2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview
King Philip and Franklin will do battle again this winter in the second season of Hockomock League girls hockey and both will look to unseat inaugural champion Canton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

Canton

2017-2018 Record:
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 state title game.
Coach: Dennis Aldrich
For two straight winters, Canton has advanced to the TD Garden to play in the Div. 2 state title game. Two years ago, the Bulldogs shocked everyone by getting to the final, but last season there was an expectation that Canton could make a deep tournament run. Those high expectations are there again this year, as the first-ever Hockomock League champions return two experienced lines of forwards and defensemen that all saw time during the tournament run.

The first line returns the team’s top two scorers with senior forwards Maggie Malloy (10 goals, 13 assists) and Lauren Fitzpatrick (14 goals, nine assists) forming a dynamic partnership that sparked the Bulldogs attack last season. Malloy was particularly prolific in the playoffs, providing decisive goals throughout the playoffs. Second line center Andrea McNeil has graduated but sophomores Lizzie Tassinari, Maria Femia, and Ellie Rae Roberts provided speed and energy during solid rookie seasons.

Defense has been Canton’s best weapon in each of the last two seasons. Although outstanding goalie Colleen Kelleher has graduated, senior Ava Pacitti is earning rave reviews during the preseason and she will have a well-drilled group of defensemen in front of her. Seniors Katie Trerice and Leah McClellan and junior Meg Aldrich and Alexa Maffeo will form a solid top two pairings at the blue line, with McClellan adding the different dimension of also jumping into the attack as often as possible.

“Canton’s staple has always been one of a hard skating, defensively stingy, opportunistic team. This year should be no exception,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich, who is looking forward to the new challenge of defending a Hockomock League title.

Franklin

2017-2018 Record: 14-4-4
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 first round.
Coach: Margie Burke
Franklin had a very strong 2017-18 season, winning 14 games, including one in the postseason, and will try to build on that momentum to make another run at the postseason and to challenge inaugural league champ Canton at the top of the standings.

There is plenty of experience coming back to power the Panthers up the league standings. Senior Regan Paterson is one of the league’s top skaters and was the league’s top scorer last year with 18 goals and seven assists. Sophomores Victoria Quinn, Amanda Lewandowski, and Libby Carter will also provide offense after combining for 16 goals as freshmen. Junior Jordan Dwyer is also back up top after a 12-point season last year. While this a lot of youth in the forward lines, all saw time last season.

Defense will be one of the team’s strengths this season, with juniors Tina Pisano, Gina Vignone, and Gianna Cameron and senior Cassi Ronan all back to lead a veteran crew. One of the biggest changes for the Panthers will be in goal. Natalie Stott had an impressive freshman campaign but left to attend prep school, so Franklin will turn to sophomore Gabby Colace, who allowed only 0.56 goals against, saved 96 percent of the shots she faced, and had three shutouts as a freshman, and is ready to step into a bigger role. Senior Gianna Cornetta will also see time in net.

Franklin coach Margie Burke, who was honored with the National Ice Hockey Officials Association (NIHOA) Coach of the Year award last March, said, “I expect the hockey [in the league] to be very competitive again this year.”

King Philip

2017-2018 Record: 11-9-2
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 first round.
Coach: Jack Unger
King Philip finished second in the inaugural season of Hockomock girls hockey and nearly reached the Div. 2 quarterfinal, only losing to Archbishop Williams by single goal, and the Warriors bring back their leading scorers to try and make a run at the Hock title. With a mix of experience and youth, KP could give Canton a run in the league and be poised for a tournament run as well.

The forward line will be very experienced with seniors Meghan Gorman, Alli Meehan, Alli Wilson, and Emily Brawley all back to provide scoring punch. Leading scorer Nicole Connor is also back and the senior defender is one of the most dynamic players in the league, giving KP strong play at the blue line and adding to the attack. Connor will be joined in the defense by seniors Madelyn Kelley and Lilly Worthington.

Goaltending should be a strength for the Warriors this season with senior Lilly Potts and junior Cristina Coleman both capable of shutting down the opposition. The team is also loaded with underclassmen, which bodes well for the program’s future. Freshmen Sydney O’Shea and Morgan Cunningham are a pair of newcomers that could make instant contributions for the Warriors this season.

“Despite being a younger team overall, the players have tremendous potential,” said KP coach Jack Unger. “Typical of all the sports programs within the Hockomock League, each game is against the best inter-league contestants out there. We all have the ability to beat one another each time out.”

Mansfield/Oliver Ames

2017-2018 Record: 12-7-3
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 first round.
Coach: Roy Bain
While Mansfield/Oliver Ames has a new coach, as Roy Bain takes over the program this season, and will be looking to move on without leading scorer Cat Luciano, who is now at Holy Cross, there are 15 players returning from the team that got back into the state tournament last winter and nine freshmen that have added depth to the growing program.

Seniors Isabelle Shanteler (Mansfield) and Mackenzi Fraser (Foxboro) will try to make up some of Luciano’s scoring from last year. The duo will be on the top scoring line along with freshman Kylie O’Keefe (Foxboro) and provide the speed and energy to jumpstart the MOA attack. Unlike past years, the Warriors won’t be counting on one player to dominate the stats but will look to take advantage of its depth. Senior Lindsey Corning (Mansfield) will center the second line between sophomore wingers Ella Waryas (Foxboro) and Emma Garland (Mansfield), while sophomores Alex Ledin (OA) and Lily O’Brien (Mansfield) have shown promise as centers as well.

The defense is led by senior Danae Reager (Foxboro), who has been a varsity player for four years and sets the standard for the blue line group. Sophomores Melissa Shanteler (Mansfield) and Emma Pereira (OA) will be paired together, while Reager will be paired with sophomore Megan O’Hara (Mansfield). Freshman Jess Widdop (OA) has been outstanding in net during the preseason and has built the team’s confidence heading into the opening game.

Bain said of his new goalie, “In the 10 days since we’ve started practicing, she’s been nothing short of impressive. Her athleticism and work ethic will serve the team well as we enter the season.”

Stoughton

2017-2018 Record: 4-17
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Rich Grasso
Last winter, Stoughton had its best season as a program, winning four games, including a three-game win streak early in the schedule. This year, the Black Knights will get a boost from a co-op with Sharon, which should increase the numbers in the program as it tries to add its first win in the Hockomock League to its recent accomplishments.

The loss of leading scorer Julia Russell to an injury, which also kept her out of the field hockey season, will be tough, but the Black Knights have several other experienced players coming back to try and pick up the slack. Senior Katie Widrow is one of the leaders on the forward line and she will be joined up front by sophomore Morgan Lessa and a pair of newcomers to keep an eye on: junior Taylor Kim and sophomore Samantha Sherman.

On defense, senior Jordan Lyons and sophomore Haley Nelson will be the returning players to watch, keeping things organized on the blue line. Behind the defense, junior goalie Brianna Buckley will be between the posts to try and keep the opposition out. Stoughton coach Rich Grasso called Buckley the team’s “show stopper” and she is looking to build off a solid year of experience in goal.

“The team has one goal in mind and that is to make the tournament,” said Grasso. “This is a huge task being in the Hockomock League playing against powerhouse teams…We are small in numbers but talented. Looking forward to proving we belong in that league.”

Girls Hockey: Ten Players to Watch in 2018-2019

2018-2019 Girls Hockey Players to Watch
Canton senior forward Maggie Malloy (27) is one of the players to watch as the Hockomock Leagues second season of girls hockey kicks off. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Player are listed alphabetically

Brianna Buckley, Junior – Stoughton

The Black Knights are coming off the best season in the young program’s history, having won four games last winter and Buckley was one of the reasons for the team’s success, backstopping the defense and at times doing everything she could to keep Stoughton in games. While not one of the biggest goalies around, Buckley plays much larger (like she is 6-foot-3, according to head coach Rich Grasso) and she is able to cover a lot of ground with her quickness. She is also an aggressive goalie, challenging shooters, and athletic enough to pull off the tough saves. Stoughton has added a co-op with Sharon for this season and the program is continuing to grow. With Buckley in net, the Black Knights have a great building block to try and carry over the momentum from last season and take it to another level this year.

Nicole Connor, Senior – King Philip

Connor is one of the top defensive players in the Hockomock League, but it is her versatility that really sets her apart. Connor was KP’s top goal scorer last season with 12 and was second on the Warriors (and tied for sixth in the league) with 22 points. Not only is she able to stop the opponents in one zone, but she can carry the puck the length of the ice and create a scoring chance on the other end. A tenacious player, who brings a ton of energy to the ice, Connor is also a talented skater and has the stick skills of a forward. With Connor returning at the blue line, and giving a boost to the Warriors experienced forward line, KP will be expecting to challenge Canton for the league title.

Lauren Fitzpatrick, Senior – Canton

Fitzpatrick was one of the main reasons that the Bulldogs won the inaugural Hockomock League title and reached a second straight Div. 2 title game at the TD Garden. She was tied for the team lead with 23 points and was the team leader with 14 goals on the season. Fitzpatrick has great skill on the puck and with her strength is tough to move off it as she carries into the attacking zone. She also has a great shot on the move and can score from different areas of the ice. Her partnership with Maggie Malloy heading into the state tournament last year was a huge boost for the Bulldogs and she is already off to a great start with a pair of goals in the season-opening win against Sandwich on Saturday. Canton will be hoping to make a third straight run to the Garden and if the Bulldogs are going to get there again Fitzpatrick’s goals are going to be a critical piece.

Meghan Gorman, Senior – King Philip

Gorman, who is also a star on the softball field, led the Warriors and was second in the Hockomock League in scoring last season. She finished with 24 points (eight goals and 16 assists) and she was one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers. Gorman has speed all over the ice and the vision to set up her teammates in great positions. She is strong on the puck and willing to chase it down into the corners to create scoring chances and her energy and aggressiveness sparks the rest of the team. KP was very close to a spot in the Div. 2 quarterfinal, losing by a single goal to Archies, and the Warriors will have their sights set on more this winter. Gorman is the focal point of the forward line and her experience and skills will be a big boost to KP this season.

Maggie Malloy, Senior – Canton

Malloy was the spark plug behind Canton’s tournament run last winter, scoring six goals and recording two assists in three playoff games and scoring the game-winner in all three to push the Bulldogs back to the TD Garden for the Div. 2 state title game for a second straight season. Malloy is one of the most tenacious forwards in the league, willing to chase down any puck into the corners, and with the strength to come out of any physical battle with the puck on her stick. A strong skater, an accomplished finisher, and a tough competitor in the face-off circle, Malloy brings a lot to the table and was one of the league’s leading scorers with 23 points in the regular season. Having already shown her capability of coming up big in the big moments, Malloy will once again be a focal point for the league’s top attack as the Bulldogs try to make it two league titles in two seasons.

Leah McClellan, Senior – Canton

While a lot of the attention is paid to the Canton forwards, the Bulldogs defense was critical to making a run to back-to-back state title games. Canton brings back an experienced crew of solid defensemen, but McClellan brings something a little different to the blue line group with her seemingly endless desire to get the puck forward quickly and try to create offense in transition. A three-zone player, McClellan has the speed to turn opposing attacks into offensive opportunities for the Bulldogs and the stick skills to weave her way through the neutral zone. Not just an attacking player, McClellan is also strong in the defensive zone and reads the play well to force the opposition to the outside. Scoring goals is a lot of fun, but defense is a key to success. Of course, if you can do both then it’s the perfect combination and the Bulldogs have the best of both worlds. McClellan is part of that balance with her skill set and she will be a major part of Canton’s attempt at defending its league title.

Regan Paterson, Senior – Franklin

The Panthers had a strong season in 2017-18 and Paterson’s return is a major reason why confidence is high that Franklin can put together another run at the postseason and also put together a challenge for the league title. One of the most skilled forwards in the league, Paterson has the rare ability to pick up the puck in the defensive zone and carry it through the opposition to create a scoring chance on the opposite end. She also showed the patience and confidence in possession to bring the puck backwards if it will open up space. Paterson led the league with 18 goals and 25 points in the regular season last winter and she was able to create scoring chances for a talented group of underclassmen forwards. If the Panthers are going to push Canton in the league this season (after handing the Bulldogs their only league loss last year), Paterson’s leadership and scoring will be key.

Victoria Quinn, Sophomore – Franklin

The Panthers have the potential to be one of the teams to watch out for in the league this season and a lot of that comes from the talented group of young forwards who stepped in an provided immediate contributions last year. Quinn was one of those rookies who stepped in an instantly proved that she belonged at that level, scoring 16 points on five goals and 11 assists, with her speed, tenacity, and ability to finish. Along with classmates Amanda Lewandowski (forward) and Libby Carter (defense), the freshmen combined for 16 goals altogether and helped the Panthers score 69 goals as a team, which was second best in the Hock. Quinn has the potential to pair up with Regan Paterson and provide one of the top scoring groups in the league again this year.

Danae Reager, Senior – Mansfield/Oliver Ames

One of the top returning defensemen in the league, Reager is a four-year varsity player and the leader of the Mansfield/Oliver Ames back line. The Foxboro senior is strong in the defensive zone and reads the play well to cover for teammates and be in the right spots when called upon. She also doesn’t shy away from the physical play, whether battling for a puck in the corner or trying to move forwards out of the crease. As MOA keeps trying to build and challenge for the top spot in the Hock, as well as get back into the state tournament, having a strong defensive unit will be a key for the Warriors. Reager gives MOA a tough presence at the blue line and sets the standard for the rest of the defensive pairings. The Warriors only gave up 31 goals last year, which is third best in the league and only nine more than league champ Canton, so Reager and her teammates will be looking to keep things solid in the back again and keep the program’s upward momentum.

Isabelle Shanteler, Senior – Mansfield/Oliver Ames

While Reager and the defense (see above) will be a key to Mansfield/Oliver Ames making a run this season, Shanteler has a big role to play as well, in trying to fill the skates of graduated forward Cat Luciano, who was the team’s leading scorer last year. Shanteler had a strong winter with nine goals and six assists, good for second best on the team, and the Warriors will be counting on her to fire in the goals this year to keep the program heading in the right direction. A speedy forward with strong skill on the puck, who can carry it through the neutral zone and find scoring opportunities for herself or her teammates, Shanteler has the ability to find little seams in the opposing defense. MOA has aspirations of making a push at the top of the Hockomock League and Shanteler is one of the reasons why the Warriors are confident that a tournament run is on the horizon.