Canton Avenges Loss to KP, On Brink of League Title

Canton girls hockey
Canton players celebrate a goal during a 5-1 victory at King Philip that puts the Bulldogs on the brink of a second straight Hock title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Canton has developed a well-earned reputation for being a team that finds ways to win big games. The Bulldogs focus on the defensive zone, get the puck deep and forecheck, and take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them. Saturday evening’s league title showdown with King Philip at the Foxboro Sports Center was another example.

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Even after falling behind inside the opening two minutes of the game, Canton never looked flustered. The Bulldogs went 3-for-3 on the power play, got three goals from defensemen, made timely saves to prevent KP from getting momentum, and skated to a 5-1 win that puts them just two points from clinching their third league title in four years and becoming the first Hock team to repeat as champion.

As if winning the title wasn’t enough motivation, the Bulldogs were also playing with head coach Dennis Aldrich in mind.

“They realized that they had an opportunity and I think they’re really motivated by Coach Aldrich,” said Canton assistant Nick Maffeo. “I think it means a lot to them that he’s watching from the hospital and that he’s pulling for them. They really believed in themselves and that was huge for us.”

He added, “That’s their goal in this shortened season, this crazy season, to try and capture the Hockomock League. It’s important to them, especially for the seniors.”

Just like in the first meeting between the teams, the Warriors got off to the perfect start. Freshman Kelly Holmes split a pair of defenders and drove to the net. Carolyn Durand (15 saves) made the initial stop but the rebound popped out to Jen Daniels on the post and she knocked it in for a lead just 1:44 into the game.

Unlike the first meeting, KP was not able to sustain that momentum past the opening few minutes.

“In their barn, we were flying the whole game, we were chasing pucks, were first on pucks, won one-on-one battles,” said KP coach Ken Assad. “Today was nothing like that except the first one or two minutes and I just don’t know why it’s not consistent.”

A power play sparked the Bulldogs into life. Maya Battista camped out on the edge of the right circle and she fired a wrister in off the post to tie the game. It was only Canton’s second shot on goal in the opening eight minutes.

Canton closed the first period with a flurry of chances. Lizzie Tassinari’s outlet pass sprung Maria Femia to drive at the KP goal, but Mallory Johnston (23 saves) kept her pads down to make the stop. Ellie Bohane’s pass across the crease nearly created a second goal, but Audrey Koen’s tip went just wide.

KP nearly regained the lead a minute into the second. Daniels went one-on-one with Canton defender Kylie Martone and forced Durand into a good pad save.

Again it was a penalty that would stall the KP energy and put Canton in front for the first time. This time it was Allie McCabe that popped up with the goal, as she eased in from the blue line, taking the space that the KP defense was giving up, and fired a wrist shot through a crowd and inside the post.

“I think our defense has been a strength for years and years and this is something we’ve worked on all season,” Maffeo explained. “Our defense is committed to offensive zone, neutral zone, and defensive zone and we work on that and practice that and they have confidence in that.”

Sydney O’Shea was one of KP’s best outlets on offense and she forced Durand into another good stop, but Canton was taking control of the game and doubled its lead with 6:59 left in the period. Battista’s shot from the point was kicked aside, but Canton kept the puck in the zone and it cycled around to Koen in the left circle. She turned and fired and found the back of the net to make it 3-1.

The game could have been put away in the second. Canton outshot the Warriors 15-7 in the period and dominated zone time. Johnston came through with a pair of point-blank saves to deny Tassinari on the doorstep and then McCabe saw a shot come back off the post.

“The depth they have is incredible,” said Assad. “You have to match line-for-line with them and we tried. A team like that, once you score a goal you’ve got to stay on them, keep pressuring them.”

Even with Canton controlling play, KP had a couple of chances to make it a one-goal game. In the final seconds of the period, Avari Maxwell got free for a one-timer inside the left circle that seemed destined for the back of the net only for Durand to get across with her blocker. Fifteen seconds into the third, Katarina Precobb fired a pass from the near boards out in front to Morgan Cunningham but she was unable to get a clean shot off and Durand covered.

“It was there and I thought it was a goal but she came out of nowhere with that pad,” said Assad about Maxwell’s chance. “I thought that would’ve been great being down one going into the third. We had a great talk between periods, they came out and did exactly what we wanted to do, went after the net, and it just didn’t happen.”

Those misses would be costly. Just 32 seconds into the third, Battista whipped a shot in from the left point that somehow eluded the bodies in front and snuck past Johnston to make it 4-1.

Canton is a tough team to play against when they have a lead late in the game. The Bulldogs spent long stretches in the attacking zone. Although they weren’t creating a lot of chances, they were keeping the Warriors pinned back.

Maffeo said, “Because of our commitment to the defensive style of play, once we can get some offense generated then we can play the game we’re most comfortable with, all of our forwards back-checking and supporting our D.”

KP did have a couple of opportunities to maybe get back into the game. Holmes and Daniels forced a double save out of Durand with 10 minutes remaining. A minute later, O’Shea drove at the goal from a tight angle and tried to stuff in a backhand, but again had no way past the Canton netminder.

With 1:18 to go, on another power play, Tassinari wrapped up the win for the visitors. She spun on the puck in the high slot and ripped a shot past Johnston’s outstretched pad to make it 5-1.

Canton (7-1, 5-1) will take on Mansfield/Oliver Ames twice in the next two days needing a point to clinch at least a share of the league title. King Philip (4-3-1, 3-2-1) will face Stoughton/Sharon and root for the Warriors to trip Canton up.

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Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/11/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Mansfield, 0 @ Canton, 2 – FinalSophomore Vincent Sica and junior Eamon Kelly each scored as the Bulldogs skated to a non-league win over Mansfield. Sica scored in the first and Kelly doubled the lead with a goal in the second.

Oliver Ames @ Foxboro – Postponed to TBD.

King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 6 – FinalFranklin scored three times in each half to pick up a key two points in the Kelley-Rex division title race. CJ Jette scored the opening two goals, the first assisted by Justin Magazu and Dom Lampasona, and the second by Patrick Dolan and Will Sheehan. Magazu then scored just before the end of the half on an assist from Justin Abely. Ben Jarosz (JT Dwyer), Declan Lovett (Dylan Marchand), and Ryan Sicchio (Aiden Hunt, Christian Shabbick) scored second half goals for Franklin while Jack Paterson made 27 saves in net.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 8 @ Stoughton/Sharon, 1 – FinalLizzie Tassinari scored three time to power Canton to its third straight win to open the season. Tess Khoury and Ellie Bohane both scored twice and Payton McDonough added one for the Bulldogs. Jillian Parker had the lone goal for the Black Knights, assisted by Ava Buckley.

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 vs. Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final

Swimming (Virtual Meets)
Mansfield vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 3:30
Mansfield vs. Plymouth, 3:30

Canton Shuts Out Title Rival Franklin in Season Opener

Canton girls hockey
Canton sophomore Audrey Koen (17) scored a pair of goals to lead the Bulldogs to a season-opening win against Franklin. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – So much about this season is unfamiliar and out of place, but with its return to the new and improved Metropolis Rink (aka Ponky) Canton found something recognizable. It was a lot brighter (and considerably warmer) than its previous incarnation but the Bulldogs looked right at home in Wednesday night’s season opener.

Audrey Koen scored twice and Carolyn Durand made 12 saves to record a shutout, as defending Div. 2 state co-champ Canton beat rival Franklin 4-0 to kick off its league title defense.

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Franklin started quicker. The Panthers tested Durand early, forcing her into three saves in the opening minutes. Lindsay Atkinson had the best chance for the visitors after a shot from the point bounced to her on the edge of the crease but Durand stayed with it to make the stop.

“Our big thing was making sure we had a good start and I think we did that but as the game went on we may have gotten a little away from our position,” said Franklin assistant Mike Lubin, who was in charge in the absence of head coach Margie Burke. “For us having a few girls out and it being the first game, I thought we played excellent. I think we’ll definitely build on it.”

It took Canton seven minutes to get its first shot on target, as sophomore Maya Battista forced Gabby Colace into a glove save. Battista went almost all of last season before scoring her first career goal, but she was Canton’s best offensive threat in the first period, recording five of the team’s seven shots on goal.

“I thought she was going to be better, but she’s been awesome, the confidence she’s been playing with” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said of Battista. “My personality is that I’m a defensive coach, but I’ve got to let the horses run a little bit and we’ve got to talk about picking our spots. She was incredible.”

With 4:35 left in the first, the Bulldogs got a power play opportunity that seemed to flip the momentum of the game. Although Canton wouldn’t find the back of the net, the ice started to tilt towards Colace.

Payton McDonough set up Battista in the slot for a good chance then McDonough got a stick on a blast from Allie McCabe that Colace tipped aside. Koen drove to the net and left the puck for Ellie Rae Roberts but Stephanie Bell was able to clear off the line. Roberts teed up Battista for a drive from the point that Colace (28 saves) was able to stay with through a crowd.

“I told the girls the first five minutes are going to be crazy and don’t get too high or too low,” said Aldrich. “They just grind and you’ve just got to withstand and then hopefully our legs will take over. You don’t have to score on the power play, you just have to turn the momentum a little bit. We’ve been working on it and I thought we got some good looks.”

The momentum carried into the second, which was dominated by the home team. Canton outshot the Panthers 14-2 in the period. Another power play early in the second sparked the Bulldogs into life. Battista’s cross-ice pass to Maria Femia forced a pad stop from Colace and then McDonough went cross-ice to Battista, drawing another good stop.

Colace continued to impress, stopping McDonough on a breakaway after the forward snuck behind the defense.

“Gabby always comes up big,” said Lubin. “She’s just a rock and such a calming presence for everyone. It’s just nice to know she’s back there and always competing.”

The pressure finally paid off with 5:10 left in the period. Tess Khoury’s initial shot was saved and the rebound led to a scrum in front of goal. Lizzie Tassinari managed to knock in the loose puck for what turned out to be the game-winner. One minute and one second later, Koen picked off a pass and was free in the slot, ripping a wrister to the blocker side for a 2-0 advantage.

Aldrich noted that the Bulldogs are missing 30 goals from last season, after standout freshman Olivia Maffeo transferred, and he is counting on a team effort to make up the difference. He said, “Last year Audrey worked so hard and I think she got half her goal output tonight that she had all last year and that’s what we’re expecting. I need six [players] to get five [goals] and I think that’s the mentality.”

Franklin bounced back in the third period and created a few chances to try and get back into the game. Nina Iannuzzi set up Atkinson in front but Durand stayed with the tip. Ashley Puleo would later force a blocker stop from the Canton goalie and Maggie McCaffrey weaved her way through traffic and found Atkinson at the post but Durand was in the right spot to make the save.

By then Canton had put the game away. Again, the Bulldogs struck twice in a short span, this time two goals in 41 seconds.

Ellie Bohane got free in the left circle and her wrist shot was blocked down by Colace but right to the stick of Koen, who smashed in the rebound. McCabe would tack on one more with a shot from the point that went through a crowd in front and snuck inside the post.

It was a convincing win to start the season, but Aldrich knows there are a lot of challenges to overcome for the Bulldogs to claim another league crown. He chuckled, “We’re carrying this target. I’m good friends with all of those coaches but I know they want to beat me every time they see me.”

Canton (1-0) and Canton (0-1) will meet again on Saturday afternoon at Pirelli Arena.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Goalies Shine as Oliver Ames and Canton End Scoreless

Oliver Ames field hockey
OA goalie Peyton Phillips makes a sliding save to stop Canton’s Maria Femia on a breakaway at the end of the first half. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Not all scoreless ties are the same. Sometimes, offenses are limited and it becomes a midfield stalemate. Other times, there are chances galore and at the final whistle you are left wondering how it was possible no one found the back of the net.

Sunday morning’s game at Muscato Stadium was definitely the latter.

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In a battle for first place in the Davenport division, Oliver Ames and Canton finished 0-0 thanks in large part to the stellar play of the two goalies, Canton’s Riley O’Connor and OA’s Peyton Phillips, and two resilient defenses making critical last-ditch stops.

“It was kind of the battle of the goalies,” said Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor. “They both did such a great job. I thought my defense played a great game today, unfortunately we just weren’t able to put it in the net. I’m not unhappy, it was a good battle back and forth.”

The goalies wasted no time in making their presences known, as the first quarter was end-to-end and featured chance after chance for both teams.

OA jumped out to a quick start, using its speed to cause problems for the Canton back line. Just two minutes in, Georgia Costello teed up Haley Gilman right in front of goal but O’Connor made the stop. Less than a minute later, Emily Han made a strong play to stop the Bulldogs from breaking and then turned it into a break for Costello, who was denied again by O’Connor’s pads.

A minute later and the visitors had their first great chance. Ellie Bohane got behind the OA defense and was clean through on goal only for Phillips to stop not only the first shot but also the rebound. Julia Maclaine then picked out Lexi Gennis on the doorstep but O’Connor read the tip and kicked it to safety.

Canton had two good chances in the final two minutes of the quarter. First, great stick work by Maria Femia sent Meghan LaBelle on a breakaway that Phillips stopped and then Bohane sent Erin Lane clear of the defense only for the goalie to stand tall again.

“She just started playing goalie last year,” Lawrence said of Phillips, who is in her first year as the starter. “She’s really come alive this year and she’s been amazing. She’s got the size, intensity, and athleticism, and that’s built her confidence this season. She’s showing it now.”

Everyone took a much-needed breath during the first break and things settled down for the first half of the second quarter before a flurry of chances to close out the half.

Sofia Anestam showed off her skills, dancing around a pair of Canton defenders before forcing a save out of O’Connor. Two minutes later, Costello slipped a pass through to Anestam on the break but again the goalie was equal to it.

In the closing seconds of the first half, Canton had another break. Lizzie Tassinari started it with a steal in the defensive zone and an accurate outlet pass down the wing to LaBelle, who in turn slid a pass to spring Femia clean through on goal. Phillips aggressively came out and made a sliding block to prevent the goal.

“I’m going to cringe watching those again,” said O’Connor about the chances missed in the first half. “We definitely had those chances, but it’s how to capitalize without putting it right at the goalie’s pads.”

Femia injured her ankle on that play and Canton’s leading scorer was forced to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.

It would have been difficult to follow up that action after the break and chances were harder to come by in the second half. Most of the third and fourth quarters was played in the OA attacking third with the Tigers pressing for the go-ahead score but thwarted by the trio of Allie Gefteas, Carly Fitzgerald, and Tassinari.

“I really felt like Lizzie had probably her best game of the season,” O’Connor said. “You know, these big games is where you see who is ready to really play and she clearly was.”

When OA did get through, O’Connor was still there to make the save. Maggie Woods pushed forward three minutes before the end of the third and her diagonal pass just missed the stick of Maclaine at the back post.

In the final seconds of the quarter, Han again started a break for the Tigers with a pass to Erin Cottam, who was able to hit Costello wide open a few yards from goal. O’Connor was well-positioned and managed to get a foot to the shot, denying another great chance for the hosts.

“Not only her skill but her intensity and her mental toughness, she won’t give up on anything,” Lawrence said of Han, who missed the bulk of 2019 with a broken leg. “She’s the mental anchor back there. Abbey Boyce too, she’s so fast, she’s a very smart player. The two of them are very dynamic.”

Without Femia up top, Canton was finding it hard to sustain attacks and OA continued to press in the final 15 minutes. Woods again found space and fired a pass across the face of goal, but Fitzgerald cleared at the far post. With a minute to play Cottam got free in the middle and forced yet another save out of O’Connor, who made sure the game stayed tied to the end.

“Just keep playing your game and it’s going to fall, it’s going to fall,” said Lawrence about the message to the team in the fourth quarter. “Erin and Georgia kind of alternate the top spot but I put both of them in towards the end because they’re so fast and scrappy around the net. They had the great combination that the goalie got a toe on.”

Oliver Ames (6-0-2) will take on Stoughton this week knowing that two wins will earn the Tigers a Davenport title in their first year back in the division. Canton (6-1-1) is one point behind OA entering the final week and will take on Foxboro hoping to catch the Tigers and win back-to-back league titles.

“We’re not taking Stoughton lightly,” said Lawrence. “We’ve got two games left. We’ll come out tomorrow and have a good practice and finish strong.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/20/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalAttleboro scored very early in the game but Mansfield answered with a goal in the fourth quarter as the Bombardiers and Hornets split the points in a 1-1 tie. Madison Ellis gave the visitors in the lead just three minutes into the contest but Mansfield’s Stori Rounds found the back of the net in the fourth quarter to bring the Hornets level.

Canton, 4 @ North Attleboro, 0 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – Ellie Bohane scored a pair of goals in the first three minutes of the second half to break open a two-goal game and help Canton remain perfect on the season. Bohane’s first came on a rebound after North goalie Hannah Bachand (14 saves) stopped a Maria Femia breakaway. Bohane added a second when she stole and outlet pass and drove across the face of goal. Femia opened the scoring for Canton with a first quarter goal and Samantha Vrabel doubled the lead with her first varsity goal in the second quarter.

Stoughton, 2 @ Foxboro, 6 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game.Foxboro scored twice in each the second and fourth quarters to pull away from an upset-minded Stoughton squad. Sophomore Dylan Rappoli scoed a hat trick for the Warriors, including the opening goal of the game. Stoughton equalized to knot the score 1-1 after a quarter of play. But freshman Mary Collins and Rappoli scored back-to-back goals in the second to give Foxboro a 3-1 edge at the halftime break. Kate Collins, Rappoli, and Mya Waryas added second half goals in the win.

Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – FinalFranklin celebrated Senior Night with a shutout win over visiting Taunton. Holding a 1-0 lead through two quarters of play, the Panthers scored twice in a one-minute span in the third quarter to pull away from the Tigers. Kaitlyn Carney scored an unassisted goal in the second quarter and then tacked on a big insurance goal in the third quarter. Stephanie Bell (from Sara Carney) scored just over eight minutes into the third to make it 2-0. Neilee Hess made eight saves in net for the shutout.

Milford, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – FinalKing Philip raced out to a 3-0 lead by halftime and never looked back in a win at home over Milford. Senior captain Abby Nixon scored the first two goals of the game while junior Margo Riley added a third for the Warriors. Senior Paige Bergos (from captain Grace Crocker) and freshman Kelly Holmes (first career goal) scored in the second half for KP. Senior goalie Maddie Paradis (three saves) earned her first shutout in her first career start. Milford goalie Madison Hunt (23 saves) and Olyvia Whyte had strong games for the Hawks.

Sharon, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final










Golf
Attleboro, 182 @ Mansfield, 152 – FinalMansfield got back into the win column with a victory at home over visiting Attleboro. Nate Morreale was the match medalist, shooting a low-round of 36 to pace the Hornets. Ryan Dow added a 37, Joseph Gormley shot a 39, and Ryan Doherty carded a 40. Brendan Raymond led the Bombardiers with a team-low round of 42.

North Attleboro, 159 @ Canton, 146 – FinalCanton junior Will Gefteas fired a one-over round of 35 to pace the Bulldogs to a key division win at home over visiting North Attleboro. Thomas Singleton, Owen Donovan, and Andrew Middleton all shot 37 in the win. North Attleboro’s Sam Gallagher had a team-low round of 37, Jordan Paradis added a 39, Jake Gaskin carded a 41, and Dillon Harding finish with a 42.

Franklin, 161 @ Taunton, 198 – FinalFranklin went on the road and picked up a win over Taunton at Segregansett Country Club. Jack Paterson and Nolan Norton led the way for the Panthers, each carding a low-round of 39. Sean Connelly added a 41 and CJ Steel chipped in with a 42 for Franklin. Spencer Andrews had a team-low round of 44 for the Tigers.

Milford, 178 @ King Philip, 168 – Final

Stoughton, 185 @ Foxboro, 152 – Final

Boys Cross Country
Mansfield @ Attleboro, 3:45

North Attleboro, 24 @ Canton, 31 – Final

Foxboro @ Stoughton, 3:45

King Philip @ Milford, 3:45

Oliver Ames @ Sharon, 3:45

Franklin, 27 @ Taunton, 28 – FinalFranklin had five of the top nine runners, edging out a one-point win over host Taunton. Nicholas Calitri was the race’s winner, clocking in with a first-place time of 16:55. Declan Walmsley secured key points for the Panthers with a fourth-place finish (17:29). Griffin Sieczkiewicz (6th – 17:37), Josh Anderson (7th – 17:38), and Clancy Golden (9th – 18:07) rounded out Franklin’s scoring.

Girls Cross Country
Mansfield @ Attleboro, 3:45

North Attleboro, 24 @ Canton, 31 – Final

Foxboro @ Stoughton, 3:45

King Philip, 28 @ Milford, 28 – FinalThe teams were tied at 28-28 through five scorers but King Philip won the tiebreaker with its sixth runner coming in before the Hawks’ sixth runner to give the Warriors the win. Milford’s Emma Lawrence won her third consecutive race, clocking in at 20:01 on her home course. Sophomore Sydney Kalil was second at 20:55 but KP had the next three runners, plus seventh and ninth overall.

Oliver Ames @ Sharon, 3:45

Franklin, 19 @ Taunton, 42 – FinalFranklin took the top three spots on its way to a win on the road at Taunton. Senior Angelina Perez crossed the finish line at 21:10 to win the race while freshman Angelina Batla was right behind (21:13) to take second overall. Senior Sydney Hawkins took third place for the Panthers (21:26). Taunton senior Lily Valcovic (21:45) was the top runner for the Tigers, taking fourth overall, while eighth grader Colby Dunham (22:04) was fifth overall.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/08/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
Oliver Ames, 5 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames built a 3-0 lead by halftime and tacked on two more in the final quarter to earn a sweep over the Rocketeers. Sophomore Hector Bucio opened the scoring in the 10th minute as OA held a 1-0 advantage through one quarter. Senior Matthew Nikiciuk needed less than a minute into the second quarter to double the lead and junior Mathias Taylor made it 3-0 in the 23rd minute of the game. Nikiciuk scored twice more in the fourth quarter in the 69th minute and the 77th minute to complete his first career hat trick. Senior Colin Milliken notched three assists while Anthony DaCosta had one helper.

Field Hockey
Stoughton, 0 @ Canton, 5 – FinalCanton senior Maria Femia scored a pair of goals as the Bulldogs swept the season series against the Black Knights. After scoring a hat trick earlier this week against Stoughton, Femia found the back of the net twice in Canton’s home opener. Meghan LaBelle, Ellie Bohane, and Erin Lane each added a goal for Canton.

Sharon, 0 @ Foxboro, 7 – Final

Milford 0 @ Franklin, 13 – FinalFranklin recorded its second straight big win, opening its home schedule with a victory over visiting Milford. Senior Amanda Lewandowski and junior Kaitlyn Carney each scored four goals in the win for Franklin, who built a 6-0 lead by halftime. Sara Carney added three assists while Lindsey Morse, Stephanie Bell, Jill Fenerty, Shaw Downing, and Grace Bonacci each scored once.

Mansfield, 1 @ King Philip, 5 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

North Attleboro, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – FinalOliver Ames scored once in each quarter to secure its second straight win over North Attleboro. Julia Maclaine opened the scoring for the Tigers in the first quarter off an assist by Haley Gilman. Freshman Erin Cottam opened her account with her first varsity goal in the second quarter and then scored an insurance goal in the fourth on an assist from Lexi Gennis. Georgia Costello scored in the third quarter for OA with Maggie Woods recording the assist. OA head coach Sharon Lawrence noted the strong performance from Woods (in the midfield) and Emily Han (defensively). Julia Puccio scored for the Rocketeers while Hannah Bachand made 14 saves in net.










Golf
Canton, 146 @ Stoughton, 163 – FinalCanton junior fired a two-under par round of 34 to earn match medalist honors and lead the Bulldogs to a win on the road at Easton Country Club. Owen Donovan and Mike Leonetti were each one-over at 37 while Will Gefteas, Conor Hunter, and Nate MacDonald each shot 38 for the day. Stoughton’s Anthony Hern had a team-low round of 38, Max Huminik added a 40, Jake Curtis finished at 42 for the day, and Jonah Hochberg shot a 43.

King Philip, 179 @ Mansfield, 159 – FinalThe Hornets moved to 4-0 on the season with their second win over King Philip this week. Senior Jason See was the match medalist, leading Mansfield with a match-best score of 38. Nate Morreale was right behind with a 39 while Brian See (41) and Ava Haggis (42) also scored for the Hornets.

North Attleboro, 165 @ Oliver Ames, 159 – FinalOliver Ames junior Carter Allbritton birdied the sixth hole at Pine Oaks, finishing with a low round of 38 to earn match medalist honors and lead the Tigers to a 4-0 start. Senior James Walsh and freshman Sean Kearns each shot 40 for the Tigers while senior Will Gianni, junior Jake Kaplan, and sophomore Daniel Paul all came into the clubhouse with a 41 for OA.

Sharon, 175 @ Foxboro, 163 – FinalFoxboro’s Dylan Quinn carded a round of 37 on the front nine at the Cape Club of Sharon, earning match medalist honors and helping the Warriors to a win on the road over Sharon. Jack Rounds added a 40 for Foxboro while Dylan Pothier and Luke Dave each shot a 43. Sharon’s Eric Carter and Nathan Daley both shot a 43 for the Eagles while Rosie Leonard added a round of 44.

Canton Beats Norwell and Heads Back to Title Game

Canton girls hockey
Canton players celebrate after a 3-1 win against Norwell that sends the Bulldogs to the D2 state title game at the TD Garden. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BRIGHTON, Mass. – For the third time in four seasons, Canton will have the chance to play for the Div. 2 state championship at the TD Garden.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Three different Bulldogs scored in Sunday night’s state semifinal against Norwell at the Warrior Ice Arena and Canton’s defense put in a strong display of how to block shots and clear the middle of the zone. The Bulldogs skated away with a 3-1 victory and they will now face top seed Wellesley in next week’s title game.

“It’s awesome,” said junior forward Lizzie Tassinari, whose second period goal turned out to be the game-winner. “You kind of feel like a celebrity when you’re out there and you see your whole entire school and everyone you know out there cheering you on. It’s the best feeling ever.”

Norwell proved to be a tough out, with its speed through the neutral zone causing problems for Canton early in the game. Allie McCabe had to be quick to backtrack and prevent Margaret Leivi from getting off a shot on a break just a minute into the game and Carolyn Durand stayed tall to stop the loose puck at the near post.

Canton started to get some luck in the offensive zone through its aggressive forecheck. Ellie Rae Roberts nearly teed up Maria Femia for a chance in the slot, but they couldn’t connect. Olivia Maffeo got the first shot on target for the Bulldogs with a trademark rush through three zones and a wrister that was blocked aside by Norwell goalie Nicole Prescott.

It was a freshman defenseman that put Canton in front, but surprisingly it wasn’t Maffeo (who was coming off a four-goal game in the quarterfinal). Her Junior Eagles teammate Maya Battista, who moved up from Texas this year, sent in a shot from the point that fooled Prescott and snuck under the bar.

“Maya has been playing so well,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “She’s just a steady, stay-at-home defenseman. She scored in our very first scrimmage and I thought, we’ve got someone who’s going to score a lot for us, but she hasn’t scored again until now. What a big goal, so I’m so happy for her.”

The lead lasted six minutes before the Clippers found an equalizer. Casey Messina had her first shot saved by Durand (20 saves) but she stuck with the play and managed to squeeze the rebound across the line to make it 1-1.

Norwell carried the momentum into the second period and started with a flurry of chances that Durand and the Canton defense repelled. McCabe, Maffeo, Battista, and seniors Meg Aldrich and Alexa Maffeo were putting their bodies in front of as many shots as possible to kill off a pair of Norwell power plays.

“The amount of blocked shots tonight was incredible,” said Aldrich. “Every time I looked up, we were in a shooting lane. That’s kids who are putting the team and the game ahead of themselves because that hurts.”

Just four seconds into their own power play, and on their first shot of the period, the Bulldogs regained the lead. McCabe showed off her skating ability to gain the zone down the left wing. She threw a puck towards goal and it was picked up by Tassinari, who flung a backhand at Prescott. It was only partially saved and the puck trickled over the line.

“She kind of fumbled it a little, so I kind of saw the opportunity to take the puck and I shot it kind of blindly just to get shots on net,” Tassinari said. “We both saw it turning, her kind of leaning backwards and couldn’t grab it, and it was just trickling in and across the line.”

The goal seemed to energize the Bulldogs, who finished the second period with several chances. Ellie Bohane did well behind the net and put a shot on goal and the loose rebound was snapped on goal by Caroline Tourgee, forcing a pad stop from the goalie.

Leading by one heading into the third period, Canton upped the pressure on its forecheck and remained aggressive in the offensive zone.

“Everything we do, get the puck deep and establish the forecheck and just kind of remember everything we do every single day and tire them out,” Tassinari said about the discussion ahead of the third period. “Just never give up really.”

Aldrich explained, “We knew how we wanted to attack them and got away from that a little bit, so we went in the third period to more of a 2-3 because we were getting caught deep and giving up too many odd-man rushes. It wasn’t like they didn’t have chances, but I like the flow of the third period much better than the first two.”

Audrey Koen forced a pad save after dragging the puck away from the boards and then Tassinari hit Tess Khoury with a nice cross-ice pass but Khoury’s one-timer was skewed wide.

Norwell had a great chance to try and tie the game. Casey Ward raced into the zone and cut across the slot from right-to-left. As a Canton defender slipped, Ward suddenly had acres of space to wind up, but Durand was in the right position to make a smart pad save.

The missed opportunity proved to be costly for the Clippers. With six minutes remaining, Olivia Maffeo put the game away. She weaved her way through the neutral zone and into the right face-off circle. She showed great patience to pick her spot, lifting a shot up over Prescott’s glove hand and just under the bar.

“She’s pretty good huh?” Aldrich asked with a smile. “It’s fun to have a kid like that because it just brings everybody up. She’s the first one in line for drills. She has to win, has to be first, and it’s just contagious in that locker room. The whole attitude in there is different having her around.”

Canton (19-1-4) will face the two-time defending state champions Wellesley at the TD Garden. It is a rematch of the 2018 final that the Raiders won and last year’s first round game, also won by the Raiders.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Maffeo Nets Four and Secures Canton a Spot in Semis

Canton Girls Hockey
Canton freshman Olivia Maffeo scored four goals in the D2 quarterfinal to lift the Bulldogs past Ursuline Academy. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BRIGHTON, Mass. – Up in the rafters at the Warrior Ice Arena hang the numbers of some of the top players in Boston Bruins history, including Bobby Orr’s famous No. 4. Down on the ice, Canton’s wunderkind was showing that it never gets old to see a defenseman who can skate circles around an opponent and be as effective in the attacking zone as any forward.

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Ursuline Academy had no answer for freshman Olivia Maffeo in Wednesday night’s Div. 2 quarterfinal in Brighton. She scored four times to eclipse the 30-goal mark for her rookie campaign and to power Canton to a 5-0 victory that puts the Bulldogs in the state semifinal for the third time in the last four years.

“It’s awesome,” said senior defenseman Alexa Maffeo about her sister’s goal-scoring heroics. “It’s hard to go to the net sometimes because you just want to watch whatever move she does. It definitely helps having a star like that.”

Maffeo’s classmate Carolyn Durand was also impressive in the win, recording 17 saves for her 14th shutout the season. The freshman class, including defenseman Maya Battista and forwards Audrey Koen and Ellie Bohane, has been instrumental in Canton’s success this season even as the team makes another run at a TD Garden trip.

“They don’t play like freshmen,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich when asked if he was surprised about the continued success of the younger players. “Maya is one of Liv’s teammates on the Junior Eagles and they’re as composed as you get. I’ve seen Carolyn have 14 shutouts this season. They’re playing well.”

While youth has been at the forefront for Canton this season, there is experience in the lineup, particularly seniors Meg Aldrich and Maffeo in the defensive corps. They have both been in the mix for the Bulldogs in each of their recent playoff runs and are key to shoring up things in the Canton zone.

“We’re definitely a defense-based team, so having two captains back there we can motivate the girls from the back,” Maffeo explained. “We know that offense comes from defense. We can be there to support them, even if they make mistakes we’ll be back there.”

There wasn’t a lot of offense in the opening period, as both teams looked to get the puck in deep and send the forecheck to try and force turnovers. The first chance came after two minutes when Durand gloved aside a shot by Tess Marchi that went off Alexa Maffeo’s glove on its way to goal. Olivia Maffeo had Canton’s first look with a trademark rush from her own zone and a slap shot from the high slot that Ursuline goalie Lucy Reardon saved.

Tess Khoury showed off her stick skills to dance through a pair of Ursuline defenders, gain the zone, and then force a pad save with a wrister from near the blue line. Maffeo almost got her first with a rip from the right circle that just caught Reardon’s shoulder and stayed out.

The game remained scoreless heading into the final minute of the period. Maffeo collected the puck on the left boards, dragged it between a pair of Ursuline players, beat a third into the middle, and then roofed a shot from the slot while falling down to give Canton a spectacular lead.

Canton wasn’t creating a lot of offense with its forecheck, but was causing Ursuline problems with getting the puck out of the zone. Early in the second that led to a pair of chances, the first from Lizzie Tassinari and the second from Alexa Maffeo. A couple of minutes later, Maffeo hit Maria Femia with an outlet pass down the right wing and her centering pass to Tassinari was tipped just wide.

Ursuline nearly evened the score when Marchi led a 3-on-2 breakout, but her shot was right into the chest of Durand. Tassinari connected with Femia, who managed to wriggle free of a pair of Ursuline players for a breakaway but Reardon came up with a big stop.

Olivia Maffeo got back into the act, as she dragged the puck past a pair of players and forced a blocker stop from Reardon.

In the final minute of the second, Canton not only doubled, but tripled its lead. On a power play, Khoury went circle-to-circle to find Maffeo in space and she buried the chance through the save attempt of the goalie. Just 27 seconds later, Maffeo followed up a loose puck and picked a corner to make it 3-0.

Aldrich said, “They played with a lot of energy the first five [minutes] but I think because we were able to roll three lines and five ‘D’ and the first two periods we had three goals and I think it was from wearing them down a little bit.”

It only took 1:05 into the third for the win to be wrapped up. Maffeo again raced up the ice and got space in the right circle before firing a shot through the goaltender. Durand made seven stops in the third to preserve the shutout, including a nice pad stop on a shot through a screen.

Payton McDonough’s pressure forced a turnover that gave Faith Nelson a chance that hit Reardon and the post on its way by. With 2:03 to play, Canton got a fifth. Koen’s snap shot smacked off the end boards and came right to Khoury, who showed great patience before lifting a shot over the sprawling goalie.

“We’d certainly like to see some other people get some pucks behind some goalies but as long as they’re going in I think these guys are okay,” said Aldrich.

Maffeo credits her years of experience for making things easier when it gets to this stage. She said, “My first year, freshman year, definitely I was nervous and I think playing with those nerves helped me, but moving forward having been here two times already I feel comfortable on this ice. I feel set in my position, I know what to do, I know how to win games of this caliber.”

Canton (18-1-4) will play the winner of Norwell and Notre Dame Academy in the state semifinal on Sunday back at the Warrior Ice Arena at a time to be determined.

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Canton Starts Playoff Run With Win Against Norwood

Canton girls hockey
Canton freshman Olivia Maffeo scored the game-winning goal in Saturday’s D2 first round game, her fourth goal in two games against Norwood. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Canton had allowed only 15 goals in 21 games coming into Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 first round game against Norwood, including a shutout of the Mustangs in the regular season. So, it came as a little bit of a shock when Norwood took advantage of a huge deflection to tie the game at 1-1 in the first period.

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The goal gave Norwood momentum that carried into the second period, but the Bulldogs managed to hold out and regained control, scoring once in each period and pulling out a 3-1 victory at the Canton Ice House and advancing to the quarterfinal round.

“For the last part of the period, they really came at us,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “We talked beforehand that no matter who scored first it was going to be a battle.”

Olivia Maffeo, who scored a hat trick in the regular season meeting between the teams, had the first good chance for the hosts with a long rush up ice and a shot from the slot that forced a save. Fellow freshman Audrey Koen followed up, but that was also stopped by Norwood goalie Jenna Mazzola.

Three minutes later, the same combo created the opening for the first goal. Maffeo had the first effort that was stopped and Koen forced a pad save from in close. The puck popped out to Caroline Tourgee and she slipped a shot under the goalie and it trickled across the line.

Lizzie Tassinari also had a good look for the Bulldogs in the first when her shot from the left wing was gloved by Mazzola.

Canton freshman goalie Carolyn Durand had only had to make one save to that point, but Marissa Cataldo took advantage of a loose pass to get free in the slot. Her shot hit the back of a Canton defender and took a horrible ricochet that left Durand stranded and the net gaping.

Maffeo nearly had the perfect response when she smashed a shot off the post 20 seconds later, but the Mustangs finished the first with energy and came out of the locker room with a flurry of chances.

Durand responded exactly as the Bulldogs would have hoped. The freshman goalie stood strong to deny Maeve Glavin’s drive to the net and then made stops on a pair of shots from Erinn Wagner.

Aldrich said, “Carolyn, as a freshman, her mental toughness that’s the thing I was really worried about especially playing with a team that’s had success in the past and knowing that she’s basically it. Not only has she handled it well but she’s embraced it and she’s been very confident.”

Tourgee had a good chance for her second of the game, but it was blocked at the post by the Norwood defense. Maffeo forced a blocker save with another strong wrister and then Meg Aldrich tested Mazzola with a shot through the screen of Ellie Bohane. Maria Femia teed up Tess Khoury for a look in front, but again the goalie was up to the test.

The breakthrough came on the power play and it was Maffeo that provided the dagger. As she raced up ice and just as she was gaining the zone, Maffeo let loose with a rocket of a slap shot that picked the top corner.

“They were trying to take Olivia out,” said Aldrich about Norwood’s approach to Canton’s leading scorer. “It’s not too often you see a defenseman get shadowed like that early on but I think they realized it probably wasn’t going to work too well for them.”

Five minutes into the third period, Canton doubled its lead on the power play. Khoury controlled the puck on the near boards and she picked out Tassinari alone in the slot. She took a touch before ripping a wrister, while being knocked down, that made it 3-1 and put the Bulldogs in a more comfortable position.

“I was waiting for another squirter too,” said Aldrich about leading by just a single goal. “I told them I didn’t think they’d get one more but I knew they weren’t getting two more so if we got one then we’d be all set. I wanted them to have the confidence that we’re not in trouble here.”

The Bulldogs hadn’t played in 10 days between the end of the regular season and the playoff opener. Aldrich admitted, “We had to shake some of the rust off. We had some uncharacteristic things, lost a couple of marks there, but hopefully we’ll fix that going forward. The first game of the tournament is really hard to win, especially when you’ve played the team before.”

Canton (17-1-4) will face No. 6 seed Ursuline Academy in the Div. 2 quarterfinal. At the time of writing, the date, time, and location had not been determined.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/27/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 60 @ Bishop Feehan, 61 – Final

Canton, 39 @ Foxboro, 58 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Franklin, 68 vs. Charlestown, 59 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.Franklin used a 14-6 run over the final 3:34 of the third quarter to create a double-digit lead and made enough plays down the stretch to earn the win in the first round of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament held at Bridgewater-Raynham. Senior Steven Karayan scored eight of his team-high 18 points during that run, hitting a pair of three-pointers. Senior Brayden Sullivan also drained a pair of threes in that stretch, finishing with a career-high 11 points. Senior Chris Edgehill helped the Panthers take a lead after one quarter (21-14) and kept his side in the game by halftime (down 36-35) by scoring 14 of his 16 points in the first half. Jack Rudolph (nine points) had a key three in the fourth quarter and Thomas Gasbarro scored five of his seven points in the final frame. Franklin will play host B-R in the final of the tournament on Sunday at 7:00.

Mansfield, 75 vs. BC High, 52 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.Mansfield hit 10 three-point field goals and shot over 50% from the floor while playing strong defense to secure a convincing win over visiting BC High. The Hornets scored 20 points in each of the first two quarters to build a 40-28 lead at halftime. Despite not hitting a three-pointer in the third, Mansfield added six points to its lead by holding the Eagles to just 10 points in the third quarter. Mansfield sank five threes in the final quarter, including two in a row from Jason See early on, to run away with the win. Senior Sam Stevens shined on the offensive end, pouring in 28 points on 67% shooting from the field, while hauling in eight rebounds. Juniors TJ Guy (six rebounds, three assists) and Matt Boen (eight rebounds, six assists, three steals) each had 13 points for Mansfield and junior Cincere Gill (eight points) played well off the bench in the win.

Oliver Ames, 76 vs. Classical (R.I.), 71 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.Oliver Ames and Classical High (RI) went back and forth, battling in what was mostly a one-possession game for the entire second half before the Tigers made just enough plays down the stretch to get the win. Beyond OA’s early five-point lead in the first minute of the third, and it’s four-point lead in the final minute of the game, the team’s weren’t more than three points apart for 14 of the 16 second half minutes. The Tigers made their run in the final four minutes of the game with Ryan Burkett (16 points, 10 rebounds) coming up with a handful of plays that changed the game. His bucket on a feed from Owen Friel gave OA a 62-61 lead, and he scored again to push the advantage to 64-61. Classical cut it to one but junior Amari Brown (career-high 24 points, five assists) sliced through the lane for two then sank a three with 2:24 left to put OA up 69-63. Classical answered with five straight and got a stop on another OA shot but Burkett flew in and converted a putback with a minute to go to keep OA up, 71-68. Burkett intercepted a pass on the defensive end, leading to a free throw from Drew Nickla to make it a four-point game. OA senior Jay Spillane (career-high 25 points) iced the game with a pair of free throws while Burkett added two more off an inbounds play after Classical hit a late three.

Taunton, 69 vs. Brighton, 47 – FinalTaunton junior Tyler Stewart and sophomore Trent Santos each scored nine points in the second quarter, helping the Tigers turn a six-point lead after eight minutes into a 39-21 advantage by halftime. Stewart finished with a career-high 23 points, scoring eight more in the second half, while Santos had 14 total points in the win. Sophomore Tristan Herry got Taunton off to a good start with eight points in the opening quarter, including one of the Tigers’ two three-pointers in the game. Junior Josh Lopes added 13 points in the win for Taunton, who will take on host Durfee in the Skip Karam Final on Saturday at 6:30.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 37 @ Bishop Feehan, 67 – FinalThe Bombardiers trailed by just six at the end of the first quarter but the Shamrocks pulled away in the second, building a 19-point advantage by halftime. Nyah Thomas scored 18 points in the exclusion game loss.

King Philip, 65 @ North Attleboro, 56 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Mansfield, 52 vs. Newtown (Conn.), 65 – FinalMansfield fell behind 20-4 in the opening quarter against the visitors from Connecticut and were never able to recover. Ashley Santos was the top scorer for the Hornets with 13, while Kayla Vine added nine and Abby Wager had seven. Mansfield will face Fontbonne in the consolation round of the holiday tournament.

Oliver Ames, 44 vs. Walpole, 48 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Stoughton, 25 vs. @ Rockland, 55 – FinalJunior Mackenzie Manning was the leading scorer for the Black Knights with eight points. The Black Knights will take on Hanover on Monday at 1:00 in the consolation game of the Rockland Holiday Tournament.

Taunton, 68 vs. Durfee, 43 – FinalThe Tigers bounced back with a big win against Durfee. Kameron St. Pierre continued her strong rookie season with a game-high 20 points and Sonya Fernandez added 12 for Taunton.

Boys Hockey
Franklin, 3 vs. LaSalle Academy (PA), 2 – Final (OT)Franklin junior Joey LeBlanc deposited the game-winner in overtime to help the Panthers upend LaSalla Academy. For MIAA purposes, the game goes down as a 2-2 tie but for the Mount St. Charles Holiday Faceoff, the game went into overtime. LeBlanc’s winner means Franklin will take on host Mount Saint Charles at 8:00 on Saturday night. Franklin took the lead in the first on a goal from Shea Hurley on an assist from Dylan Marchand but LaSalle scored twice in the second to take the lead. Tommy Tasker brought the Panthers level on a goal midway through the third on an assist from Sean Connolly.

North Attleboro, 2 vs. Moses Brown (RI), 1 – Final

Foxboro, 3 vs. Barrington (RI), 2 – Final (SO)

Girls Hockey
Canton, 4 vs. Medfield/Norton, 1 – FinalCanton exploded for three goals in the opening period, adding a fourth in the second to skate away with a win over Medfield. Maria Femia (assist), Ellie Bohane, and Tess Khoury (assist) each scored in the first to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 advantage. Freshman Olivia Maffeo netted one in the fourth to give the hosts a 4-0 lead.

Wrestling
Lowell Tournament (Canton, Franklin, Stoughton, Taunton), 9:00
Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames, Sharon), 10:00
Framingham Tournament (King Philip, Milford), 10:00

Girls Gymnastics
Franklin, 132.7 @ Taunton, 128.65 – FinalSophomores Kate Rudolph (34.2) and Caroline Woelfel (32.25) took first and second, respectively, in the All Around as the Panthers picked up a win over Taunton. Rudolph was first for Franklin in the vault, bars, and floor while Lexi Lupien earned a first place finish in the beam. Woelfel took second in both the vault and floor while taking third in the bars.

Results: Vault – Kate Rudolph 9.0, Caroline Woelfel 8.75, Maddie McGuire 8.65, Lexi Lupien 8.4; Bars – K. Rudolph 8.3, Emma Nelson 8.1, C. Woelfel 7.3, M. McGuire 7.1; Beam – L. Lupien 8.5, E. Nelson 8.4, Olivia Reagan 8.2, K. Rudolph 8.1; Floor – K. Rudolph 8.8, C. Woelfel 8.6, L. Lupien 8.3, E. Nelson 8.2.

Oliver Ames @ Taunton, 7:00