King Philip Stuns North With Last Second Goal

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King Philip senior Sam Naggar (right) celebrates his game-winning goal with 5.8 seconds left. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 FOXBORO, Mass. – King Philip established control early in the game while North Attleboro asserted itself in the third period.

It looked like the Warriors and Rocketeers were destined to finish level, especially with the strong play of goalies Kyle Abbott and Nate Kelly.

The Warriors peppered Kelly for two periods but only lit the lamp once while North gained traction offensively in the third, including the tying goal early in the fame. But Abbott came up with two of his biggest stops with under a minute to go.

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With 21.9 seconds left in the game, KP senior James Boldy won a faceoff in the defensive zone back to classmate Sam Naggar, who whipped a clearance around the boards and out of the zone. North collected the puck in its own zone but heavy pressure from junior Rowan Boulger down low forced a turnover at the blue line.

With the clock ticking down, Naggar released a quick slap shot that deflected off a defenseman’s leg and through the five-hole with just 5.8 seconds left in the game to deliver King Philip a stunning 2-1 win over North Attleboro.

“Just put it on the net in that situation, good things will happen when it gets there,” said first-year King Philip head coach Toby Carlow. “The first half of the game we were better for sure. The third period, give credit to [North] because they came out and played very hard, they didn’t want to go home with a loss. In a game like this, one mistake ends up as the difference in the game.”

King Philip carried a 1-0 lead into the third period thanks to a second period goal from junior Tyler Douglas. The Warriors had a hefty advantage in offensive zone time and a large edge in shots on goal (29-10) entering the final period.

The chances for North started early in the final and snowballed from there. A weird bounce off the glass on a clearance from KP presented North senior Mark Ayvazyan with a good chance right in front but Abbott came up with the stop.

“I think the kids deserved a better fate,” said North Attleboro head coach Kyle Heagney. “Nate Kelly played very well for us. We had a very sluggish start but we got better as the game went on, got better each shift. The third period, I thought we controlled the majority of the puck but just a simple breakdown at the end destroyed our destiny.

“There’s always a lesson in a win and a loss, but there always seems like a bigger lesson in the loss. When you lose with five seconds in the game, as a coach, you’re always wondering what if, what if, what if. It comes down to inches and milliseconds…there were a lot of what ifs.”

The Rocketeers’ pressure was rewarded with a power play opportunity and despite having limited offensive zone time through the first 30-plus minutes, North wasted very little time cashing in.

Brody Gaulin took the faceoff, Joe Quinn skated in and dished the puck back to Ayvazyan at the blue line and his low shot/pass found Kaden Burns skating in front of the net all alone and he tucked away a low backhand shot into the back of the net just five seconds into the man-advantage situation to pull the Rocketeers level at 1-1 with 10:09 to go in the game.

North kept it going and had another power play chance just two minutes later but Abbott and the KP defense was up to the task. Boldy and Naggar had early clearances, and the line of Nate Garstka, Douglas, Cam Lehan-Allen, and Sonny Bianculli denied North any chances.

The best chance of the power play came when North defenseman Gavin Arabian ripped a deflected shot that took a bounce right in front of goal but Abbott gloved it comfortably and held on.

KP’s second penalty kill unit of Max Robison, Evan Trujillo, Naggar, and Ethan Sullivan killed the rest of the power play.

North had two good chances in the final two minutes. First, Dominic Bertino came flying down the right side but his wrist shot was snagged by Abbott. And right before the final face-off that sent KP to the win, Ayvazian had a good bid from a similar spot but Abbott had another stop.

“Kyle made two huge saves and he was ready for them,” Carlow said. “It’s tough sometimes when for the first half of the game, you’re not seeing a lot so you have to stay ready for when it does come and he was. Their goalie played outstanding too.

The Warriors came out on the front foot and registered 20 shots on Kelly in just the opening 15 minutes. Jack Gresham had two early chances, Evan Regan had a good shot after a feed from Trevor Pelkey, and Tim Mullen had a shot through traffic but all of KP’s chances in the first were turned aside by Kelly.

“Nate showed up and did his job,” Heagney said. “The defense and the forwards, we didn’t do our job for Nate tonight. I thought he played very well and he’s the reason we were in the game so late.”

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KP’s breakthrough came just over a minute into the second period. Douglas won a faceoff in the offensive zone, Robison battled in front with a defenseman and Douglas came skating back through and finished a low shot from in close to make it 1-0 at 13:56 of the second.

“Give credit to KP, I thought they outplayed us, I thought they beat us to pucks, and I thought they were tougher on pucks,” Heagney said. “It just seemed like it was their night, I don’t think we put enough pressure on them or tested their goalie. In order to win a game, you need effort, energy, and execution and we were lacking in execution tonight.”

King Philip boys hockey (3-0 Hockomock, 7-1 overall) travels to Canton on Saturday for a big showdown with the Bulldogs at 6:20. North Attleboro (1-2, 4-3) has a non-league tilt at home against Dartmouth.

Hormann Helps Mansfield Beat North in Songin Opener

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Mansfield junior goalie Chris Hormann made 28 saves to help the Hornets pick up an important 4-1 win over North Attleboro in the Songin Cup. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WALPOLE, Mass. – When North Attleboro and Mansfield met the first time, the Hornets were missing junior goalie Chris Hormann and the Rocketeers took advantage to score seven goals. Hormann was back between the pipes on Saturday morning when the teams met again at Rodman Arena in the opening round of the Songin Cup and he came through with a big performance.

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Hormann made 28 saves, including a penalty shot and a big stop on a third-period breakaway, helping Mansfield pull out a much-needed 4-1 victory that moves the Hornets closer to clinching a spot in the postseason.

“We knew coming in what they were all about,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “They’re very structured, they’re very well-coached, and they just work hard. We knew if we could get pucks on net, crash the net, rebounds, then it would be a different game from the last time we played them.”

Mansfield got off to the perfect start. Mark DeGirolamo stepped up from the blue line and fired a wrist shot on net. North goalie Kyle Gruber was unsighted by bodies in front and the puck snuck into the top corner to make it 1-0 after just 90 seconds.

Kyle Oakley nearly doubled the Mansfield lead a few minutes later, but his wrap around was gobbled up by Gruber with Dillon Benoit waiting on the edge of the crease. Midway through the first, the Hornets did get a second. Freshman Ty Carroll flung a puck from the point that the North goalie didn’t see and it went in off the far post.

Only 15 seconds after the Hornets took a two-goal lead, North had the chance to get on the board with a penalty shot. Sam Clarke tried to beat Hormann on the glove side, but the Mansfield goalie came up with a big stop.

Liam Anastasia came close to making it 3-0 when he sent a knuckling shot towards goal that dipped at the last second and came back off the bar. North was struggling to get much going in the offensive zone (outshot 11-6 in the first) but Nik Kojoian set up Gavin Arabian for a rush down the right side and he forced Hormann into a good blocker save.

North was on its heels for most of the opening 15 minutes but the Rocketeers came out in the second with a different level of energy. Kojoian again was the creator of a good chance a few minutes in when his pass set up Mark Ayvzayan right in front. Hormann made the pad stop, but Ayvzayan also drew a penalty on the play.

The Rocketeers went to work with the extra skater and halved the deficit when Anthony Westcott’s diagonal pass picked out Nick Longa alone at the far post. Hormann somehow got across to get a pad on the first attempt and managed to get a piece of the second shot as well. The puck bounced to the edge of the crease and Brady Sarro was there to knock it into the empty net.

Gruber came up big just a minute later to keep North within one. Oakley got behind the North defense but Gruber closed the pads to deny the first chance and then stayed tall to save the follow-up attempt by Benoit as well. Carroll had a shot from the point that Brayden Purtell tipped in front but Gruber flung out a pad at the last second to keep it out.

North kept pressing. A bad bounce off the end boards gifted Kojoian with a good opportunity but Hormann was in good position to make the save. Sarro was then left wide open in the right wing circle, but his one-timer was gloved by the Hornets netminder.

“I think the speech in the locker room between the periods lit a fire under them and I think they responded and I thought we carried the play in the second,” said North coach Kyle Heagney. 
“His goaltender played outstanding, stood on his head. We had some chances in the third and we didn’t capitalize on them and Mansfield did.”

It felt like the Rocketeers went into the second intermission with momentum, but it was the Hornets that came out on the front foot. Mansfield held North to just one shot on target through the first 10 minutes of the third period.

Ryan Doherty had a good early look with a snap shot off a face-off, forcing Gruber into a good stop. Four minutes into the third, Mansfield restored its two-goal lead. Declan Foley’s angled pass from the point picked out Oakley all alone at the back post and the senior forward buried his chance to make it 3-1.

As time started to wind down in the third, North started pressing to try and get back into the game. Arabian’s shot from the point was touched inches wide by Sarro in front and Joe Quinn had a nice rush down the left wing but sent a shot (possibly off a defenseman’s stick) narrowly wide of the top corner.

North’s best chance came with four minutes to play. Sarro took advantage of a poorly timed change to break in alone, but Hormann flashed the glove to keep the lead at two. Only 30 seconds later, Mansfield put the game away and picked up a valuable margin of victory bonus. Carroll hit Benoit in stride down the middle and the forward roofed his shot, giving Gruber no chance, to make it 4-1.

“We had a bad a change and it was a legit 3-on-0, so Patrick Gormley owes him 100 percent,” Balazarini joked about the lead up to North’s breakaway opportunity. “I thought we played well in the defensive zone, getting out to the points. We were 3-for-4 in penalty kills, so that’s huge.

Heagney added, “I give Mansfield all the credit in the world. They came out and took it to us, won puck races all over the ice. We were flat and they outplayed us.”

Mansfield (7-9-1) will get a rematch with rival King Philip on Monday in the Songin Cup final, after the Warriors beat Walpole in a shootout. North Attleboro (9-9-1) will face the Rebels in Monday’s consolation game.

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Franklin Bounces Back With Shutout of North Attleboro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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