WALPOLE, Mass. – When North Attleboro and Mansfield met the first time, the Hornets were missing junior goalie Chris Hormann and the Rocketeers took advantage to score seven goals. Hormann was back between the pipes on Saturday morning when the teams met again at Rodman Arena in the opening round of the Songin Cup and he came through with a big performance.
Hormann made 28 saves, including a penalty shot and a big stop on a third-period breakaway, helping Mansfield pull out a much-needed 4-1 victory that moves the Hornets closer to clinching a spot in the postseason.
“We knew coming in what they were all about,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “They’re very structured, they’re very well-coached, and they just work hard. We knew if we could get pucks on net, crash the net, rebounds, then it would be a different game from the last time we played them.”
Mansfield got off to the perfect start. Mark DeGirolamo stepped up from the blue line and fired a wrist shot on net. North goalie Kyle Gruber was unsighted by bodies in front and the puck snuck into the top corner to make it 1-0 after just 90 seconds.
Kyle Oakley nearly doubled the Mansfield lead a few minutes later, but his wrap around was gobbled up by Gruber with Dillon Benoit waiting on the edge of the crease. Midway through the first, the Hornets did get a second. Freshman Ty Carroll flung a puck from the point that the North goalie didn’t see and it went in off the far post.
Only 15 seconds after the Hornets took a two-goal lead, North had the chance to get on the board with a penalty shot. Sam Clarke tried to beat Hormann on the glove side, but the Mansfield goalie came up with a big stop.
Liam Anastasia came close to making it 3-0 when he sent a knuckling shot towards goal that dipped at the last second and came back off the bar. North was struggling to get much going in the offensive zone (outshot 11-6 in the first) but Nik Kojoian set up Gavin Arabian for a rush down the right side and he forced Hormann into a good blocker save.
North was on its heels for most of the opening 15 minutes but the Rocketeers came out in the second with a different level of energy. Kojoian again was the creator of a good chance a few minutes in when his pass set up Mark Ayvzayan right in front. Hormann made the pad stop, but Ayvzayan also drew a penalty on the play.
The Rocketeers went to work with the extra skater and halved the deficit when Anthony Westcott’s diagonal pass picked out Nick Longa alone at the far post. Hormann somehow got across to get a pad on the first attempt and managed to get a piece of the second shot as well. The puck bounced to the edge of the crease and Brady Sarro was there to knock it into the empty net.
Gruber came up big just a minute later to keep North within one. Oakley got behind the North defense but Gruber closed the pads to deny the first chance and then stayed tall to save the follow-up attempt by Benoit as well. Carroll had a shot from the point that Brayden Purtell tipped in front but Gruber flung out a pad at the last second to keep it out.
North kept pressing. A bad bounce off the end boards gifted Kojoian with a good opportunity but Hormann was in good position to make the save. Sarro was then left wide open in the right wing circle, but his one-timer was gloved by the Hornets netminder.
“I think the speech in the locker room between the periods lit a fire under them and I think they responded and I thought we carried the play in the second,” said North coach Kyle Heagney. “His goaltender played outstanding, stood on his head. We had some chances in the third and we didn’t capitalize on them and Mansfield did.”
It felt like the Rocketeers went into the second intermission with momentum, but it was the Hornets that came out on the front foot. Mansfield held North to just one shot on target through the first 10 minutes of the third period.
Ryan Doherty had a good early look with a snap shot off a face-off, forcing Gruber into a good stop. Four minutes into the third, Mansfield restored its two-goal lead. Declan Foley’s angled pass from the point picked out Oakley all alone at the back post and the senior forward buried his chance to make it 3-1.
As time started to wind down in the third, North started pressing to try and get back into the game. Arabian’s shot from the point was touched inches wide by Sarro in front and Joe Quinn had a nice rush down the left wing but sent a shot (possibly off a defenseman’s stick) narrowly wide of the top corner.
North’s best chance came with four minutes to play. Sarro took advantage of a poorly timed change to break in alone, but Hormann flashed the glove to keep the lead at two. Only 30 seconds later, Mansfield put the game away and picked up a valuable margin of victory bonus. Carroll hit Benoit in stride down the middle and the forward roofed his shot, giving Gruber no chance, to make it 4-1.
“We had a bad a change and it was a legit 3-on-0, so Patrick Gormley owes him 100 percent,” Balazarini joked about the lead up to North’s breakaway opportunity. “I thought we played well in the defensive zone, getting out to the points. We were 3-for-4 in penalty kills, so that’s huge.
Heagney added, “I give Mansfield all the credit in the world. They came out and took it to us, won puck races all over the ice. We were flat and they outplayed us.”
Mansfield (7-9-1) will get a rematch with rival King Philip on Monday in the Songin Cup final, after the Warriors beat Walpole in a shootout. North Attleboro (9-9-1) will face the Rebels in Monday’s consolation game.
Attleboro @ Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk, 5:30
Canton, 5 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final
Oliver Ames, 6 @ Foxboro, 3 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – Oliver Ames raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first period and used that strong start to know off Foxboro. The Warriors cut the deficit in half before the first intermission but OA tacked on a fifth goal to make it 5-2 going into the second. After a scoreless second period, Foxboro senior Steve Bridges scored midway through the third to make it a two-goal game but OA junior Sean McCarthy completed his hat trick moments later to restore the three-goal cushion. Sophomore defenseman Sean Kearns added a pair of goals and an assist and senior Elliot Cohen chipped in with a goal and an assist for the Tigers. Jack Corey notched a pair of assists while Matt Lawson, Jack Perron, and Andrew Poulos each had one assist.
Franklin, 13 @ Mansfield, 5 – Final – Justin Magazu scored four goals and had one assist and Dylan Marchand scored one and had five assists, as the Panthers won a shootout against rival Mansfield that moved them closer to a league title. Magazu scored twice in the first period along with goals by Domenic Lampasona and Christian Shabbick, as Franklin led 4-1 after one. Dillon Benoit (two goals and two assists) had the goal for the Hornets. Franklin added nine goals in the third period. Shabbick scored two to complete his hat trick, Magazu added two more, Ben Paterson scored twice, and Lampasona, Marchand, and Thomas Balducci each scored once. Benoit added his second goal for Mansfield. Matt Tourigney got one in the third and Kyle Oakley added two for the Hornets in the third period. Franklin finished with a 42-20 edge in shots. Cole Pouliot-Porter made seven saves and Joe Toracco made eight stops for the Panthers.
King Philip, 3 @ Taunton, 2 – Final
Canton, 3 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Allie McCabe had a goal and an assist for the Bulldogs to help them pick up an important league win and sweep the season series with the Warriors.
Franklin, 4 @ King Philip, 6 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – King Philip’s Morgan Cunningham scored her fourth and fifth goals of the contest in the third period to help the Warriors win, avenging a loss to Franklin from December and splitting the season series between league rivals. Freshman Catie Putt gave KP the lead in the first period but Franklin freshman Julia Flynn scored her first of her four goals just three minutes later on the power play to make it 1-1 after a period of play. Cunningham and Flynn then put on a show, each scoring a second period hat trick as the teams traded goals to make it 4-4 going into the third. Sophomore Kelly Holmes recorded three assists, Sydney O’Shea added a pair while Putt and Jen Daniels each had one. Lindsay Dennett and Haley Wernig each had an assist for the Panthers.
Canton, 6 @ Sharon, 66 – Final – Seniors Adam Landstein, Ben Shocket, Aaron Cashton, Phil Varvak, Conor Grew, and Khashayar Zafar all had pins throughout the match while a pinfall victory from Ben Grabie clinched the win and the Hockomock League Davenport division title for the Eagles.
Stoughton, 6 @ Foxboro, 42 – Final
Franklin, 12 @ Milford, 57 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this meet. – Milford finished with six pins as a team, including pins in the final three matches of the meet, and rolled to a big win that clinched the outright league title for the second straight season. Aidan Baum kicked things off for the hosts at 106 with a pin a minute into the first period. Mike Boulanger scored a 6-0 win at 113 and then Robby Lyons got a major win at 120, winning 18-1 to add five points for the Hawks. Alex Castro’s 8-2 victory at 126 made it 17-0 and then Joey Testa pinned his opponent in the first period at 132. Franklin’s first points came with a quick pin by Timothy O’Leary, who needed :33 to get six points at 138. Luke Donis got the six right back with a disqualification win at 145. Donis was leading 5-2 in the third period when the match ended. Franklin’s Alex Fracassa had a pin in :35 for this 100th career win to make it 29-9, but Danny Alves added four points for Milford with a 20-7 win at 160. Ryan Donovan added a second-period pin at 170 before Ryan Parlon won 5-0 at 182 for Franklin’s final points of the night. Cam Phillips (195), Hampton Kaye-Kuter (220), and Mike Mastroianni (285) added first-period pins to close out the meet for the Hawks.
North Attleboro, 33 @ Oliver Ames, 34 – Final
King Philip, 39 @ Taunton, 40 – Final – Taunton’s Logan Frank recorded a first round pin to secure the Tigers a key six points, clinching a win over visiting King Philip. Mike Leskoski, Ryan Jones, Xavier Sandoval, Christian Balmain, and Elijah Prophete also won by pin for Taunton while Brandon Mendes recorded a victory via major decision.
Foxboro, 52 @ Canton, 81 – Final
Foxboro, 63 @ Canton, 93 – Final
King Philip, 137.45 @ Franklin, 146.75 – Final
Sharon, 76 @ Oliver Ames, 61 – Final – Sharon scored 22 points in the opening quarter to build a double-digit lead that it never relinquished for its first win over Oliver Ames since 2016. Senior Will Hippler, junior Matt Baur, and sophomores Nate Katznelson and Jacob McLaughlin all connected from three-point range in the opening eight minutes as the Eagles shot nearly 60% from the field to establish a 22-11 lead. Katzneslon, McLaughlin and junior Jack Bates each added a three in the second for the Eagles, who hit seven of their 12 threes in the first half. Baur finished with a team-high 16 points and five rebounds to lead the way for Sharon, who held a 37-25 lead at half and a 55-35 lead going into the fourth quarter. Katznelson added 15 points and eight rebounds, McLaughlin finished with 13 points and five assists, and senior John Baez had eight points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Zach Tagliamonte led OA with a game-high 17 points and five rebounds while senior Drew Baxter and freshman Cole Craffey each had 10 points.
Mansfield, 4 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Mansfield exploded for four goals in the second period to skate away with a league win over Attleboro. Senior Dillon Benoit scored a pair of goals for the second straight game, senior Ryan Doherty added one, and freshman Matt Tourigney scored his first career goal. The Hornets went a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, improving to 9-for-9 on the kill in league games this year.
Canton, 2 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – Canton sophomore Brian Middleton scored the game-winning goal with just over three minutes left in the third period to help the Bulldogs avenge its loss to Franklin from earlier this season, this one in league action.
North Attleboro, 2 @ King Philip, 2 – Final
Taunton, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Sophomore Andrew Livingstone scored twice and junior Brandon Burke recorded 30 saves to help Oliver Ames edge out Taunton. Junior Noah Isleib scored his first career goal while sophomore Jack Corey scored once. Junior Sean McCarthy recorded two assists while junior Jack Perron, sophomores Matt Lawson and Jake Cunningham, and freshman Patrick DeLoughrey each had one assist.
Stoughton vs. Cardinal Spellman, 0 – Final – Four different players lit the lamp as Stoughton skated to a shutout win over Cardinal Spellman. Aidan Obrock, Joe McNulty, Colin Alessi and Sean Farley each scored once for the Black Knights while Chris Andrade posted the shutout in goal.
Canton, 0 vs. Norwood, 3 – Final
Franklin, 2 vs. Dedham, 1 – Final – Franklin picked up its second win over Dedham in the past two weeks, this time with a 2-1 decision in regulation. Julia Flynn and Shaw Downing (from Maggie McCaffrey) scored for the Panthers while Izzy Brown had a great game in net to earn the win.
Stoughton/Sharon, 2 vs. Old Rochester, 8 – Final – Molly Corvino and Zoe Bangs each scored for the Black Knights while Ava Buckley registered an assist on each goal but Stoughton fell to Old Rochester.
Canton, 24 @ Silver Lake, 51 – Final – All four of Canton’s wins on the day were by pinfall, each earning six points but the Bulldogs fell on the road to Silver Lake. Yurii Leskiv (113, 2:14), Max Kupferman (126, 0:34), Cillian Collins (182, 1:52), and Ruairi Ritson (195, 4:28) each won for Canton.
Panther Invitational (Foxboro, King Philip), 10:00 (@ Whitman-Hanson) – King Philip had five finalists and two individual champions to take first place in the Panther Invitational held at Whitman-Hanson. The Warriors had a total of 140.5 points while second place Milton had 131 points. Foxboro had 47 points. Hunter Hastings won all three of his matches by pinfall, including the 195-pound championship with a fall in 1:52 in the championship round. After a bye in the first round, heavyweight Dan Nineve won the semifinal by pin in 1:37 and then took the championship with a pin in 3:24. Sam Debaggis (126), Colby Cloutier (152), and William Conniff (170) each finished second for the Warriors while Lodan Wells (120) took third and Michael Gorman (145) took fourth. Foxboro’s Maxwell Kornbluth (160) and Ryan Addeche (170) finished third while Adam Addeche (120) and Sebastian Zerpa Aguilar (285) finished fourth.
Norton Quad (Mansfield, Taunton) – Taunton senior captain Christian Balmain became just the second wrestler in program history to reach 100 wins and the Tigers went 3-0 on the day at the Norton Quad, beating the host Lancers (50-24), Mansfield (61-15), and Quabbin (72-12). Balmain, who wrestles at 152, earned a forfeit win, a major decision (12-4) over Norton, and a pinfall in 1:20 against Mansfield. Michael Leskoski (106), Xavier Sandoval (138), Ethan Harris (182), Avery Justa (195) also went 3-0 on the day while Ryan Jones (113), Brandon Mendes (126), Anthony Vieira (132), Ben Mandeville (145), John Mandeville (160), Charlie Rabel (170), Peter Ye (220), and Robert Tran (285) each won twice.
St. John’s Prep Super Quad (North Attleboro) – North Attleboro picked up three wins on the day, pinning down victories over Bridgewater-Raynham (42-36), Marblehead/Swampscott (55-24), and Beverly (51-24). Three Rocketeers won all three of their matches with Braxton Ferro (132) and Christopher Galligan (138) each grabbing three pinfalls and Jaad Ismail (170) had two pins and one decision. Tanner Ferguson (120), Tyler Tobias (126), Masen Oyola (145), Benjamin Lodi (160), Greg Berthiaume (182), Austin Dean (195), and Keysun Wise (285) each won twice for North.
Sharon Quad (Sharon) – Sharon picked up three wins at home, beating Belmont (57-24), Concord-Carlisle (48-27), and Catholic Memorial (54-18). Vehnil Rangaraman, Adam Landstein, Cam Birnbaum, Nick Varvak, Aaron Cashton, Philip Varvak, and Cormac Horlbogen all went undefeated for the Eagles on the day.
Sharon, 29 vs. East Bridgewater, 50 – Final – Sharon sophomore Jasmine Davis had a double-double for the second straight night, finishing with 23 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.
Attleboro @ King Philip, 8:00
Franklin, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Mansfield, 8 – Final – After trading goals in the opening period, Mansfield struck four times in the middle period, including two shorthanded tallies, to skate away with a big win over OA. Dillon Benoit scored twice for the Hornets, who went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, while Kyle Oakley, Ryan Doherty, and Will Cameron each scored once. Sophomore Andrew Livingstone scored for OA off an assist from junior Sean McCarthy.
Stoughton, 12 @ Wareham, 1 – Final – Stoughton junior Sean Farley scored a hat trick to lead the way offensively for the Black Knights on the road at Gallo. Aidan Obrock and Cooper Lehmann each added two goals while Colin Alessi, Colby Strunk, Charlie Caputo, Joe McNulty and Anthony DaSousa scored once.
Taunton vs. Somerset-Berkley, 8:00
Stoughton/Sharon vs. West/East Bridgewater, 8:10
Canton @ Oliver Ames, 7:00
Foxboro @ North Attleboro, 7:00
Mansfield, 15 @ King Philip, 63 – Final
Milford @ Taunton, 7:00
Sharon, 60 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
2020-2021 Record: 1-8-0 Coach: Greg Chamberlain
Attleboro had a difficult 2020-21 season, as delays and big breaks early in the season led to three games in three days to close things out. The Bombardiers will be hoping that they can build off that experience and make a push to get back into the postseason mix with several underclassmen stepping in to supplement the returning corps.
The offense has depth to it this season and head coach Greg Chamberlain is expecting a lot of grit and effort in the attacking zone to create scoring chances. Senior Nate Parker will be the leader of the forward line but he will get help from juniors Colin Flynn and Mike Lachance, who have both had two seasons on varsity already. Freshmen Austin Bessette and Nate Conroy have impressed the coaches in the preseason and could be ready to contribute right away.
Defense could be a strong unit this season, as the Bombardiers have decent skaters and decent depth along the blue line. Senior Sean Marshall will be the key to that group, providing on-ice leadership. Sophomore Dane Holske had a good first season on varsity and can help out both in defense and at forward. Senior Nick Piazza is capable of being one of the top netminders in the league and will be back between the pipes for Attleboro this season.
“Biggest thing that is a positive for us is the guys wanna earn some respect and be tough to play against,” said Chamberlain. “We understand what we have but we think our schedule can help us gain some real confidence.”
2020-2021 Record: 11-0-1 Coach: Brian Shuman
The Davenport division has been ruled by Canton, which has won the title every season since the league split. The Bulldogs bring back a lot of returning players to hunt a 12th straight league title and defend the Div. 2 state title that they won back in 2019-20, but for many of the players, this will be their first season with a full slate of games.
Canton is known for its goalscoring, but the Bulldogs typically start from the defensive zone and this year should be no different. Senior Sean Connolly, the reigning league MVP, will be back at the blue line alongside classmate Ryan Doucette. Juniors James Young and Leo Owens should also see plenty of time on the ice with seniors Brennen Pecararo and Jay Kelleher slotting in at defense or at forward. The goalie job is up for grabs coming into the season with a three-way battle going on between senior Aiden French, junior Carson Eagles, and freshman Collin Davis.
As usual, the Bulldogs should be potent in front of the goal this winter. Senior Eamon Kelly, the team’s leading scorer last year, is back for his fourth season on varsity. Seniors Andrew Valkanas, Tommy Phaneuf, Sam Carlino, and Eddie Gillis will all chip in and junior Jeff Chaput could be poised for a big season after scoring 13 points last year.
“Solid team defense is the expectation as always this season, and we ask all positions to be important players all over the ice,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “Our forwards need to be able to shut down opponents and our defense must contribute to our offensive production to have a successful year.”
2020-2021 Record: 4-6-0 Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Just two years removed from one of the best seasons in program history, Foxboro comes into the winter with an experienced squad, featuring nine seniors, to try and make another push for a state tournament berth. Although the Warriors went 4-6 in the shortened 2020-21 season, four of those losses were against Franklin and Canton and the other two were to North Attleboro by a combined three goals, so there is potential for the Warriors to get back to their 2019-20 form.
The forward line should have plenty of firepower this season with the return of seniors Jack Watts, Matt Grace, and Ben Ricketts, who combined for 13 goals in 10 games last year. Fellow forwards Derek Axon and Steven Bridges will give Foxboro good leadership and depth in the forward line. The Warriors also got plenty of scoring from the blue line, with senior Tom Marcucella adding four goals and three assists last winter.
Improvements in the defensive zone (and not playing almost every game against the league’s top-scoring teams) will be expected this season. Marcucella is listed as a defenseman but has the versatility to line up in multiple positions and he will be helped on defense by classmates Dylan Pothier and Brady Callahan. Junior Alex Coviello and sophomore Sully Kenneally are also going to step into bigger roles on the blue line this season.
“I would say all nine of our seniors are going to be major contributors and that’s definitely a first for Foxboro hockey and it’s a good thing!” said Foxboro coach Mark Cedorchuk. “I would say we will be skilled and experienced.”
2020-2021 Record: 10-2-1 Coach: Anthony Sarno
This will be a new-look Franklin team that takes the ice this season, looking to win its 11th straight league title and make a deep run in the postseason. The Panthers graduated 16 seniors from last year’s team and only return seven players with significant varsity experience to try and manage a schedule loaded with some of the best teams in the state.
Senior forward Dylan Marchand is the key returning player in the forward line. The team’s leading scorer last year, the speedy center scored eight goals and nine assists in 13 games. Seniors Justin Magazu and Domenic Lampasona and juniors Ben Jarosz and Ryan Sicchio will also return to add more firepower to the attacking end of the ice. With 14 new players on the roster, there could be a lot of new names on the score sheet this winter.
Defensively, the Panthers will lean on experienced players like seniors Aidan Hunt and Jack MacKinnon to guide the younger players, as they take on the high-end talent that Franklin will face right from the start of the season. In goal, sophomore Cole Pouliot-Porter and freshman Jack O’Connor will both get chances between the pipes.
“I am optimistic with the youth we have and excited to watch us grow together,” said Franklin coach Anthony Sarno. “We will just have to weather the ebbs and flows, try to remain even-keeled, communicate, and trust each other as a team in order for us to grow and move forward as a complete unit.”
2020-2021 Record: 9-1-0 Coach: Paul Carlow
Last season, King Philip won a share of its first league title since 2006, picking up a rare win against rival Franklin in the process. With 12 returning players and a roster that has 16 upperclassmen, the Warriors will try to make more history by winning back-to-back titles for the first time in program history and also put together a run in the state tournament.
There are four players coming back this year that averaged a point per game in 2020-21. Three of those players are forwards. Seniors Shaun Fitzpatrick and Sean Crowther and junior James Boldy, who combined for 15 goals and 22 assists in 10 games last season. Senior Nolan Feyler will be a big boost, as the forward had a strong sophomore season but missed all of last year due to an injury. Senior Kevin Birenbaum is another of the nine seniors on the forward line.
Sophomore defenseman Brad Guden is the fourth Warrior who averaged a point per game last year. He broke into the lineup and scored 10 times and had 10 assists in his first varsity season. Seniors Nolan Jackson and Quin Garstka add leadership and experience at the blue line and sophomore Max Robison returns after an impressive rookie season. Senior Kyle Abbott will be back between the pipes for the Warriors.
“We have a tough schedule this season but we are looking to challenge for another Hockomock League title,” said KP coach Paul Carlow. We have great leadership from our seniors and a good mix of skill and speed with the younger players. I’m really looking forward to working with this group and build on last year’s success.”
2020-2021 Record: 5-6-0 Coach: Mike Balzarini
With its top six forwards all back from last year, there is optimism that Mansfield will consistently put the puck in the back of the net and in turn, challenge for the Kelley-Rex division title.
And another big positive for the Hornets is junior Chris Hormann back between the pipes with a solid amount of varsity experience now under his belt. That combination of experience in the offensive zone and in the crease is what Mansfield is hoping translates to success. The challenge will be getting a new mix of defensemen working together as the Hornets graduated the majority of that unit.
Leading scorer Mark DeGirolamo returns with a lot of varsity experience under his belt, coming off a season with eight goals and five assists. He’s joined by Dillon Benoit (7 goals, 5 assists), Kyle Oakley (2 goals, 5 assists), Doherty (2 goals, 3 assists), Liam Anastasia (6 goals, 5 assists), and Brayden Purtell (4 goals, 2 assists). As the stats suggest, the Hornets have a very even top two lines which means head coach Mike Balzarini can trust both units to get it done.
Looks for the line of Cullen Egan, Cody Gordon, and Connor Davey to provide energy and some offensive punch throughout the season. Balzarini is looking for some new faces to step up on the blue line. A mix of depth pieces are back, and the Hornets have converted some forwards to defensemen looking to solidify that unit. Patrick Gormley, Brendan Flynn, Will Cameron, Ryan DeGirolamo, and Ty Carroll are all in the mix to get some minutes.
“Last season was difficult for everyone so we’re excited for a more normal year,” Balzarini said. “We’re going to be quick and we have multiple lines that can be a factor for us. We’ve seen some success on offense in our scrimmages so scoring should be a strength, these kids are working well together.”
2020-2021 Record: 8-6-0 Coach: Kyle Heagney
North Attleboro returns 14 players from last year’s roster, including two of the league’s top three scorers, and the Rocketeers will be looking to use that experience under first-year coach Kyle Heagney (who formerly coached Norton and was a North assistant the past two seasons) to challenge Canton at the top of the Davenport division and to put together a playoff run.
Although the Rocketeers bring back senior forwards Nik Kojoain and Brady Sarro, who combined for 41 points in 14 games last year, North is a team built on hard work and team effort in the offensive zone, rather than on individual stars. Seniors Sam Clarke and Nick Longa and juniors Joe Quinn and Mark Ayvazyan will provide plenty of help in front of goal and all have plenty of experience at the varsity level.
North graduated only one of its defensemen from last year. Senior Austin Comery will be the leader for North at the blue line and he will be assisted by classmate Anthony Westcott. Sophomore Kyle Gruber is back in goal for North after an impressive debut season, where he was thrown in against some of the league’s top teams, including a first appearance against Canton.
“Our strength is that we are not a team of superstars,” said Heagney. “We are a team of hockey players that will win first in the locker room before the ice. We look forward to the season and having fun. These are memories that will live forever with our players.”
2020-2021 Record: 1-10-0 Coach: Mike Zucarelli
Oliver Ames has been in a rebuilding phase under head coach Mike Zucarelli. The Tigers won just once in the shortened 2020-21 season and head into this winter with a roster loaded with underclassmen. While this may be a difficult season, Zucarelli is excited for the potential on his team and the growth the program is making for the future.
Seniors Cam Tower and Eliot Cohen will be instrumental in shoring things up at the blue line. The two defensemen will need to provide leadership for the younger players and help limit the opposition scoring chances. Junior forwards Sean McCarthy and Jack Perron will hope to improve the team’s scoring punch as well, after OA was held to 10 goals in 11 games last year. Zucarelli is already seeing more confidence and better decision-making in the offensive zone and is hoping the team’s work rate will lead to more chances.
With seven sophomores on the roster, OA will rely on its youth movement to turn things around. After a lot of growth in the offseason (both physically and mentally), Zucarelli thinks that the septet is ready for the challenges of playing varsity hockey day-in, day-out. Winger Andrew Livingstone and center Matt Lawson will add to the team’s production in the offensive zone and defenseman Landon Grothe could be a standout in the defensive end of the ice. Junior Brandon Burke had a solid summer with his club team and will be the starting goalie for the Tigers this winter.
“If we continue to put in the effort I have seen both on and off the ice to start this year, I believe these young men have the opportunity to do something special,” Zuccarelli said.
2020-2021 Record: 0-6-1 Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton had a tough 2020-21 season, as the Tigers were only able to six games, and come into a winter of transition. The roster is going to be very young, with only nine upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) in the program, so there will be a lot of younger players getting their first taste of varsity action and others experiencing a full season for the first time.
The forward line has a lot of speed and the Tigers are going to rely on that energy to try and create scoring chances. Senior Nathan Fernandes is the most experienced forward returning and he will be joined up top by junior Connor McGrath.
Defensively, the Tigers will be an inexperienced group but there is potential and the desire to get better over the course of the season. Senior Ethan Ross will be the leader at the blue line and junior Colton Scheralis can add his experience there as well. Freshman Cameron Tomaszycki will be jumping between the pipes this season to get his first varsity action.
“We are happy to be back for a full year,” said Taunton coach Kris Metea. “Last season was full of delays, pauses, and feelings of frustrations that made for a very long, short, season. The lessons learned from last season has made the players within the program grateful for a return to a more normal season. We will plan to improve every day and be a better, more complete team by the end of the season.”
Stoughton, 54 @ Canton, 59 – Final – Stoughton whittled down a double-digit deficit to just two with under a minute to play but Canton got a big stop and held on for the win. Canton exploded for 21 points out of the gate and took a 35-26 lead into halftime and a 43-36 advantage in the fourth. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the final frame, helping make it a 56-54 game but the Black Knights saw the go-ahead three go in-and-out. Canton sealed it with a defensive rebound and a quick push up court for a quick two from senior Eric Mischler (eight points). Canton senior Will Keefe accounted for half of the Bulldogs’ eight threes, finishing with a career-high 14 points to lead the way. Ryan Connerney (three triples) added 12 points and Steven Burbank scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Stoughton senior Elisha Claude added 10 points, all in the second half, for the Black Knights.
Sharon, 54 @ Foxboro, 53 – Final (OT) – Foxboro sank the game-tying three in the final seconds to force overtime but its look at the game-winner was just off the mark in overtime as Sharon picked up a win on the road to open the season. The Eagles held a 50-47 lead late but Foxboro junior Dylan Gordon hit the tying shot from downtown just before the buzzer to force the extra period. After getting a stop, Sharon senior Kiran Chandrasekaran (career-high 15 points) scored on a tough take to the basket and on the next possession, junior Sam Cohen (career-high 16 points) intercepted a pass and went in for two and that was enough offense for the Eagles, who saw Foxboro’s last second go-ahead shot hit off the back of the iron off a floater in the lane. The Warriors held a slim lead through each of the first (16-14) and second (30-27) quarters before the Eagles tied things up after three (39-39), getting three-pointers from Chandrasekaran and Cohen in third quarter. Will Hippler and Jordan Barboza each hit a big three-pointer in the fourth for the Eagles. Foxboro sophomore Alex Penders dropped a career-high 17 points to lead all scorers.
North Attleboro, 40 @ Oliver Ames, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames outscored the visiting Rocketeers 16-3 in the second quarter to take the lead and the Tigers never trailed the rest of the way, holding off as North Attleboro’s last second chance was just off the mark. Drew Nickla (career-high 15 points) converted a traditional three-point play off an offensive rebound with two minutes left to put the Tigers ahead 39-33 but a three from North’s Brody Rosenberg (10 points) kept the visitors in it. Nickla added a free throw to push it to 40-36 but Casey Poirier answered with a nice take to the basket. Trey Buggs hit a pair of free throws for OA with under a minute to go to make it 42-48 but Jimmy Caraballo answered to cut it back to two. After a missed free throw, the Rocketeers raced the length of the court but their layup attempt just before the buzzer just missed. OA senior Amari Brown shined in the game, tying a career-high with 24 points to lead all scorers. North Attleboro senior George Ladd had a team-high 12 points.
Foxboro, 56 @ Sharon, 19 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from the game. Three players reached double figures to power Foxboro to a season-opening road win. Freshman Erin Foley scored 13 points in her varsity debut and Katelyn Mollica added 13 of her own along with five assists and five steals. Aislinn Servaes chipped in with 12 points and three steals. Foxboro led 11-4 after the first quarter and broke the game wide open with a 19-2 second quarter. After the Warriors took the third quarter 15-4 to extend the lead to 35, Sharon kept battling and had its best quarter in the fourth (11-9). Freshman Rachel Hager led the way for the hosts with eight points, including a pair of threes in the fourth quarter. Foxboro freshman Camryn Collins also impressed in her debut, scoring seven points, dishing out four assists, and recording three steals.
Franklin, 51 @ Milford, 22 – Final – Franklin opened the season with a big win on the road. Olivia Quinn scored a game-high 19 points to pace the Panthers, while Brigid Early and Kayleigh Houlihan each added eight in the win.
Mansfield, 2 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip lit the lamp three times in the second period, including two straight in the final six minutes, to skate to a season-opening win over Mansfield. After a scoreless first period, KP senior Conor Cooke put the Warriors ahead early in the second. Mansfield answered when junior Brayden Purtell found the back of the net. The Warriors struck twice late in the period, Cooke returning the favor to freshman Brad Guden for his first career goal to make it 2-1, and sophomore James Boldy (from Guden and Shea Cunningham) adding another two minutes later for a 3-1 lead. Guden scored his second goal of the game (fourth point) on a feed from David Lawler to make it 4-1. Mansfield’s Dillon Benoit scored with 6:36 left in the game to make it 4-2. KP sophomore Kyle Abbot made 25 saves to earn his first career win in net.
2019-2020 Record: 5-14-1 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Greg Chamberlain
Attleboro struggled down the stretch last season, losing nine of its final 11 games (five of those losses by two goals or fewer) and narrowly missing out on a postseason berth. Former Canton assistant Greg Chamberlain has taken over this season with the goal of making the Bombardiers competitive in the Kelley-Rex division.
Goalie will be a position of strength this year, as Attleboro has three players that can step in between the pipes. Junior Nick Piazza will be the starter after a breakout sophomore year where he made nearly 500 saves. Junior Michael DuTremble and freshman Julien Horton are the other goalies on the roster. In front of Piazza, Attleboro has three solid pairings. Senior Owen Dryjowicz moved from forward to defense late last season and looked comfortable on the blue line. Junior Sean Marshall and senior Zack Pierce are also returning defenders that the Bombardiers are counting on.
Offensively, the Bombardiers will miss the scoring of Ryan Morry, who led the team with 21 points, but with several returning players Attleboro has the potential to put together solid forward lines. Senior Aidan Dryjowicz is the team’s top returning scorer with nine goals and classmate Jake Ward, junior Nate Parker, and freshman winger Dane Holskie have the potential to contribute to the attack this season.
“I think the key to this season,” said Chamberlain, “is that everyone needs to pull their weight. If you look around the league teams that win have three or four lines that they can roll out every night. That is going to be the name of the game for us. Keeping it simple and do your job.”
2019-2020 Record: 21-1-3 2019-2020 Finish: Div. 2 State Co-Champion Coach: Brian Shuman
Although Canton didn’t get the chance to go to the TD Garden to face Lincoln-Sudbury and try to avenge its only loss of the past two seasons, the Bulldogs brought home a second straight Div. 2 state championship. Even for a program with the sustained success of Canton, last year’s senior class had a uniquely impressive record and that class’ graduation leaves a lot of holes that new faces will need to step into.
Last year’s top scorers, Johnny Hagan and Chris Lavoie, combined for 37 goals and 68 points, so it will be tough to reproduce that output. Senior Dylan Coyne will be hoping to make up some of that scoring punch and the Bulldogs will hope junior Eamon Kelly can return from an injury and get back to the form he showed last year.
While the defense was also hit hard by graduation, Canton returns a pair of defensemen that saw considerable time on the blue line last season. Junior Sean Connolly and sophomore Vincent Sica both jumped right into the lineup and looked comfortable competing at the top level, but this year they will also be experienced veterans and leaders in that group. Senior Liam Polles will get the chance to jump in goal this year.
Canton coach Brian Shuman said, “I can say that after the first two weeks, things are certainly different in many ways, but I am confident that we will adapt and adjust like most teams our league to give our players a much-needed physical outlet and important connection to a team.”
2019-2020 Record: 12-5-5 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South Semifinal Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Foxboro has grown by leaps and bounds in recent seasons. Each of the past three years have seen the Warriors set a new standard for the best season in program history, culminating in last winter’s 12 wins and run to the Div. 3 South semifinal.
Depth at the forward line will be a strength this season and Foxboro should be capable of scoring plenty of goals. Senior forward Kirk Leach was second in the Hock last year with 20 goals and he leads an experienced group. Junior Jack Watts had 13 goals and 14 assists last year and is another big, physical forward. Senior Brady Daly will look to add to his nine points from last season and junior Eoin Reager can play multiple positions, including forward, and added 14 points as a sophomore.
The Warriors will obviously miss former Hock MVP Espen Raeger, who was one of the league’s top goalies. Senior Jack Spinney was the backup goalie last year and could step in between the pipes after seeing a few minutes of action as a junior. Junior Dylan Pothier and sophomore Alex Coviello are two of the returning defensemen from last year’s team and both played big roles in the team’s strong performance in the postseason. Eoin Reager can also play in the back line.
“We have a lot of forwards returning, so the depth is there,” said Foxboro coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We also have a lot of skilled defenseman holding the blue line. Looking forward to the season, even though it will look and feel a lot different, I’m just happy for our guys get to play.”
2019-2020 Record: 11-8-4 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal Coach: Anthony Sarno
Head coach Anthony Sarno can’t help but wonder what could have been for this season. Franklin had a strong group of returners back from last year’s squad and Sarno had a schedule filled with top teams from around the state ready to see how his Panthers stacked up to the elite talent. But now Franklin will focus on its 10-game Hockomock schedule with a chance to prove it’s the top team in the league.
Franklin will rely on its senior class to lead the way. The Panthers will be very solid in the back, starting with senior goalie Jack Paterson. After serving in a backup capacity previously, Paterson steps into the starting role but is getting pushed in practice by classmate Gary Mandia. Along the blue line, Franklin has plenty of familiar names with the likes of Joe LeBlanc (nine points), Will Sheehan, Justin Abely, and Pat Dolan — all four are seniors with a good amount of varsity experience.
Offensively, the Panthers have a good variety of attacking options led by last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Dylan Marchand (13 points). Sarno is carrying 20 players and plans to use them all, rolling four lines offensively. JT Dwyer and Declan Lovett are both senior centers and have been strong in the face off circle so far. Sophomore Ben Jarosz should see an expanded role after getting some time last year. Franklin will look to expand on its puck possession after making the switch from a dump-and-chase team.
“We were looking forward to playing against some of the best teams in the state but we’re going to make the most of this opportunity,” Sarno said. “We’re going to give it our all each game. We’ve going to practice as hard as we play in games, the energy the kids have brought has been contagious. We’re treating every game like a playoff game, that’s the type of energy we want to bring to each game.”
2019-2020 Record: 10-6-5 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Paul Carlow
King Philip pushed Franklin to the final week of the regular season in its quest to win a first league title since 2013 (and end the nine-year reign for the Panthers in the Kelley-Rex). The Warriors did get back into the postseason, although again Franklin stood in the way in the preliminary round, and will return 13 players to make another run at that elusive league championship.
Experience on both ends of the ice will be the strength for KP this season, with eight seniors and eight juniors on the roster, including a pair of four-year players. Senior forward Conor Cooke and senior defenseman Rocco Bianculli have been critical players for each of the past three seasons. Bianculli is not only a leader at the blue line, but also one of the league’s top offensive defenders. KP returns three of its top four scorers from last year. In addition to Bianculli, senior Aidan Boulger and junior Nolan Feyler provide the scoring punch on the forward line and are a good mix with Cooke’s physical presence up front. Seniors Paul McDonald and Justin Yatsuhashi add speed and depth.
Defensively, senior David Lawler will join Bianculli on the blue line. More of a defensive-minded player, Lawler adds solidity in his own zone and is counted on to make the right plays under pressure. Seniors Shea Cunningham and Geoff Bowes are also returning defensemen that couple size and experience around their own net. Sophomore Kyle Abbott will take over between the pipes
“As always we are looking to build on last year and compete for the league title,” said KP coach Paul Carlow. “Our team this season has some good experience. We also have some real skill and speed in the younger group.”
2019-2020 Record: 7-8-6 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Mike Balzarini
The Hornets aren’t focusing on how many games are on the schedule but focusing on taking it one game at a game instead. Mansfield brings back a lot of players that picked up varsity experience last season during the team’s postseason run.
Replacing three-year starter Sean McCafferty in goal won’t be easy but head coach Mike Balzarini has praised the work of Chris Hormann, who will be taking over in between the pipes. Balzarini said Hormann learned a lot last season in his backup role, is coming off a stellar fall season and has looked strong so far in practice this year. Captain Jake Quirk will anchor the blue line unit for the Hornets and will be joined by some familiar faces. Senior Joseph Gormley will bring a lot of experience to the defensive group and will be joined by sophomore Patrick Gormley as well as Ben Levine and James Hughes.
Senior captain Cam Page will spearhead the attack for the Hornets this season. Mansfield lost most of its point production to graduation so there will be plenty of opportunities for new faces to take advantage of. Mark DiDiralamo, Kyle Oakley, Dillon Benoit, Ryan Doherty, and Liam Anastasia are all in the mix for the top six for Mansfield.
“It’s a shortened season but we have looked good thus far in practice and in our scrimmage,” Balzarini said. “We’re looking to push the pace this year and play a faster-paced game.”
2019-2020 Record: 7-8-6 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round Coach: Ben McManama
On the ice, it’s been business as usual for the Red Rocketeers, who have a strong returning core ready to make a run at dethroning Canton atop the Davenport division. The biggest challenges for head coach Ben McManama and his squad so far have been adapting to all of the changes off of the ice.
Expectations are high for the Big Red with some familiar names at each position. The most returners come from the offense where the Rocketeers have a handful of forwards back, giving McManama the flexibility to run at least three lines. Senior captain Tyler Sarro will be a leader on and off the ice and will be joined by his brother Brady as the wings on the top line. Nik Kojoian is back after missing almost all of last season and will center the top line. McManama notes his second and third lines are interchangeable, more “2A” and “2B” rather than second and third lines. Juniors Sam Clarke and Nick Longa and sophomores Mark Ayvazyan and Joe Quinn will all be in the mix.
The Rocketeers will have a lot of spots to fill along the blue line after graduating a strong corps of defensemen from last winter. Senior Charlie Connolly and junior Austin Comery are the veterans in the group, entering this season with the most experience. McManama has tabbed junior Anthony Westcott as another option along the blue line while the final spot is up for grabs. Senior James Burtch will take over in net for the Rocketeers while freshman Kyle Gruber is pushing for time.
“The big thing for us this year is being a system team,” McManama said. “We have to be disciplined with our system. We’re really harping on sticking to our system and what we do, and we have to be really disciplined and do our jobs. That’s how we’re going to generate goals and it’s going to be how we stop shots too, it works on both ends. We’ve had great practices, it’s been fun getting the kids back.”
2019-2020 Record: 6-13-2 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Mike Zucarelli
Oliver Ames finished 2019-20 with six wins, but also had four losses by a single goal (all four to teams in the playoffs), so the Tigers were closer to earning a postseason berth under first-year coach Mike Zuccarelli than the final record may indicate. This season, the Tigers return to the Davenport division for the first time since 2016 and with only six returning players there will be opportunities for new faces to step in and contribute right away.
Seniors Ross Carroll and Matt Nigro will provide leadership in the forward line and much-needed experience for a young group. Sophomores Sean McCarthy and Jack Perron both saw action last year and their development will be important for the Tigers to get consistent production from the forward lines.
Defensively, senior Kevin Tremblay and junior Elliot Cohen both grew into bigger roles last year and will be expected to lead the blue line corps this season. Sophomore Brandon Burke will take over in net after backing up Owen Connor last winter. Zuccarelli is also counting on a strong freshman group to come in and provide an instant impact and is excited about the potential for the program going forward.
“Patience and resilience are going to be two major themes this year as we have already experienced,” said Zucarelli. “Our goal is to grow as a team and tackle each challenge we are presented together both on and off the ice. I am confident with our senior leadership, outstanding assistant coaches, and the support we receive from the OA community that we will have a season to remember.”
2019-2020 Record: 4-16-1 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Dan Mark
After an up-and-down first year in a co-op with Brockton, the Black Knights are aiming for an improved 2021 season. After a year away, Stoughton is back in Hockomock League competition and will be vying for the Davenport title.
With just four players gone to graduation, longtime head coach Dan Mark has a veteran squad at his disposal for the upcoming 10-game schedule plus a small postseason planned. The foundation of the team starts between the pipes as the Black Knights have two goalies back with experience. Sophomore Chris Andrade will compete with senior Ryan Spano for the starting job in net.
In front of goal, Mark is leaning on a trio of juniors plus one senior to get the job done. Senior Kenny Young will be joined along the blue line by Josh Greenspoon, Anthony Hern, and Steven Westerlund — all returners from a season ago. Offensively, the Black Knights will turn three-year starters in junior Colin Alessi and Joe McNulty to anchor the offense. They’ll be joined by seniors Kyle Cruickshank, Cade O’Connell, Mike Andrade, and Ryan Flannery to bolster the attack.
“We have a veteran team blended with some younger players and are looking to improve on last year’s record,” Mark said.
2019-2020 Record: 10-11-3 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton is returning a plethora of players from last year’s varsity squad that had double-digit wins and made a trip to the postseason. Now, the Tigers are just hoping to play a complete — albeit shortened — season.
The Tigers got a couple of days on the ice before the school district paused all athletic activities over the winter break. Head coach Kris Metea and his 18 returning players are hoping to resume practice on Monday and get their season back on track. While the break will certainly be a setback for the Tigers, having such an experienced squad will help when Taunton does get back on the ice. Leading the way will be a pair of defensemen: senior captain and Hockomock League All Star Brady Nichols and junior Jack DeMoura, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team selection.
Having reliable options on the blue line will be key as the Tigers sort out the situation between the pipes. Senior Jason Frates, who only has a handful of years of experience at the position, is set to start in net. Offensively, the challenge will be replacing the production from Michael Albert, one of the most productive players in program history. Metea will look to juniors Nathan Fernandes and Loren Corcoran as well as sophomores Colton Scheralis and Connor McGrath to replicate that production. Senior Camden Faria will be a leader of the offensive group
“2020 has been a challenging time and we are hoping that athletics can provide respite for players and families as we enter 2021,” Metea said. “We will take whatever games guidelines allows us to play and be thankful for the opportunity to skate in the presence of friends!”
North Attleboro, 1 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Canton scored five straight goals, netting a pair in each the first and second periods, the skate away with a win over North Attleboro. Seniors Chris Lavoie and Johnny Hagan each scored twice and added a pair of assists to lead the charge for the Bulldogs. Timmy Kelleher also scored while Eamon Kelly and Ronan O’Mahony each had an assist.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Mansfield scored twice in the opening period and never looked back to register a league win over Oliver Ames. Kevin Belanger scored a pair of goals, including one in the first period, and had an assist on another. Chris Jenkins and Dillon Benoit also scored in the win while Joseph Troiano and Patrick Gormley recorded assists.
Stoughton, 0 @ Taunton, 4 – Final – Taunton junior Brady Nichols netted a hat trick for the second straight game to lead the Tigers to a win over Stoughton/Brockton. Dillon Parker also scored in the while, Jack DeMoura and Steve Roderick each had a pair of assists, and Connor McGrath had one helper. Andrew Gomes made 13 saves to record the shutout.
Canton, 0 vs. Duxbury, 0 – Final – Carolyn Durand made 18 saves and recorded her seventh shutout of the season, as the Bulldogs grabbed a hard-earned point against Duxbury.
Franklin, 6 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 5 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – King Philip twice cut into the deficit to make it a one-goal game but the Warriors scored twice in the final minute to pull away with the win. Emma Pereira scored MOA’s first three goals, building a 1-0 lead, pushing it 2-0 early in the second, and extending the advantage to 3-1 early in the third period. KP’s Makenzie Shandley scored twice, making it 2-1 at the end of the second and again to make it 3-2 in the third period. MOA’s Melissa Shanteler scored an empty net goal with 35 seconds left, and freshman Reese Pereira added an insurance goal in the final seconds.
“He gives good energy and we’ve missed that energy guy so far this year…and he brings it,” Shuman said. “I was really happy for him, he’s a hard worker and he deserved that [goal]. He’s been hurt for most of the season so far and we tried to ease him in but that lasted about half a period and we threw him out there in regular shifts.”
After 30 minutes of back-and-forth, up-and-down the ice at the Foxboro Sports Center, neither team had a goal to show for. Both Canton goalie Joe Cammarata (21 saves) and the Bulldog defense along with the Hornet blue line unit and goalie Sean McCafferty (28 saves) had done their part with the game scoreless heading into the final period.
Canton needed just 1:40 to break the deadlock at the beginning of the third period. Junior Donny McNeice won possession behind the net and quickly tossed a pass in front. The puck took a fortunate deflection off of a Hornet stick and fell right to Kelly, who made no doubt about it to put the Dogs up 1-0.
“We showed some promise in the second period towards the end, started to play better,” Shuman said. “I just think for our psyche we had to get a goal early in the third. Some of our guys are trying to score every time they touch the ice and putting a lot of pressure on themselves. They just need to go out there and outwork the other team and the opportunities will come.
“We’ve had to work for all of them, there hasn’t been an easy [game] all year. Credit to Mansfield, they are a good team, Mike does a good job with them. They had four lines going, they brought a lot of energy and they took it to us in the first half of the game. A typical game against Mansfield, they always bring their ‘A’ game and play hard, play tough. That was a good hockey game.”
The remainder of the third played out similar to the first two periods with both teams clogging passing lanes and applying a lot of pressure, making it tough for either team to connect more than a pass or two in a row.
Canton Johnny Hagan had the best chance of the period to double the advantage. The senior forward used his speed to race around a defenseman before cutting back in front of goal, just missing the inside the post.
Mansfield’s best chance at an equalizer came in the final two minutes. Senior Ben Ierardo ripped a shot from the blue line that was saved by Cammarata and covered as a pair of Hornets poked at the loose puck on the doorstep.
And a minute later, with the net empty, Hornet defenseman Jack Gormley rifled a hard shot that was redirected by Jake Lund but it was just over the net.
Canton senior Shane Marshall won a foot race to a loose puck and went in alone and tucked in an empty net goal with 34 seconds to play to secure the win.
“They are very skilled, they work hard, they are well-coached, Brian is a great coach,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini of the Bulldogs. “We knew the task at hand but we had two really good days of practice leading up to the game. We did all the little things right, winning faceoffs especially in the defensive end was huge for us. Overall I thought we played really well.”
While it was during the infancy of the game, a pair of power plays in the opening five minutes might have been the Hornets’ best chances.
Going up a man just over a man, Mansfield’s best chance of the first power play came on a slap shot from senior Joseph Troiano but Cammarata was equal to the task.
Just seconds after killing its first penalty, Canton was whistled for its second trip of the game. Senior Chris Jenkins put a shot on goal with classmate Kevin Bellanger on the doorstep trying to bury the rebound, but the Hornets couldn’t find the back of the net.
Canton went on the power play late in the first period but the first two chances of that stretch went to the Hornets. Lund had a partial breakaway turned aside by Cammarata and Jenkins put his shot over the net after a steal in the neutral zone.
The Bulldogs’ best chance of the first came in the final seconds when junior TJ McCabe centered for senior Tommy Vaughan but his one-timer slid wide.
The middle period featured more chances for each side but nothing past either Cammarata of McCafferty. Belanger gained some space with a nice move but Cammarata saw it the entire way for the glove save.
Midway through the period, Canton’s fourth line produced a great chance with sophomore Sam Carlino linking up with senior Dom Cammarata but his bid was denied. A minute later, senior Jack Connolly had a blast knocked down and gobbled up by McCafferty.
“Our fourth line played great, they turned the tide for us,” Shuman said. “We gave them regular shifts the second half of the game because they earned it. Sam Carlino, Dylan Coyne, and Dom Cammarata…they played great and they deserve credit for helping us grind that one out.
Mansfield sophomore Kyle Oakley had a turn around wrist shot denied with four minutes left in the period and Cammarata had his best stop of the day, denying a wrist shot from Braedon Copparini with his stick on a chance in transition.
“We’ve been struggling the first five minutes of each game so I gave our green line, which is our fourth line [Dillon Benoit, Ryan Doherty, Jake Berdine], the start. And they responded great. We’ve been having trouble setting the tone and they certainly helped us tonight. We had two early power plays early with some good looks but overall I thought we played well.”
Canton boys hockey (2-0 Hockomock, 6-0-2 overall) wrapped up a three-game road trip with the win and returns home on Saturday to begin a three-game home stretch, starting with King Philip. Mansfield (1-1, 3-3-1) is back in action on Thursday at Brown University against Barrington.