Canton and Franklin Skate Away With a Point Apiece

Franklin Boys Hockey
Canton and Franklin boys hockey renewed their rivalry at Metropolis Rink and the rivals battled to a 2-2 tie with all the goals coming in the second period. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Even in the most irregular of seasons, Canton and Franklin’s rivalry on the ice matters.

When the two teams met on Thursday night at the Metropolis Rink, the game had no bearing on either winning yet another league title and neither team was preparing for its typical postseason run. But, regardless of the circumstances, both teams skated a little faster and things were a little more intense because of who was on the opposite bench.

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Five days ago, Franklin battled back to tie the game only for Canton to score a late winner. On Thursday, nothing could separate the two teams. Twice Franklin went in front and twice Canton found the tying goal. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie, with all four goals scored in the second period.

“We were on the phone for hours one night figuring out how to do this in a shortened season,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “I know the kids appreciated it immensely on both teams.

“That’s the best team we’ve faced all season and they’re one of the best teams in the state with their skill and their speed. A lot of our guys have never experienced this rivalry before at this level and I’m really proud of them for how they battled.”

Both teams flew out of the gates and the action was end-to-end. Even if the scoring chances were limited in quantity, there were high quality opportunities for both teams to break the deadlock.

“You’ve kind of got to bring yourself back down a little bit because everybody’s amped up tp play,” said Franklin coach Anthony Sarno.” Our guys have a ton of respect for those guys and those guys have a ton of respect for us, coaches included, and it’s just good hockey all-around.”

He added, “A season without Canton, wouldn’t have been a season.”

The Panthers had a good early chance with a quick breakout. Joe LeBlanc’s outlet pass from the defensive zone hit fellow defender Justin Abely, who redirected it to Dylan Marchand. Canton goalie Liam Polles (23 saves) made the first stop and then was able to get a block on Justin Magazu’s follow up chance on the rebound.

Eddie Gillis forced a pad save from Franklin netminder Gary Mandia (21 saves) with a deflected shot. Sam Carlino nearly created a great opening for Dylan Coyne right in front of goal, but the Franklin defense managed to get a block and then the loose puck slid away from the stick of Leo Owens at the post.

Magazu was able to open a lane for Domenic Lampasono, but Polles stayed strong and was able to stop the close-range chance.

“They’ve got a lot of quick forwards, lot of speed, so we were just trying to step up and play between the dots, take away the bodies and make them dump the puck in,” Sarno explained. “Neutral zone, we weren’t trying to play with it too much, short passes. In this rink, any turnover in the neutral zone and it’s a breakaway and if anyone can exploit that it’s Canton.”

It was a defensive-zone turnover that would lead to the opener. Just 90 seconds after the intermission, a reverse pass caromed off the end boards and right out in front to Aidan Hunt. Polles nearly made a great save. He was able to catch the one-time, but as he was scrambling across goal to get in position he was deep in the crease and he ended up on the wrong side of the goal line.

Momentum from the goal didn’t last long. It only took a minute for the Bulldogs to even things up. Sean Connolly’s shot from the point was parried by Mandia, who somehow saw the puck through the crowd in front. Franklin wasn’t able to clear the rebound, with Andrew Valkanas keeping it alive and getting it back to Connolly at the blue line. The second shot had eyes and snuck through traffic and into the back of the net.

Seconds after Mandia was able to deny Tommy Phaneuf what looked like a sure goal, the visitors regained the lead. Magazu raced down the left wing and flipped a pass across the slot to Marchand at the far circle and his one-timer gave Polles no chance, sneaking inside the post.

This time, the lead lasted seven minutes before Canton again found an equalizer. Valkanas created the chance by teeing up Jeffrey Chaput. Mandia made the blocker save but Valkanas was there for the rebound.

Things tightened up in the third period, as neither team wanted to take a big risk that could lead to a winning goal for their opponents. Mandia was forced into a good save on Phaneuf and Lampasona dug out the rebound, but Canton was noticeably tiring in its second game in as many days.

“We exerted so much energy in the first and second periods and in the third, credit to them, they were flying and still had their legs and we were hanging on,” said Shuman. “Classic Franklin/Canton game. Comes down to the third period and the last minutes and so happy we had a chance to experience it this year.”

Franklin still had its legs and created a couple of chances that could’ve won it. Magazu was a constant thorn in the Canton defense’s side and he somehow split a pair of defensemen at the blue line, drew a third, and laid a pass off to Lampasona, who missed the net from close range.

With five minutes to play, Marchand got free in the zone and fired a shot that Polles stopped at the near post. Marchand stayed with the rebound and set up Magazu right in front, but again the Canton goalie came through with a big save to preserve a point.

“They played hard this year,” Sarno said. “We didn’t know if we were going to have the season, then we were, then we weren’t. Hats off to the boys, they fought through some adversity.”

Canton (9-0-1), which remarkably has lost one game in the past three seasons combined, will close out its league campaign against Oliver Ames and Foxboro. Franklin (10-2-1), which has clinched at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title, closed out its season on Thursday.

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Franklin Bounces Back With Shutout of North Attleboro

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Franklin senior defenseman Justin Abely looks for an opening to shoot during a 4-0 road win against North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Two days after suffering its first loss to King Philip in more than 20 years, and giving up five goals in the process, Franklin coach Anthony Sarno asked for a reaction from his team when they traveled to the New England Sports Village for a non-league matchup with North Attleboro.

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Sarno got his wish, as the Panthers scored inside a minute, doubled the lead in the final minute of the second period, and tacked on two more in the third, while also keeping the Rocketeers off the board, skating away with a 4-0 victory.

“We told them on the bus ride home from that KP loss, you guys got outworked and it’s never going to happen again,” Sarno said. “I give them credit, they stepped up. They played the body, they moved the puck pretty well…all-in-all I thought we bounced back in a positive way.”

The Rocketeers were happy to be back on the ice for something other than a practice. North had a nine-day break between its season-opening win against Oliver Ames and Friday night’s game.

“Our start, you could see that we really haven’t played many games and there was a lot of rust in that first 10 minutes,” said North coach Ben McManama. “Unfortunately, we were in the right position but we kept fumbling pucks and not being sure on our sticks.”

Franklin needed only 55 seconds before breaking the deadlock with what turned out to be the game-winner. Pat Dolan took a shot from the left point that slipped under the pad of North goalie Jimmy Burtchh. As the puck trickled behind Burtch, Ben Jarosz was in the right place to slam the puck across the line.

It was a quick start for the Panthers and they tried to add to the lead. Conor O’Neil had a shot from between the circles saved and then Burtch (27 saves) recovered to stop Domenic Lampasona’s rebound effort. Dylan Marchand flew down the far boards and cut a pass back to Jarosz in front, but his backhander was stopped.

North had a few chances in the first, mostly from stepping up at the blue line and causing turnovers as Franklin tried to exit its zone. The best chance came with nine minutes left in the first, when Nik Kojoian picked off an outlet pass to give Tyler Sarro a good look at goal, but Franklin goalie Gary Mandia (17 saves) got his blocker to it.

Although Franklin would hold a significant edge in shots on goal (31-17 for the game), the Panthers didn’t feel like they had the game totally in control. Burtch came up with a pad stop on a Declan Lovett one-timer early in the second, but North had a couple chances to try and even things up.

Kojoian forced another turnover and this time set up Brady Sarro for a chance, but Mandia stopped the slap shot. A minute later, Gavin Arabian had a shot from the point that knuckled on its way to goal, but was casually blockered aside by Mandia.

O’Neil had a snap shot on the turn gloved and then Justin Abely broke up a North shorthanded rush and quickly turned it into a break the other way. Justin Magazu picked out Jarosz, but again Burtch showed a quick glove to keep the deficit at one.

“He did a good job,” McManama said of Burtch. “We didn’t do the little things to help him out. I thought our ‘D’ zone was okay, but we were giving too many odd-man rushes and the neutral zone we didn’t do a very good job with.”

With less than a minute remaining in the second, North was unable to clear its zone and Franklin turned it into a second goal. Sean Connelly with a perfect cross-ice pass to Lovett, who took a touch to settle the puck before sniping the far corner.

The momentum appeared to carry over into the third period because the Panthers came out flying and looking to put the game away. Jarosz nearly turned provider, setting up Ryan Sicchio right in front but the goalie was able to cover.

Sarno said, “When we’re at our best, we’re focused, we’re locked in, and our forecheck is working and we’re forcing teams back into their own net. We need to learn how to control our shots and our shot selection and location needs to be better.”

The Panthers dominated the opening four minutes of the period until a major penalty gave North life.

Anthony Westcott had North’s first shot of the third after more than five minutes and it sparked the Rocketeers into a little flurry that nearly produced a goal. Mandia came up with a couple big stops as North tried to cram the puck in at the post and then Charlie Connolly got free in the right circle and smashed a shot off the post and out.

A penalty against North would cut the power play short by two minutes and the hosts missed a golden opportunity to get back into the game.

“It was a good opportunity for us,” explained McManama. “I think they came with a lot of pressure and we weren’t used to it. We do it, but we’re not used to teams pressuring us in-zone as we’re breaking out. We’ve just got to practice that and be sure that we’re ready to go against an aggressive penalty kill.”

Franklin turned on the pressure again and put the game out of reach. Connelly was positioned perfectly to redirect Lovett’s shot from the point to make it 3-0 with 5:14 to play. Three minutes later, the Panthers nearly had a highlight-reel goal after a nice passing sequence between Jarosz, Siccio, and JT Dwyer only for Burtch to somehow get his heel on the backhand shot.

The Panthers only needed to wait 30 seconds longer to tack on a fourth. Magazu drove into the zone and flicked a pass to Marchand, who opened his body up and went high to the blocker side and into the side of the net.

Sarno said, “I think that kill gave us a lot of confidence and more momentum and from there it was just, okay we got this and let’s play good hockey now.”

Franklin (4-1) will host Taunton, in the season opener for the Tigers, on Wednesday. North Attleboro (1-1) will be back in action on Monday with a trip to division rival Canton.

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Franklin Blanked By Bishops In South Semifinals

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Franklin senior goalie Ray Ivers makes a save on a shot from Archbishop Williams’ Alex Umbro in the second period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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BOURNE, Mass. – The Franklin boys hockey team had a sizable advantage in shots on goal, chances in the offensive end, and time in the attacking zone, but the Panthers walked away from Gallo Ice Arena with nothing to show for it.

Despite outplaying the 14th-seeded Bishops of Archbishop Williams for most of the game, the Panthers came up empty-handed. Archies scored a pair of power play goals and added a shorthanded one to skate to a 3-0 decision over the 10th-seeded Panthers.

“The seedings, you can throw them away,” said Franklin head coach Anthony Sarno. The D1 South Semifinals featured 9, 10, 12, and 14 seeds. “It’s about who comes to play, who wants it more. You’ve got to be on the right side of the puck and tonight, we had our chances we just couldn’t put it away. I thought we carried a lot of the play in the first and second periods, we just couldn’t put on behind the goalie.

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“You can’t put your finger on one single thing, but it just wasn’t our night. I told the seniors, don’t hang your heads. We tried to do the best we could tonight, we just didn’t have it tonight. But it’s a great group of boys and they worked hard from start to finish.”

Franklin peppered the Bishops’ net with 30 shots, plus a handful of good bids that went just wide or high, and at least a dozen chances blocked down by the Archies defense, but couldn’t solve sophomore goalie Nick Buccella.

What looked like a good opportunity to start the game ended up being a big boost for the Bishops. Franklin went on the power play just 1:09 into the game on a cross-checking call. The Panthers kept the puck in the offensive zone for the first 30 seconds before a shot from the blue line was blocked.

Archies junior John Riley quickly pounced on the puck that he just blocked and raced into the attacking zone with Franklin’s Declan Lovett going stride for stride with him. Riley unleashed a shot that was turned aside by Ray Ivers but Riley batted in the rebound to give the Bishops a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

“In all honesty, I felt like we were on our heels the whole first period,” said Archbishop Williams head coach Derackk Curtis. “We got that lucky bounce and John Riley worked his ass off on that first goal, we’ve been working on that banging in the rebounds. Franklin had the momentum, they were on us a lot and we weathered the storm. I thought it kind of evened out after that. [Franklin] is a good team, they are a hard-working group but my team worked hard too.”

“We knew they were aggressive on their penalty kill,” Sarno said. “From that point on, we were chasing them. You have to tip your hat to Archies, they played hard. They kept picking up our sticks, they were playing through our sticks, they were pesky. And we didn’t make the most of our power plays either. We weren’t moving it quick enough knowing they’d be aggressive. “

The Panthers still had time left with the man advantage and nearly tied the game when Kyle Hedvig redirected a shot from Will Sheehan but Buccella squeezed the pads to prevent the puck from going five-hole.

Franklin spent the majority of the period in the offensive zone but didn’t have a ton of quality chances to show for it. Archies nearly doubled its advantage late in the period in a similar fashion to its first goal as Christian Koylion blocked a shot at the blue line and raced into the offensive zone but Franklin defenseman Paddy Dolan recovered well and swept the puck clear.

Dylan Marchand’s battle in front helped draw a penalty on Archies with 10:39 left in the second period, giving Franklin its second man-advantage chance of the game. But Franklin had just one quality bid when Colin Hedvig blasted a shot that was saved and Kyle Hedvig’s rebound chance was stuffed.

The chances continued throughout the second, as Kevin O’Rielly settled a puck for a shot from Justin Abely that was saved. Minutes later, Domenic Lampasona connected with CJ Jette, but his shot from close was misfired. And the best opportunity came with just under five minutes to go as Colin Hedvig intercepted a clearance and rifled a shot that was off the iron and stayed out.

“We were just snakebitten, it seemed like everything we threw at the net he was there,” Sarno said. “We had plenty of chances, it just wasn’t our night. You can have 30 or 40 shots on net and sometimes it’s just not your net.”

Archies went on the power play with 2:08 in the period on a trip call, and a second tripping penalty 1:15 later gave the Bishops a 5-on-3 chance for 45 seconds. The Bishops made the most of the chance as Ivers denied a pair of shots in close but Archies sophomore Jackson Sylvester lifted the third chance over the sprawled out goalie to make it 2-0 with 28.2 seconds left in the middle period.

Starting the third period with the power play, Archies needed just eight seconds to tack on an important insurance goal. Thomas Page rifled a shot after striding over the blue line that went under the bar for a 3-0 lead.

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Franklin pushed to get on the board but was unable to find the back of the net. Marchand and Colin Hedvig linked up but the latter couldn’t lift his backhand past Buccella. With nine minutes to go, Conor O’Neil blasted a high shot that Buccella had to fight off, and seconds later, Sean Connelly blasted a shot with O’Neil screening in front but it was saved.

Even with just under two minutes to go, the Panthers had a perfect play with Connelly finding Lovett in front for a one-timer but Buccella was in the perfect position and made the pad stop to preserve the shutout.

Franklin boys hockey finishes the season at 11-8-4.