BOSTON, Mass. – Even when you’ve played at the TD Garden before, the experience of skating on the biggest stage with the chance to win a state championship can be daunting. In the first period of Sunday morning’s Div. 2 final, Canton (19-3-4) struggled to find its footing against No. 2 seed Duxbury.
The Dragons were flying from the start, held Canton to just one shot on goal in the first, and jumped out to a two-goal lead. Despite twice battling back within one, the Bulldogs were never able to overcome that tough start to the game. Duxbury skated to a 5-2 victory and its first state title since 2014.
It was the fifth state final appearance for the Bulldogs in the past seven seasons, but Canton is still looking for that first win at the TD Garden.
“The nerves and the stage and they did to us what we wanted to do to them, just get a consistent flow, heavy forecheck, over the red line, and get it deep and we were just struggling to do that,” said Canton coach Nikki Petrich about her team’s difficulties in the opening period.
She added, “They’re nervous too, but they’re applying more pressure. So, once we started to relax a little bit, as you saw in the second period, and really get into our game plan we had several scoring opportunities.”
Duxbury wasted no time creating chances. Samantha Norton circled the net and teed up Addyson Harrington for a quick shot that hit the outside of the post. Izzy Cusack worked hard on the forecheck to earn Canton a scoring opportunity, but Devan Spinale’s shot from the point went wide on the blocker side.
Zoey Madigan then fired a pass to Megan Carney for a chance from close range and Maya Battista had to be in the right spot to block. Seconds later, the Dragons went on the first power play. It took only eight seconds for them to convert. Madeleine Greenwood’s slap shot from the edge of the right wing circle snuck through a crowd and past Carolyn Durand’s pad.
Play continued to be almost exclusively in the Canton zone. Carney forced a blocker save from Durand, who then had to react quickly to smother the rebound attempt from Harrington.
With 1:43 left in the first, Duxbury doubled the lead on a stellar solo goal. McKenna Colella picked up the puck behind her own net, skated the length of the ice weaving through Canton players, and then slipped a backhand shot under the pads of Durand to make it 2-0.
Canton came out with more energy to start the second, although Colella nearly added a third after forcing a turnover, but she flicked her shot wide. Ellie Bohane worked hard to force a turnover on the other end and had a good look blocked by Lucia Rose.
Midway through the period, Canton got back into the game. Tori Carr collected the puck at the right point and fired a shot through bodies in front and past Duxbury goalie Anna McGinty.
“That’s kind of been the beauty of our postseason run,” Petrich said about Carr providing the score. “We’ve had several different scorers every single game and that’s what we really needed. It was great that she scored that goal to really get us going.”
The goal was a momentum builder for the Bulldogs, who were inches away from tying the game. On the power play, Kayleigh Koen shot one from the high slot that just missed the stick of her sister Audrey, who was stationed on the post. Battista got room in the right wing circle for a wrister, but put it just wide.
Cusack would get the best chances of the period when she connected with a pass across the crease from Audrey Koen, but could only tip it wide. Seconds later, they tried it again and this time it was on target only for McGinty to flash a pad and keep it out.
The save turned out to be huge because Duxbury would add a third against the run of play. Colella fired a shot from the point and Greenwood was able to get a telling touch to lift it over Durand with a minute left in the period.
Petrich explained, “When another team is doing what we want to do and you can’t get your shots through, they’re incredible with blocking shots, and it was just another kind of punch in the face. Every time we were able to punch, they were able to punch us back twice as hard.”
Although the swallowed up any of the momentum that the Bulldogs had built in the second period, Canton continued to push in the third to try and get back into the contest. Durand (11 saves) was called into action again early in the period, stopping a backhand try from Harrington.
Kayleigh Koen had a shot from the point stopped by McGinty (10 saves) and the rebound popped out to fellow freshman defenseman Georgia Campbell. She fired the puck back on net but classmate Abby Stock’s tip was wide.
The chance to make it a game was presented with six minutes to go when the Bulldogs went on the power play. Canton took the chance. Cusack got it started with a good forecheck on the side of the net, winning possession and dropping a pass back to Battista, who was pinching in from the right point. The senior threaded the needle with an angled pass to the back post and Audrey Koen was in right spot to tap in.
It was game on again with 5:19 to play, but it was Duxbury that responded better. Durand had to stay strong to deny a point-blank tip from Greenwood, but the Dragons just kept coming. Carney set up Harrington in the slot for a one-timer that made it 4-2 with 2:30 to go. Just a minute later, Greenwood nearly completed her hat trick with a power move that Durand stopped only for Parker Metzler to follow up and put the game away.
“Just a phenomenal feeling,” Petrich said, reflecting on taking Canton to the Garden in her first season in charge. “We got here extremely early and to see the ice, to see no one in the stands and to see their faces, to be able to take those pictures on the bench, and to kind of visualize and understand the moment that they’re in was really, really special.
“I just really enjoyed seeing them. It’s why hockey is so awesome because we get to play here.”
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – It was at that stage of a tied hockey game when every shot towards goal was met with triumphant cheers from one end of the stands and a collective intake of breath from the other. Time was winding down and it felt like one goal would either end a team’s season or give it the chance to play for a state title.
With 2:38 left to play in Saturday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at the Gallo Ice Arena, Canton seniors Audrey Koen and Ellie Bohane went flying into the Archbishop Williams zone. The Bulldogs pride themselves on their aggressive forecheck and the two senior forwards set the tone.
After forcing the puck to the end boards, Koen won the battle for possession and skated behind the Archies goal. She popped out on the other side and slid a backhand shot into the skates of the goalie, squeezing her shot through the five-hole and across the line.
That would be enough to lift Canton to a 1-0 win over the top seed and send the Bulldogs to the final at the TD Garden for the fifth time in six seasons.
Canton coach Nikki Petrich said, “Before the game, I saw [Audrey] briefly in between watching our boys team, she was literally over there in the corner, had her headphones on, and was just in her zone. I said, I guarantee she scores today. It just shows the work that she puts in and her senior leadership as a captain really taking on that responsibility of relentless effort and commitment to make her team better.”
Senior goalie Carolyn Durand said, “It’s amazing. It’s a different experience every single time because we have a new group of girls and it’s just so awesome because we get to go with the boys (who beat Duxbury in the game before). The whole town goes to the Garden. It’s just everybody’s dream come true. I’m so excited.”
Canton won the regular season meeting with the Bishops by a single goal, so it was expected to be another tight, hard-fought encounter. A physical first period played out as expected, with neither team able to create much in the attacking zone.
Bohane had one chance coming down the slot that was saved by Archies freshman goalie Evelyn Lacey (22 saves). Tori Carr had a shot from the point that Bohane tipped in front but Lacey kicked aside. The best chance for the Bishops in the first came in the final minute of the period, as Abigail Dunn fed Caroline Batchelder for a shot from the right wing circle, but Durand (18 saves) was equal to it.
After a period with very few notable scoring chances, both goalies were called into action early in the second.
Anna Lehan made a nice play at the blue line to get free on a shorthanded breakaway and tested Lacey with a slap shot from the right wing circle. A minute later, Grace Mottau teed up Dunn in the slot, but Durand held her ground and made the stop and then quickly recovered to block Mottau’s rebound effort as well.
Lacey needed to be on her toes again just seconds later when Koen found Bohane on the edge of the crease. Kate O’Toole would get two chances to try and beat Durand from about five feet away, but both of her shots were smothered by the Hockomock League MVP. Late in the second, Georgia Campbell threw the puck to the front of the net and Lehan whacked it just wide of the post.
Canton came out of the locker room intent on finding the breakthrough. Just 30 seconds into the third, Koen forced a pad stop with a backhand shot and Carr fired one from the point that Lacey was able to spot through a crowd of bodies.
A minute into the period, Bohane, who seemed to be everywhere on Saturday, was an inch away from the opener. She got free in the slot and ripped a shot off the inside of the top corner and back out. A couple of Canton players, and the Canton bench, raised their arms thinking that the puck had gone in.
Petrich said, “Ellie is almost underrated, sneaky fast. When she really goes after it, she flies and throughout the season you could really see some of her field hockey stick-handling skills come into play on the ice. There were a couple of great moves where she slid it through the D’s stick and cut to the middle.”
The chances kept coming for the Bulldogs. Freshman Izzy Cusack gained the zone and dropped a pass off to Bohane, who forced a blocker save. Soon after it was Koen that flew down the right wing and dropped a pass back to Cusack for another shot on target. Freshman Christina Curran dragged the puck out of the corner on her backhand and nearly found the corner.
With three minutes to go, Archies had its best chance of the third. Maggie Lynch played a nice give-and-go with Mottau and got free to fire a shot from the circle that Durand was able to glove and hold.
Just 30 seconds later, Koen found a way to get the puck through and put the Bulldogs in front. Archies started pressing, but a major penalty meant that the Bishops finished the game down a player. Durand was called into action once in the final minute, but calmly pushed the shot aside.
When the final horn sounded, the bench exploded onto the ice. The Bulldogs were back in the final.
“I don’t think I’ve ever yelled so loud in my life,” Durand said about the moment she saw Koen’s shot went in. “Normally I don’t really celebrate, but I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, we only have two minutes left, we’ve got this, it’s over.’ It’s awesome.”
Although this is her first year on the Canton bench, Petrich is no stranger to state title games at the Garden. She was part of the coaching staff last winter at Austin Prep, which won the D1 championship.
“I was joking with them, we both went there last year, I know how it feels to win and I want you to experience that too,” Petrich said. “That feeling we just had today, now imagine that on the Garden ice. You’re going to remember that for the rest of your life. It’s really something special that we have here.”
Canton (19-2-4) will face No. 2 seed Duxbury in the championship game at the TD Garden next Sunday, at a time to be determined.
CANTON, Mass. – Although Canton won when the teams faced each other near the end of the regular season, the Bulldogs still remembered how it felt when Algonquin found the back of the net in overtime of the 2022 Div. 2 title game and there was still a desire to fully avenge that loss.
On Thursday night at the Canton Ice House, the Bulldogs got the opportunity for revenge and they took it.
Behind a stellar performance from senior goalie Carolyn Durand (21 saves) and a pair of goals from freshmen, Canton knocked Algonquin out of the tournament with a 3-0 victory and, in the process, booked a return to the D2 Final Four.
“This game was definitely our revenge game,” said senior Audrey Koen. “This time with the stakes and taking a little piece away from them that they took from us last year, I think everyone had it in their mind that this was our time and we’re the better team. We’ve all come so far and we work so hard together and we’re going to do it for each other.”
Canton got off to a strong start, putting the pressure on the Algonquin defense by getting the puck deep, letting the forecheck get to work, and using the defense to pinch in at the blue line to maintain possession. It led to a 9-4 edge in shots in the first.
The first good chance came after six minutes, when freshman Kayleigh Koen’s shot from the point was tipped in front by Anna Lehan. Algonquin goalie Kaitlin Mathews was able to get a pad on the puck and quickly covered up. It took more than 10 minutes for the Titans to create a quality chance, with Olivia Bower’s shot from the point forcing a late kick save from Durand.
Pressure started to mount in the closing minutes of the first, as Canton had a flurry of chances. Freshman Izzy Cusack won the puck along the right wing boards and fired a wrister that Mathews managed to get a blocker to, with Audrey Koen following up but not getting full purchase on the rebound.
Ellie Bohane forced another blocker save from a tough angle and then, with Canton on the power play, she found herself in the slot with shooting space, but narrowly missed the top corner. With just seconds left in the first, Algonquin nearly stole the lead, as Emily Johns took advantage of a turnover for a shorthanded breakaway, but Durand stood tall to make the stop as the horn sounded.
“Her biggest strength is she’s just cool and ready and willing and wants to win so badly for her teammates that she will do anything to stop that puck,” Canton coach Nikki Petrich said of Durand.
Canton came out strong to start the second. Three minutes in, the Bulldogs finally got the breakthrough. Koen, who had a good shot saved a minute before, created the chance when she circled behind the net and flicked a pass out in front. Cusack was in the slot and managed to not only settle the puck but then chip it up over the goalie to make it 1-0.
“These freshmen are incredible,” said Koen. “They came into this team and they just clicked right away. I think all of these freshmen have stepped right into place. They don’t play like freshman, they play like they’ve been here for three or four years.”
The hosts had some chances to try and double the lead. Bohane sacrificed herself to block a shot in the defensive zone and that gave Lehan the chance to get out into open ice. As the back check reached her, Lehan spun onto her backhand and forced a save out of Mathews.
With six minutes left in the second, Devan Spinale’s shot from the point skidded wide but Bohane chased it down and snapped off a quick shot that went off the goalie’s skates and stayed out.
Algonquin sensed that it needed to step up its work in the offensive zone and had several chances in the final five minutes of the period. The best opportunity fell to Harper Ruderman, but Durand was in perfect position to make the point-blank stop. Maya Battista nearly doubled the Canton lead shortly after when she fired one from the point but Mathews stuck out the blocker and got a piece of it.
There was a different intensity about Algonquin in the third. The defending champs were on the front foot for the first time in the game, with Johns coming closest on a redirection that slid just wide of the bottom corner.
While the visitors were pressing forward in search of an equalizer, Canton struck again. The Bulldogs had several chances in close succession and finally freshman Christina Curran pounced on a loose puck and slammed the rebound just inside the post to give Canton that crucial two-goal cushion.
“Depth is huge and we want to give every girl an opportunity to play,” Petrich said about Curran, the third-line center getting on the board. “To get the experience, you have to have the opportunity. When other girls can step up and provide scoring opportunities, as well as not get scored on, it’s great.”
Petrich also noted that two freshmen scored for the Bulldogs. She added, “The seniors have done an exceptional job off the ice of welcoming the freshmen and making them feel a part of the team, a part of a family. They’re able to really build that chemistry off the ice and translate that on the ice.”
Most of the remainder of the game was played in the Canton zone. Algonquin had three power play opportunities in the third and was playing with the desperation of a team that saw its season on the brink. But, Durand stood in the Titans’ way and the Hockomock League MVP was equal to the task, making 11 saves in the third, including one off the mask from Johns and then again sticking out the blocker to stop a fierce wrister.
“She definitely plays a huge role in why we’re so good,” Koen said about Durand. “We know that she’s going to make the big saves and that we’re going to make the big plays in the offensive zone. I love how we all come together.”
With just 22.5 on the clock, Koen got free at the blue line, skated the length of the ice, and deposited an empty net goal that finished off the Titans and sent the Bulldogs to the next round.
“It was incredible,” Koen said about scoring the final goal. “I was just trying not to miss. I just wanted to make sure that it went in and just being able to feel that feeling and know that we’re putting it away was awesome.”
Canton (18-2-4) will face top seed Archbishop Williams, who the Bulldogs also beat in the regular season, on Saturday evening at Gallo Ice Arena.
CANTON, Mass. – When the current crop of Canton seniors were freshmen, they were part of a tournament run that ended with a berth in the final and being named the Div. 2 co-champions. After yet another run to the TD Garden last winter, the program’s third title game in five seasons, the senior class brings plenty of playoff nous to the ice each game.
Of course, adding a new group of talented freshmen ready to step into the spotlight that comes with trying to continue the recent playoff success certainly helps.
Canton’s blend of senior savvy and youthful energy was on full display on Wednesday night at the Metropolis Rink. With two goals from seniors and two more from freshmen, the Bulldogs beat Westwood 4-1 to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
“They have the experience from playoffs and from the regular season this year,” said Canton coach Nikki Petrich. “Several games we’ve been up [and the other team came back]. It’s a long hockey game. We know we’re going to score, they’re going to score, but it’s who’s going to finish the battle to the end.”
The game could have been a much bigger win, but Westwood goalie Marissa Poma finished with 37 saves, many of them spectacular.
Canton came out flying in the first period, nearly finding the back of the net inside the opening two minutes when freshman Kayleigh Koen slipped a pass across the crease to Izzy Crugnale, only for Poma to somehow stretch and get a pad on the shot. Tori Carr had a shot from the point saved and Poma was able to cover up when Lilah Spinelli crashed the net to get on the rebound.
The breakthrough came on the power play. Senior Maya Battista collected the puck on the right point, picked her spot, and flung a shot towards the far post. Canton had plenty of bodies in front and the puck flew past Poma and inside the post.
“February was tough for us,” said Petrich, referencing Canton’s strong schedule, “but we didn’t start the games as hard, fast, and strong as I wanted us to, so that was the emphasis here starting playoffs was to really get after it, but their goalie just played phenomenal. All the credit to her. I tried to give her a hug because she played phenomenal.”
Westwood finally got going after falling behind, although Canton would finish the first with a 15-4 edge in shots on goal. Four minutes after allowing the opener, the visitors leveled the score. Freshman Livvy Hicks sent a knuckling puck through a crowd and over the shoulder of goalie Carolyn Durand to make it 1-1.
Audrey Koen nearly restored the lead with a nice wraparound attempt on her backhand, but Poma made the save. With less than 30 seconds left in the first, freshman Izzy Cusack stole the puck in the offensive zone and got the puck into the slot to Koen, who partially fanned on the shot but managed to put it on frame only for Ava Krouson to block the shot on the line.
Durand was called into action early in the second, making a nice glove save on a Kate Sullivan effort. Cusack nearly put the Bulldogs in front, but her chipped shot from close range clipped the bar on its way across the net.
With 9:33 to go in the second, Kayleigh Koen scored what turned out to be the game-winner. She pinched in from the blue line, blocking a chip up the boards and keeping possession. Koen pushed up the left wing boards and cut towards goal, forcing a pad stop from Poma. The puck squirted out in front and Koen was able, on the second attempt, to redirect it into the open net.
“No longer a freshman and no stranger to big moments,” Petrich said about Koen. “Big players step up in big moments and that’s what she does for us every time. Her ability to skate with the puck as a defenseman, she’s so offensive-minded but so strong and solid on the blue line you almost don’t expect it.”
Poma continued to excel, keeping Canton from extending the lead on the power play. Battista had another good look from the point and Ellie Bohane pounced on the rebound, but the goalie stuffed the point-blank chance. Battista then tried to follow up with a quick wrister, but Poma recovered in time to glove it.
Canton started the third period on the kill, but it didn’t stop the Bulldogs from continuing to pepper the Westwood goal. Cusack had a good chance almost directly from the face-off, and Poma also had to be alert to stop the rebound as well. Bohane would come close after good work by Audrey Koen down the wing and a nifty behind-the-back-pass into the slot, but the shot went either off Poma’s glove or the post and stayed out.
Another dominant start to a period finally paid off with a goal. Freshman Georgia-Ann Penders, who was injured to start the season, made a perfect pass across the crease to classmate Abby Stock. Stock was able to pick the five-hole and give the Bulldogs a two-goal cushion.
With 4:34 to go, Canton wrapped up the win. This time, it was the seniors who got on the score sheet. Bohane raced out on a two-on-one, drew the defender, and saucered a pass to Koen on her right. Koen ripped a shot into the top corner to book Canton’s place in the next round.
“The message from me is always to play the right way, which is passing the puck,” Petrich explained. “Several times we came out of the corner right here and we missed the net, and it’s a breakout. I said, listen, play hockey the right way, smarter hockey, move the puck. I said, stop playing hero hockey and start playing smarter hockey.”
Canton (16-2-4) will face the winner of No. 13 Milton and No. 20 Framingham on Saturday night at the Canton Ice House. The time is to be determined.
Foxboro, 58 vs. Melrose, 48 – Final – Foxboro senior Alex Penders poured in 30 points to eclipse the 1,000-point mark for his career, leading the Warriors to a win over Melrose in an MIAA endowment game. Penders got off to a great start with 15 points in the opening quarter, helping Foxboro to a 19-17 lead. The Warriors outscored Melrose by two in three of the four quarters, and by four in the third quarter. Penders drained a three with 1:33 left in the third quarter to hit the 1,000-point milestone. He also hauled in 16 rebounds while senior Sam Golub chipped in with 14 points.
Franklin, 51 vs. Xaverian, 37 – Final – Franklin hit five of its nine three-pointers in the second quarter to create a big lead that it held the rest of the way against Xaverian. The Panthers hit a trio of threes against Xaverian’s zone defense in the first quarter for a 15-8 lead and then really got going in the final minutes of the first half. Andrew O’Neill (15 points) hit three of his five three-pointers in the final four minutes of the second quarter and Justin Allen (12 points, six rebounds) hit two of his four triples in that same stretch as Franklin used a 16-2 run to build a 33-17 lead at halftime. The Panthers struggled offensively during the third but their defense was strong all game long and prevented the Hawks from making a run to get back into it. Ben Harvey added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Panthers.
Stoughton/Brockton, 8 @ Bellingham, 3 – Final – The Black Knights used a balanced scoring attack to secure a big win on the road in their final game of the regular season. Jake McSweeney scored a pair of goals from Stoughton/Brockton while Sean Farley, Charlie Caputo, Ryan Summers, Owen Dupont, Anthony DeSousa, and Garrett Sager each had one goal in the win.
Canton, 5 vs. Natick, 1 – Final – Freshman Izzy Cusack scored three times to lead Canton to a win in the regular season finale. The Bulldogs extended their unbeaten streak to 13 games, as they look to secure a top four spot in Div. 2. Cusack got the scoring started with the lone goal of the first period. Ellie Bohane doubled the Canton lead, following up a shot from Cusack in the second period. Freshman Kayleigh Koen made it 3-0 with a shot from the point and then Cusack wrapped up the win by adding two more against another D2 playoff contender.
King Philip, 5 vs. Bishop Stang, 2 – Final – After beating the host team Milton in a shootout, KP’s offense exploded for five goals against Stang to secure the title at the Milton February Break Tournament. Kelly Holmes was named the player of the tournament after scoring four goals in the final. Freshman Katie McGann also found the back of the net for the Warriors. Nicole McDonald, who scored both goals against Milton, teed up three goals on Thursday. Mara Boldy, Katarina Precobb, and Lydia Maxwell also had assists. Mallory Johnston made 36 saves to send KP into the state tournament on a high note.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Since the Hockomock League introduced girls hockey six years ago, the games have always been competitive but Canton has stood above the others as the team to beat each winter. King Philip went into Wednesday night’s showdown at the Foxboro Sports Center looking to knock Canton off its perch and bring home its first league title in the process.
Canton’s title-winning experience proved to be too much to overcome. Behind an Audrey Koen hat trick, the Bulldogs pulled out a 5-2 victory, winning their fourth straight Hock championship and fifth in the past six years.
“Experience is everything and unfortunately the only way to get it is to get it and to go through it, so I couldn’t have asked for a better balance,” first-year Canton coach Nikki Petrich said about her roster’s blend of youth and experience.
She continued, “Having a more tenured player maybe working with some of the younger girls and walking them through, you’re going to feel this way, you’re going to feel that way, but remember what we do in practice, remember to listen for our voices. It’s been great to have their leadership and experience because big players step up in big games.”
The Bulldogs outshot KP 11-5 in the opening period (and 36-15 for the game), but each Warriors shot was a quality scoring chance.
Nicole McDonald had the first look when she reacted to a loose puck after a face-off and was stopped from close range by Canton goalie Carolyn Durand. McDonald also forced a turnover in the attacking zone and played a pass across the crease to Katarina Precobb, but Durand somehow got across to the far post to make the point-blank pad stop and keep the game scoreless.
“I was like okay it’s 1-0,” Petrich said, thinking about that moment. “Carolyn makes the save and we go down, and to me it’s always transition hockey, but a huge save like that really lifted our team and the momentum to fight some more. Every single game she makes a save like that and we’re able to get energy from it.”
Kelly Holmes would have another good chance for KP after keeping the puck in at the blue line, but Durand got her blocker to it. On the other end, Tori Carr had one of Canton’s best early chances with a steal in the neutral zone and hard shot that KP goalie Mallory Johnston knocked aside. Abby Stock also had a chance from the high slot that forced a glove save.
Things felt even in the early going, but Canton got the game’s first power play and made sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Maya Battista collected the puck just outside the right wing circle and played a diagonal pass across the zone to the back post. Koen was pinching in from the boards and collected the puck, despite a slight deflection, before roofing a shot over Johnston’s glove side from a tight angle.
With the lead, Canton came out of the intermission full of energy. Koen almost doubled the lead after two minutes when she won the puck on the left wing boards, cut hard towards the net, and forced Johnston into a good save.
About 30 seconds later and the Bulldogs did make it 2-0. Freshman Izzy Cusack had her shot from the slot saved. The rebound kicked out in front of Johnston, who attempted to dive out and cover the loose puck, but Cusack stayed with it and was able to slide it past the goalie. KP argued that the whistle had gone to blow the play dead, but the goal stood.
KP continued to create chances. Mara Boldy slipped a pass between a pair of defenders and Holmes was able to slam the puck towards goal, but Durand got the pads down to make sure of the save.
With 9:10 left in the period, KP was back in the game. Holmes intercepted an outlet pass at the blue line and skated in alone on Durand before flicking a shot into the top corner. About a minute later, Canton was back in control. Koen flew down the right wing and rifled a shot just under the bar to make it 3-1 and steal back all the momentum from the hosts.
“I always tell them hockey ebbs and flows like life,” Petrich explained. “I don’t like to say we need another goal, it’s always one shot. To me, when you say a goal, it’s so much pressure. Never get too low, never get too high, so when you come out next shift clear your mind, clear your head, and go after it. For her to score that fast, I couldn’t have written it better.”
The goal sparked the Bulldogs back into life and they dominated the rest of the period, creating a 14-5 edge in shots on goal. Ellie Bohane had a good two tries to extend the lead when she drove towards goal and forced Johnston into a stop and then fired the rebound on net only for the KP goalie to flash a pad out and make the save.
Canton opened up a three-goal cushion with 3:46 left in the second. Anna Lehan came from the right wing and attempted a wrap around that was saved, but the loose puck came right out into the middle where Stock was charging towards goal and the freshman buried the chance.
KP’s hopes of a comeback in the third period were blunted by starting on the penalty kill and Canton wasted no time putting the game away. Koen completed her hat trick just 13 seconds in, whipping a wrister into the bottom left corner and making it 5-1.
The next several minutes were played almost exclusively in the KP zone. The Warriors finally got some chances down the other end of the ice with less than five minutes to play. While falling down, Holmes was able to slide a pass across the crease to McDonald, but Durand made the save. About 30 seconds later, Holmes again drove towards goal and got the puck in front and this time McDonald was able to squeeze it home.
Canton finished with a flourish, getting scoring chances from Cusack and Kayleigh Koen, but the work had already been done. The Bulldogs swarmed Durand at the final horn, having retained their Hock title once again.
“That was more pressure on me, I couldn’t let them down,” Petrich joked when asked about how it felt to bring home a fourth title in a row. “It feels amazing to accomplish that with them in our first year. As I’ve said all year, we’re continually learning from each other. The girls that have been here on the team who know the players and the teams and (assistant coach) Kevin [Cleary] and I and our knowledge of hockey and the teams we’ve played. It’s coming together.”
Canton (11-2-2) will be off until Monday when it faces Archbishop Williams, currently the top-ranked team in Div. 2, and then follows that with a trip to Duxbury, the No. 2-ranked team in the division. King Philip (7-9) will host Arlington Catholic on Monday night.
2021-2022 Record: 18-7-0 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Final Coach: Nikki Petrich
Canton has won four of the five Hockomock titles since league play began, including three in a row, and last winter the Bulldogs went to their fourth state title game in the past six seasons. It was an incredible stretch of success under Dennis Aldrich, who stepped down in the off-season, and the Bulldogs don’t look ready to slow down anytime soon. First-year coach Nikki Petrich, a former Northeastern University standout, comes to Canton after being an associate head coach for Austin Prep, helping them win a pair of Div. 1 state titles, and she has an experienced roster aiming for another trip to the Garden in March.
The Bulldogs can count on plenty of senior leadership this winter, starting up front with forwards Audrey Koen and Ellie Bohane. Koen is the team’s top returning scorer with 12 goals and eight assists last year and will be a focal point in the attack. Juniors Maggie Dailey, Lilah Spinelli, and Anna Lehan also contributed important minutes and important goals during last year’s playoff run and could be ready to step into bigger roles this season. As always, Canton can reload with talented underclassmen and freshmen Christina Curran, Abby Stock, and Izzy Cusack could also feature in a deep forward group.
Defense has long been a strength for Canton and it starts in goal with senior Carolyn Durand. The four-year starter has been one of the best shot stoppers in the state since her freshman year and gives the team a strong foundation in its own zone. Senior Maya Battista is another four-year starter and has emerged as a force on the blue line, both with her work in the defensive zone as well as her goals on the other end of the ice. Juniors Tori Carr and Devan Spinale will be back on the blue line with freshmen Kayleigh Koen and Georgia Campbell part of a talented rookie class that could contribute right away.
“We are looking to build off of the success of last year and continue to make sure that every single girl in our program has an incredible experience representing their town, high school, and family,” Petrich said. With a senior captain in net, a senior captain on the blue line, and two senior captains leading the way for your forwards, our team is going to compete every single game. A strong freshman class rounds out what is truly a team with extensive experience playing in meaningful games come the end of February.”
2021-2022 Record: 6-11-4 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32 Coach: Mike Lubin
Franklin is the only team other than Canton to have won a Hockomock League title and the Panthers come into the season with a more experienced, and deeper, roster to try and get back on top. Former assistant Mike Lubin has taken over as head coach after the retirement of longtime coach Margie Burke and he has a balanced lineup to work with this winter.
The Panthers will be hoping to be more solid on the defensive end of the ice this season, building on the structure they have created in all three zones. Senior Shaw Downing is a four-year varsity player and a dynamic skater along the blue line, not only being sure on the puck in her own zone but also capable of carrying the play into the attack. Junior Lindsay Dennett continues to improve each season and sophomore goalie Izzy Brown is coming off an impressive rookie campaign between the pipes.
Sophomore Julia Flynn was the team’s leading scorer last year and she is back to power the Franklin offense. Senior Lindsay Atkinson is also back, after missing all of last winter with an injury. Atkinson had a big sophomore season and will be a huge addition to the top line. Senior forwards Dana Stott and Molly Hurley bring two-way strength to the forward line.
“We’re a close group with great leadership and a good mix of young talent,” Lubin said. “We’re all excited to get the season started and build on our strong team chemistry from last year.”
2021-2022 Record: 3-16-1 (formerly Mansfield/Oliver Ames) 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 32 Coach: Jamie Mullin
The biggest co-op team in the Hockomock League is getting bigger. The Mansfield/Oliver Ames Warriors, which also featured skaters from Foxboro, now includes players from Attleboro, Milford, North Attleboro, and Taunton and will be going by the name of Hockomock Stars.
Jamie Mullen returns for her second year at the helm of the program and now has some more players to work into her lineup. The Stars lost some key players to graduation, including longtime goalie Jess Widdop and speedy forward Sam Ledin, and also have to replace the production of last year’s leading scorer Kylie O’Keefe (20 points). Leading the offense will be a pair of Mansfield juniors: Cammy Shenteler, fresh off a 7-goal, 9-assist season, and Maeve Anastasia, who totaled 11 points with six goals last year.
North Attleboro has four players in the mix with junior Ava O’Dwyer, sophomore Grace Cabeceiras, and freshmen Brittany Nordbeck and Alana Rice. Attleboro (Emily Davignon, Avery Drainville, McKenzie Sullivan) has three players, Taunton (Hannah Albert, Kendell Scheralis) has two, and Milford has one (Lindsay Casman).
Foxboro’s Mya Waras (five points) and Mansfield’s Ava Adams (five points) will also be key pieces in the attack. Foxboro junior Macy Quinn is back to anchor the blue line for the Stars while Davignon will be between the pipes.
2021-2022 Record: 18-5-0 2021-2022 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32 Coach: Ken Assad
King Philip is coming off a really strong year. The Warriors won 18 games last winter but saw the season come to an end in the opening round of the state tournament. KP scored 93 goals in 23 games in 2021-22 but graduated the bulk of one of the state’s top scoring lines, so will need new players to step into bigger roles in search of the program’s first Hock title.
While the top scoring line may look a little different this winter, KP does return its top goal scorer. Junior Kelly Holmes is back to lead the offense and is one of the most dynamic players in the league. Senior Katarina Precobb and junior Nicole McDonald will add more punch to the top line this season. The Warriors will have decent depth in the attacking zone, with senior Sydney Cloutier, junior Rylie Ryan, and freshmen Cam O’Shea and Kate McGann each ready to provide an attacking punch. Eighth graders Tayla McDuff, Rylan McKillop, Ella Morgan, Erin Steck, and Molly Murphy should all get their chance to contribute.
In the defensive zone, KP will have plenty of experience to try and keep other teams out. Seniors Brielle Hearon, Mara Boldy, and Emma Sullivan will all be back on the blue line, providing leadership and physicality to slow down the opposition. Freshmen Lydia Maxwell and Grace Lehan-Allen both saw time as eighth graders and will build on that important year of varsity action. Eighth-grader Calleigh Brady should see time in defense this year. Goalie is another position of strength for the Warriors with senior Mallory Johnston in her third year as a starter and classmate Haley Bright backing her up.
“I never call it a rebuilding year,” said KP coach Ken Assad. “With the returning players and newcomers, I believe with hard work and not taking any nights off we can be in the hunt for the Hockomock title and get into the tournament.”
2021-2022 Record: 2021-2022 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Chad Kelley
Stoughton/Sharon continues to be a young program that is building up its numbers. With only one senior and two juniors in the program, the Black Knights will be focusing on youth and trying to build a foundation for future seasons. After a close loss in the season opener, Stoughton/Sharon continues to find ways to stay competitive even with a smaller roster of just 14 players.
Eighth-grader Sarah Scappaticci from Sharon will be the starting goalie this season. She made 34 stops in the opener against Cambridge and is already showing that she is a skilled player between the pipes. Brockton junior Molly Corvino will be one of the leaders in the defensive zone, along with classmate Samantha Calapai. Both players are solid in their own zone but can push the team into the attack. Stoughton freshman Addison Strunk will also be one of the defenders in the top two pairings.
Stoughton’s Ava Buckley is the lone senior on the team. The Assumption-commit will be the focal point for the Black Knights on the offensive end of the ice. Sharon eighth grader Ella Cummings has a lot of skill on the puck and already opened her varsity account with a goal against Cambridge. Sharon sophomores Peri Rodman and Heather Kelly and Stoughton sophomore Leila Uchani return to the forward lines. Stoughton freshmen Julia Monaghan, Meghan McGowan, Amanda Reid, and Stoughton eighth graders Nya’Lia Lindsey and Julia Henein will give the Black Knights depth up front.
“We are a young team with only one senior and two juniors in our program,” said head coach Chad Kelley. “Ava Buckley and Molly Corvino are our captains for this season. Both Ava and Molly have been tremendous with our young group. They are great examples for others to model.”
2021 Record: 11-6-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 32 Coach: Jessica Pink
Attleboro has been a team on the rise for the past few seasons with a couple of tournament appearances and wins over some of the league’s perennial powers. New head coach Jessica Pink takes over a roster that sees a lot of turnover from 2021, but one that she believes is filled with players ready to step in and take their chances in the lineup.
Speed will be the main strength of the Attleboro attack, which will look to transform any turnover into a quick transition. Junior Siobhan Landers returns to the midfield and will be one of the team’s top playmakers and senior Marley Young will be a focal point on the front line. Their combination of stick skills and leadership will help the younger players adapt to the varsity level. Senior Jordan Mooney will play in midfield with Landers and will help set the tone with her energy to keep the Bombardiers on the front foot.
The back line will have a lot of inexperience, but senior Megan Ferreira is a returning starter and she is going to need to keep communication strong and provide cover in the center of the field. Attleboro is working hard to build more familiarity in the defensive unit this preseason. Sophomore goalie Siany Ortiz will be the new starter this season and, despite being an underclassman, has been very vocal in organizing the defense and keeping things solid.
“We have strong, decisive playmakers who haven’t had a chance in past years to make a name for themselves that are ready to compete,” said Pink. “This team is hungry. Coming in this year to take over the program, I have been impressed every day with the attitude and hard work of my players. I know this season will be a lot of growth for the girls coming up from JV this year, but we are ready to show the Hockomock League what we have in store. “
2021 Record: 16-4-0 (Davenport champion) 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 16 Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Expectations remain high in Canton as the defending Davenport division champions are ready to defend their crown and make another run in the state tournament.
The Bulldogs went 16-4 a year ago before dropping a second-round matchup on the road to Reading in triple overtime. They’ll have to find production to replace all three of their all stats from a year ago, but there is still plenty of key pieces all over the field that puts Canton in a prime position to repeat.
It starts in goal with senior Carolyn Durand, who had a breakout junior campaign and earned HockomockSports Second Team honors. She will have a familiar face defending the cage in front of her with Laura Valkanas back at sweeper. In the midfield, the Dogs have Maggie McCready back in the mix. Freshman Carolyn Schiavo and Izzy Cusack have impressed in preseason so far.
Up top, Canton has its leading scorer back in Assumption-commit Ellie Bohane, who scored 13 goals along with nine assists in the regular season and earned HockomocokSports First Team honors. She will be one of the most dangerous players in the attacking half this season.
“Ellie comes into her senior season with experience and confidence,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We will look to her for her goal scoring ability and overall leadership on the field.”
2021 Record: 15-6-0 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 3 Round of 16 Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Foxboro came up just two games back in the hunt for the Davenport division title a season ago, and with the majority of the team back this year, the Warriors look poised to challenge for the crown this go around.
The Warriors have two of their biggest offensive threats back in the mix led by 2021 HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Mary Collins, who scored 15 goals and added 18 assists. Foxboro will also feature Mya Waryas up front, who was second on the team with nine goals and eight assists in the regular season. Val Beigel and Mia Dinunzio will be key pieces in the midfield again this year.
Defensively, there are more familiar faces with Katherine Ferguson back in the cage and Catherine Cotter returning to a defensive unit that gave up just over a goal a game last year. Freshman Kathleen Staruski will push for minutes in net as well.
“The Hockomock League is historically a very competitive and experienced group of teams and I believe one of the best leagues in the state for our sport,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “This year will be no different…so we have our work cut out for us, no doubt, but this group has been working hard this offseason and now in preseason. They are a gritty and determined group, so I am very optimistic about how we will perform as a team.”
2021 Record: 20-2-0 (Kelley-Rex champion) 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Final Four Coach: Michelle Hess
Franklin had one of the most dynamic offenses last season, not only in the Hockomock League where they went 16-0, but also one of the best in the entire state as they reached the Division 1 state semifinals.
What’s good news for Franklin is bad news for everyone else: the Panthers have nearly their entire attacking group back ready to make another run at a state title. The offense will be anchored by Kaitlyn Carney, the 2021 HockomockSports Player of the Year, who scored a league-best 37 goals and added 18 assists. Franklin also has dynamic forward Shaw Downing back fresh off a 20-goal, nine-assist season a year ago. The attack will also feature junior Sophia Cuneo, sophomore Haley Wernig, and sophomore Raena Campbell.
One area that will have some new faces is the defensive unit after the Panthers lose two of the best defenders in the league in Kendall Jones and Kate O’Rourke. Head coach Michelle Hess is looking for Ella Mahoney to anchor the group after starting last year while freshman Devon Barry joins Megan Sullivan and Chloe Strassner as the goalies on the roster.
“After graduating five seniors and winning the Kelley-Rex Division, we are looking forward to defending our three-year title and working hard towards being four-peat champions,” Hess said.
2021 Record: 12-5-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 32 Coach: Kaitlyn Wilder
There are a lot of new faces on the roster for King Philip this season, as the Warriors make a push to unseat Franklin from the top of the Kelley-Rex division and win the league title for the first time since 2018. First-year head coach Kaitlyn Wilder, who takes over for Lisa Cropper, will still have plenty of experience to call on with 18 seniors in this year’s squad.
Offensively, KP will once again lean on junior midfielder Kelly Holmes to set the tone. The team’s leading second-leading scorer in 2021 was instrumental in pushing the Warriors into the attack. Junior Mara Boldy (12 goals and eight assists last year) will join up with Holmes to give KP a potent forward line and classmate Nicole McDonald is poised for a bigger role in the attack. Junior Bridget King will be a key player in transition and sophomore Abby MacDonald could be ready for a breakout year in the midfield.
The Warriors were strong on the defensive side of the ball last season, allowing only 17 goals in 19 games, but that was a senior-laden group and new players will be counted on to step in this fall. Seniors Lauren Barriero and Charlotte Raymond will give the relatively inexperienced group valuable leadership and provide much-needed communication on that end of the field. Goalie should be a position of strength for KP this year with seniors Haley Bright and Samantha Sweetman both back between the pipes.
“Preseason has been great so far, we have a big roster with talented, hardworking field hockey players,” Wilder explained. “Looking to use our big roster to our advantage, utilize our senior leadership to help them, and the underclassmen to excel this season.”
2021 Record: 4-13-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32 Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield has battled through back-to-back difficult seasons, and even though the Hornets qualified for the state tournament based on the new statewide rating system a year ago, the Hornets are looking to have a big bounce-back campaign in 2022.
Behind a renewed enthusiasm, a youthful energy boost, and strong team speed, the Hornets look ready to challenge for the division title, this season in the Davenport division. The team is led by seven seniors that bring experience to each layer of the field. It starts with senior Lily Danehy, a three-year starter in goal for the Hornets. One of the most experienced netminders in the Hock will be the backbone of the defense while classmates Fadila Krieche and Audrey Murphy are returners on defense.
Senior Danni Cuzzi and junior Lola Varricchione both bring speed and experience to the Hornets’ midfield unit. Up front, Mansfield will look to improve its scoring output and will turn to Rose Maher, Ava Adams, and Kristin Kipp to apply pressure on opposing defenses.
“The team intends on turning things around this year,” said head coach Theresa Nyhan. “The Hornet squad is young, fast, and enthusiastic!”
2021 Record: 1-17-0 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Jenna Casello
Milford has a new head coach this season in Jenna Casello and she’s hoping to push the program in a positive direction as they navigate a daunting Hockomock League schedule.
The Scarlet Hawks have 10 seniors on the roster this season and will lean on their leadership and guidance, both on and off the field. Casello will look to her three captains — Hailey Beagle, Jordan Douglas, and Ashlynn Ringo — to lead the way. Ringo will be a player to watch this season as she patrols the midfield, playing a crucial role in helping the Milford back line while also organizing and orchestrating the Hawks’ offense.
Up front, senior Kay Wheelock is set to provide pressure on opposing defenses. Although new to the center forward spot, Casello has liked what she’s seen so far and the team will be looking to target Wheelock up front.
“Being a new coach this year, I am hopeful that I will have a positive impact on the team and lead them in the right direction this season,” Casello said. “We will have a fresh new start and are ready to show off our skills in the Hock. One strength for us this year will be using the entire field. Throughout our preseason we have been working on not only stretching the field vertically but horizontally as well. Our midfielders are constantly scanning the field and looking to transition the ball as needed.”
2021 Record: 7-9-3 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32 Coach: Karen Folan
With the majority of the roster intact from a season ago, North Attleboro is looking to take a big step forward and make some noise in their first season back in the Kelley-Rex division.
The Rocketeers are loaded with experience all over the field, especially in the attacking half. Senior center forward Julia Puccio starts her fourth year on varsity and emerged as one of the most dangerous scorers a season ago. She was third in the Hock with 23 goals last season and earned HockomockSports First Team honors. She’ll be joined on the left wing by classmate Caroline Folan (nine goals, five assists), a three-year member of the team that is often the catalyst of the attack with her strong passing.
North has a lot of veterans in the midfield with seniors Ava Spencer and Caitlin Vacher along with juniors Kelsey Thompson and Emily Burnham – all four saw valuable minutes last season and will help North both defensively and offensively. In the defensive half, junior Gracie Leary had a breakout season in net and had a great offseason preparing for this year. In front of her are returning varsity members and seniors Rory McGinley, Maddie Bailey, Ava McKeon, and Ella Luistro.
“This group has played together for some time and they have developed strong skills throughout their careers,” said head coach Karen Folan. “The chemistry and camaraderie they have off the field, shows on the field, with cohesive passes and strong communication.”
2021 Record: 11-7-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 16 Coach:
With key returners spread out all over the field, new head coach Alex Sylvia is looking to continue the momentum that the Tigers have had the past couple of seasons.
The Tigers won the Davenport division two seasons ago and had a thrilling overtime playoff win last year before bowing out in the second round to top-seeded Masconomet. Sylvia, who played collegiately locally at Stonehill College, will have contributors from all four classes, including senior Julia Maclaine. Maclaine is a seasoned veteran that plays the full length of the field, a key piece of the defense as well as a dangerous attacker with the ball. She’ll be joined by junior Megan Crabtree in the midfield, both of which are returners.
Up top, junior Erin Cottam is one of the top scoring returners from last year after scoring 14 goals and registering seven assists. She will be one of the main options for OA up front and freshman Kayla Kenney has impressed so far in the preseason and will be a key new addition to the attack. Defensively, OA has some veterans on the back line with senior captains Olivia Stevens and Abby Welz. They have a lot of varsity experience and will anchor the defense in front of junior goalie Olivia O’Rourke.
“I am excited for the season as the head coach this year,” Sylvia said. “During tryouts, I witnessed amazing talent, and now our team is strong and ready to work for this entire season. Each player understands their role and is ready to work toward their goals.”
2021 Record: 4-13-0 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Caitlin Jamiel
For the first time in over 40 years, Stoughton field hockey will have a new head coach on the sidelines. Caitlin Jamiel takes over for the legendary Dan Mark and she will be leaning heavily on the returning players.
After moving to goalie for the first time last year, Stephanie Costerio (109 saves last year) is back in the cage for the Black Knights with much more experience under her belt, and she will be the backbone of the defense.
Jamiel will also look for guidance from her four captains: Kerry Driscoll, Andrea Khouzami, Carly Sanda, and Katherine Giroux. Driscoll was a key piece of the defense last season, Khouzami patrolled the midfield, and both Giroux and Sanda were a part of the Stoughton offense.
“We will be relying heavily on our returning captains to show their maturity on the field, and lead our young team through difficult moments,” Jamiel said. “We have a lot of energy coming into our program this season, and we are so looking forward to building our program into a competitive one.”
2021 Record: 5-11-2 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Liz Hathaway
With a blend of experience and new faces, Taunton is hoping to compete in a very deep Kelley-Rex division and push for a spot in the postseason.
Senior Kaysie DeMoura is fresh off a super season with the state champion softball team and is looking to carry some of that success onto the turf with the field hockey team. She burst onto the scene last year as one of the top box-to-box players in the Hock and finished as the team’s leading scorer with four goals and six assists. She’ll look to work with senior forward Caelyn O’Leary (six goals, one assist) to give the Tigers a dynamic 1-2 punch offensively. Sophomore Caroline Vallarelli has impressed with a strong skillset in the midfield so far this preseason.
There will be some familiar faces on the defensive end, but some changes as well. Junior Jasmine Lucier, who previously started on defense for the Tigers, will make the transition to goalie this year. Head coach Liz Hathaway notes that Lucier has worked very hard during the offseason and has established herself in between the pipes. Taunton will lean heavily on Thal Nogueira, a smart defender that has been the anchor of the defense for the past few seasons. They are a great ball tackler with a great sense for defensive position.
“We are a young team, we graduated seven starters from last season,” Hathaway said. “We have a strong returning defense and a young forward line that have stepped up during the preseason. Our younger players are really looking to make a name for themselves and working hard. Our team has worked hard and is looking forward to the season ahead.”