Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Hockomock League All Stars
Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Carolyn Durand, Canton
Allie McCabe, Canton
Maya Battista, Canton
Gabby Colace, Franklin
Amanda Lewandoski, Franklin
Libby Carter, Franklin
Lindsay Atkinson, Franklin
Avari Maxwell, King Philip
Sydney O’Shea, King Philip
Jen Daniels, King Philip
Morgan Cunningham, King Philip
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Reese Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Melissa Shanteler, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Haley Nelson, Stoughton/Sharon
Morgan Lessa, Stoughton/Sharon
Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Every game in the Hockomock League is a grind. Games are tight, chances are at a premium, and sometimes it takes the right bounces or the puck ending up on the right stick at the right time to find the back of the net.
Twice in Wednesday night’s game at the Foxboro Sports Center, the puck bounced to the stick of sophomore Lindsay Atkinson and she buried a pair of rebounds to lift Franklin to a 2-1 victory against Mansfield/Oliver Ames in what was another even matchup between these two teams.
Following the game, both coaches talked about how happy they were to be back on the ice. Franklin had not played since Jan. 23 and had been off the ice for a week and was without its assistant coaches due to COVID protocols. MOA was missing four players on Wednesday and hadn’t played since Jan. 18.
“It’s been a very interesting year,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke. “We’re a small league and we all know each other and we’ve all been around for a long time. We can all appreciate everyone’s situation and we all get it.”
MOA coach Roy Bain added, “Everyone in the Hockomock League has been in this boat at one point or another. At the end of the day, we played a hockey game tonight at a time when a lot of people thought they wouldn’t. Everyone that plays wins this season.”
As is usually the case when these teams square off, scoring chances were few an far between at the start of the game.
Midway through the first, Franklin had its first nice passing exchange in the offensive zone. Katie Leblanc played it ahead to Avery Greco who fed it on to Dana Stott, but MOA goalie Jess Widdop (12 saves) was at her post to make the save.
The best chance of the first period fell to Ciera Doherty, as the Warriors forward pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone and flew towards goal. Her first shot was saved and Sammy Ledin’s rebound effort was blocked in front before Colace covered up.
Stott had an early chance in the second period but Widdop kept the pads down to block the close-range effort. Atkinson nearly got on the board with a shorthanded break, but Emma Pereira chased her down and got a solid stick in the way of the shot.
Molly Hurley drew a save with a wrister from the circle and Shanteler had another try from just inside the blue line, as both teams started to be more aggressive getting pucks to the net. MOA came the closest to sneaking a shot through when Emma Garland wrist shot struck the inside of the post and somehow slid along the goal line but not across it.
The Warriors would get a golden opportunity with 3:19 left in the period when a second Franklin penalty gave them 1:34 of five-on-three. The Panthers held firm, not allowing a shot on target while down two skaters. Two minutes later, they grabbed the lead.
Katelyn Brown got behind the MOA defense for a breakaway, but Widdop stood tall to get a shoulder on the shot. The puck caromed off the goalie’s pads then her glove and kicked out to Atkinson who flicked a backhand shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The lead lasted six minutes into the third period. Reese Pereira, who was the source of the bulk of MOA’s attacking threat, entered the zone with speed, cut inside the right wing circle and fired a shot off Colace and in at the near post, tying the game at 1-1.
“Reese Pereira set the tone with the first shift and didn’t stop,” Bain said. “She played half of the game with no letdown. That’s the best game I’ve ever seen her play. She busted her butt tonight and did it for her teammates.”
Emma Pereira forced Colace into a save with a shot from the blue line and seconds later Atkinson had a shot blocked aside by Widdop. Reese Pereira set up Doherty for a chance in front that was blocked and the puck bounced right back to Pereira but Colace covered the post to keep the rebound out.
“Sometimes, in some situations, I’m very comfortable with that because I’m very confident we’re going to finish and win,” Burke said about trying to grind out a close win, “but tonight with a team like Mansfield/OA going into the third period up 1-0 and that’s nerve-wracking. Our league is so competitive, you never know.”
With 2:31 to play, Franklin snagged the winner. Good pressure in the zone forced Widdop into a save and a scramble right on the edge of the crease. On the third attempt, the puck bounced to Atkinson and she lifted a shot over the prone goalie, putting the Panthers in front.
There was still time for one more chance and unsurprisingly for MOA it fell to Reese Pereira. On a two-on-one, she got the puck on her forehand in the left circle and fired a shot that looked headed for the back of the net only for Colace to flash a quick glove and preserve the win.
“Huge save,” Burke raved. “Gabby is a great goalie. We all know that, she’s done it for years.”
Bain said, “Any of the games in the Hockomock League can go either way and it didn’t go our way tonight. The girls didn’t quit and we just didn’t get a couple bounces and they did.”
Franklin (4-3) will be back on the ice next week for two games against Stoughton/Sharon. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (3-2-1) will have another nine-day break before facing Bishop Feehan.
Taunton, 10 @ Franklin, 59 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Panthers continue to roll through the first three weeks of the season, completing the sweep of Taunton with a strong defensive performance and with 12 players getting on the scoresheet. Franklin jumped out to a 15-3 lead after one quarter, but things got tighter in the second as the Panthers were held to just eight points. Things picked up offensively for the hosts after the break, as they scored 20 points in the third and 36 for the second half. Taunton was held to just three made field goals for the game (one in the first, third, and fourth quarters). Olivia Quinn led the way with 13 points in the win, including eight in the second half and three made three-pointers. Franklin continues to showcase its depth. Elizabeth Wilson had eight points, Kaleigh Houlihan added seven, and Katie Peterson and Brigid Earley both had six. Jaelyn Fernandez paced the Tigers with four points (all from the line in the second quarter).
Canton, 56 @ Mansfield, 65 – Final – In a back-and-forth battle, Mansfield scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to pull out the non-league victory. The Hornets led 27-21 at halftime, but the Bulldogs came storming back with a 21-point third quarter to take a one-point lead into the final eight minutes. Kayla Vine scored 18 points, Ashley Santos had 15, and Abby Wager added 13 to hand Canton its first loss of the season. Ally Prentis also had a pair of big threes in the first half to put Mansfield in front. Sydney Gallery scored a game-high 22 points and Kiara Cerruti chipped in with 16 for the Bulldogs.
Franklin @ Taunton – Postponed to TBD.
Franklin, 7 vs. Boston Latin, 0 – Final – Franklin senior Amanda Lewandowski scored a hat trick as the Panthers skated to a win over BLA. Junior Maggie McCaffrey added a pair of goals while Molly Hurley and Libby Carter (two assists) each scored once in the win. Lyndsay Atkinson added three assists in the win while Gabby Colace had the shutout.
One of Franklin’s strengths the past few seasons is being difficult to break down. While the Panthers don’t have the same experience on the blue line as in years past, Colace is still between the pipes and that should make Franklin tough to score against this winter. She allowed only 1.95 goals per game last season, making 357 saves, and stopping more than 90 percent of the shots she faced. One of the league’s top shot stoppers, Colace uses her quickness and ability to read the play to be in the right positions. She sees the puck well through traffic and her athleticism allows her to cover a lot of ground quickly. Colace’s consistency and composure in net will be a big help to a relatively young Franklin defensive group this season and her experience as a three-year starter gives Franklin high hopes of reclaiming the league title.
Goalie is not an easy position to step into and produce right away, especially not at a state championship-caliber level, but Durand jumped between the pipes for Canton last year and put together a remarkable season for the league champs. As a freshman, Durand allowed only 0.71 goals per game and made 293 saves, stopping 95 percent of the shots she faced and recording 14 shutouts. She was solid positionally all season, rarely over-committing and making sure to be in the right spot to deny someone on the rebound. Durand also showed poise under pressure, not backing down as teams crowded the crease in search of late goals or being over-awed by the moment during Canton’s run to the final. It was a great way to kick off her Canton career and Durand’s continued development is one of the reasons the Bulldogs remain the favorite to repeat as Hock champs.
Canton doesn’t just count on its forward to find the back of the net, the Bulldogs also need them to start the defensive pressure with a tireless forecheck. Femia is a good example of defending from the front. The senior forward is relentless in chasing the puck in the offensive zone, allowing her teammates to get into good positions, forcing turnovers, and wearing teams down as they try to get the puck out. She scored four goals and had 13 assists last year and was a big reason for the program winning its first ever state title. A four-year varsity player, Femia has the speed to harass the opponent and the vision to turn a loose puck into a scoring opportunity for either herself or a teammate. With a few new faces on the roster this year, Femia will be counted on to pick up the scoring and try to make it three league titles in four years in Hock play.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames has top players back in each position on the ice and is looking to make a run at its first Hockomock League title. One familiar face back is senior Alex Ledin, a veteran that will be apart of the Warriors’ top line. Ledin is also joined by returners Reese Pereira and Ella Waryas, the trio combined for the majority of MOA’s points last season. Ledin’s speed gives the Warriors a lot of options in the attack and her experience means she knows what spots to be in on the ice. Having familiarity with her two linemates will also mean the trio can pick up where they left off last season. As a junior, Ledin was among the league’s leading scorers with nine goals scored and seven assists.
Stoughton/Sharon took a step forward last season, picking up three wins and another point through a tie and a big reason for that was forward Morgan Lessa. Lessa is among the most dangerous players in the Hockomock League and the surrounding area, possessing a combination of skill, hockey IQ, and speed that makes her very hard to stop. Despite getting a lot of attention from opposing defenses, Lessa finds a way to get space and is a great finisher in front of the goal. She logs of a lot of minutes during five-on-five but is also a key piece when the Black Knights go on the power play. And during the penalty kill, Lessa is often flying around the ice to disrupt opposing power plays. She was one of the top producers in the league last year, scoring 21 goals (second-most in the league) and adding 10 assists for a total of 31 points, one point off the league lead.
A standout in the rink and the field hockey field, Lewandowski knows how to find the back of the net and her tenacity means that opposing defenses don’t get to take a minute off while she’s on the ice. She was fifth in the league in scoring last year (and tops on the Panthers) with eight goals and 13 assists. Lewandowski can drive Franklin forward from her own zone, helping back defensively and then carrying the puck to a scoring opportunity on the other end of the ice. Quick, with good stick skills, and a motor that doesn’t stop, Lewandowski is able to find the little seams in a defense to get her shot on goal and isn’t afraid to get to the front of the net sniffing out rebounds or deflections. She can also cause the opposition fits with her forecheck, pushing teams back and making it difficult to get the puck out of the zone. She will be hoping to cap off her four years on varsity with a second league title in the past three seasons.
You could pick any of the three members of King Philip’s top line to be on this list like juniors Morgan Cunningham and Sydney O’Shea, but we’re going with the senior captain Avari Maxwell. A longtime member of the Warriors, Maxwell will lead the charge offensively this season for a team that is looking for its first Hockomock League title. Maxwell sets the tone with her work ethic, a strong two-way player that gets back and factors in defensively while also being a strong offensive player. Working alongside Cunningham (24 points) and O’Shea (20 points), Maxwell completes one of the most dangerous lines in the league. As captain, her leadership both on and off the ice will be key.
Canton has become known for its impressive defensive record during its recent run of three state title games in four seasons. That should be no different this year, as the Bulldogs try to become the first team to repeat as Hock champion. McCabe will be one of the main factors for Canton’s continued defensive solidity. Strong and imposing in her own zone, McCabe is also a good skater who can beat a forward to the puck or get physical in the corner and take the puck away. She read angles well to cut off space and keep everything away from the front of the net. Although not a prolific scorer from the blue line, McCabe has a good shot from the point and good vision for an outlet pass to spring the forwards into the offensive zone. Graduation and transfers took away some of the top defensive pairings from last year, but McCabe’s experience will make her a leader for the new faces on the blue line this season.
No matter the situation happening on the ice, you’re like to find Haley Nelson in the lineup for the Black Knights. Whether it’s five-on-five, a power play opportunity, or Stoughton/Sharon is on the penalty kill, Nelson is likely out there especially for the biggest moments of the game. The leader of the defensive corps for the Black Knights, Nelson is a veteran player with plenty of experience. We saw Stoughton/Sharon take a big step forward last season after a tough 2019 campaign and Nelson was a big reason why. Not only is she a reliable defenseman for the program, she gets involved in the offense. Her work ethic is contagious and sets the tone for the Black Knights. Last season, Nelson had nine goals and six assists.
An MVP candidate a year ago, Mansfield/Oliver Ames senior Emma Pereira returns as one of the top players in the Hockomock League this season. The Warriors will have one of the toughest defensive units in the league this year with the entire group back from last year. Pereira will lead the way as a very reliable player, doing a good job of breaking up passes and blocking shots. She reads the play really well and always seems to be in the right position defensively. On top of that, Pereira is a weapon on the offensive end of the ice. She carries the puck out of the back, through the neutral zone, and into the attacking zone and makes a play on her own. She plays on both the penalty kill and power play units and logs a lot of minutes on ice for the Warriors. Last season, she recorded 16 goals and added seven assists to lead Mansfield/Oliver Ames in scoring.
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.
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.
2019-2020 Record: 19-1-4 2019-2020 Finish: Division 2 State Co-Champion Coach: Dennis Aldrich
The pandemic has cost Canton an opportunity to defend its first D2 state championship, but the Bulldogs have an experienced squad that will be looking to claim a second straight league title. Although dynamic defenseman Olivia Maffeo has transferred, Canton can count on 13 returning players, including nine forwards, so there is plenty of continuity as the program makes its move to the rebuilt Metropolis Skating Rink.
Maffeo’s goals will certainly be missed, but the Bulldogs will expect the forward lines to pick up the slack. Seniors Maria Femia, Lizzie Tassinari, and Ellie Rae Roberts all have four years of experience at the varsity level and each is capable of putting the puck in the net on a consistent basis. The forwards will also be the first line of defense, as their forechecking ability puts pressure on the opponents in all three zones.
Defense has been a strength for Canton throughout this impressive run of success. This year, there will be a few new faces on the blue line but junior Allie McCabe and sophomore Maya Battista will lead the defensive unit and both stood out last year for their strength, skating, and passing out of the zone. Backstopping the Canton defense is sophomore goalie Carolyn Durand, who recorded 14 shutouts as a freshman.
“I look for our team defense to be a strength as usual and am looking for our experienced forwards to find the back of the net more often with the confidence gained by capturing the first state title for Canton High School Girls Ice Hockey,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich.
Last winter, Franklin pushed its league title defense right to the final game of the regular season and this year the Panthers will be hoping to reclaim the crown in what should be a typically competitive league campaign. Franklin will hope that a young defensive group can get up to speed right away to complement the experience that the Panthers have in attack.
The forward line should be a strength for Franklin this season. Senior Amanda Lewandowski is back to be the focal point after recording 21 points as a junior. Fellow seniors Libby Carter and Katelyn Brown will add experience and energy to the forward line, providing not only scoring punch but also helping out in the defensive zone as well. Sophomore Lyndsey Atkinson is coming off an impressive rookie season in which she led the team with 10 goals.
Defensively, Franklin graduated a group of players that had several years of varsity experience so it will be new faces that will have to step in this year. Junior Katie LeBlanc and sophomore Shaw Downing are two of the defenders back from last year’s squad. If teams get through the Franklin defense, senior goalie Gabby Colace is back to keep things difficult for opposing forwards. Colace was one of the league’s top shot stoppers last year, allowing fewer than two goals per game.
“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to get on the ice and compete,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke. “This year we expect to have a balanced squad. The Hock should be very competitive as always. ‘Play every game like it’s the last’ will be our motto.”
2019-2020 Record: 10-11-1 2019-2020 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Ken Assad
After coming up just one point shy of the state tournament last season, the Warriors are entering the 2020-2021 campaign with a lot of determination, ready to make a run at the Hockomock League title.
The Warriors have a large amount of returning players back for this season and all now have a year of experience under their belts playing for head coach Ken Assad, who enters the season with plenty of optimism and excitement. Assad will look to role three to four lines throughout the season, giving the Warriors a lot of flexibility with their offensive looks. In senior captain Averi Maxwell (18 points) and juniors Moran Cunningham (24) and Sydney O’Shea (20 points), King Philip has one of the most dangerous attacking units in the league. Not only will the Warriors get a lot of production from that line, but it should also open things up for everyone else on the ice.
Junior Jen Daniels (16 points) is back after a breakout sophomore campaign, sophomore Katarina Precobb will look to follow up a strong freshman season, and seniors Nicole Brady, captain Olivia Donovan, Kara McWhinnie, and sophomore Bridgette Nally will all be in the mix offensively for the Warriors. There will be a lot of familiar faces on the defensive end for the Warriors as well with senior assistant captains Gabriela Trujillo and Libby Curran anchoring the blue line unit. Juniors Meg Sherwood and Alison Donovan bring key experience from last year while sophomores Brielle Hearon and Emma Sullivan will factor in defensively as well.
Mallory Johnston picked up some valuable experience between the pipes last season filling in for an injury and will now take over the starting job in net for KP. The Warriors also have a strong freshmen class ready to contribute right away with Kelly Holmes (forward) and Mara Boldy (defense) in the mix.
“With the experience we have this year and always being very optimistic for a good start, I expect them to work hard in all three zones and be a top contender for a Hockomock title this year,” Assad said. “There is great team chemistry on this team and with our captains’ leadership, they will definitely give it 110%. The girls accept the fact there is not going to be a tournament and are very excited to get on the ice no matter what the season will look like and for that, I continue to be very proud of them and what they have gone through.”
Coming off a strong 2020 campaign and with a group of veteran players on the roster, MOA head coach Roy Bain has a positive outlook on the upcoming season for his Warriors.
MOA recorded double-digit wins last season and nearly pulled off a gigantic upset in the opening round of the state tournament (5-4 loss to #8 seed Boston Latin). The Warriors have 11 seniors on this year’s roster and that, plus a strong mix of experienced underclassmen, should mean good things for the season. The defensive unit for the team remains intact with senior Emma Pereira, the team’s MVP from a season ago, back to anchor that unit. She’ll reunite with junior Julia Muttart for one pairing while seniors Melissa Shanteler and Megan O’Hara are back together on the blue line again this year.
Not only will there be familiar faces along the blueline, junior Jess Widdop returns for her third season between the pipes for MOA. Widdop had a strong season in goal for MOA a year ago and with so much familiarity among the defensemen, the Warriors will be one of the toughest teams to score against. Freshman Kata Callanan will push for time in net as well.
On the other end of the ice, Bain has compiled four lines that could all see time on the ice. Senior Alex Ledin (16 points), senior Ella Waryas (15 points) and sophomore Reese Pereira (17 points) accounted for the majority of the Warriors’ scoring last year and will be among the most dangerous lines in the league. The line of Sam Ledin, Kylie O’Keefe, and Emma Garland will provide a change of pace, using their speed on both ends of the ice; the trio of seniors Lily O’Brien and Tess Luciano centered by junior Cierra Doherty will provide veteran leadership; and sophomore Mya Waryas will be surrounded by freshmen Maeve Anastasia and Cam Shanteler for a youthful option.
“This team only graduated two players, it has essentially the same personnel from last year, but with a renewed sense of the possibilities of what they can build for this program,” Bain said. “Some of the seniors were cheated out of their seasons in other sports and know what’s at stake for girls hockey. I’m impressed by the focus they’ve shown this far. The rules they play under may have changed, but their mindset and their love of the game has not.”
The Black Knights took a step in the right direction last season, picking up points in four contests including three wins. Stoughton will look to build on that this year in a very competitive Hockomock League.
Morgan Lessa was one of the best forwards in the Hockomock League last season, second in the entire league with 21 goals scored and tied for second-most in points with 31. Haley Nelson also had a strong junior campaign and was a big reason for Stoughton seeing an improvement on the ice from the season before. Nelson accounted for nine goals and six assists.
Zofia Bangs made an immediate impact for the Black Knights last season and is coming off a strong field hockey season. Both Bangs and Jillian Parker played key roles in the attack for the Black Knights. Stoughton will have to replace goalie Brianna Buckley (graduation). Buckley recorded over 350 saves last season and was a key piece in the Stoughton defense.
Below are the official 2020 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Makenzie Shandley, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Alexa Maffeo, Canton
Olivia Maffeo, Canton
Meg Aldrich, Canton
Gabby Colace, Franklin
Tina Pisano, Franklin
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Makenzie Shandley, King Philip
Morgan Cunningham, King Philip
Sydney O’Shea, King Philip
Sammy Robison, King Philip
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Melisa Shanteler, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Alex Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Morgan Lessa, Stoughton/Sharon
Haley Nelson, Stoughton/Sharon
Carolyn Durand, Canton
Jordan Dwyer, Franklin
Avari Maxwell, King Philip
Ella Waryas, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Sherman, Stoughton/Sharon
FRANKLIN, Mass. – In two seasons of Hockomock League play, Canton and Franklin have established themselves as the teams to beat. The Bulldogs won the inaugural league championship and then last season Franklin took the crown for the first time. In year three, the two teams went into the final game of the regular season separated by just two points at the top of the standings.
As has become the standard when the two teams meet, Wednesday night’s game at Pirelli Veterans Arena was close, defensive, and physical and, in the end, Canton was able to hold out for a 0-0 tie that secured the outright league title.
“It means a lot,” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said about not sharing the title. “Especially here. When I used to coach the [Canton] boys, anytime we came here or [Franklin] used to come to Ponky, they called it the ‘Dungeon of Doom’, it’s just something about it. The crowd wasn’t the same, but the emotion was.”
With 1:37 remaining and with the Panthers setting up for an offensive zone face-off, Franklin coach Margie Burke called timeout and pulled goalie Gabby Colace (19 saves). There were several surprised reactions from beyond the glass, but it underscored the importance of the title race and how little one point would impact Franklin’s likely seed in the playoffs.
“A win gets us a championship,” said Burke. “I explained it to the kids and they understood why we did it. I had to do it. I’m extremely proud of my girls tonight, they played their heart out.”
The move nearly paid instant dividends, as the Panthers won the draw into the corner and puck was played out in front before being scrambled away. Olivia Maffeo came close to winning the game with 50 seconds left, but the Canton freshman sent a shot from beyond the red line inches wide for icing.
Another face-off led to another good chance for the Panthers, but Lyndsey Atkinson couldn’t keep her shot down from just inside the right circle. Canton pressured to try and get an empty net winner, but the Panthers defense was able to block a couple of shots heading towards goal. The pressure kept the puck in the Franklin defensive zone though and allowed the Bulldogs to run out the clock.
“I have so much respect for her and what she does,” said Aldrich. “It’s a lot of fun for our kids. She’s got a certain style. It’s throw three kids out front, throw the puck there, and see if you can beat them up. We knew that coming in, so we were really stick on stick. We had to commit on that.”
Franklin had more of the attacking play in the first period, outshooting Canton 6-3. Libby Carter had the first good look for the Panthers with a quick shot from the slot that Carolyn Durand (15 saves) was able to stop and then cover before Amanda Lewandowski could pounce on the rebound.
Canton took more than eight minutes to record its first shot, which came off a rush from her own zone by Maffeo. Less than 30 seconds later, the Bulldogs had another good chance when freshman Audrey Koen corralled a loose puck forced a save from Colace.
Atkinson had a near breakaway with six minutes left in the first but the puck was poked away as she tried to pull it onto her backhand and round the goalie.
The visitors started to gain a foothold in the game and ended up with a 10-6 edge in shots in the second. Koen teed up Tess Khoury for an early look right in front but Colace got a pad to the shot. With five minutes left in the second, Maffeo made another long rush into the attacking zone and fired a pass in front by Lizzie Tassinari couldn’t redirect it on net.
Tina Pisano forced a good pad stop from Durand with a wrister from the point and then Canton came inches away from the lead when Maffeo struck the post with a shot from the right circle. Maria Femia followed up the rebound but Colace got across to block the shot.
It remained tense into the third period and it felt like one goal could decide it. Ellie Rae Roberts had a great chance for the Bulldogs, as she collected a deflected puck on the edge of the crease, but Colace again flashed a pad to make the stop.
“It’s so important because we have that confidence that defensively we’re going to do well,” Burke said about the play of her goalie. “It’s putting the puck in the net and we had our opportunities tonight.”
With two minutes to go, Shaw Downing had a shot from the point that was knocked down in front and the Canton defense was able to get it out of the danger area before Lewandowski could get a stick to it. Twenty seconds later, Franklin had a two-on-one rush. Atkinson flipped a pass to Carter on the left wing, but Maffeo came sliding across to block the first chance, and Durand had the angle covered on the second shot.
That set up a frantic finish with the Panthers throwing an extra skater out there in hopes of stealing a share of the title, but the Bulldogs held on to the shutout and both teams got important experience playing in a playoff-like atmosphere.
“We talked about how it was such a good game for us because we should expect that type of game,” Aldrich explained. “It’s going to be that type of punch you in the face, throw the puck to the net. Overall, defensively I thought we did what we wanted to do.”
Burke added, “Franklin and Canton just have that hockey rivalry. They always have and always will.”
Canton (14-1-4) will close out the regular season with a visit from Barnstable on Monday and a trip to Walpole on Wednesday. Franklin (6-8-5) will finish up its regular season when it hosts Leominster next Wednesday.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Sometimes goal-scoring is about being in the right place at the right time and for the second time this season Franklin’s Amanda Lewandowski found herself in the right spot to score a game-winning goal against Mansfield/Oliver Ames.
Lewandowski was left alone on the far post to tap in the game-winning, power play goal with just under six minutes remaining in Saturday evening’s league encounter at Pirelli Veterans Arena. Franklin added an empty net goal in the final minute to beat the Warriors 3-1, sweeping the season series, and in the process clinching at least second place in the league and a postseason berth.
“She’s that player that’s always on,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke about Lewandowski. “Every game this season has been tough and always against this team. They always come to play.”
Both meetings between the Warriors and Panthers have been tight, low-scoring, and evenly-matched. In games like that, one lapse can prove decisive and that is what happened to the Warriors on Saturday.
MOA coach Roy Bain said, “To have the game fall on a third period power play when it was 1-1 kind of stinks, but you go on the power play then it’s our job to defend the net and they were able to put it away.”
He added, “When you play Hockomock foes, it’s going to be a tight game, only a goal or two is going to separate the teams, but when you leave Lewandowski unattended…you can’t do that.”
Franklin came out in the first and was the aggressor. The Panthers dominated zone time and the shot total for the majority of the period. Lewandowski had the game’s first good look and many in the rink thought she had the first goal. She split a pair of defenders and fired a wrist shot that MOA goalie Jess Widdop was able to get a piece of and keep it out.
Maggie McCaffrey had the next good chance when she got space in the left circle on a two-on-one and forced a save out of Widdop. The MOA goalie had to come up big 90 seconds later when Lewandowski collected a pass from Lyndsey Atkinson and put a backhand shot on net. McCaffrey then teed up Atkinson but Widdop stopped the first show and Lewandowski’s rebound.
The Warriors picked up the pace as the period wore on and had a couple of chances in the closing minutes. The best chance came with two minutes left when Emma Pereira fired a diagonal pass to Emma Garland at the far post but Gabby Colace was in the right place to make the stop.
After Franklin held the 9-4 lead in shots in the first, MOA came out stronger in the second. Atkinson nearly got the breakthrough when she split a pair of defenders but the puck slid just wide of the net and Pereira had a good scoring chance at the other end, forcing a pad save from from Colace.
Lewandowski opened the scoring with seven minutes left in the second. She crossed the zone from right to left and showed great patience before lifting a backhand shot over the glove hand. However, the lead lasted less than a minute. Melissa Shanteler answered right back for the Warriors on a shot that rang in off the bar.
Franklin continued to put the puck on net, something that Burke said was a priority after the first meeting. Molly Hurley got free of the defense and then deked past Widdop but was unable to put a shot on the open net. After Gianna Cameron kept the puck in at the blue line, McCaffrey got a shot off from the slot and then Lewandowski set up Libby Carter for a one-timer that drew a save out of Widdop.
The game remained tied well into the third period when the Panthers were given their first power play chance. Franklin needed only 14 seconds to make the advantage count. Tina Pisano fired a shot from the point that was deflected in front of goal and fell right to the stick of Lewandowski on the post and she was able to stuff in what turned out to be the game-winner.
“Get the puck on net and get the traffic in front of the net,” said Burke about the message after the first game against MOA. “That’s one thing that I feel we need to remind them every game. It’s the traffic. They don’t have to be pretty, it all counts the same.”
MOA sprung into life almost immediately after falling behind. Kylie O’Keefe fired a shot from the left circle that snuck through Colace’s armpit but trickled wide of the post. Pereira got free in the slot for a golden opportunity but was denied by a sliding block from Gina Vignone. With 3:40 left Pereira drove down the right side and nearly set up O’Keefe at the back post but her tip went just wide.
“No one was going to quit and they all knew what was at stake,” said Bain. “We know that we’re going to get their best for 45 minutes, no doubt about it. We knew we had to bring 45 minutes of continuous checking and we brought, I don’t know, 43? They played their hearts out, they did exactly what we wanted them to do.”
After scoring twice to put Franklin in front, Lewandowski missed a chance to wrap up the points when she sent it wide of the empty net, but the Panthers would finally seal the win when Jordan Dwyer picked out Atkinson in front to make it 3-1 inside the final minute.
“We’ve been in every game even against the big teams,” said Burke. “We could go into tournament and win a couple games and do alright, you know? Even though we’re squeaking in there, we’ll see.”
Franklin (6-8-4, 5-1-1) will have a shot at sharing the league title when it hosts Canton on Wednesday night. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (6-8-1, 3-4-0) will start its final playoff push when it travels to Stoughton.
WALPOLE, Mass. – Goals are at a premium in league games this season and that remained the case when Mansfield/Oliver Ames hosted defending Hockomock champion Franklin at Rodman Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Amanda Lewandowski scored against the run of play in the second period and Gabby Colace made 25 stops to preserve a 1-0 victory for the Panthers in a game in which they were kept on the back foot for the first 30 minutes.
“Definitely a slow start, but we know that every Hockomock League game is going to be like this,” said Frankin coach Margie Burke. “We’re not going to put a lot of pucks on the net this year. We’re going to have to count on good defense and a few lucky breaks.”
The Warriors came flying out of the gates, taking advantage of their team speed to put Franklin on its heels and force the Panthers to defend for long stretches. After Maggie McCaffrey got an early chance on goal for Franklin, MOA started to step on the gas. Tess Luciano started it with a shot from the right circle and Alex Ledin let fly with a slap shot from the high slot that Colace stopped.
With four minutes remaining in the first Reese Pereira managed to get to the front of the net and get a tip from close range. The puck came back around to Ledin and she sent her shot from the slot just wide of the post.
Franklin had been forced back into a shell for much of the period, but did manage a late flurry of chances on the other end. Lewandowski was the catalyst as he forced Jessica Widdop (17 saves) into a stick save from a tight angle and after Gina Vignone threw one at net she forced a blocker stop while falling down.
“They really played well, they blocked shots, they kept their heads up, they didn’t panic against the boards when they were pressured by two players,” MOA coach Roy Bain said about his blue line corps. “I can’t be upset with the way that anyone in that locker room played.”
MOA held an 11-6 edge in shots after the first and the momentum continued following the short breather between periods. Ledin again got a good look at net that went off Colace’s blocker and straight into the air. Cameron cleared before Reese Pereira could get a stick on the loose puck.
“We had a lot of the zone time, we were breaking out as we want to, and their game plan became obvious early, which was to crash the ‘D’ and pinch on the wings,” said Bain. “The goaltender gave up a lot of rebounds but their defense is very responsible in front of their net and stopped us from getting a lot of follow-up chances.”
Libby Carter sent a warning to the Warriors when she got free on a defensive zone turnover only to have Widdop make a big pad save. The breakthrough came three minutes into the second. Vignone flipped a high pass towards goal. Lewandowski managed to bring it down right on the edge of the crease, kicking it to her stick and sliding it past Widdop’s pad for a 1-0 lead.
“That goal tonight, it was a kick, a drop, and a reach,” said Burke. “It was like a soccer or field hockey goal but not an ice hockey goal. I tell them all the time that ugly goals count the same as pretty goals and ugly wins count the same as pretty wins.”
There were more chances for the Warriors to try and even things up in the second, as MOA outshot the Panthers 10-4 in the period and had a four-minute power play, but Lily O’Brien’s shot from the right circle was an example of how Franklin kept the middle of the ice clear.
It was clear that Burke spent the second intermission emphasizing the need to get on the attack, as the third period was by far the best that Franklin played in the offensive zone.
Burke said, “Absolutely, we talked about how everything in the first two periods was a reach and a poke but no body. You have to reach in with your stick and then with your body. They got more physical for sure.”
Lewandowski continued to be a thorn in MOA’s side. She skated behind the net and fired a pass all the way out to Vignone at the point for a shot through traffic that Widdop saved, and then stopped the rebound effort as well. Freshman Shaw Downing had an effort from the blue line that Lewandowski managed to tip in front but Widdop again stayed tall to stop.
The Warriors kept pushing for an equalizing goal, but Franklin continued to hold them at bay. Colace came up with a huge glove save on a blast by Emma Pereira from the edge of the left circle. It was the last good look for the home team.
“It’s tough when you lose by a goal but you can’t be upset that you lost by a goal because every single person played their heart out,” Bain said. “We played great, they were just one goal better.”
Franklin (2-2-1) will face a battle against the first league champion, Canton, on Wednesday. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (3-4-1) will have a short turnaround to try and end its three-game losing streak when it hosts Stoughton on Sunday.