BOSTON, Mass. – It was a frustrating first 28 minutes for Canton (22-4) in Saturday’s Div. 2 state title game at the TD Garden. The Bulldogs had more than 20 shots on target, including some gilt-edged scoring opportunities, saw pucks hit the side-netting, bounce up on top of the net, shots go over the bar or just wide, and watched Hopkinton goalie Jack Lang come through with several huge saves.
There were moments when Canton could have been forgiven for thinking, it’s just not our night. Head coach Brian Shuman admitted that he was starting to get concerned as the clock ticked on without his team finding the back of the net.
“I was the first person to overreact on the bench when we missed the net,” Shuman said after the game. “Credit to our players, they stayed calm, cool, and collected and didn’t take on the persona of their coach, which was a good thing.”
Shuman shouldn’t have worried. For the second game in a row, the Bulldogs rallied from a goal down, showing the resilience of state champions. With two goals in a little over a minute at the end of the second period and a pair of goals from seniors in the final three minutes of the game, Canton skated away with a 4-1 victory and its third state title in the past five seasons.
“Seeing everyone out there, before we were like we’re not going to let what happened last year happen again and we came together, just had a quick talk,” said senior forward AJ Thomas. “After they scored the first one, we were down a little but we weren’t going to let it go. We came together in the locker room and came out in the second and put it to them. I’m happy to win it for everyone back home.”
Shuman added, “We’ve been in close games all year long. We’re just used to playing in tight games and credit to our guys, they’re saying the same things they were in the last round, ‘We’re fine, stay with it, we’re fine,’ and that’s not coming from the coaches. That’s coming from them.”
Canton was the favorite coming into the final. The No. 8 seed Hillers were playing in only their second state title game (and first in D2), while the Bulldogs are the perennial powers who have reached the final for four straight years (excluding the 2021 season that had no tournament).
It was the underdogs that would take the early advantage. A slap shot from Vasi Zolotarev hit a couple bodies in front of Canton goalie Colin Davis (14 saves). The puck landed at the skates of Hopkinton star Pavit Mehra and he rifled it past the goalie from close range to put the Hillers in front. It was his 40th goal of the season and fifth in the last two rounds.
A few minutes later, the Hillers nearly made it two. Catching Canton in a change, Ryan Teitel got free in the left wing circle and tested Davis, who was able to stay tall and make the save.
Canton grew into the game. Thomas forced Lang into a save from the left wing, Jack Digirolamo weaved through the Hopkinton defense and put a backhand shot on target, James Young got a shot on net from the point, Jeffrey Chaput teed up Thomas for a chance in the slot that went high and wide, then set up Brendan Tourgee in almost the same spot for another shot off target.
The Bulldogs outshot Hopkinton 14-5 in the first. For all that pressure, it was the Hillers that again came closest to finding twine. Drew Morse sent in a shot from the point that Davis knocked down. Mehra was again in the right spot to get to the rebound, but, at full stretch, Davis managed to get a toe to the shot to keep it out.
In the second, Canton kept the chances coming (outshooting Hopkinton 12-2 in the period). Griffin Hughes fed Brian Middleton in front but his tip was kept out by Lang (31 saves) who then made a stunning, diving, glove save to deny Colin Blake, who had steamed in to knock the rebound into what looked like an open net.
Chaput chipped a puck up the boards for Tourgee to test the goalie from the right wing circle. Then it was Travis Thomas with a quick wraparound effort that Lang kept out. Mehra would get Hopkinton’s best chance of the second when he pounced on a mistake in the neutral zone to fire a shot on Davis. Michael Thomas added a chance from the slot, but again Lang was able to get a pad on it.
Finally, with 1:48 left in the second, Canton was able to find the back of the net, letting off a celebration that was at least in part a sigh of relief. Fittingly, after all those great chances, it was a scruffy goal to tie things up. Young’s shot from the left point was saved by Lang. The loose puck landed right on the stick of Tourgee who smashed his shot off the post, back off his skate, and then across the line.
After waiting so long to get the first, the Bulldogs needed only a minute before netting a second. Digirolamo used his big frame to power off the left wing boards towards goal. The puck was poked out to Middleton, who whipped a shot past Lang to put Canton in front.
“I think it was a little relief, definitely felt like there was a little less tension in the locker room, but these guys, the way that they approach every game, every period, is shift-by-shift,” Shuman said. “That’s the approach they took in the third. We don’t want to get too high or too low.”
The third period wasn’t as frenetic as the first two, as Canton tried to limit the stretch passes that Hopkinton looked so dangerous on and the Hillers tried to get Mehra into space to create. Dylan Mansur got the puck in front to Danny White to force a pad stop from Davis and Mehra made a great play to get the puck past the defense to Joe Scardino, but again the Canton goalie was equal to it.
For a defensive unit that graduated some important pieces, Canton’s pairings of Young, Hughes, Matt Anderson, Leo Owens, Jack Lauro, and Teddy Shuman, and with Davis in net, allowed only two goals in five playoff games this year.
“Colin Davis has been fantastic,” Shuman said. “We graduated arguably some of the best defensemen we’ve ever seen in this program, and for these guys to step up, some guys who were watching in the stands [last year] playing huge minutes, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
With less than three minutes to play, Canton doubled its lead. AJ Thomas slipped a pass to Chaput as he raced into the left wing circle and his fellow senior roofed his shot over Lang to make it 3-1. It was Chaput’s fifth goal in five playoff games.
“We just sit back and think about who we’re doing this for,” Thomas said about his team’s resiliency. He noted the inspiration that the Bulldogs have gotten from Kieran Whall, a Canton three-year-old battling leukemia. “For everyone out there, who came tonight, it’s amazing, we’re doing it for them. We just look back and see who we’re doing it for and go out and do it.”
The Hillers pulled Lang and desperately tried to find a goal that would get them back into the game, but with 25.9 on the clock, just as he did against Duxbury in the semifinal, Thomas found the empty netter that sealed the win and the state title.
“It’s crazy,” Young explained. “It feels so good. I’m speechless. Last Canton High game, you got to win.”
Asked about his program’s consistency, Shuman replied, “These guys, they put a lot of pressure on themselves. They’ve been in the stands watching some kids who are older than them on the ice raising the trophy and that’s their dream.”
“I think last year we felt that pressure and played well, just came up short. This year, I thought the players’ mental approach coming into this game was just outstanding. They were really having some fun this week.”
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – With the clock running down under a minute to play in Saturday afternoon’s semifinal at the Gallo Ice Arena, Duxbury was pressing hard to try and find the tying goal. The puck bounced out to the blue line and Canton senior forward AJ Thomas was able to get a stick on it, use his body to shield it from a couple of Duxbury players, and break forward into the neutral zone.
Under pressure, Thomas veered towards the near boards and then flicked a shot towards an empty Duxbury goal. When the puck crossed the line, the Canton bench exploded in both relief and joy. Thomas had just sealed a come-from-behind 3-1 victory and booked Canton’s fourth straight appearance at the TD Garden to play for the Div. 2 state title.
“It doesn’t get old,” said senior forward Jeffrey Chaput after the game. With the Canton girls getting ready to take the ice as he was speaking, Chaput added, “It’s really tradition. It’s just Canton hockey, we’re used to being at the Garden. As you see the girls going on right now, this is a town of hockey.”
Canton coach Brian Shuman said, “It’s all about this group. They’re playing their best hockey at the right time and I can’t even begin to say how proud I am of them. We have a tremendous amount of respect for [Duxbury] and knew we had to come out and play well and I’m just so happy for our guys because they really earned this opportunity.”
Scoring chances were limited in a first period that felt like both teams were probing to see how the other was going to attack. Connor O’Connell had a shot from the left wing circle that forced Canton goalie Colin Davis (15 saves) into an early stop and Brendan Tourgee quickly tested Duxbury goalie Sam Mazanec (31 saves) on the other end.
Davis was called on to make a tough blocker save on Tucker O’Neill’s shot through traffic from the right point and then again he came up with a nice pad stop on Aiden Harrington, after the forward picked off an outlet pass in the slot.
Canton defenseman Matt Anderson fired a shot from the right point that Thomas got a stick to on the edge of the crease, but it went just over the bar. Chaput had one final chance in the closing seconds of the first and his shot from a tough angle was covered up at the near post.
Things picked up considerably for Canton in the second. The Bulldogs would outshoot Duxbury 14-3 in the period.
Chaput got things started with a perfect cross-ice pass to Anderson racing down the right wing, but the shot from the face-off dot went high. A couple minutes later, Chaput again started the play in his own zone, chipping it up the boards to Tourgee, who fed it to Thomas for a backhand effort that Mazanec saved.
Five minutes into the period, Jack Digirolamo thought he had put Canton in front. A flurry of chances, including a shot from the point by Leo Owens, had the Dragons on their heels and Digirolamo pounced on a loose puck on the edge of the crease, but the refs judged Mazanec to have gloved the shot before it crossed the line.
Colin Blake teed up Digirolamo for another chance a few minutes later and Mazanec again stayed with the play to make a point-blank stop.
All that dominance didn’t end with the opening goal and Duxbury stunned the Bulldogs by grabbing the lead with 4:53 left in the period. Wick Ross pinched in from the point and fired a wrister that went off the top of Davis’ glove and snuck over the line.
“I think this is a tribute to the players on the bench,” Shuman said, “as soon as the goal went in they said, ‘We’re fine, we’re fine, we’re fine.’ That wasn’t the coaches, that was all them, and that just goes to show you how much this team has grown over the course of the year.”
Duxbury had two players go to the box with 13 seconds left in the second, which meant that Canton had a perfect opportunity to try and get back into the game in the third. The Bulldogs wouldn’t waste that chance.
A minute into the third, with Canton camped out in the Duxbury zone, Thomas collected the puck on the left wing side of the goal and slipped a perfect pass across the crease to Chaput, who buried the chance, before racing down to the other end of the ice to celebrate with the Canton fans.
Chaput explained, “I was just thinking between periods, ‘We need one, we need one, we need one.’ After I saw the puck go in, I thought of all the hard work this whole team, not just me, the freshmen, the kids who don’t play, the managers, the coaches, everyone does a tremendous amount of work.”
The game stayed tied at 1-1 for more than nine minutes and the tension grew, as every shot on either goal was cheered like it could be the winner. With 4:36 to play, Tourgee took a hit in the neutral zone. The puck skipped free and Thomas sped between a pair of Duxbury players to get in all alone on Mazanec. He patiently picked his spot and put the Bulldogs in front.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am for him,” Shuman said of Thomas. “He’s someone that takes pride in the little things, wants to do the little things well, and for him to make that play at the end was fitting because I feel like he’s had an unheralded season so far. For everyone to see what he does for us is just great.”
Canton tried to add a third with James Young setting up Thomas for a shot through a crowd that was gloved. On the other end, Duxbury was sending everyone at goal in an effort to keep its title hopes alive. Sean Hanniffy had a good tip in front that went inches wide of the post and Davis stuck out a right pad to keep another chance out.
Thomas stepped up again in the final minute to secure the two-goal cushion, letting the Bulldogs breathe a little easier and get ready to once again skate on the biggest stage.
Asked about a fourth consecutive trip to the final, Shuman said, “We’re so lucky to have a group of players that when new guys come in they feel an obligation and a responsibility to carry on this tradition. I feel like the luckiest coach in the world getting to coach all these guys.”
Canton (21-4) will face the winner of No. 4 Walpole and No. 8 Hopkinton at the TD Garden next Sunday, at a time to be determined.
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. — Ever since Canton and Newburyport faced off in back-to-back state championship games in 2009 and 2010, the two storied programs have played one another during the regular season.
For the first time since then, the two squads squared off again in the postseason. And similar to how this year’s regular season meeting went, Canton emerged with a shutout win.
Junior Colin Blake and senior Jeff Chaput scored second period goals and the third-seeded Bulldogs notched a 2-0 win over the sixth-seeded Clippers to book a spot in the Division 2 Final Four for the second straight season.
“It felt almost workmanlike,” said Canton head coach Brian Shuman about his team’s performance. “We have so much respect for [Newburyport], me and Paul Yameen go way back, we’ve played each other since meeting in the finals. There’s a tremendous amount of respect that these two programs have for each other. I can’t say enough about their program, they play a tough hard-nosed, blue-collar type of hockey and you can’t help but appreciate it as a coach. It was a good hockey game.”
The Bulldogs earned a 2-0 win on the road in mid-January over the Clippers and have had Newburyport’s number lately, going 6-0-2 since the start of the 2015 season.
The familiarity was apparent from the opening faceoff as the Clippers made things difficult for the Bulldogs. Newburyport was clogging both passing and shooting lanes and their forecheck was doing just enough to disrupt Canton’s rhythm working out of their own zone.
Scoring chances were at a premium early with a mix of blocked shots, deflected passes, and a lot of neutral zone battles. As the period went on, the teams worked to find opportunities and the best chance for both sides came inside the final five minutes.
For Canton, it was junior Brian Middleton that unleashed a low shot through some traffic that was turned aside by Newburyport goalie Jameson Brooks with a pad save and the big rebound ended up just outside the reach of the stick of Jack Digirolamo. Seconds later, the Clippers had their best chance when Kane Brennan got an open shot off but Canton goalie Colin Davis gobbled it up.
The Clippers went on the power play for the final 48 seconds of the opening period but a clearance from Chaput followed by good offensive zone pressure from James Young and Blake kept the game scoreless at the horn.
After killing 72 seconds of power play to start the second period, Canton really tilted the ice in its favor with heavy pressure. Newburyport was unable to sustain any offensive zone time and managed just one shot on goal in the frame.
Canton went on its first power play just over three minutes into the period and needed just over a minute to take advantage. Junior Brendan Tourgee gained the zone with a creative self pass off the boards, skated behind the net, and dished a pass out to the blue line to junior Matt Anderson. Anderson stepped into a big shot and Blake, positioned right in front of the goal, got his stick on it with a great redirect to beat Brooks for a 1-0 lead with 10:46 to go in the second period.
Another Canton power play was canceled out with a slash but Newburyport couldn’t muster anything up with their 68 seconds on the man advantage.
The Bulldogs grabbed a second goal before the end of the period as Tourgee teed up senior Leo Owens for a blast from the blue line. Brooks made the initial stop but Chaput was in the right spot and lifted a backhand past the goalie to make it 2-0 with 1:50 left in the second period.
“Strangely enough, I think you try and forget the first meeting,” Shuman said. “That first game was not a 3-0 game, it could have gone either way. In both games, we got a couple of bounces and they didn’t. That’s what always happens when we play them, I don’t think there’s been a game we’ve played them with the winning team more than three goals. It’s always tight checking, a tight defensive game. You can see it on the kid’s faces, they are just working, working, working and when you’re working that hard, it can be hard to have room left for that euphoria, that emotion.”
Canton continued to quell any and every Newburyport foray into the offensive zone. Davis came up with one of the biggest stops of the game with 6:35 left, denying Brennan on a point-blank chance. Beyond that, Canton’s defense did a great job limiting further opportunities.
“The defense was outstanding,” Shuman said. “It’s similar to how we played last game against Wilmington, really limiting shots and getting the puck out of our zone quickly. Sometimes the best defense is to bring the puck up well and we really did that well in the second. We tensed up a little bit in the third and had some turnovers, but Colin was there to back us and bail us out.”
Canton’s three-game shutout streak so far in the playoffs will face a major test in the Division 2 Final Four against #2 Duxbury. The Dragons have outscored opponents 22-0 so far in three playoff games. The time, date, and location for that matchup are still to be announced.
CANTON, Mass. – Sometimes, especially during the early rounds of the tournament, a team needs to find its footing, overcome some postseason jitters, and grind out a result. It may not be the prettiest win, but at this stage of the season all that matters is finding a way to advance to the next round.
On Thursday night at the Metropolis Rink, Canton wasn’t at its free-flowing best, but the Bulldogs had enough to hold off an upset bid from No. 30 seed Medford. Canton got a pair of goals in the second period and tacked on a shorthanded tally in the third to pull out the 3-0 win and reach the Div. 2 Sweet Sixteen.
“A lot of teams, if you look at the past few nights, sort of struggle in these early-round games, especially teams that put pressure on themselves and these guys certainly did,” explained Canton coach Brian Shuman. “I give Medford credit. They’re a good team and they really played us hard and played us well.”
The Bulldogs wasted no time taking the initiative, outshooting the Mustangs 13-5 in the first, but Canton was struggling to create clear-cut chances and get bodies in front of Medford goalie John Nocella (34 saves).
Matt Anderson had a good early shot from the point that was kicked aside and Kevin LaBellee charged down the rebound only to have that gloved. James Young created a scoring chance with a nice outlet pass up the boards to Jeffrey Chaput, but the shot was kicked away and AJ Thomas was unable to connect on the rebound.
Medford nearly sprung a surprise when it got behind the Canton defense, but Griffin Hughes raced back and made a key intervention to prevent a breakaway. Jack Digirolamo came close with a shot from the slot that was blockered over the bar, but the Mustangs had the best chance of the period when Tyler Taddia forced a save out of Colin Davis and Louis Pucillo appeared to hit the post as he sent the rebound back through the crease.
Brendan Tourgee made a nice play with the puck in the defensive zone to get into open ice and then weaved his way through traffic before putting a backhand shot on target from close range with just 25 seconds left in the first.
Canton was in need of a spark and Digirolamo provided a lift with a big hit along the blue line, which seemed to give the bench much-needed energy.
“Digi this year for us, when we needed a goal, needed a big play, or in this game needed a physical presence, he provided it,” Shuman said. “Whatever we needed, he gave us, and this game we needed someone to match their physicality and he sure did.”
While the shot total was just about the same as the first, Canton looked much more fluid offensively in the second and puck movement was a key reason why.
Shuman said, “A lot of times in a playoff game, especially the first one, people are trying to be the hero early and score two goals with one shot. I thought the second period we moved the puck a lot better. Sometimes when the nerves kick in, your first instinct is to throw it at the net, so hopefully we got that nervousness out of the way and be better in the next game.”
Digirolamo teed up Colin Blake right on the edge of the crease, but his tip was saved. Less than a minute later, Canton got its breakthrough. Teddy Shuman’s shot from the point was blocked in front, but Travis Thomas managed to scoop the loose puck up and over the stretching goalie to make it 1-0.
With 6:40 left in the period, AJ Thomas showed great patience against the near side boards, holding the puck and waiting for space to make a pass. Finally, a crease opened up and he was able to pick out Chaput in front for a tip that made it 2-0.
Canton’s passing was creating a lot of good looks. Tourgee set up Thomas for a chance that was saved and the duo combined again with Tourgee having his tip turned aside. Thomas also had a shot that caromed off the end boards right to Young, who was pinching in and forced another save.
It looked like the Bulldogs were going to cruise to victory, but the Mustangs came out for the third intent on getting back into the game. After compiling nine shots through the first two periods, Medford put 12 shots on Davis in the third.
Carsten Mangan took advantage of a turnover and fired a shot from the right wing that Davis fought off, DJ McDonough had a shot that deflected in front and clipped the post, and Devon Page had a bid from the slot that Davis got his pad onto. He finished with 21 saves to record the shutout.
The game was effectively put away with 7:46 to go. On the penalty kill, Brian Middleton made a play at the blue line, broke free, and buried his breakaway opportunity to give the Bulldogs a three-goal cushion.
“Colin played well, made some big saves,” Shuman said. “Sadly that’s been a theme this year, the dreaded two-goal lead. It’s a cliche but sometimes cliches turn into reality. We need to find ways to bear down and get that third, such a crucial goal in a game, especially when you’re on a team and pressuring them.”
Canton (18-4-0) will take on No. 19 Wilmington, which beat No. 14 Masconomet, on Saturday night at the Canton Ice House.
Franklin, 38 vs. Walpole, 52 – Final
Oliver Ames, 58 vs. Dartmouth, 51 – Final – The game was tied at 39 apiece after three quarters but Avery Gamble came through with a pair of threes and 12 of her team-high 25 points in the final frame to lift the Tigers to a win in the opening round of the St. Mary’s tournament. With the win, OA has clinched a return to the postseason. On a quick turnaround from Friday night’s game against Foxboro, the Tigers got off to a strong start on Saturday, winning the first quarter 16-11. Gamble had a quick six points and Kamryn and Kaydance Derba combined for nine in the opening eight minutes. The Tigers tacked another point onto their lead in the second, as Kamryn Derba and Maddie Homer scored four apiece to make it 30-24 at the break. In the third quarter, Dartmouth’s star sophomore Kat Cheesbro caught fire, burying a pair of threes and scoring 11 of her team’s 15 points to help the Indians tie things up. Cheesbro would finish with a game-high 27. In the fourth, it was Gamble’s turn to respond. The freshman hit a pair from beyond and three shots from inside the arc. Kaydance Derba chipped in with three more and Katherine Farley and Annie Reilly each added a bucket to help the Tigers pull out a crucial win. Kamryn Derba scored 10 in the game, while Kaydance added seven. Maddie Homer and Farley each finished with six points. OA will face Malden Catholic in the tournament finale on Monday at 5:15.
Attleboro, 4 @ Bellingham, 1 – Final – Locked in a 1-1 tie, Attleboro erupted for three goals in the third period earn a win over Bellingham. The hosts took a lead less than two minutes into the game but Attleboro pulled level on a goal from Colin Flynn (from Bryan Capone) at 11:40 of the second period. Eighth grader Cameron Harrison provided a highlight reel goal to put the Bombardiers ahead, carrying the puck from his own end past the defense and flipped one short side on the goalie to make it 2-1. Michael Lachance added a goal four minutes later and Beckett Stone buried an insurance goal with just over six minutes to play. Sophomore Austin Bessette and eighth grader Drew Bessette both had strong performances in the win. Julien Horton had the win in net for Attleboro.
Franklin, 1 @ Canton, 2 – Final (OT) – Franklin scored early in the third period to tie the game and eventually force overtime but Canton senior Griffin Hughes delivered the game-winner in overtime as the Bulldogs and Panthers split the season series one win apiece. Junior Colin Blake gave the Bulldogs the lead, burying a rebound in the first period but Franklin junior Anthony Lampasona finished off a pass from classmate Ben Paterson just a minute into the third period to tie it.
King Philip, 3 @ Walpole, 3 – Final
Mansfield, 5 vs. North Attleboro, 6 – Final – North Attleboro used a big third period to skate past Hock rival Mansfield in a non-league clash at Rodman Arena. Mark Ayvazyan, Kaden Burns, and Joe Quinn each scored a pair of goals to pace the offense. Ayvazyan also registered a pair of assists for a four-point performance, Brody Gaulin and Jake Santucci also had two helpers apiece, and Jack Julio and Jacob Conley each have one assist. Nate Kelly made 26 saves in the win. For Mansfield, Thomas Gormley scored twice and James Warren, Ryan DiGirolamo, and Cody Gordon each scored once.
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Plymouth South, 2 – Final – Dan Paul, Jack Perron, and Matt Lawson each scored as Oliver Ames picked up an impressive win over Plymouth South, a top 10 ranked team in Division 2. Sean Kearns notched a pair of assists while Brendan Teehan, Bryce Deibel, and Perron each had one.
Stoughton/Brockton, 3 vs. Middleboro, 4 – Final (OT) – Anthony DeSousa, Charlie Caputo and Sean Farley each scored once for the Black Knights but Middleboro prevailed in overtime.
King Philip, 4 @ Braintree, 3 – Final – King Philip went on the road and scored a key 4-3 win over Braintree, who entered the game five spots ahead of the Warriors in the latest MIAA rankings. Kelly Holmes paced the offense with a pair of goals and one assists while Mara Boldy and Katie McGann each found the back of the net once. Ella Morgan added an assist while Mallory Johnston turned aside 23 shots in the win.
Attleboro, 51 vs. Durfee, 43 – Final – Attleboro closed the game on a 10-0 run over the final three minutes to earn a key non-league win over a strong Durfee squad. The Bombardiers fell behind 40-34 early in the fourth but Neo Franco had a 7-0 run of his own, scoring off a turnover and then off of assists from Connor Houle (8 points) and Jaiden Outland — the latter a three — to give Attleboro a 41-40 lead. The Hilltoppers jumped back ahead on a traditional three-point play, but that would be Durfee’s only points in the final seven minutes of the game. Jaiden Outland (9 points) hit consecutive threes, the first on a nice feed from Houle and the second off a pass from Franco (15 points) on an offensive rebound. Houle and Franco tacked on two points apiece in the final minute to seal the win.
Attleboro, 40 @ Durfee, 60 – Final – Attleboro scored only 13 points in the second half, allowing Durfee to come from behind and win this battle of two teams vying for a higher ranking in the Div. 1 playoffs. The Bombardiers led 15-8 after one, sparked by seven points from Lily Routhier and four from Vanessa Ellis. Routhier added five more in the second, but the Hilltoppers scored 14 and cut the Attleboro lead to 27-22 at the break. Vanessa Ellis scored six of her 10 points in the third, but the Bombardiers managed only nine as a team and Durfee scored 16 to grab a two-point lead. The Hilltoppers blew the game wide open with a dominant fourth quarter. Durfee outscored Attleboro 22-4. Routhier led the visitors with 12 points, Avery James added seven, and Kayal Goldrick scored six.
Canton, 29 vs. Notre Dame Academy, 47 – Final – Canton trailed by just two after one quarter, but the Bulldogs struggled offensively over the final three quarters and lost for the second time this season to NDA. Fatima Sidibay scored seven of her team-high 11 points in the first, helping the Bulldogs score 13 in the opening eight minutes. Canton scored only 16 points over the final 24 minutes. The second quarter was all about defense, as the Bulldogs held NDA to just six points but they only managed a pair of Erin Beatty (six points) free throws on the other end. Samya DaSilva hit a three in the third quarter for her only points of the night, but Canton was outscored 16-6 in the frame to fall behind by 16. Beatty and Sidibay combined for six of Canton’s eight points in the fourth.
Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 8 – Final – Attleboro scored an early goal but it was all Franklin the rest of the way in a big league win. Ben Paterson had a five point night to lead the Panthers’ offense, scoring twice with three helpers while Anthony Lampasona finished with two goals and two assists for four points. Dan Daley added two scored and Tommy Balducci and Vinnie Pasquarosa each scored once.
Canton, 5 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – Canton scored a power play goal with just under five minutes left in the second period to take the lead for good, and tacked on two more in the third to skate past North Attleboro. Travis Thomas opened the scoring for the Bulldogs and Pat Drury scored Canton’s second goal but North answered each time, the second tying the game in the second period. Brian Middleton scored what turned out to be the game winner with 4:38 to play in the second. In the third, AJ Thomas and Colin Blake scored to secure the win.
Foxboro @ Taunton, 5:00
Mansfield, 1 @ King Philip, 4 – Final
Stoughton/Brockton, 1 vs. Southeastern, 6 – Final – Anthony DeSousa scored the lone goal for the Black Knights in a loss to Southeastern.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – On paper, it’s just one of eight league games on the schedule, but there’s no hiding the significance of when Canton and Franklin meet on the ice.
The Bulldogs have won the Davenport every single year since the league split into two divisions and the Panthers have had a hand in all but one — a combined 23 division titles over the past 12 seasons.
Both squads are the favorites to win their respective division again this year and are the top two ranked teams in the league, meaning bragging rights were on the line at Pirelli Veteran’s Arena on Saturday night in front of a packed crowd.
Franklin junior goalie Colby Wagner was terrific in net from the opening puck drop, turning in a 38-save shutout performance to lead the Panthers to a 2-0 win.
The Panthers scored once in the first period and added on a key insurance goal late in the third period, with both goals coming in similar fashion thanks in part to Franklin’s speed.
“It’s one of eight [league games] but it’s a good one,” said Franklin head coach Chris Spillane. “It’s just fun to play teams like this, and you know every year it doesn’t matter who’s up or who’s down, when it’s Franklin-Canton, both teams show up to play. And we get to play them again in a non-league game and it will be the same exact thing, the same exact atmosphere in their building.
“It was a gritty win. Our goaltender [Wagner] kept us in this game tonight, he made some key saves. We struggled breaking the puck out, that’s typically our strongest going from defense to offense, we can fly but credit to [Canton], they took time and space away. It was just one of those typical Franklin-Canton games, it was gritty and there’s no space for anyone.”
It didn’t take long for the scoring chances to start as Canton sophomore goalie Colin Davis (31 saves) was forced into making a terrific save just seconds into the contest as senior Aidan Kuykendall found senior Ryan Sicchio streaking into the offensive zone all alone for a chance in close 15 seconds in. And seconds later, Davis denied Anthony Lampasona after a pass from Ben Paterson in a 2-on-1 situation.
Canton got its early chances too as the Bulldogs went on the power play just 63 seconds into the game. Junior Matt Anderson had a blast from the blueline handled by Wagner, and junior Colin Blake had a bid in close that was turned aside.
That set the tone for the next 40-plus minutes as the Panthers and Bulldogs went up-and-done the ice, back and forth with chances on goal. Franklin had four power plays and Canton had two man-advantage chances throughout the contest but neither team cashed in with its special teams.
The first breakout came right at the midway point of the opening period. Paterson won a faceoff in his own defensive zone to junior Logan Marchand, who chipped one up the left boards that eluded the glove of a Canton defenseman at the blue line. Lampasona raced down and got to the puck first in the offensive zone and centered to a wide-open Dan Daley and he roofed his shot just under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead with 7:47 left in the opening stanza.
“Danny Daley, he’s a player to be reckoned with,” Spillane said. “He’s fast and can shoot the puck, his center [Ben Paterson] and [Anthony] Lampasona are both good at getting him the puck. It’s a nice all-junior line to have as our second line.”
Canton nearly responded a minute later when junior Brendan Tourgee dropped a pass out front for Blake, but his deflection on net was denied by Wagner’s shoulder. The Bulldogs had another big chance with just under two minutes to play as junior Brian Middleton won a battle at the blueline and raced in on a breakaway but his backhand bid was turned away by a pad stop from Wagner.
Davis made a nice stop early in the second after Franklin’s Paterson and Daley played a little catch, the former ripping a shot that was turned aside. Canton countered with a nice tip off the stick of sophomore Travis Thomas but Wagner stood tall.
“He’s very comfortable in the net, his rebound control is really good,” Spillane said of Wagner. “They were pressuring the crease and he never got rattled. He’s our number one right now for sure, but we have two other good options too in Jack O’Connor and Joe Torraco.”
Canton did have a powerplay five minutes into the second but Sicchio had a big clear, Ben Jarosz interrupted a pass to clear the zone, and Dylan McEvoy won a key faceoff and cleared the puck himself.
The third featured more of the same with chances from both sides, including an early power play for the Panthers that Canton killed off, including a key clearance from Young.
Jack Digirolamo muscled his way into space for a shot that was tipped by AJ Thomas, only for Wagner to get a stick to it. Tourgee found space shortly after but his bomb of a shot was wide of the net.
“We had a lot of one-and-dones and I think a lot of that was the product of missing the net on some key chances, and that started their break out,” said Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “And I think we were a little intimidated by their speed, guys backing off the line and just not able to win the races to pucks. That was preventing us from getting some good in-zone time.”
Franklin tacked on a key insurance goal with just over three minutes to go in the game. The puck bounced out from behind the Franklin net, and Daley was the first to it. He beat a pinching defenseman, slapping the puck off the boards and up the ice.
Sophomore Carter Balducci raced onto it and centered to his brother, senior Tommy Balducci and he found the back of the net to make it 2-0 with 3:04 to play.
“They have so much speed, they’ll disrupt any team they are playing against,” Shuman said. “That’s the fastest team we’ve seen all year, probably the fastest we will see all year. They can go three lines of speed, and they certainly look a lot faster in person than they do on LiveBarn. They’re a good team and any mistake that we made, they made us pay. Whether it was a bad pinch or a guy slightly out of position…our goaltender played well though and made some big stops.”
Franklin boys hockey (2-0-0 Hockomock, 6-1-0 overall) will head to Foxboro to take on the Warriors on Wednesday at 6:30 while Canton (1-1-0, 6-1-0) returns home to Ponky to take on Oliver Ames.
2021-2022 Record: 0-15-0 2021-2022 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Gary Warren
Last season is not one to remember for Attleboro. The Bombardiers finished winless and had only eight goals in 18 games. New head coach Gary Warren will hope to find more firepower in front of goal and more depth with three forward lines and three defensive pairings as Attleboro tries to get back into the mix for a tournament berth.
Seniors Owen Parker and Colin Flynn will be the leaders on the top line with eighth grader Bryan Capone getting his first taste of varsity hockey. Sophomore Nathan Conroy will center the second line with senior Mike Lachance and junior Nick Fernandes on the wings. Eighth-grader Andrew Bessette will center the third line for the Bombardiers, joining up with sophomores Austin Bessette and Jack Moran.
Defensively, Attleboro will also lean on youth. Sophomores Alex Jarousky and Brody Shaw will partner on one line, eighth graders Beckett Stone and Cam Harrison will be a second partnership, and sophomore Lucas Devonis teaming up with senior Luke Logan. Junior Bradley Lehtonen and freshman Joey Santos will also see time on the blue line this season. After graduating four-year starter Nick Piazza, Attleboro will turn to junior Julien Horton and eighth grader Jacob Westwater between the pipes.
“Our success this season will hinge on good senior leadership, along with our younger players building confidence in their game,” Warren said. “We are a young, inexperienced team that hopefully will get better game after game.”
2021-2022 Record: 22-3-1 (D2 State Finalists) 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Final Coach: Brian Shuman
Only one team has ever won the Davenport division boys hockey title and, despite graduating 14 seniors off last year’s roster, Canton looks well-positioned to extend that run for another winter. After reaching the Div. 2 state title game for the third straight season, the Bulldogs will be incorporating a lot of new faces and young players (five freshmen and three sophomores) into this year’s roster to try and stay among the top teams in the state.
While there are several new players that will be getting time this year, Canton does return its top two scorers from last year. Senior AJ Thomas had a great playoff run to help the Bulldogs get back to the TD Garden and junior Brendan Tourgee was a standout as a sophomore with his combination of stick skills and strength. Juniors Pat Drury, Colin Blake, and Brian Middleton also saw plenty of ice time as sophomores and came through with some big goals during the season, while senior Jack Digirolamo adds some physicality in the attacking zone.
Canton always gets attention for its scoring punch, but its strength on the blue line has been one of the main reasons for its sustained success. Senior Leo Owens will start the season on the sidelines with an injury, so other players are going to need to step in while he gets healthy. Senior James Young and junior Matt Anderson, who scored the overtime winner in the season opener, will get plenty of ice time. Sophomore Colin Davis should provide the defense with plenty of confidence after a stellar rookie campaign between the pipes. He looked unflappable during Canton’s run to the final and senior Carson Eagles is a more than dependable backup in goal.
“As always, strong team defense and the depth to play four lines and six defense pairs will determine whether or not we can make a run for the league title and/or the playoffs this year,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman.
2021-2022 Record: 10-11-0 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 3 Round of 32 Coach: Eric Galanti
Foxboro has a new head coach this season but it’s a familiar face as Eric Galanti steps in after five years on the bench as an assistant coach for the program. After graduating nine seniors from last year that accounted for a lot of production and ice time, the Warriors are looking for some new names to step up.
Albeit young, Foxboro has a strong core of returners from last year’s squad that had 10 wins and scored 70 goals. Senior Henry Diamond, who plays on the right wing, spearheads a relatively young forward group that includes returners Connor Hayers (left wing) and Luigi Muttart (left wing), both juniors, as well as sophomores Ryan Wood, Dan Jacobs — both centers — and, Finlay Campbell. Senior Jake DeMaino and sophomores Brendan LaCroix, Will Groves, and Connor Reardon bolster the offense. Freshman Michael Ruo and Owen McAuliffe are looking to make an impact right away.
Defense and goaltending will be a strength for Galanti and the Warriors this season. Senior Alex Coviello is a seasoned veteran that will anchor the blue line for Foxboro, joined by junior Tommy Devlin and a handful of sophomores who already have varsity experience including Tom Watts, Evan Paluzzi, Leo Campbell, and Connor Reardon. In net, Galanti has some veteran options with senior Peter Souaiden and junior Trevor Marder as options.
“We have a solid defense and great net minding that will allow a sophomore-heavy team to work toward an offense to match,” Galanti said.
2021-2022 Record: 14-9-0 (Kelley-Rex division champions) 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Sweet 16 Coach: Chris Spillane
A very familiar face has made his return to the bench for Franklin this season, as longtime coach Chris Spillane, who stepped away in 2019, is back in charge of the program. The Panthers have won 11 straight league titles and been a fixture in the Div. 1 state tournament and they boast a strong attacking lineup this season that will be looking to continue its control of the Kelley-Rex division.
Up front, Franklin will be boosted by the return of seniors Ben Jarosz and Ryan Sicchio, who combined for 15 goals and 23 assists last year. Classmate Tommy Balducci will join them on the top line. Last year’s sophomore class was prolific in front of goal and, with a year of valuable experience, looks ready to be even more dynamic this season. Juniors Anthony Lampasona (six goals and 13 assists) and Ben Paterson (10 goals and 14 assists) will lead the way along with classmates Dylan McEvoy and Dan Daley. Sophomore Carter Balducci is a newcomer to look out for in attack.
Four players return on the blue line to give Franklin solid experience in the defensive zone. Seniors Liam O’Rielly, Aiden Kuykendall, and Lucas Sheehan will be joined by junior Dylan Marchand, who had an impressive sophomore season in defense. Sophomore Vinnie Pasquarosa should also see time on the back end. Goalie depth will be a strength for the Panthers this year, with sophomore Jack O’Connor returning, sophomore Joe Torraco making the jump from JV, and junior Colby Wagner coming back to the program after playing last year with the Northeast Generals.
“Offensively we will run three lines who all have the ability to score goals,” Spillane said. “The Panthers’ success will depend on our team defense, and how quickly we can understand our defensive systems.”
2021-2022 Record: 10-9-3 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 32 Coach: Toby Carlow
King Philip is two years removed from taking a share of the Kelley-Rex division title (joining only the 2011 Mansfield team to win at least a piece of the division crown) and last year the Warriors showed off their potential by giving eventual state champion St. John’s Prep a battle in the opening round of the playoffs. Former Medfield coach Toby Carlow, who won a state title with those Warriors in 2016, take over this season with the intention of elevating these Warriors into one of the state’s top programs.
Carlow will be introducing new systems on both ends of the ice, relying on team speed and structure in the defensive zone to get back into the tournament. One challenge for KP will be replacing standout Brad Guden, who moved to Tabor Academy this season. In the defensive zone, junior Cam Lehan-Allen along with senior Sam Naggar will need to step up to provide leadership at the blue line. Senior Kyle Abbott will help out at the back, as he returns in goal after allowing fewer than two goals per game as a junior.
In addition to Guden, who had 17 points from defense last year, KP also graduated its three top goal scorers from last season, so the forward line will need new faces to step up and consistently find the back of the net. Senior James Boldy is the team’s top returning scorer with seven goals and 10 assists and junior Max Robison adds speed on the wing. Juniors Nate Gartska and Rowan Boulger also saw time as sophomores and provide depth in the forward lines.
“Our goal this year is to establish ourselves as a good solid team in Division 1,” Carlow said. “It’s time for King Philip to step into the upper level of Massachusetts hockey.”
2021-2022 Record: 7-12-1 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32 Coach: Mark O’Brien
Mansfield has a lot of turnover to contend with this season, as the Hornets open their first season of Davenport division play. Former assistant Mark O’Brien has taken over as head coach and he takes over a team that will lean on underclassmen to try and find the attacking threat to keep the Hornets in the league title mix and to stay in the tournament mix.
After graduating its top six forwards from last season, Mansfield will be hoping that a host of freshmen and sophomores can step up to the challenge of leading the line this winter. Seniors Cody Gordon, Connor Davey, and Brendan Flynn will provide much-needed leadership in the attacking zone. Sophomores Brendan Vokey, Matthew Tourigney, Matthew Cromack, and Kevin O’Brien and freshmen James Warren, Matt Kelly, Matthew Rabinovich, Liam Wells, and Cody Silva give the Hornets a lot of depth up front but also a lot of untested talent.
The blue line is a very different story. Mansfield’s defense should be a strength this season. Seniors Ryan DeGirolamo and Patrick Gormley return to anchor that end of the ice along with junior Will Cameron and sophomore Declan Foley. Sophomore Thomas Gormley is a newcomer to watch for the Hornets in defense. Freshman Aidan Shea and sophomore Luke McGuire are versatile players who could see time at forward or defense. In goal, Mansfield will have plenty of experience to call upon with senior Chris O’Brien and junior Josh Hussey.
“We have a tremendous group this season and they are committed to the team concept and giving their best effort for each other,” said O’Brien. “We are excited about our talented younger players and confident that our strong nucleus of upperclassmen will lead the way with a focus on team defense.”
2021-2022 Record: 10-11-1 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Sweet 16 Coach: Kyle Heagney
North Attleboro head coach Kyle Heagney begins his second year in charge of the Rocketeers and they are looking to improve on last year’s 10-win season as they join the Kelley-Rex division for the second time in program history.
The Big Red will have to look for some new players to step up as they try to fill the void left by the graduation of a talented senior group, including Nik Kojoian, who led the Hockomock League in scoring with 11 goals and 24 assists last season, and Nick Longa, who was second in the league with 17 goals and tied for fifth overall in points with 26 points. The good news is that Heagney and the Rocketeers have one of the top returning forwards in the league in Mark Ayvazyan, who produced 13 goals and 12 assists in the regular season last year.
North will also look for seniors Brody Gaulin and Jack Dluhy to take on increased roles after netting five goals and two assists last season as well as junior Kaden Burns, who had five goals and one helper last season. Junior Kyle Gruber is back between the pipes after impressing last season.
2021-2022 Record: 6-11-1 2021-2022 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Jimmy Tierney
Oliver Ames begins a new chapter in program history as they welcome a familiar face as new head coach in Jimmy Tierney, a former player and assistant coach. Tierney was the inaugural HockomockSports Goalie of the Year in 2013 and was a two-team First Team selection during his stellar career with the Tigers.
Now Tierney will look to guide this year’s team back to the success they experienced during his playing days when they reached the South sectional semifinals and finals during his sophomore and junior years. The Tigers have nearly their entire roster back from last year after graduating just two seniors, including senior center Sean McCarthy, who was second on the team with 10 goals and nine assists, and junior Andrew Livingstone, who earned HockomockSports All-Underclassmen Team honors after leading OA with 12 goals and eight assists. The offense will have plenty of depth with seniors Matt Lawson (15 points), Jack Corey (15 points), Daniel Paul, and Jack Perron, who is a team captain for the second year along with McCarthy.
Sophomore Patrick DeLoughrey and freshman Brenden Teehan will look to make an immediate impact on the offensive end. Along the blue line, junior Sean Kearns (three goals, 11 assists) will look to build upon a solid campaign last year when he earned honorable mention for league all star. He’ll be joined by classmates Landon Grothe and Andy Poulos in the defensive group. The Tigers have experience in the net with senior Brandon Burke back between the pipes after playing in 17 games last year.
“Our biggest strength this season will be the team-first mentality our players have,” Tierney said. “The players care a lot about each other and will do what it takes to put the team first. This along with the hard work they are putting in is what will make us successful.”
2021-2022 Record: 11-11-2 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 3 Round of 32 Coach: Dan Mark
The Stoughton/Brockton co-op team is coming off its most successful season together, and the Black Knights’ best campaign in over a decade after winning 11 games, including a preliminary game in the Division 3 state tournament.
The Black Knights won’t be competing in the Hockomock League again this season as they team up with the Boxers to try and replicate the success from last year. In order to do so, they’ll blend a mix of veteran and younger players as they navigate through their schedule, which will feature games against Hockomock League teams Attleboro, Foxboro, Oliver Ames, and Taunton. Offensively, Stoughton/Brockton returns a strong core led by last year’s leading scorer senior Charlie Caputo, who netted 13 goals along with 14 helpers. Senior Sean Farley added a team-high 16 goals as well as nine assists, while junior Colby Strunk is coming off a 21-point season as a sophomore.
Defensively, longtime head coach Dan Mark will turn to junior Ryan Summers to anchor a relatively inexperienced group. Summers had five goals and seven assists but the Knights lost three defensemen to graduation. In net, juniors Sean McGowan and Dmytro Yakovenko are battling for the starting job.
2021-2022 Record: 7-10-4 2021-2022 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton comes into the new season with definitely the youngest roster in the league and one of the youngest rosters in program history. Head coach Kris Metea has 35 players in the system this season and 26 of them are sophomores or younger. There is plenty of energy on the ice and plenty of potential, but there may be some growing pains for players getting their first taste of varsity action.
There are a few seniors on the team to provide the Tigers with much-needed experience and leadership. One of those seniors is Colton Scheralis, who will move up from the blue line to the attack at the start of the season. He recorded 13 points as a defenseman last year and should be able to bring his creativity and stick skills to the forward line. Senior Connor McGrath will also give Taunton a scoring punch, after his 13-goal, 13-assist junior campaign. Junior Conner Goranson scored 14 points last year as a sophomore and will be on the top line.
Experience is in short supply in the defensive zone, especially with Scheralis moving forward at the start. Sophomores Travis Cashman and Jon McGrath both saw time as freshmen and will look to build on that first season on the blue line. Sophomore Cam Tomaszycki is back in goal for the Tigers. He was a standout as a freshman, allowing a little more than three goals per game and saving nearly 90 percent of the shots he faced.
“We have a great group of players,” Metea said. “They are excited to go to the rink every day. They love each other and are willing to fight for one another. They make going to the rink a pleasure every day for our coaching staff.”
2021 Record: 3-11 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro had some growing pains during the 2021 campaign, but has a good chunk of the roster back in the fold for 2022 and will try to take the next step forward as a program.
The Bombardiers will have a strong foundation on the defensive end of the field. Captain Fred Wheaton is back for another year to anchor the defense and he’s joined by fellow returners Bobby Sawyer and John Wheaton to give Attleboro a solid veteran nucleus to try and shut down some of the top offenses in the league. Attleboro also has sophomore Harry Wheaton back in net after gaining valuable experience in the cage in 2021.
Having last year’s top scorer in Carter Shelton back in the fold will give the Bombardiers a good start in the attack. Shelton scored 30 goals and had 15 assists, finishing 12th in the Hock in scoring. Captain Keigan Conley is also back to bolster the attack, coming off a 22 goal, 10 assist campaign a year ago. Freshman Nathan Conroy is also in the mix already in the attack.
Attleboro’s midfield will be anchored by captain Ryan Betts along with Chad Beaupin and Seth LaPlace. The Bombardiers also expect contributions from Cole McKenna, Patrick McAvoy, and Spencer Scherck.
“We have a lot of returning guys that picked up valuable varsity experience last season,” said Attleboro head coach Kevin Patton. “We are looking forward to a strong season in 2022.”
2021 Record: 14-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal Coach: Ryan Quinn
Canton split its two games with Foxboro to win a share of the Davenport title in 2021, just the third league title in program history and were an overtime goal away from reaching the Div. 2 South final. The Bulldogs have a lot of experience in the attack and the midfield this season with the goal of putting in another challenge for the league crown and putting together another state tournament push.
The Bulldogs had a dynamic attack last spring and the league’s leading scorer Sam Carlino headlines a strong group this season as well. Junior Jeff Chaput joins Carlino in the attack and the midfield group is filled with experience from last season. Sophomore Brendan Tourgee, juniors AJ Thomas and Chris Hamilton, senior Eddie Gillis, and Charlie Vaughn will all give Canton playmaking at the middie position.
Defensively, Canton will definitely miss graduated goalie Dylan Coyne but the Bulldogs have a talented group of poles that should be tough to score against this season. Senior Sean Connolly will lead that defensive group alongside sophomores Luke Darling and Colin Blake.
“I am really excited about this upcoming season,” said second-year coach Ryan Quinn. “Our student-athletes have been working hard to build on our success from last season, but are very aware that everything we achieve is based upon the work we put in this year, every day. We are led by a small, but strong senior class, and have depth across all four grades levels. This group is a very coachable group and we are very excited to begin”
2021 Record: 11-4 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central/East Quarterfinal Coach: Matt Noone
After graduating just two seniors from last year’s team, Foxboro is back with a strong lineup that will look to reclaim the Davenport title that it shared with Canton in 2021. The Warriors will have depth up and down the field with the goal of not only returning to the top of the division but also being ready for a deep run in the statewide tournament.
Foxboro’s attack is all back from last season. The Warriors finished third in goals scored in the league in 2021 and a year’s worth of experience should make them even more dynamic. Junior Conor Noone was the league’s third-leading scorer last season and he will lead the line again alongside sophomore Lincoln Moore, coming off a breakout rookie campaign, and senior Jack Avery. Senior Tommy Sharkey was an all-star middie last season and he will be joined by junior Finn Stapleton and sophomore Tony Sulham, another player who made a strong varsity debut as a freshman.
Depth should be a strength for the Warriors, who return their second midfield group as well, including sophomores Sully Kenneally, Ryan Cotter, and Ian Foley. Foxboro’s defense is returning as a group too. Seniors Dylan Kerrigan and Ben Ricketts are the leaders at the back and will be joined by classmate Mark Jansen. Senior Matt Grace will start at LSM with sophomore Jack Sullivan backing him up. Sophomore Adam Addeche is back in goal, backed up by classmate Nate Urman, and freshman midfielder John Sacchetti and defender James Dee Gaffney are newcomers with potential.
“The Warriors graduated two seniors and return the core of their team,” said Foxboro coach Matt Noone. “Everyone is a year older with varsity experience which will help us in our 2022 push.”
2021 Record: 18-1 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final Coach: Lou Verrochi
After reaching the program’s first sectional final in 2021, Franklin brings a typically strong lineup of experienced players who will be aiming to make a run in the new statewide tournament. The Panthers have loaded up their regular season schedule to prepare for the rigors of the tournament with state powers Medfield, Lincoln-Sudbury, and St. John’s Prep among the teams that Franklin will challenge itself against to be ready to shoot for silverware this spring.
Franklin’s attack scored more than 300 goals in 19 games last season and should be just as dynamic this year with junior All-American Luke Davis joined by classmate Jayden Consigli, who were both in the top five in scoring in the league in 2021. Junior Tyler Sacchetti will be the third member of the attacking crew. Sophomore Drew Hansen and Ed O’Brien and junior John Walshe will make up the first midfield. Junior Justin Alexander was one of the best face-off middies in the state last year and the Panthers will be counting on him to control possessions again this season.
Senior Kyle Palmieri will lead the defensive group, which should once again be a challenge for the opposition to score against. Junior Ben Harvey and senior Billy Gardner will also be key players at close defense. Sophomore goalie Matt Corvi will step into the cage this spring and has the potential to be a standout.
2022 Hockomock Boys Lacrosse Preview
“Once again, we will have a very competitive team this spring with a very tough schedule,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi.
2021 Record: 9-5 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Hal Bean
With more than a dozen players back in the fold from last year, King Philip is looking to take another step forward after posting a 9-5 record last year.
The Warriors have key pieces in the lineup all over the field, starting with senior goalie James Boldy. Boldy had a great campaign a season ago and will be among the top goalies in the league this year. He will work with fellow senior captain Will Weiblen and senior Shaun Fitzpatrick as the anchors of the King Philip defense.
There is a strong core of midfielders back in the mix this year, starting with returning faceoff specialist Thomas Brewster. He will be joined by a very experienced group that features seniors Ben Riggs, Sean McCarthy, Andrew Longobardi, Nolan Feyler,
Brayden Thompson, John Campbell, and Ian Hill, along with sophomore standout Noah Minkwitz. Riggs (31 points last year) will be one of the most dangerous two-way players in the league but KP has a lot of depth in the position.
Offensively, King Philip has Sean Crowther back in the fold, who was just one of six Hock players to reach the 40-goal mark on the season. He’s joined by Kip Bishop and Colin Lightbody, who both registered 19 points a year ago, as well as Colin Gillis and sophomore Donovan DeVellis.
“King Philip boys lacrosse expects to compete in every game and anticipates a productive season and playoff run,” said KP head coach Hal Bean “We all are looking forward to a fun season!”
2021 Record: 6-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
With a handful of young faces fighting for spots in the lineup, Mansfield is hoping to pick up valuable experience early and make a late charge for a spot in the state tournament.
The Hornets do have some experience on the defensive side of the ball with Ryan DeGirolamo starting in the cage and senior captains Zander Holmes and Mark DiGirolamo patrolling the space in front of him. Mansfield has a handful of young poles that will be in the mix including Liam Barry, Patrick Gormley, Nolan Bordieri, and James DeGirolamo.
The group of upperclassmen will make up the majority of the field with senior Dash Munson joining a trio of talented juniors in Grady Sullivan, Drew Sacco, and Cody Gordon. The Hornets have a lot of young players looking to find spots in the midfield and lineup and general, and new names that could contribute early on include Aidan Steele, Jake Feinberg, and Liam Steele.
2022 Hockomock Boys Lacrosse Preview
In the attack, senior Jack Roberts will be accompanied by a pair of sophomores in Tommy Smith and Andrew Burnham.
2021 Record: 2-11 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Austin Costa
Under the guidance of new head coach Austin Costa, the Scarlet Hawks are aiming to show improvement throughout the season and set the program on an upward trajectory.
There is a strong mix of veteran leadership and new faces eager to find a spot in the lineup for Costa and the Scarlet Hawks this season. Senior captain Eric Landry is set to be the leader on the defensive end, and his experience will be key as Milford tries to fend off some lethal offenses. Landry will be joined by Brian Goncalves and junior Nick Casilli, both returners for the Scarlet Hawks. Defensive experience will be key as the Hawks turn to Alex McGuire for his varsity debut in the cage.
Offensively, look for veterans Jacob Ligor and Eric Farrell to be major contributors for the Scarlet Hawks. Both have a good amount of experience playing at this level and know what it takes to compete in the Hockomock League. Other returners for Milford include Kyle Donelan, Shawn O’Donnell, and Ronn Swineford while freshmen Alex Maietta and Jayden Martins have impressed early on and could be key contributors right away.
2021 Record: 7-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central/East Quarterfinal Coach: Kevin Young
North Attleboro finished in a tie for third in the Davenport division last year and had an impressive playoff win over Belmont before being beaten by sectional finalist Medfield. The Rocketeers only graduated two players from last season’s team, so Big Red comes into the spring with big expectations of competing for a first league title since 2017 and being a threat in the state tournament.
The North attack should be an area of strength this season with seniors Matt Antonetti, Connor Ruppert, and Clayton Billingkoff all back up top. Antonetti led the team with 57 points in 2021. Juniors Jack Regan and Luke Ward have both had strong preseasons, while freshmen Ethan Gustafson and Brady Brackner could be poised for breakout debuts. Senior Jared Vacher will do his best to get as many possessions as possible for the North attack by winning draws.
North’s defense has plenty of experience as well. Senior Max Hobbs, Anthony Ferro, and James Brennan will get plenty of help from sophomore Connor Rajotte and junior LSM Julian House. The Rocketeers can also count on two experienced goalies with senior Ethan McGrath and junior JT Gallagher both back in the cage this spring.
“We know the Hockomock will be strong this year,” said North coach Kevin Young. “I am excited to watch this group compete and grow as a team.”
2021 Record: 3-11 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Ben Devlin
Oliver Ames coach Ben Devlin stepped down after last season, but he was convinced to come back this spring to lead a young Tigers team. Twenty-four of the 34 players in the program this year are either freshmen or sophomores, so OA will be counting on younger players to step up across the field and Devlin is excited about the promise he sees during the preseason.
Senior midfielder Wyatt Fritchman and junior attacker Ben Reardon will be the leaders on offense. Fritchman was second on the team in scoring last year and Reardon went on a run of nine goals in the final three games of his sophomore season. Senior Wes Tower is back to run things in the midfield and sophomores Ryan Jaco and Alex McAndrew have the potential to find the back of the net.
On the other end of the field, senior Cam Tower has been converted to LSM this season. The other poles will be led by junior Jake Manthous, who also was in charge of the face-offs last year, and sophomore Landon Grothe. Junior Noah Isleib returns in goal to keep things organized on defense and sophomore Ethan St. Jean will be his backup.
“Despite being much younger, we are looking to improve on last year’s results and continue building the program,” said Devlin. “We expect to have some growing pains early in the season, but look to improve as the younger players get experience and develop their game during the season. It’s never easy to rebuild in a talented league like the Hock. There aren’t any easy games as every team is talented and well-coached…but we are setting our sights on winning enough games to reach the postseason.”
2021 Record: 9-6 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Jon Shocket
Sharon has a solid core back from last year’s nine-win team but without any juniors on the squad, there will be a lot of young players in the lineup with most getting their first taste of varsity lacrosse.
With over a half dozen seniors on the roster, head coach Jon Shocket will lean heavily on their veteran leadership and experience as the new players get integrated into the lineup and acclimated with the speed of the high school game. The senior trio of Ben Shocket, Brady Daylor, and Ryan Zunenshine are this year’s captains.
The other seniors on the team include Jace Nestler, Matt Mahoney, James Lillenfeld, and Chance Hanah, and all four will be vital as the Eagles make a push for the postseason. There are four freshmen already in the lineup including Matt Powers in net, Jordan Burke at attack, and Zach Bernstein and Ben Goldberg at defense. Sophomores Gabe Korn, Ryan Brown, Jacob Kaufman, and Ronin Widland will also be in the mix for the Eagles.
“I hope to get a lot of growth from our team as we get more experience,” Shocket said.
CANTON, Mass. – Despite Canton dominating play in the third period and holding King Philip to just two shots in the final 15 minutes, the Warriors went into the final three minutes holding onto a one-goal lead. It would be a rare win for KP in the series, a rare win for any Hockomock League team against the Bulldogs, and a chance to take a big early step towards a second straight league title.
But, there is a reason that Canton went into Wednesday night’s game at the Metropolis Rink having won 36 straight league games. The Bulldogs scored a pair of goals in 1:39, completed a comeback after being down two goals twice in the game, and pulled out a dramatic 4-3 victory.
“It’s huge for our psyche,” Canton coach Brian Shuman said. “It’s good for our guys to see that they can come from two goals down. Hopefully they’re not in that position too often, but it’s still good to build that mental toughness.”
After the game, KP coach Paul Carlow rued the missed opportunity to grab a lead in the Kelley-Rex division, even if it is just three games into the league campaign.
“They pinned us in in the third,” he explained. “They outshot us and outplayed us in the third period. Instead of continuing to take it to them, it felt like we were more trying to hang on. That never works.”
It was all KP at the start of the game. The Warriors came out flying and needed only 27 seconds to pick up the opening goal. Shaun Fitzpatrick did good work down the right wing, driving at the net and drawing a couple of Canton defensemen. He flipped the puck out in front to Sean Crowther, who sent the puck through a crowd of legs across the crease where James Boldy was standing all alone to tap into the empty net.
Rather than being a wake up call for the home team, the goal seemed to spur the Warriors on for more. Fiztpatrick collected the puck against the right wing boards and turned towards goal. He had a free path right at Canton goalie Aiden French (18 saves) and stuffed the puck under the pads to make it 2-0 less than six minutes in.
Shuman said, “KP does a great job of getting pucks and bodies to the net and you saw that on the first goal. That’s their bread and butter and we struggled with that mightily tonight. We just weren’t tough enough out in front, we were puck watching, and losing guys. They play a tough brand of hockey.”
KP got a chance on the power play midway through the first and Max Robison forced French into a tough save on a shot from the point. Canton cleared the rebound. It was one of a couple chances that the Warriors had to try and extend the lead, but the Bulldogs held on and got the kill.
Only 13 seconds after getting back to even strength, Canton was on the board. AJ Thomas’ pressure on the forecheck caused a turnover in the attacking zone. His first shot from point-blank range was stopped by KP goalie Kyle Abbott (28 saves) but Thomas stuck with it and knocked in the rebound, cutting the lead in half.
The goal seemed to give Canton momentum, as the Bulldogs went into the locker room on the front foot, but it didn’t carry over to the second period. Only nine seconds elapsed before KP added a third. Boldy snapped off a wrsiter just as he was entering the zone on the left wing and French appeared to be unsighted as the puck flew under the bar on the stick side.
“We had some really good chances and then didn’t convert,” said Carlow. “Canton had the momentum off the kill and then I think they scored the very next shift and now it’s a one-goal game. We got a goal to start the second and I think we just kind of ran out of gas.”
Canton needed a spark. Sophomore Brendan Tourgee nearly had a quick response when he sailed into the zone, split a pair of defensemen and got off a backhand shot from a tight angle that Abbott kept out. Sam Carlino had a partial break for the Bulldogs but Robison hustled back to get a piece of the shot from the right face-off dot.
The Bulldogs were able to cut into the lead midway through the second. After a couple of shots from the point by Sean Connolly that Abbott pushed aside, they swung it across the blue line to Ryan Doucette. His shot was heading wide of the post but sophomore Brian Middleton was able to get a telling touch on it to sneak it past Abbott low at the near post.
“To get one there was big and that line of Middleton, (Patrick) Drury, and Blake continue to get it done and I think our other guys can learn a little bit from them because they’re having success and getting big goals just by getting to the tough, dirty areas,” said Shuman.
KP tried to hold on in the third, blocking shots and trying to keep the Bulldogs away from the crease. Eddie Gillis nearly set up Thomas for a tying goal, but Abbott stayed with the tip in front and kept it out. Tourgee then showed off his strength on the puck, holding off two defensemen to allow the Bulldogs to get back onside and then turning into the zone, forcing Abbott into a good save with his shoulder.
Connolly had another shot from the point that forced Abbott into a save. Tommy Phaneuf corralled the rebound in front but was pressured off the puck and couldn’t get a shot on target.
While the chances were piling up, the clock was winding down. Finally, with 2:42 to play. Tourgee found the back of the net. He dragged the puck through a stick check on the left wing boards and then angled towards goal. His backhand shot through the crease somehow snuck through a thicket of legs and found the far corner.
“He’s so gifted on the puck,” Shuman said of Tourgee. “He’s strong on the puck, he’s fast, he’s just got a nose for the net. I think he’s got to trust getting pucks to the net instead of always trying to pick those corners because you can see how offensively gifted he is.”
The pressure continued, as Canton outshot KP 13-3 in the final period. With 1:03 to go, the Bulldogs got the winner. Brennen Pecararo dropped a pass back to sophomore Colin Blake and he pounced on the chance in the slot, slamming the puck into the back of the net.
KP had one last look with the goalie pulled and less than 10 seconds on the clock, but Brad Guden’s shot from the point hit a body to the side of the post and ricocheted into the corner.
“We just got off to a tough start this year with injuries and illness,” Carlow said. “I think we had eight out sick the first week of the season, so we got off to a tough start and we’re just trying to get rolling.”
Canton (4-2-1) will be back home on Saturday afternoon to face Mansfield, which was the last team to hand the Bulldogs a league loss back in February 2017. King Philip (2-4-1) returns to Canton on Saturday night, this time at the IcePlex, to take on Archbishop Williams.