Sharon, 33 @ Cardinal Spellman, 38 – Final – Ally Brown scored 10 points, Trinity Payne scored nine, and Kaitlyn Wallace scored eight, but the Eagles couldn’t pull out the win on the road.
Attleboro, 2 @ Franklin, 9 – Final
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Canton, 6 – Final
Foxboro, 9 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
North Attleboro, 3 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. North jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first with a pair of goals in the final four minutes. Jake Gruber followed up after Sam Clarke’s shot was saved to net the first goal of the game and then, with 50.7 seconds left in the period, Jeff Baker found the back of the net with a wrister from a few feet inside the blue line. KP took no time to erase the deficit after the intermission, scoring three power play goals in the first four minutes of the second. Nolan Feyler had a great tip in front to get the first, Joe Boselli picked the corner from the slot for the second, and then Chris Daniels crashed the net to slam home a loose puck and put KP in front. Dennis Morehouse answered back with a goal three minutes before the end of the second and that proved to be the final tally, as the teams finished with a point apiece. KP goalie Jesper Makudera made 25 saves, while North goalie Nick Digiacomo stopped 29 shots.
Taunton, 2 @ Mansfield, 5 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Taunton took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission but Mansfield scored four straight goals in the second period, including three in the final three minutes, to turn the game around for the win. Taunton freshman Nathan Fernandes scored with 4:13 left in the first with junior Cam Faria and sophomore Loran Corcoran assisting. Mansfield junior Cam Page tied the game with 8:07 left in the second period on assists from Joseph Troiano and Chris Jenkins. Jake Lund (from Jenkins and Troiano) and Jenkins scored eight seconds apart to put the Hornets ahead 3-1, and senior Kevin Belanger added another goal with less than a minute to go in the second (from Jenkins and Patrick Gormley). Jenkins earned his fourth point with his second goal of the game with 7:23 left in the third, Gormley and Lund earning assists. Taunton senior Xavier Abel scored with 4:44 to go with freshman Colton Scheralis and senior Noah Gravel earning assists.
Canton, 1 vs. Dedham, 0 – Final – Canton freshman Olivia Maffeo scored her 11th goal of the season in the first period and the Bulldogs held on for the win over Dedham. Freshman Carolyn Durand earned her sixth shutout of the season in net.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 @ Norwood, 3 – Final – Norwood scored twice in a two-minute span in the first period and the MOA Warriors were unable to overcome the early deficit. Kylie O’Keefe halved the deficit with a goal in the second period but the Mustangs scored first in the third to push the lead to 3-1. Ella Waryas finished off a rebound on a shot from Melissa Shanteler to bring the Warriors within one but couldn’t find the tying goal despite a strong push late.
King Philip, 2 vs. Medfield, 3 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. King Philip’s Makenzie Shandley and Avari Maxwell scored early in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit but the Warriors converted a two-man advantage in the final five minutes to earn the win. Cristina Coleman had a strong showing in-between the pipes for KP.
Foxboro, 48 @ Canton, 26 – Final – Foxboro earned seven pins and nine wins overall to earn a win on the road over Canton. Sean Bubencik (120), Jonathan Carey (132), Jeremy Neale (145), John Rounds (152), Sean Gallagher (182), Aiden Dow (195) and Aidan Hughes (285) all secured important points with pinfall victories for the Warriors while James Fraser (106) and Ryan Addeche (170) each won by decision. Canton’s Joseph Doria (126), Dominic Sica (138), Eddie Marinilli (160) and Derrell Brown (220) picked up wins via pinfall. Zachary Peters earned a 7-3 win at 113 for the Bulldogs.
Taunton, 15 @ Franklin, 56 – Final – Franklin picked up a half dozen wins via pinfall, two through major decision, and another pair through decision to knock off visiting Taunton. Devon Bramson (126), Jake Carlucci (132), Alex Fracassa (145), Dom Sackley (160), Dylan Nawn (182), and Matt Walker (220) pinned down wins for the Panthers. Ken Sauer won 9-0 at 152 and Luke Cashin picked up a 15-3 win at 170, both major decisions. Drew Difilipio earned an 8-1 decision at 120 and Ahmed Jawando picked up a 10-7 victory at 138. Taunton’s James Collins pinned down a victory at 106 and Jackson Wellman earned a 3-1 decision at 195 for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 28 @ Mansfield, 44 – Final – Mansfield freshmen Owen Weber (106) and Colton Johnson (182) earned key wins to help the Hornets fend off visiting Oliver Ames.
Sharon, 57 @ Milford, 11 – Final – Sharon continued its impressive season with a big win over Milford. Adam Landstein, Ben Shocket, David Gelman, Cam Birnbaum, Amit Levin, Aaron Cashton, Max Pozner, Kirit Gossetty, Tyler Freedman, Jared Karen, and Rhamsez Thevenin all had wins for the Eagles.
FOXBORO, Mass. – It is a rivalry known for its big hits, close games, and typically a lot of trips to the penalty box. On Saturday night at the Foxboro Sports Center, Mansfield and North Attleboro met again in a physical encounter, as both teams were willing to throw their bodies into checks, but one that stayed almost exclusively 5-on-5.
There was only one power play between the two teams, but it turned out to be a crucial one. After Nick Longa had given North the lead midway through the third period, Kevin Belanger scored on the power play goal with 4:51 to go, earning Mansfield a 2-2 tie and sending both teams home with a point apiece.
Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini said, “We try to win every third period, but once they got that goal there was no let up. The guys on the bench were rooting for each other, so to get that power play and to capitalize right away was huge.”
“It’s never over until it’s over,” said North Attleboro coach Ben McManama. “Unfortunately we got a penalty late and the strength of our team is usually our penalty kill but that’s a very powerful power play. They’ve got some guys who can put it away.”
North came out flying at the start of the game. The Rocketeers had the first six shots of the night and turned their pressure into the opening goal. Jack Connolly got the puck on net and Mansfield goalie Sean McCafferty managed to keep it out, but the rebound fell kindly for Dennis Morehouse and he pounced to make it 1-0.
The Rocketeers were getting in behind the Mansfield defense at the blue line and were having a lot of success in creating scoring chances with quick breakouts. Matt McSweeney tried to double the lead when he got free on the right wing, but his shot was fired just wide.
“We’ve been struggling with starting quick,” said Balzarini. “I changed things up against Canton (on Wednesday) and I thought we did a good job, but we kind of reverted to last Saturday. After the first five minutes, I think we were fine. We started to control the play a little more near the end and that carried over to the second period.”
Chris Jenkins had the first shot of the game for the Hornets after four minutes. He had a neutral zone steal and forced a pad save out of North goalie Nick Digiacomo. Just seconds later, North was inches away from a 2-0 lead. Jake Gruber rifled a shot off the crossbar from the right circle.
Mansfield almost tied the game three minutes later. Jenkins, from the same spot as his earlier chance, smashed the inside of the far post and the puck caromed to the far boards. Defenseman Jack Gormley forced Digiacomo into another save when he gloved the puck down and got a shot off from the high slot.
The Hornets improved as the period went on, eventually grabbing a 9-8 lead in shots, but North came closest to another goal in the final minutes when Morehouse tipped a shot from the point by Jeff Baker that trickled wide of the post with McCafferty (21 saves) sliding the wrong direction.
After picking up the pace in the first, Mansfield dominated the second period. The Hornets outshot North 13-7 in the second and Digiacomo stood tall to keep the Rocketeers in the game.
A good passing move from Sam Clarke to Connolly to Morehouse forced McCafferty into a save and then Jake Lund raced down the other end to put one on target. Thirty seconds later, Mansfield had a flurry of chances in front. Lund, Jenkins, and Belanger all had shots from close range that Digiacomo (28 saves) turned aside.
Cam Page nearly tied the game, but Digiacomo made another great point-blank save. The puck was loose on the edge of the crease and the North goalie dove to poke it away. Unfortunately for him, the puck went straight to Sam Clayman and the defenseman made no mistake with a wrister into the open net.
Jenkins forced a blocker save with a quick-release shot off a face-off and then Lund slipped a pass between two defensemen to Belanger, but his shot at the near post was smothered.
“He made some big time saves,” McManama said about Digiacomo. “Even on the goal they scored, he might have made three unbelievable saves right before they scored. The kid just works so hard at it. He waited for so long, it means a lot to him, he cares about it, and it’s great to see him having success.”
North almost got its lead back with three minutes left in the period. Clarke forced McCafferty into a save and the Mansfield defense recovered just in time to clear the rebound away from Connolly, who was crashing the net.
The third period was back-and-forth, as neither team wanted to make a mistake that could lead to a winning goal. With 8:56 to play, North thought it may just have won the game. Longa, a sophomore forward, gained the zone and skated across the slot going from right to left. He got his hands free and fired a shot back across his body and into the top corner.
Mansfield started pressing to find an equalizer. Gormley hit a backhand through traffic that forced a stick save and Lund had a shot from the right circle blocked by a sliding Will Yeomans. When the puck came back to Lund, he forced Digiacomo into another stop.
Balzarini spoke after a recent game about the Hornets needing to get the defense into the attack and Mansfield got a lot of offense from the blue line on Saturday. He said, “It’s huge for us because it’s more offense and we have the guys who are skilled and quick enough to allow our ‘D’ to jump into the play more and then get back. Knock on wood, it hasn’t cost us too many times, but we’re cognizant of that.”
With 5:09 to go, Mansfield jumped onto the power play for the first time. Eighteen seconds later, the game was tied. Belanger controlled the puck behind the net and he drifted out to the left wing, turned into the open space, and sniped the far top corner to snag a point for his team.
Although it wasn’t a win, McManama saw a lot of progress from his team’s first meeting with Mansfield (a 5-2 loss). He said, “They’re a very good team and we knew what they had, but I just think our attitude just changed. We had a little adversity here or there and we’re coming together as a team, which is the exciting part. We want the win, but I’m seeing this team transform into what we can be and it’s good to see.”
Mansfield (3-3-2, 1-1-1) will be back at home on Wednesday when the Hornets host Taunton. North Attleboro (6-2-3, 2-0-1) dropped a point behind Canton in the league standings and will be back at the Foxboro Sports Center on Wednesday to face King Philip.
King Philip, 43 @ Needham, 69 – Final
Canton, 1 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final
Foxboro, 0 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip’s offense delivered three goals in the middle period, building on its lead from the first period to notch a league win over Foxboro. KP took a 1-0 lead in the first on a goal from Nolan Feyler with Joe Boselli and Rocco Bianculli earning assists. In the second, Boselli scored twice and Jack Coulter added a third to build the big advantage. Chris Daniels and Kyle Gray set Boselli up for his first goal while Bianculli grabbed his second assist on KP’s third goal. Conor Cooke and Aidan Boulger had assists on Coulter’s goal. Jesper Makudera made 18 saves in net to earn the shutout for KP.
Franklin, 4 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – Franklin cashed in for a pair of goals in the first period behind a strong start and tacked on two more in the third period to skate past OA in league action. The Panthers peppered the net in the opening minutes with Colin Hedvig scoring unassisted just 59 seconds into the game. Shane McCaffrey added a goal on a wrist shot with 4:05 to go in the opening frame. After a scoreless second, Franklin extended its league with a shorthanded goal as Tom Tasker finished off a pass from Kyle Hedvig on an odd-man rush. OA’s Jake Gottwald redirected a shot from Zach Manganaro to get the Tigers on the board but McCaffrey sealed the game with an empty netter. OA goalie Owen Connor had 36 saves in net.
Mansfield, 1 @ Shrewsbury, 4 – Final
North Attleboro, 4 @ Taunton, 2 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – North Attleboro built a four goal lead before holding off a late surge from Taunton to pick up a league win. The Rocketeers struck just over two minutes into the game as sophomore Sam Clarke capitalized in front after some hard work from Brady Sarro. Clarke added his second on a redirect on a shot from Charlie Connolly with under a minute to go in the first period. Dennis Morehouse made it 3-0 with a nice finish in front in the second period and Sarro tipped in a shot early in the third to make it 3-0. Taunton’s Brady Nichols scored with five minutes to go and then help set up a goal from freshman Colton Scheralis.
Stoughton, 6 vs. Durfee, 1 – Final – Junior Dante Massaro paced the offense with a three goal hat trick performance, helping Stoughton/Brockton earn its second straight win. Colin Alessi added a pair of goals in the win while junior Jack Mahoney scored once.
Stoughton, 6 vs. Quincy/North Quincy, 6 – Final – Stoughton stormed back, scoring five times in the final period to earn a tie with Quincy/North Quincy. Morgan Lessa had a hand in all six of the goals. She recorded a hat trick and assisted on the other three. Zoey Bangs added two goals and Haley Nelson had the sixth. Nelson also had three assists. Sam Sherman had an assist for Stoughton as well.
North Attleboro, 43 @ Stoughton, 72 – Final – Holding a 31-24 lead at halftime, Stoughton exploded for 26 points in the third quarter to run away with a win at home over North Attleboro. Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (five assists) hit two of his four triples in the third, scoring 10 of his career-high 20 points in the frame to lead the charge. Senior Obinna Ugwuakazi added 15 points, senior Tahkwan Gates Brown chipped in with a career-high 13 points, and senior Ahmad Jahed added 13 points for the Black Knights, who connected on eight three-pointers. King Philip junior George Ladd had a team-high 11 points while senior Ethan Friberg finished with 10 points.
Oliver Ames, 64 @ Taunton, 63 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Jay Spillane sank the go-ahead three-pointer with 8.5 seconds left to give the visitors a stunning win. Trailing for the entire game, including a 53-46 deficit with just over five minutes left, OA took its first lead of the game on the triple. After inbounding the ball, junior Amari Brown got the ball back, drove to the basket to draw the defense, and kicked it to the corner to Spillane, who drained his second triple of the game. OA forced a turnover to prevent Taunton from a final shot. Spillane had nine of his 16 points come in the second half while Brown scored 13 of his career-high 19 points in the second half. Ryan Burkett added 12 points for the visitors. Taunton junior Tyler Stewart set a new career-high with 21 points while classmate Josh Lopes added 14 points. Sophomore Tristan Herry chipped in with 13 points, the most for him in a Tiger uniform.
Mansfield, 36 @ Brockton, 51 – Final – The Boxers jumped out to a 14-point (18-4) lead at the end of one quarter and the Hornets were never able to recover. Mansfield did get within 10 (45-35) with just three minutes to play but couldn’t overcome a rough shooting night. Kayla Vine led the way with 11 points, Abby Wager had 10, and Sara Dooling scored nine in the loss.
King Philip, 50 @ Franklin, 80 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – The Panthers dominated from the opening whistle, running out to a 17-0 lead and never allowing a shorthanded Warriors team to get close. Ali Brigham starred for the hosts, scoring a game-high 25 points, pulling down 18 rebounds, and dishing out five assists. Sophomore Olivia Quinn was unstoppable as well, adding 20 points and five rebounds. Meghan O’Connell added 11 points and Stefany Padula had nine in the win. Brianna James scored 14 points for KP and Emma Glaser chipped in with 10.
Stoughton, 37 @ North Attleboro, 64 – Final – The Rocketeers jumped out to 36-16 halftime lead and secured their first win under head coach Nikki Correia. Summer Doherty was North’s top scorer with 12 points, while Amanda Kaiser added 10 and Eliza Dion had nine. All 10 players scored for the Rocketeers. Shyanne Trinh led all scorers with 16 points for the Black Knights. Correia credited the team’s tough defense, quick start, and its ability to take care of the ball for picking up a first win of the season.
Taunton, 54 @ Oliver Ames, 71 – Final – OA grabbed an 18-4 advantage after one and never looked back, growing the lead to 44-18 at the break. Taunton fought hard in the second half, outscoring OA by seven, but couldn’t mount a comeback. Kelsey Yelle paced OA with 16 points, while Caroline Flynn scored 15 and added 10 assists. Caroline Peper added 14 for OA and Tate Hadges and Hailey Bourne each scored 10. Freshman Kameron St. Pierre had a big night for Taunton, scoring 24 points on six three-pointers, and Kelsey White added 11.
Attleboro, 3 vs. Martha’s Vineyard, 3 – Final – Owen Dryjowicz, Aiden Dryjowicz, and Nate Parker each scored once but the Bombardiers settled for a tie with visiting Martha’s Vineyard.
Canton, 3 vs. Shrewsbury, 3 – Final – Canton had its eight-game win streak snapped but erased a pair one-goal deficits to earn a tie push its unbeaten streak to 28 games. Chris Lavoie scored twice for the Bulldogs, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead before Shrewsbury tied the game before the end of the first period. Shrewsbury took a 2-1 lead but senior Johnny Hagan knotted the score. Shrewsbury took its second lead, 3-2, into the third period but Lavoie tallied his second of the game to make it 3-3.
Mansfield, 1 @ Bishop Feehan, 4 – Final
Oliver Ames, 1 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro scored first but Oliver Ames answered as the teams skated to a tie in non-league action. Dennis Morehouse put the hosts ahead early in the first period but OA junior Kevin Tremblay netted the equalizer early in the second on an assist from Ross Carroll. OA senior Owen Connor made 32 saves in the tie.
King Philip, 5 @ Coyle & Cassidy, 0 – Final – King Philip had four different players light the lamp while Nate Ihley made his season debut inbetween the pipes with a shutout over Coyle. Junior Rocco Bianculli scored a pair of goals while adding an assist to lead the offense. Conor Cooke, Paul McDonald, and Nolan Feyler each scored once in the win, and Ihley made 20 saves for the shutout.
Taunton, 3 vs. Sandwich, 5 – Final
Stoughton, 0 vs. Nauset, 2 – Final
Canton, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Seven different players scored for the Bulldogs, who won their third game of the season, all by shutout. Kaitlyn McLaughlin scored the first goal of her varsity career in the win.
Taunton, 27 @ Canton, 31 – Final – Canton’s Yurii Leskiv, Dominic Sica, and Sawyer Julier-Albert each earned pinfall victories to help the Bulldogs earn a close win over Taunton. Leskiv earned the pin in 3:30 in the 106 matchup, Sica picked up the fall in 2:30 in the 138 match, and Julier-Albert won at 182 in 1:45. Taunton’s Ben Mandeville (132) and Nico Sallaway (170) had pinfall victories for the Tigers.
Foxboro, 28 vs. Brockton, 53 – Final
Oliver Ames, 25 @ Sharon, 48 – Final – Seven Eagles earned pinfall victories to help Sharon open its dual meet schedule with a non-league win over rival Oliver Ames. Adam Landstein, David Gelman, Vinay Chinnam, Aaron Cashton, Tyler Freedman, Alex Danilkovas and Rhamsez Thevenin all won by pin for Sharon. Max Pozner added an 11-7 overtime win while Kirit Gossetty picked up a 7-0 for the Eagles.
Franklin, 92 @ Oliver Ames, 67 – Final
Mansfield, 94 @ Attleboro, 72 – Final – Mansfield’s Mike Peel won a pair of individual events and was apart of two winning relay teams to help the Hornets beat Attleboro. Peel won the 200 free (2:09.95) and the 500 free (6:01.67), teamed up with Owen Lasbury Casey, Rico Palanza, and Aden Schwartz to win the 200 free in 1:45.08, and joined Lasbury Casey, David Piccirilli, and Pranaav Saravanon to win the 400 relay in 4:09.04.
Franklin, 80 @ Oliver Ames, 88 – Final
Mansfield, 65 @ Attleboro, 101 – Final – Attleboro’s Jackie Lynch-Bartek and Ella Lynch-Bartek each won a pair of individual events while helping a pair of Bombardier relay teams take first. Jackie Lynch-Bartek won the 200 Free in 2:15.98 and the 100 Breast in 1:20.40, while Ella Lynch-Bartek took first in both the 100 Free (1:00.62) and the 100 Back (1:11.14). Both were apart of the 200 medley relay (2:11.18) and the 200 free relay (2:00.57) with Faith Morrison and Rachel Priestley. Mansfield’s Mairead Shannon won the 100 fly (1:11.35), took second in the 100 back (1:14.55), and was a member of the winning 400 free relay team with Sofia Seifert, Jess Harris, and Aditi Junagade).
Franklin, 134.45 @ Canton, 112 – Final – Franklin sophomore Elizabeth Schirduan took first in a pair of events while junior Lexi Lupien and sophomore Kate Rudolph each won one to help the Panthers open the season with a win. Schirduan scored an 8.85 to take first in the beam, and notched an 8.15 on the bars to for her second win of the net. Lupien shined on the vault, earning a 9.0 while Rudolph picked up a 9.1 on the floor.
Franklin results: Vault – Lexi Lupien, 9.0; Kate Rudolph, 8.8; Maddie McGuire, 8.7; Maia Keohane, 8.4 … Bars – Elizabeth Schirduran, 8.15; Kate Rudolph, 8.0; Emma Nelson, 7.9; Caroline Woelfel, 7.8 … Beam – Elizabeth Schirduan, 8.85; Kate Rudolph, 8.7; Ashley Hammann, 8.2; Emma Nelson, 8.15 … Floor – Kate Rudolph, 9.1; Caroline Woelfel, 8.6; Lizzie Brown, 8.0; Lexi Lupien, 8.0.
The Tigers are going to be a young team this season so it will be important, especially early on, for the experienced players to lead the way. The good news for Taunton is that junior forward Michael Albert is back in the fold, a year after he led the team in scoring as just a sophomore. Albert was among the Hockomock League’s top scorers last year, scoring 10 goals and adding 19 assists for 29 points, which tied for ninth-most during the regular season. His 19 assists are what stand out the most, showing he can get teammates involved. The Tigers also have a couple of new additions to the roster through transfer so one of the early challenges will be finding the right combination of players that gel. While head coach Kris Metea sorts that out, he can lean on Albert’s speed, skill, and vision to carry the Tigers offensively again this year.
Bianculli has been one of the league’s top skating defensemen for the past two seasons, becoming a top playmaker at the blue line and opening up scoring opportunities for his teammates. This year, the goal for the Warriors to get back into the playoffs and Bianculli’s speed with the puck and his stick skills through the center of the ice give KP a different look that can be hard for teams to contain. As a sophomore, Bianculli scored seven goals and added seven assists and his continued development as a physical player to go along with his vision and accurate shot, he will be a difficult matchup. His speed also enables him to recover in the defensive zone, even when it looks like he’s beat. KP has a clear goal this year and Bianculli will be a key to the team ending its wait for tournament play.
Two of the things that has made Oliver Ames competitive year in and year out is effort and versatility. Senior Hunter Costello has been on the Tigers’ roster for three years for a reason, and now a senior captain could be poised to have a breakout senior season. The Tigers lost a talented group to graduation but boast a good amount of experience, and a lot of players that are familiar with former assistant-now head coach Mike Zucarelli. Costello is one of those players back, coming off back-to-back seasons in which he recorded double-digit points. He had five goals and six assists during the regular season as a sophomore, and then last year took a big step forward with nine goals and 15 assists. As a captain and one of the most experienced players on the squad, OA will be relying on his leadership both on and off the ice.
During Canton’s historic run to an unbeaten state title last winter, the one player that drew the most attention from scouts and opposing coaches was Hagan. They saw what anyone who followed the Bulldogs for three seasons already knew, Hagan has that killer combination of speed, toughness, and skill that makes him so difficult to contain in the offensive zone, while he has the physical, competitive nature to go and battle for loose pucks in the defensive zone. Hagan scored 51 points as a junior, 21 goals and 30 assists, and seemed to always come through in the clutch, including a hat trick in the state title game at the TD Garden. The loss of center Ryan Nolte will be difficult, considering his record point total last year, but Hagan’s return gives Canton plenty of firepower to try and make a run at back-to-back titles and maybe an elusive Super 8 berth.
Every winter, the Mansfield roster goes through a number of changes, as players leave for prep schools or juniors programs and several players make returns to the Hornets. One of the players that will be coming back this season is Jenkins. The senior forward returns after two seasons with the South Shore Kings and should give the Hornets a much-needed boost on the offensive end, especially after Matt Copponi moved on. During his freshman season with the Hornets, Jenkins made an instant impact, scoring 11 goals and recording 10 assists. His 21 points was third-best on the team. A smooth forward with good size and an accurate shot, Jenkins should give Mansfield a little extra punch in the zone and is a talented skater who can cause problems in transition. The Hornets were so close to unseating Franklin at the top of the Kelley-Rex division last year and they will be happy to have Jenkins back in the fold to try and make another run at the league title.
Last year was the best season in program history, as the Warriors set records for wins (12) and points (27) in a season while earning an impressive victory over Mansfield and a point against Franklin. Leach is the team’s top returning scorer and will be counted on to try and keep the upward trajectory of the past two seasons by taking on a bigger role in the attack after the graduation of Brendan Tully. As a sophomore, Leach scored 18 goals and recorded 20 assists and showed off impressive speed that made it difficult to contain him in the transition game. He was also a player willing to mix it up in the corners or get physical in the middle of the ice and his size gives the Warriors a player who can cause matchup problems for the opposition. With Leach’s determination to get to the net and cause problems and several returning players who have gained experience last winter, Foxboro will still have a dangerous attack and will still have the postseason on its mind as the new year gets started.
The offense gets most of the press for the Bulldogs, but the Canton defense was also dominant last season and a critical component to a historic, unbeaten state title. Lehane is a guaranteed top-four defenseman for the Bulldogs again this year and his ability to control the blue line as a physical player and as a skilled passer will be important against this winter. Last year, Canton held teams to just 23 goals in 26 games and the combination of Lehane and classmate John Connolly make the defensive unit just as formidable this season. Lehane also chipped in with four goals and 10 assists last year, including the opening goal in the state championship game. Expectations are sky high for the Bulldogs again this season and Lehane’s experience at the blue line is one of the reasons that Canton will have hopes for back-to-back titles.
North Attleboro is another team with a new coaching staff and several new faces this season but the Rocketeers will be able to count on an explosive scorer on the wing, as Morehouse comes back this year after tying for sixth in the Hock in goals last year. A big, physical forward with a cannon for a shot, Morehouse scored 15 goals in the regular season and added four assists. North may need him to be more of a playmaker this year to make up for several graduations, but he has been a consistently solid scorer flying down the right wing and someone who isn’t afraid to mix it up in the corners, using his body to push aside defenders and give himself space to create. As the only player to hit double digits for goals last year, Morehouse will be expected to be the primary scoring threat again for North, which is looking to continue its progress as a program and keep its string of playoff appearances alive this winter.
Attleboro has been a team that is consistently in the playoff mix in Div. 3 and one of the main reasons that the Bombardiers have the tournament as a goal again this winter is the return of Morry. The senior forward is coming off a season in which he was third in the league in scoring with 40 points. He finished with 16 goals and added 24 assists, as the Bombardiers turned to him to pick up some of the scoring touch from the graduation of Jake Parker. This year, Morry will be counted on even more to give Attleboro a creative force in the attacking zone, while continuing to be an all-around player that can help out the defense and is capable of playing on the power play or penalty kill. The Bombardiers will ask a lot of Morry this season, in terms of ice time and production, but his physicality, speed, and stick skills give him the potential to bring Attleboro back to the postseason again this year.
There is a lot of change around the Franklin program this season, with a new coaching staff taking over after the retirement of Chris Spillane. The Panthers have become one of the top public school programs in the state and Tasker will be one of the players that the new staff relies on to keep that consistency this season. The senior defenseman is a strong, aggressive player who is tough to beat in the corners but is also capable of stepping up into the attack and has one of the league’s hardest shots from the blue line. He scored three goals and had 10 assists last year and showed the ability to play different brands of hockey depending on the opponent. He can race up and down the ice or he can sit back in the defensive zone and be the physical presence that the Panthers needed. In a season where there is a lot of changes, Tasker’s return for a third year on varsity gives some much-needed stability to the defensive pairings.
2018-2019 Record: 10-10-2 2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South Preliminary Round Coach: Mark Homer
The Bombardiers will be looking to stretch their postseason streak to three years this season. It showed how deep the Kelley-Rex division was last year that the Bombardiers, who did not fare well in league games, made it to the state tournament.
One reason that Attleboro is hopeful for a spot in the state tournament is the addition of a couple of transfers to the program. Jake Ward joined the program and will apart of the Bombardiers top line alongside senior captain Ryan Morry and junior Aidan Diggin. Both Morry and Diggin have a plethora of experience at the varsity level so expect Attleboro’s top line to be a dangerous one in the offensive zone. Attleboro picked up some needed depth with the addition of junior Owen Dryjowicz and freshman Aidan Dryjowicz, who will join sophomore Nate Parker on the second line.
The third line could see some rotation but will mostly feature junior Austin Blais at the center spot, and senior Liam McDonough, junior Owen Graney, and senior Kyle Miniati on the wings. The Bombardiers will have some experience on the blue line with senior Sam Flynn and junior Zach Pierce holding down two of the top spots, with sophomore Sean Marshall also in the mix. The fourth spot between the top two defensive pairs is still up for grabs in the early going. Sophomores Nick Piazza and Michael Dutremble are battling for minutes in net.
“We hope to improve our record from last year through commitment and hard work collectively, and gain entry to the state tournament,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Homer.
2018-2019 Record: 25-0-1 2018-2019 Finish: D2 State Champions Coach: Brian Shuman
Having won nine straight Davenport division titles, Canton is used to having a target on its back as the rest of the Hockomock League tries to knock the Bulldogs from the top. But this year, that target is even bigger than before.
Fresh off one of the best seasons in both program and league history that ended with a D2 State Championship, the Bulldogs will be getting everyone’s best game in and game out. And while Canton certainly graduated some key pieces, like two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Ryan Nolte, the Bulldogs enter this season as not only the favorite for a 10th straight division crown but will certainly be in the mix when it comes to the 2020 D2 State title.
While replacing Nolte will be tough, the Bulldogs have several key forwards back from last year’s championship team. It will all start with senior Johnny Hagan, who was named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year as a sophomore and racked up 51 points with 21 goals and 31 assists on the season. Hagan will have a lot of experience to work with in senior Timmy Kelleher (seven goals, seven assists last regular season), senior Tommy Ghostlaw (five goals, six assists), and senior Chris Lavoie (13 goals, 12 assists). Lavoie could be poised for a breakout year, scoring twice in the season-opening win over Franklin.
Canton also brings back top players along the blue line with Jack Connolly and HockomockSports.com Second Team selection Owen Lehane. Both seniors, Connolly and Lehane not only are among the best defensive players in the league but play a big part of the Canton offense with their shooting. Seniors Ronan O’Mahony and Declan Pfeffer are also experienced defensemen that will see increased roles this year. Canton turns to senior Joe Cammarata to start in between the pipes with junior Liam Polles impressing early on and could push for starting minutes.
“We have a lot of experience returning, but that’s true for a lot of teams across the state,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. If our preseason was any indication, there are a lot of outstanding, talented teams this year that improved greatly in the offseason. We will have our work cut out for us in the Hock and with a tough non-league schedule.”
2018-2019 Record: 12-7-3 2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South First Round Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Foxboro built upon its 10-season win two years ago with its best season in program history last year, picking up 12 wins including one in the postseason. After posting back-to-back successful seasons, the Warriors are hoping that trend continues.
With a good amount of returners back this year, the Warriors will be in good position to compete in the Hockomock League and will be aiming to make a deeper run into the state tournament behind a beefed-up schedule. One strength for Foxboro this year will be its offense with its two top regular season point producers back in junior Kirk Leach (15 goals, 20 assists) and senior Ronnie MacLellan (14 goals, 20 assists). That duo provided the Warriors with a lot of its offense last season and will be one of the top returning duos this season. Senior Sebastian Ricketts brings a vast amount of experience to the offense while sophomore Jack Watts (10 goals, four assists) will be looking to build on an impressive freshman year. Brady Daly, Eoin Reager, Josh Bertuman, Ryan Jacobs and Ben Ricketts will provide needed depth offensively.
Defensively it all starts with senior goalie Espen Reager, the defending Hockomock League MVP back after a strong junior season between the pipes for the Warriors. Reager has the ability to keep his team in teams, and he showed last year that he can help steal a game like he did against Mansfield. In front of Reager, senior Kyle McGinnis is one of the more experienced defensemen in the league and will be the anchor of the blue line group for Foxboro. Freshman Alex Coviello has impressed early on and will be a key piece of the defense.
“Our strength on offense this season will be our depth and overall team speed,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We have more depth on offense than we’ve ever had. We’re looking forward to this season, with a lot of depth up front, excellent team speed and a great goalie we feel we can compete with any team on our schedule.”
2018-2019 Record: 12-10-4 2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final Coach: Anthony Sarno
A new chapter begins in Franklin boys hockey with Anthony Sarno taking over on the bench after longtime Panther coach Chris Spillane stepped down following last season. While the Panthers might have a bit of a new look, expectations are still high inside Pirelli for the defending Kelley-Rex champs.
Sarno is hoping that momentum will carry over from the Panthers’ impressive playoff run from a year ago when Franklin upset Mansfield in overtime and knocked off Catholic Memorial in the semifinals. But there won’t be any nights off for Franklin with a loaded schedule that features Malden Catholic, Pope Francis, and a loaded Mt. Hope tournament — and that’s just December.
“It will be a work in progress and we will look to develop a solid team chemistry with a relentless work ethic, staying true to consistency, and discipline in an environment where effort and attitude is paramount, and not up for discussion,” Sarno said.
Up front, the Panthers will be leaning on seniors Shane McCaffrey, Kevin O’Rielly, and Shea Hurley to lead the way. McCaffrey is the team’s top scorer returning from a year ago so it will be vital for new players to step up and contribute. Juniors Conor O’Neil and Declan Lovett are also going to be important pieces to the Panthers’ offense. Senior Ray Ivers returns between the pipes are stepping in last season and playing well. In front of Ivers, Franklin will have two of the best defensemen in the league with senior Tom Tasker, a HockomockSports.com First Team selection last year, and junior Joe LeBlanc, who had a breakout sophomore campaign.
2018-2019 Record: 10-11-0 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Paul Carlow
After missing out on the state tournament in back-to-back seasons, the Warriors have a chance to end that drought in 2020 behind an experienced group of players after losing just five players to graduation.
Head coach Paul Carlow says this is the most experienced group he’s had at his disposal since taking over behind the Warriors’ bench in 2015. There are nine seniors back this year and eight juniors so King Philip certainly boasts a lot of depth, and players that have played plenty of minutes at the varsity level. It starts with senior captain Chris Daniels, senior assistant captain Joe Boselli, and senior assistant captain Jack Coulter. All three have skated plenty of minutes for Carlow over the past couple of years and will be relied upon for their leadership.
Daniels is a crafty forward that scored five goals and had six assists while Coulter is the top returning scorer back this year after scoring six goals and recording nine assists a year ago. Seniors Bryan Lucente and Noah Ray will also be in the mix offensively alongside Daniels, Coulter, and Boselli. The Warriors will also rely on a handful of juniors to chip in offensively including forward Conor Cooke. Cooke had a terrific season with 10 goals and four assists and could be poised for a breakout year.
Defensively, there is a lot of veterans along the blue line for King Philip. Seniors Kyle Gray and Ethan McGuire are joined by junior Rocco Bianculli, a Hockomock League All Star and a HocomockSports.com All Underclassman selection a year ago. Gray is a three-year player that provides physicality while Bianculli is one of the top scoring defensemen in the entire league, scoring seven goals and adding seven assists during his sophomore season. Seniors Nate Ihley and Jesper Makudera will battle for minutes in net.
“I’m really looking forward to this season,” Carlow said. “On top of the seniors and juniors, we also have a strong sophomore class competing for spots. We have speed up front, we’re strong on the back end, and we have two good goalies. I’m looking forward to working with this group and fully expect them to make the tournament.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-6-3 2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Mike Balzarini
Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini was a little concerned about his team’s depth coming into the season after graduating nine players and losing two top players to prep school. But after tryouts and a strong preseason, Balzarini believes this year’s squad will be just as deep as last year’ 14-win squad.
Losing a talented senior class hurts, and with Matt Copponi (eight goals, 28 assists, 2019 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year) and Brian Grant (HockomockSports.com All Underclassmen Team) off to prep schools, the Hornets will need new faces to step up and contribute on both ends of the ice. But Balzarini and the Hornets have something that none of the other Hockomock teams have and that’s senior goalie Sean McCafferty. Now in his fourth year starting, McCafferty is a game-changer. Even if the Hornets aren’t having their best games, they’ll still likely have a chance to win because of McCafferty.
In front of McCafferty, the Hornets will turn to senior Joseph Troiano to anchor the defensive unit. He will be joined by Jack Gormley and Conor Benoit, both of whom picked up valuable minutes last season and should help Mansfield be one of the stingiest defensive groups. Offensively, the Hornets do get a boost with the return of senior forward Chris Jenkins. Jenkins was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassmen Team in 2017 after he had 11 goals and 10 assists as a freshman. He will join veterans Jake Lund and Kevin Belanger to form a talented first line for the Hornets. Cam Paige, Liam Anastasia, and Ben Ierardo will team up on Mansfield’s second line.
“We have a little bit of a sour taste after how last year ended,” Balzarini said. “We want to get over that hurdle of the first round of the playoffs. This group really plays well together, they play as a team. They’ve gelled nicely since the first day of tryouts.”
2018-2019 Record: 11-9-2 2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinals Coach: Ben McManama
North Attleboro will be leaning on its defense in order to get back to the tournament again this season. With the defending state champs in Canton as well as an improved Foxboro squad, the Rocketeers have their hands full with a difficult three-team Davenport division.
Seniors Jake McNeany, Will Yeomans, Jeff Baker, and junior Charlie Connolly are all back this season to give North Attleboro a veteran defensive group. With a handful of experienced players leading the way defensively, it should make the transition from four-year starting goalie Ryan Warren a bit smoother. Another reason that transition should go smoothly is senior goalie Nick Digiacomo, who has been impressive in the preseason so far this year.
Senior Dennis Morehouse is back after a breakout junior campaign and will be in the mix as one of the top players in the Hockomock League this season. Morehouse was second on the team in points last year with 15 goals and four assists and is the top returning scorer back for the Rocketeers. Senior Jack Connolly is another experienced forward that will be a key piece of the offense while junior Tyler Sarro will look to build upon a solid sophomore season.
“For us to be successful, we need to be discipline and get scoring from our second and third lines,” said North Attleboro coach Ben McManama. “We are not as big as we were in years past so we need to play tough and physical.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9-1 2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Mike Zucarelli
There is a new face at the helm of the Tigers this season, but its a familiar one. Mike Zucarelli takes over after serving as an assistant coach and is optimistic about the upcoming season.
Replacing one of the league’s top forwards in Brett Williams won’t be easy, but the Tigers boast experienced returners at every position on the ice. Senior Owen Connor is back for his third year in between the pipes. He took a big jump from his sophomore to junior year and that Zucarelli expects that trend to continue for the 2019-2020 season. In front of Connor, OA returns senior defensemen Ryan Gottwald and Matt Nosalek. Gottwald, one of the team’s two captains, had an impressive junior year and will be the leader of the defensive group this season.
Offensively, there will be some familiar faces including senior captain Hunter Costello. Costello, who scored nine goals and had 15 assists in the regular season a year ago, is joined by fellow returners Jake Gottwald, Duncan Pereira, and Brad Powers. All four of those seniors will be vital in the attack while juniors Ross Carroll and Matt Nigro should see expanded roles this year.
“We are going to be a gritty, hardworking team this year,” Zucarelli said, citing a preseason scrimmage with Milton. “We held our own during the first as Milton took it to us. We came out flying in the second, tied up the game and took the momentum into the third period with a huge penalty kill. The overall play of the team after one week was great to see.”
The Tigers enter the season with a relatively young squad but the goal is to integrate all of the youth with the returners and make a push for the state tournament by the end of the season.
Junior Mike Albert will be the main guy on the offensive end. Albert, who scored 10 goals and added 19 assists last season, was the leading scorer for the Tigers as a sophomore and is looking to take the next step this year. Junior Steve Roderick and sophomores Jack DeMoura and Michael Lucier are all new to the program and should be in the mix right away to help bolster the Taunton attack.
Head coach Kris Metea is also counting on some of the younger players to have breakout seasons, including sophomores Nathan Fernandes, Loren Corcoran, and Evan Perreira. On the defensive side, junior Brady Nichols will anchor the blue line unit. Although just a junior, Nichols has a wealth of varsity experience and the Tigers will lean on him to guide a young defensive core. Senior Andrew Gomes and junior Sean Bunker will battle for minutes in net.
“We have a group of young players that we will look to continue to develop over the course of the season,” Metea said. “The key to our success will be the meshing of the new players with the development of young players. The sky’s the limit for this group with continued commitment.”
Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Espen Reager, Foxboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Ryan Morry, Attleboro
Sam Larkin, Attleboro
Ryan Nolte, Canton
Michael Staffiere, Canton
John Hagan, Canton
Owen Lehane, Canton
Espen Reager, Foxboro
Brendan Tully, Foxboro
Joseph Lizotte, Franklin
Thomas Tasker, Franklin
Shane McCaffrey, Franklin
Brendan Shandley, King Philip
Rocco Bianculli, King Philip
Jack Garland, Mansfield
Brad Grant, Mansfield
Ryan Warren, North Attleboro
Anthony Zammiello, North Attleboro
Brendan McHugh, North Attleboro
Max Ward, Oliver Ames
Brett Williams, Oliver Ames
Matthew McCormack, Oliver Ames
Sean Doherty, Stoughton
Andrew Carter, Taunton
Kyle McCabe, Attleboro
Jack Connolly, Canton
Ronnie MacLellan, Foxboro
Cam Cassella, Franklin
Ryan Fitzpatrick, King Philip
Chris Copponi, Mansfield
Dennis Morehouse, North Attleboro
Bryan Kearns, Oliver Ames
Carter Gerome, Stoughton
Cameron Sneyd, Taunton
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The puck was dug out on the near boards and angled towards Canton defenseman Owen Lehane, who was hanging at the blue line. The junior lined up a slap shot that deflected almost immediately off a North Attleboro stick and knuckled, weaving its way through traffic, past North goalie Ryan Warren and somehow under the bar.
For the second straight game, the Bulldogs had pulled out a win in the closing minutes. Lehane’s goal with just 2:08 remaining in Sunday afternoon’s matinee at the New England Sports Village handed Canton a 3-2 victory and clinched the program’s ninth league title in a row.
“It’s a long season and especially this time of year when you get into the middle of January and guys are sick, guys are hurt, so if you can pull out a win when it’s not your best day it says a lot about a team and it says a lot about our guys,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman, who gave a lot of credit to the Rocketeers for making it tough all game.
He added, “I think they dominated most of the game. They had more puck possession than we did, they had certainly more zone time than us, they had more shot attempts, and they really did outplay us. Even the first period didn’t feel right. We had two goals but they were making it very difficult for us and I didn’t think the score reflected the game.”
North Attleboro coach Ben McManama could only shrug at the way the game ended, as the Rocketeers had gone toe-to-toe with (and at times outplayed) not only one of the Hockomock League’s perennial powers but a team that was just added to the initial watch list for the Super 8.
“We realized something about ourselves today, which is great,” McManama explained. “We wanted the win or even the tie, but we realize that when we move our feet and work hard, then we can hang with anybody. I think it’s a good lesson that we learned today but we just have to keep on going.”
Digging the puck out on the boards to set up the Lehane winner was senior forward Ryan Nolte. It was his second assist of the day, to go along with the one goal he scored, and with his three-point haul on Sunday he reached the 100-point milestone for his career.
“He’s someone that always seems to show up and make big plays in a game like this,” Shuman said of Nolte. “He made little plays that he normally wouldn’t do like throw a big hit in the neutral zone in the middle of the game when we needed that. He was important in all areas of the ice tonight.”
The Rocketeers came out of the gates trying to set a physical tone and looked faster and sharper, but it was the Bulldogs that got the goals. Nolte set up the opener five minutes into the game when he fired a pass from behind the goal line out to Matt Pigeon at the point. The defenseman’s shot was tipped in front by Chris Lavoie, giving Warren (22 saves) no chance.
North almost leveled the score just a minute later when Justin Moccia found himself alone on the edge of the crease. Canton goalie Mike Staffiere (20 saves) managed to scramble and get a piece of the shot and then got a piece of luck when the rebound looped up and landed on the bar before bouncing behind the goal.
Only a minute later and Canton had doubled its lead. Nolte cut across the slot and initially lost control and whiffed on his first attempt, but he stayed with the puck and whipped a backhand on goal. The puck caught Warren trying to slide across and it slipped through the five-hole to make it 2–0.
“Our group’s very good in that they’re very resilient,” said McManama. “Some teams would’ve gone in the tank after the two goals, I mean it’s Canton, but we just kept battling back. Since day one when I got here that’s the team I was trying to bring out. I’m happy with what we did today.”
The game changed in a span of 23 seconds. First a slip on the blue line allowed Dennis Morehouse to steal the puck and find space to rifle a shot from the right circle inside the far post to cut the lead in half. Nine seconds after the goal, North went on the game’s first power play. Fourteen seconds after that, the game was tied.
Brendan McHugh started the offensive set by making a grab at the blue line to keep the puck in the zone. North got a shot on goal and Staffiere made the first stop. The rebound was initially played into the side of the net but Anthony Zammiello kept following the puck and knocked it in.
Lavoie nearly nabbed his second of the game but Warren flashed a quick glove to deny his shot from the left circle. Shane Marshall had a good chance for the Bulldogs as well when he flicked a quick shot from the slot but Warren was just as quick with his pad. Zammiello had a pair of chances, one set up in front by Jack Connolly and the second on a breakaway, but both times Staffiere had the answer.
“We were dumping the puck in and that’s what happens when you play a team physical, stay up in the neutral zone, and close your gaps,” said Shuman about Canton’s struggles to develop consistent attacks. “We had so many opportunities to make that one pass for an odd-man rush and we would just dump the puck in and that’s all credit to their play that got us a little antsy with the puck.”
The first half of the third period was all Rocketeers. North came flying out of the locker room and had the first six shots of the period. Canton didn’t get a puck on net until the 7:40 mark of the third. The best chance fell to Matt McSweeney, who was picked out in front by freshman Nik Kojoian, but Staffiere made a big pad stop to keep the scores level.
Despite all the North pressure, Canton held onto the tie and then got the one moment it needed to keep its perfect start to the season alive.
“I’ve been around hockey for a long time,” McManama said. “It’s no secret that good teams get those good breaks. We also did very well defensively, we worked really hard, they made some big saves, and I thought it was all-around a great hockey game.”
It is the ninth straight league title, and 11th in 12 seasons. No other team has won a Davenport crown in the nine years since the league split into different divisions. It speaks to the level of consistency as a program that the Bulldogs have displayed down the years.
Shuman said, “We talked about how fortunate we are to be competing every year for league championships. It’s a testament to the guys before and to our guys now that they are able to rise to that level every year. We don’t take it for granted.”
Canton (13-0, 9-0) will try to complete a perfect league campaign when it hosts Taunton on Wednesday. North Attleboro (7-6-1, 5-2-1) will try to make history on Wednesday when it travels to Pirelli Veterans Arena to face Kelley-Rex division leader Franklin, which the Rocketeers have never beaten.
Franklin, 35 @ Holy Name, 33 – Final – Ali Brigham secured the win and a season sweep of Holy Name, scoring the game-winning basket with just one second remaining on the clock. Brigham scored 23 points on the night.
Canton, 3 vs. Newburyport, 1 – Final – Canton faced a one-goal deficit after one period but scored three unanswered goals to beat Newburyport. Junior Colby Ciffolillo knotted the game early in the second period and senior Ryan Nolte scored on the power play to put the Bulldogs up 2-1. Junior Chris Lavoie scored in the third period to make it 3-1.
North Attleboro, 2 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – North Attleboro scored once in the first period and again in the second period to pick up a win over Foxboro. Jake Ebert put the Rocketeers ahead 1-0 and Dennis Morehouse doubled the lead with a goal in the second.
Oliver Ames, 6 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames exploded with four goals in the third period to pull away from visiting Coyle & Cassidy. Hunter Costello paced the Tigers with a pair of goals and an assist, Brett Williams scored once and had one helper, and Julian Krowski (first career goal), Duncan Pereira, and Max Ward each scored once. Owen Connor earned the win in net with 19 saves.
Sharon @ North Attleboro, 4:00
Canton @ Attleboro, 1:30
Sharon @ Taunton, 1:00
BROCKTON, Mass. – Win, lose, or tie, there is one thing that Oliver Ames boys hockey coach Sean Bertoni knows about his team: they aren’t going to give up.
Trailing by a goal entering the third period, and without two of their top point producers due to injury and illness, the Tigers battled back to score the tying goal midway through the period and killed off a penalty in the final two minutes to grab a 2-2 tie with visiting North Attleboro.
“It was an awesome effort, I’m really proud of them,” Bertoni said. “We didn’t win the game but it was one of my proudest moments, being down guys and most teams in that situation against a quality team like North Attleboro are in trouble. Our theme is being resilient. No matter what, we just keep fighting, the effort is always there. We showed it against Canton, we showed it tonight. It’s rewarding to see as a coach.”
Despite being without leading scorers Cullen Gallagher and Brian Kearns, who each have 17 points, the Tigers twice overcame a one-goal deficit in the game.
North Attleboro took a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game and took that advantage into the locker room during the first intermission. OA knotted the score with 9:50 to go in the second period but the Rocketeers took the lead back with a late goal in the second.
“That’s a bad tie for us,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “That’s taking nothing away from OA, they work their butts off. They have some guys who are sick, some guys who are injured and my hats off to them, they showed something today. We didn’t respond today, we have a full four line, healthy group that just didn’t get it done.”
Rocketeer senior defenseman Brendan McHugh put the visitors up 2-1 with just 1:03 left in the second period. After skating to a relatively even period, McHugh tossed a high shot on net from the blue line that OA goalie Owen Connor (14 saves) never seemed to get eyes on and it fluttered into the back of the net.
The Tigers opened the third by earning a power play but couldn’t muster any chances on goal. Instead, the best chance came for North Attleboro when the penalty expired. Rocketeer junior Jack Connolly came out of the box, took a pass and went flying into the offensive zone alone. But Connolly couldn’t quite get off a final shot with Connor covering the post with the pad.
Three minutes later, Oliver Ames had its equalizer. Senior Brett Williams prevented a clearance along the boards with a strong check that put the puck in the center of the ice. Junior Ryan Gottwald was able to bat the puck back to Williams, who was all by himself, and he deposited his shot five-hole to knot the score 2-2 with 6:47 to go.
North Attleboro had a final chance to go back on top when it went on the power play with 2:13 to go in the game. Oliver Ames’ top penalty killer Matt McCormick was whistled for a boarding penalty but the Rocketeers were only able to get one shot on net during the final two minutes.
Max Ward came up with a big early clear, and then teamed up with Williams to provide an aggressive forecheck that didn’t allow the Rocketeers to leave its own zone. McHugh had the lone shot of the man advantage but Connor easily gloved it.
“Even just getting the penalty with two minutes left in a tie game can deflate a team, especially with our top penalty kill guy in the box,” Bertoni said. “But it felt like we were attacking on it, we didn’t let them set up. I think they only had one shot on net, we had a good chance too. Brett and Max were relentless in the offensive zone. The kids are giving us everything, it’s awesome to see. We haven’t got much puck luck this year but hard work will pay off.
The Tigers even had a chance to score the game winner while shorthanded. Junior Hunter Costello cleared the puck off the boards and senior Colin Bourne used his speed to get around a North defender and get to the puck first. He was able to get a close bid on goal but North senior goalie Ryan Warren (19 saves) made a big pad save to prevent the shorthanded bid.
“They had a lot more energy in the third, they work really hard,” McManama said. “It didn’t feel like one team was better than the other in the third, it felt pretty even but I thought we could have been better. It breaks down into just some simple plays. We weren’t getting pucks in deep, we were turning it over at the blue line. Those little things, they add up. Those little things snowball and can really hurt you.”
North Attleboro struck on a rebound chance 5:31 into the contest. Andrew Zammiello put a shot on goal that Connor turned aside but junior Dennis Morehouse had plenty of space in front to bury it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
North had a couple of chances to add to its lead in the first but couldn’t find the back of the net. The best opportunity came when Todd Robinson fed Connolly in the slot but Connor came up with a big pad stop.
OA’s best chances came off the stick of McCormick, who fired a slap shot that Warren gobbled up and a backhand chance from Jake Gottwald that Warren turned away.
OA senior James Beatty set the tying goal up with an absolute perfect pass. With possession in his own defensive end, Beatty fired a perfectly weighted pass through the neutral zone right onto the stick of Williams as he entered the offensive zone for a breakaway, and Williams used a nice move and lifted the puck into the net to make it 1-1.
Beyond North Attleboro’s first goal, the Tigers’ defense did a nice job of limiting chances for the Rocketeers.
“Defensive positioning has been great all year,” Bertoni said. “We only rolled four defensemen tonight, [McCormick], James [Beatty], Julian [Krowski], and Ryan [Gottwald]. They gave us a ton of minutes, and we had to kill a couple of penalties too. Other than that first goal, where we didn’t get our sticks in there, we didn’t give up a lot of quality chances. And we had some chances in the third too so I’ll get that point for sure.”
Oliver Ames boys hockey (2-2-1 Hockomock, 7-4-1 overall) hits the road on Saturday with a visit to Taunton at 2:00. North Attleboro (3-1-1, 5-5-1) is off until Monday when it takes on Foxboro at 6:00 at the Foxboro Sports Center.