Cam Sneyd could be poised for a breakout year for the Tigers.
Defensively, Taunton can lean on three-time league all-star Nick Terry, who will man the top defensive pairing. Mike Volkmann may be listed as a defenseman on the roster but he can get forward into the attack with 29 points a season ago. Junior Cam Welby will be a new addition to the defense after playing juniors all of last season. Senior Justin Chappell returns in net.
“This year’s group of seniors are first class kids,” said head coach Kris Metea. “They exemplify leadership across the board…They had a chance to taste the tournament last year, and are focused on acquiring more than just a taste this time around.”
Canton, 55 @ Attleboro, 64 – Final – In a back and forth close matchup, Jake Dunkley and Attleboro pulled away in the fourth quarter. Dunkley finished with 20 points while classmate Berlyns Abraham had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Nate Douglas added 12 points for the Bombardiers. Canton sophomore Devin Foster had a career-high 21 points while Tony Harris added 12 points and five rebounds and Jake Verille added eight points and three rebounds.
Foxboro, 36 @ Mansfield, 66 – Final – Mansfield limited Foxboro to just 14 second half points, turning a two point lead at the end of the first quarter into a 15-point lead at halftime and a 27 point lead at the end of three. John McCoy, Max Boen and Sam Goldberg (six rebounds) each scored 11 points apiece to lead the Hornets. Andrew Block had 11 points and seven rebounds for Foxboro.
Milford, 60 @ King Philip, 50 – Final – Between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter, Milford rattled off a 19-2 run that created a cushion they held for the rest of the way. With KP up 10-2, the Scarlet Hawks flipped the game with the run. Senior Anthony Arcudi netted a game-high 17 points, Shane Cosquete added 10 points, both Zach Tamagni and Nate Davila scored nine points and junior Kayden Kelley hauled in 15 rebounds to go with four rebounds. Justin Vine and Tom Madden each scored 12 points apiece while Pharaoh Davis came off the bench to score 10 points for the Warriors.
Stoughton, 47 @ Oliver Ames, 55 – Final– After being tied after the opening quarter, Oliver Ames opened a three point lead by halftime, a four point lead after three quarters and then held that lead in the fourth quarter. Three Tigers scored in double digits, led by Dylan Mahoney’s 21 points. Junior Jack Spillane added a career-best 16 points and Carter Evin chipped in with 10 points. Stoughton senior Cam Gomes dropped a career-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds.
Sharon, 51 @ Taunton, 65 – Final – Sharon was able to hang around through three quarters but Taunton pulled ahead in the final quarter. Freshman Dante Law scored a career-high 18 points to pace the Tigers with senior Tommy MacLean adding 13 points. Jimmy Fitzhenry led Sharon with 16 points while senior Ricardo Ripley chipped in with 12 points.
Attleboro, 92 @ Canton, 53 – Final
Franklin, 36 @ North Attleboro, 43 – Final – The Rocketeers outscored Franklin 19-12 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win in their season opener. Ashley Ahern led the way for North with 15 points, including eight in the fourth, and sophomore Julia Feid had 10 for the Rocketeers. Franklin was led by freshman Ali Brigham who scored 18 points in her second varsity game.
King Philip, 47 @ Milford, 44 – Final – The Warriors rallied from seven points down in the fourth quarter to pull out the win in their season opener. Sophomore Shannon O’Connor was the top scorer for KP with 12 points and freshman Faith Roy chipped in with nine. Junior Hadley Zolak had six points for KP, including important baskets down the stretch. Milford was led by Kate Irwin’s 17 points.
Oliver Ames, 51 @ Stoughton, 32 – Final – OA was led by three players with 11 points apiece – senior Niyera Mitchell, junior Kayla Raymond, and freshman Meg Holleran.
Taunton, 29 @ Sharon, 46 – Final – Sharon jumped out to an early lead and never let up. Sophomore Emma Eberhardt was the top scorer for the Eagles with 18 points and added eight rebounds and six steals. Shira Stoller added six points, eight rebounds, and nine assists for Sharon.
Mansfield, 3 @ Norwood, 3 – Final – Chad Piotti scored a pair of goals, including the game-tying goal in the third period, to earn Mansfield a point in the opener. Joey Olsen added the other goal for the Hornets.
Stoughton, 5 @ Framingham, 11 – Final
TAUNTON, Mass. – With 8:21 left in the second period, Keagin and Sam Larkin skated to the penalty box for the Bombardiers. Mansfield would have a full 1:30 of two-man advantage to try and extend its 2-0 lead and put Attleboro away.
The Hornets have struggled offensively this season (19 goals in 11 games), but coming off a six-goal performance against Taunton on Wednesday, head coach Rick Anastos thought the team may have broken out of its slump. Unfortunately for Mansfield, offense is still a concern, as the Hornets failed to score on the power play, keeping Attleboro within two.
“It’s been our problem all year long,” said Anastos. “We just can’t score. I thought we were going to have a break out finally and went up 2-0 and thought it was in hand. But [Attleboro] battled…they always battle.”
The missed opportunity quickly came back to bite the Hornets. Attleboro got on the board with 4:22 left in the second and scored again just 1:30 into the third period and managed to come away from Saturday afternoon’s physical game at Aleixo Arena with a 2-2 tie.
“I thought we came out pretty strong again,” said Attleboro coach Mike Cripps, referring to a 7-6 loss to King Philip on Wednesday night.
“If we come out and skate and play hockey then we can skate with anybody. We have limited depth but they’re giving it everything they’ve got.”
The Bombardiers started strongly, controlling the puck in the offensive zone for long periods of the first period and leading at one point 6-1 on shots. Attleboro has been strong at even strength but have been hurt by penalties this season and Saturday was no different.
Mansfield opened the scoring on the power play when Attleboro failed to clear the puck. Max Hoffman found Matt Farragher below the right circle and he flipped a pass right in front of goal to Pat Sunderland and he scored on a one-timer.
“They’re clicking but they need to stay out of the penalty box more,” said Cripps. “They just make it harder on themselves. You just can’t take stupid penalties at any stage of the game.”
The Hornets made it 2-0 with 1:14 left in the first and again it came from an Attleboro error and again came from a special teams unit. This time it was a shorthanded goal from Hoffman on a breakaway off assist from defensemen Matt Chirichiello and Mike Arnold.
Mansfield had plenty of chances to extend the lead. In the opening minutes of the second period, Arnold had a shot from the point that was knocked down by Attleboro goalie Evan Andrews (21 saves) but caused a scramble the crease. Another shot rang the post for Mansfield.
Then came the two-man advantage, but the Hornets only managed a couple of shots from distance. The best chance during the power play was actually for Attleboro forward P.J Elliott who snuck out on a breakaway after blocking a pass near his own blue line, but he got too deep before firing a shot on Mansfield goalie Anthony Visconti (24 saves).
Cripps said, “Thankfully the guys that were not in the box came up big. They have a whole bunch of heart, all 20 kids on the team.”
He joked, “They pick each other up even when they do stupid things.”
Three minutes after clearing off the penalty, Attleboro cut the lead in half. Elliott and Jake Parker fired shots that Visconti was able to knock down but the second rebound popped out to winger Nick Miniati and he fired his shot through traffic and into the back of the net.
The Bombardiers carried that momentum into the third period and stormed back onto the ice to try and tie the game. Just 1:30 into the third, Elliott managed to pick the pocket of a Mansfield defenseman at his own blue line. The puck wound its way to Kyle McCabe, who sent a shot through a screen that bounced past an unsighted Visconti to make it 2-2.
“I can’t repeat much of what I said,” said Cripps with a laugh. “I just kind of laid into them for being selfish and they had to come out and decide whether they were going to come out and play hockey and play a team game or continue to play selfishly.”
“Thankfully they seemed to come out as a team.”
Just seconds after Attleboro tied it, the Bombardiers nearly took the lead. Again it was Elliott that created the chance but his Keagin Larkin was unable to put his shot on target with the net gaping. On the next rush up ice, a shot from the point beat Visconti, but not the post.
Mansfield was on its heels but still managed to create a couple of chances with quick transitions. Sunderland tried to return the favor to Farragher on a two on one, but the pass eluded the forward’s stick. Later, on a three on one, Chad Piotti just missed with Andrews stranded.
“We just keep preaching the same things over and over – rebounds, rebounds, shoot, rebounds rebounds, shoot,” explained Anastos. “It’s not like we’ve been blown out by any team this season…we just can’t score.”
He added, “You don’t score a lot of goals then you start gripping the stick a little harder. I think that was the difference.”
Andrews also came through with several big saves, including a quick kick save on a shot from Shane Doherty in the slot. It was a strong finish for the Hornets but too little too late and for the second time in three seasons, Attleboro was able to earn a point from Mansfield.
Attleboro (5-6-2, 1-4-1) will try to carry that momentum into Wednesday’s meeting with Franklin. Mansfield (2-6-3, 2-2-1) will face North Attleboro on Monday night.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
Click here for a photo gallery of the game.
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
FOXBORO, Mass. – When North Attleboro took its second lead of the game with just 7:25 left in the game, Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos was tempted to take his one timeout.
On the advice of his son — an assistant coach — Anastos held off, instead mixing up his third line to add a little speed and the switch worked as the Hornets got a push in the offensive zone.
But after three minutes lapsed and the Hornets hadn’t tied the game, Anastos called for that timeout with an offensive zone face off coming up.
“I just wanted to regroup, refocus and keep going out at them,” Anastos said. “We wanted to focus on being aggressive and going at them. We lost the face off but we didn’t make it easy for them to get it out.”
The Rocketeers did win the face off but Mansfield was quick to put pressure as senior captain Pat Graham hugged the boards and blocked a clearance. Graham took possession and quickly fired a centering pass and senior Max Hoffman was able to poke his stick and get enough of the puck to find the back of the net as Mansfield and North Attleboro skated to a 2-2 tie.
“We had the lead and blew the lead twice,” North Attleboro said coach Steve Snizek said. “Obviously that’s not the outcome we wanted especially with them scoring so late in the game. But things happen, they capitalized on a mistake of ours and that’s what good teams do.”
The two rivals skated a scoreless period in the first period but a big reason was Rocketeer goalie Ryan Warren, a freshman making his high school debut, and North Attleboro’s defense.
Mansfield had a good chance on its first power play when a centering pass from Shane Doherty found Chad Piotti but North defensemen Paul Baker and Brendan McHugh got their sticks in the way to send the shot wide.
The Hornets first big test of Warren came with just over five minutes to play when Hoffman connected with Piotti for a close chance but Warren closed well and denied the shot. With just 10 seconds left Hoffman got in alone on Warren and tried to shoot it but the freshman got a piece of it to send it high.
““He stepped up very well for us,” Snizek said of Warren. “He looked very poised out there, especially for a freshman in his first game against our biggest rivals. He had a great game, very relaxed and played the puck, which I love to see. I’m very happy with his performance tonight.”
“We’re still trying to figure out the best combinations with the lines,” Anastos said. “I can’t get them to stop shooting but I can’t get them to shoot in the game. We had so many chances in the first period, we had three almost breakaways. I think if we had scored on those it would have been a tough battle for them to climb but they always play non-stop.”
Six minutes into the second period, North Attleboro took its first lead of the game. Sophomore Hunter Sarro used a pin point pass to find junior Connor Ford right in front and his one timer found the back of the net.
The lead didn’t last long though. Just 35 seconds later, the Hornets were able to level the game when junior Matt Farragher pushed one past Warren to make it 1-1 off assists from Mike Arnold and Shane Doherty.
The Rocketeers didn’t convert on a power play just over three minutes into the final period but were able to find the back of the net just two minutes later. Senior Andrew Casson gained possession behind the Mansfield net and wrapped around. With Mansfield goalie Anthony Visconti and a defender trying to knock it out, Casson and junior Erik Clements were hacking away trying to force it in. The puck eventually went North’s way and trickled over the line to take a 2-1 lead.
“I was going to call timeout at that point,” Anastos said. “I mixed up my third line and put a kid out there that’s fairly fast and they gave us some momentum in the offensive zone. My assistant said to wait and then at 4:07 he said do it, the times right.
“It seems like when you do that you take a step back and calm them down.”
North Attleboro (0-0-1) will skate against Bishop Feehan on Saturday while Mansfield (0-0-2) will get back on the ice the same day when they host Coyle & Cassidy. Mansfield and North Attleboro will meet again on January 16th, this time in a league game.
“We get the one point from this one and they get a point too but the next game is about a month away and that’s going to be a big one,” Snizek said. “Obviously both teams want that win. They’ll get the bugs out of their system, we’ll get the bus out of ours and it should be a great matchup.” Click here for a photo gallery of the game. Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
Attleboro 2014-15 Record: 11-13-1 (2-8-0) 2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South semifinal Head Coach: Mike Cripps
The Bombardiers made an improbable run to the Div. 3 South semifinal before being eliminated by Hanover. Even with a short bench and a goaltender that had never played before, Attleboro won three tournament games for the first time in program history and this year will try to build on that experience and get back to the postseason.
With 20 players on the roster, depth may not be Attleboro’s strength but there are some players that Cripps will be counting on to produce this season led by senior forward Keagin Larkin. He will be helped out on the forward line by junior P.J. Elliott and sophomore Sam Parker. Freshman Sam Larkin will also step in right away and Cripps said that he has been “impressive” during the opening two weeks of practice.
Senior goalie Tim Gile returns between the pipes after a season that saw him put on goalie pads for the first time. He will be joined at the goalie position by junior Tyler Koppy. In front of goal, seniors Will McKenzie and Jack Flynn and sophomore Sam McKenzie will be part of Attleboro’s defensive corps.
There may only be 20 players on the roster, but the Bombardiers are a tight-knit group and Cripps is hopeful that they can get back to .500 and another trip to the playoffs. He said, “Our team is a group of hard-working players with good chemistry. With our lack of depth, we have to avoid injuries and illness. I am very happy with the progress I have seen after the first week.”
Franklin 2014-15 Record: 17-4-3 (10-0-0) 2014-15 Finish: Lost in first round of the Super 8 Head Coach: Chris Spillane
How does Franklin follow up its first ever appearance in the prestigious Super 8 tournament? How does the program recover from losing 21 seniors off a roster that finished unbeaten in the Hockomock League and had one of the league’s most exciting hockey moments when it beat Xaverian in overtime in the Super 8 play-in game?
Those are tough questions that head coach Chris Spillane will be trying to answer in the coming weeks as he incorporates almost an entirely new roster. The top returning scorer from last season is senior Alex Bissanti, who chipped in with five goals as a junior. He will be joined up front by junior Adam Assad, who Spillane said has “lots of offensive potential.” In addition, the coach noted that he is looking towards a “strong” sophomore class to provide a spark offensively.
Ryan Shea was a rock in goal last season after getting his first playing time as a senior and the Panthers will be counting on seniors Nick Jasinki (five games in 2014-15) and Cam Benham to step in this year and have a similar impact. In front of the goalies, Franklin has a strong defensive corps led by senior captains Matt Pleshaw and Jack Chaffee. The defense has been bolstered by the return of senior Tyler Oaks, who had been playing for the South Shore Kings. Spillane called him a “strong offensive defenseman.”
It is only the third season for Franklin in Div. 1 and already the Panthers have accomplished more than most public school programs. This could be a transition year for Franklin but expectations remain high for a perennial power. Spillane said, “With the departure of 21 seniors, the success of this team will rely on finding a identity early in the season.”
King Philip 2014-15 Record: 7-10-3 (4-5-1) 2014-15 Finish: Missed playoffs Head Coach: Paul Carlow
For the second time in three season, King Philip has changed coaches with Paul Carlow taking charge of the Warriors this winter after two seasons as the JV and assistant coach. Thanks to his experience with the program and with the players, Carlow, who was once a standout player for KP, called the transition “smooth.” He added, “I know the players and they know me, which has made it pretty easy. Everyone know what is expected.”
The Warriors numbers were not huge this winter and depth may not be a strength, but Carlow is excited about the talent that KP will send out on the ice with six forwards and six defensemen returning from last year’s squad. The Warriors will be led on the forward line by senior captain Matt Smith, while fellow captain Clay Guess will lead an experienced blue line group that also includes football star Corey Lombardo.
Sophomore Collin Cooke is a player to watch this season and is poised for a breakout winter after scoring 11 goals and 10 assists as a freshman. Fellow sophomore Dan McLoughlin could be a player that steps in and provides a spark along with junior Richie Lucente, who saw plenty of ice time last season. Carlow also said that junior Jeremy Smith should step right in at defense. He noted that Smith had the talent to get on the ice as a sophomore but was only limited by the experienced players ahead of him.
Carlow has added preseason scrimmages and has changed the schedule around to add teams like Nauset, Walpole, and Coyle to prepare the team for the rigors of the Div. 1 tournament. After narrowly missing out the past two seasons, Carlow is confident the Warriors can make a run to the postseason. “We need to be ready for the type of teams we’re going to face,” said Carlow. “We may not be the deepest team, we didn’t have 90 kids tryout like Franklin, but we’ve got speed and we can play.”
Mansfield 2014-15 Record: 10-11-0 (8-2-0) 2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round Head Coach: Rick Anastos
Mansfield enters another season as one of the main threats to Franklin in the Kelley-Rex division. The Hornets, who are the only other team to have won the division (in 2011), are one of the few programs to consistently have the talent base to challenge the Panthers and this season is no different.
Junior forward Matt Farragher is primed for a breakout season after scoring 13 points as a sophomore and he will be paired up front with several classmates, including Pat Sunderland and Chad Piotti. Seniors Pat Graham, Shane Doherty, and Max Hoffman will return to give Mansfield strength in depth along its first two lines and the firepower to make the Hornets a dangerous team in the Hock.
Mansfield also has the potential to be strong defensively, as demonstrated by a scoreless tie with Winthrop on Saturday. Anthony Visconti, who gave up just more three goals per game last season, returns in goal and he will be helped out by senior defenseman Mike Arnold, who leads the blue liners, along with classmate Tim O’Brien.
The Hornets have experienced returning players, but there is plenty of youth coming through program as well with two freshman and five sophomores on the varsity roster. Franklin may remain the team to beat, but Mansfield is confident that it will be right there pushing the Panthers to the end.
North Attleboro 2014-15 Record: 12-8-1 (6-4-0) 2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round Head Coach: Stephen Snizek
The Rocketeers made it back to the tournament last season but were knocked out in overtime by Milford in the first round. With Sean Young graduated, North Attleboro will be looking for someone that can step into his role as the primary scorer and make a run at a first league title in its final season in the Kelley-Rex.
There is a lot of depth returning for North this season led on the forward line by senior captains Andrew Casson and Brian Poillucci and juniors Zach McGowan and Erik Clements, each of whom have years of experience for the Rocketeers. Sophomores Jason McNeany and Andrew Wissler and a strong freshman class will add to the forwards over the course of the season.
Defensively, North Attleboro will count on juniors Paul Baker and Vincent Zammiello and senior Matthew Marceau on the back line. The defense will be key and Snizek is expecting his forwards to help back as well as the Rocketeers will be using freshmen Chris Ulrich and Ryan Warren in goal this year.
The Rocketeers have a lot of weapons and Snizek is excited for the talent coming through the program. He said, “We have a lot of weapons on offense and we need to get pucks to the net and drive in the dirty goals. Our forwards will need to play in all zones on the ice.Not just the offensive zone.”
The Tigers have been building the program for the past few years, developing young skaters, and waiting for a time that it can come together for a potential run at the state tournament. Head coach Kris Metea is hopeful that this could be the year, as Taunton boasts a talented forward line that could provide the goals needed to get to the playoffs. Metea said, “The eighth graders and freshmen that took beatings three years ago have all grown up and can physically compete with players in the Hockomock now.”
Among the players that Metea highlighted this season are junior Nick Terry, who is coming off an all-star season, and senior Tyler Pietrzyk, who will both be starters. Junior Zack Albert and sophomore Will Walsh will add depth to the forwards as well. Defensively, senior David Perry and junior Mike Volkmann will be two of the key players and add a physical component to the Tigers.
Taunton has three goalies on the varsity roster and Metea has confidence in all of them to win games. Senior Cam Pitts is the most experienced of the trio but junior Justin Chappell and freshman Griffin Speicher both will see time as well.
If Taunton can improve the power play and utilize its overall team speed, this could be an interesting year for the Tigers. “It has been a pleasure working with these players and see them grow up as hockey players and young men,” said Metea. “They have matured physically and mentally and are ready to take the next step to compete with the top end of the ever-competitive Hockomock.”