ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Coming into Sunday afternoon’s Div. 2 South preliminary round game, Taunton had never beaten North Attleboro. The Tigers had a couple of ties against the Rocketeers prior to joining the Hockomock League, but no wins. They found the perfect time to change that record.
Behind a strong performance from senior goalie Sean Bunker (36 saves) and a pair of breakaway goals, Taunton came from behind for 2-1 victory at the New England Sports Village, overcoming North’s 37-14 edge in shots on goals.
“He played awesome,” Taunton coach Kris Metea said. “He has big game experience. He knows that no rebounds means no goals, and he controlled everything, he smothered everything, and got us whistles. He did everything we needed him to do.”
Bunker made 17 saves in the first period alone and had several memorable stops, including a diving glove save to rob Jack Connolly in the opening period, a big pad stop on a Dennis Morehouse breakaway with three minutes to play, and a flash of his glove to stop Will Yeomans in the final minute.
“There were a lot of pucks lying around that we’ve got put it in,” North coach Ben McManama said. “We’ve got to bear down, but that’s been us all year. We want the easy goals but we’ve got to work harder to get those dirty, greasy goals. I thought we played pretty well.”
North came out flying to start the game, putting 18 shots on goal in the first and using its size and physicality to keep the Tigers pinned back in the defensive zone. Matt McSweeney had a chance at the post after a puck rebounded off the back boards, but Bunker got his pad down to make the stop and to block the ensuing scrum.
After five minutes, the pressure paid off with the opening goal. Tyler Sarro drove down the right wing and got below the goal line before firing a pass to the edge of the crease where Brady Sarro was on hand to redirect the pass through the five-hole from point-blank range.
Taunton had a couple of chances in the first. Michael Albert had a shot from the right circle on a quick transition and Colton Scheralis had a pair of chances at the post that Nick Digiacomo (12 saves) was able to smother.
The Rocketeers thought they had doubled their lead with three minutes left in the period. Morehouse gained the zone and fired a shot towards goal that took a deflection to Connolly at the far post. The forward knocked the loose puck towards what appeared to be an empty net, only to have Bunker dive across and make the stop.
In the second period, North managed eight shots, but struggled at times to gain the zone. The Taunton defense looked more comfortable than in the first, although Metea said there were no significant changes between periods.
“We knew that in the first period we were going to have to weather the storm,” Metea explained. “We said, you’re in the game, just keep doing what you have to do, box it up, stay tight, wait for your opportunities. They stayed with it and it was awesome.”
With 11:32 left in the second, Taunton used its lone scoring chance of the period to tie the game. Connor McGrath flipped a puck out of the zone and the North defense struggled to control the bounce. Albert pounced and got a free skate at goal. Taunton’s leading scorer planted a shot just under the bar on the glove save to make it 1-1.
North had a flurry late in the period. Jeff Baker picked out Nick Longa right in front of goal, but Bunker made the pad stop. Jake McNeany was allowed to skate right down the slot but his chance went just wide and then McSweeney collected the loose puck and forced another big save from the Taunton netminder.
“They give us fits because they block shots, they do the right things, and they’re tougher in front of the net then we are,” said McManama. “That’s it. They were tougher in the dirty areas and my hat’s off to them. We’ve got to play through that better.”
Both teams had chances early in the third to try and grab the lead. North used the defensemen and threw bodies in front to try and cause problems for Bunker. On the other end, Digiacomo had to be quick with the blocker to stop a shot through a screen.
Connolly had a pair of chances for the Rocketeers. He drove behind the net and faked Bunker out to open space at the post, but the puck rolled off his stick as he went to score. Sam Clarke then set Connolly up inside the right face-off dot but he sent his shot just past the top corner.
“We missed the net a ton tonight,” said McManama. “We had a lot of shots on goal but we had even more shot attempts, a ton more. We’ve got to hit the net.”
The missed chances came back to haunt North. Scheralis slipped a puck through a pair of defensemen at the blue line and into the path of fellow freshman McGrath. The forward raced in alone on goal and showed great composure to fire a shot into the top corner for a shock lead.
Metea said, “We knew that they come in so hard that one pass through the ‘D’ will probably allow us to flip it out to center and allow our wings to go to work. I felt confident we could beat them in a footrace and we got the chances off that and I’m thankful that they stepped in.”
North was increasingly desperate for an equalizer as time wore down, but Bunker continued to be unbeatable. He stuffed Morehouse on a break down the right wing and then showed quick hands to deny Yeomans after Nik Kojoian teed him up right in front of goal.
“North played great, but Sean was equal to the test,” said Metea. “Goaltenders are the greatest equalizer and if you have a good one then you’re going to be in games.”
Taunton (10-9-3) will try to get some more strong play from Bunker and upset another league opponent when it travels to top seed Canton on Wednesday night.
The Rocketeers erased a two-goal deficit over the final 22 minutes of play to secure a 3-3 tie with Hockomock rival King Philip, and with the point, North Attleboro punches its ticket to the state tournament.
“They were outstanding,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama after his Rocketeers controlled the third period from start to finish. “We knew we needed our best period of hockey and they delivered. I think it was obvious how hard we worked, how well we worked together and how we stuck to our systems. It was fun to watch.”
The Big Red comeback started, surprisingly enough, on the heels of King Philip’s second goal of the second period. The Warriors had leveled the scoring in the first period, tying the game through 15 minutes, and went on to tack on two goals in the first eight minutes of the second period.
Sophomore Nolan Feyler put KP ahead just 1:18 into the second and scored his second with 6:59 left in the period as the Warriors looked poised to skate away with the game, up 3-1 with three straight goals.
But North Attleboro responded in a timely manner, using a smart hustle play that gave the hosts life. Senior Dennis Morehouse found classmate Jack Connolly entering the zone on the left side and Connolly unleashed a low shot. King Philip goalie Jesper Makudera (25 saves) made the pad stop but North sophomore Nik Kojoian made a great read and won the race to the loose puck, batting the rebound in to make it 3-2.
The goal came just 43 seconds after the Warriors built their two-goal advantage.
“That’s the type of play we needed,” McManama said. “It’s just the little things we talk about. That’s getting the puck to the net, shooting it low and someone else driving hard. That’s hockey, it’s basic and something we preach all the time but we get away from it. Now we’re getting some goals off it so they are seeing it works.
“That’s a very good team we played and I thought we played.”
Makudera came up with a big stick save to stop a five-hole shot from Morehouse with 15 seconds left and North Attleboro goalie Nick Digiacomo (15 saves) was equal to the task on a shot from KP’s Conor Cooke with less than a second to go.
Trailing by just a goal with the postseason a point away, the Rocketeers put together a terrific third period. And it didn’t take long for the hosts to pull even. Just under five minutes into the period, Jeff Baker had his bid knocked away but Morehouse was quick to pounce on the loose puck and blasted it into the back of the net to make it 3-3 with 10:48 to go.
North had a couple of looks at the winner but couldn’t get another put back Makudera. Connolly came flying down the left side and rifled a shot that was covered up. Minutes later, North’s Tyler Sarro and Jake McNeany were inches from a loose puck in front of goal but Makudera dove on top.
Connolly had another chance after a faceoff bounced in front of goal but he couldn’t lift his backhand bid over the goalie.
King Philip had just two shots on goal in the entire third, spending most of the period playing defense. But with under a minute to go, the Warriors had a surge into the zone and Jack Coulter unleashed a blast but it hit off the crossbar and stayed out.
“We haven’t been able to close teams out,” said King Philip coach Paul Carlow. “We played a great second period. I’m not sure if we’re satisfied when we get the lead, or if we’re satisfied with the tie. I’d like to see us put some teams away, especially this time of year. [North Attleboro] is a good team but I felt like we could have won today.”
North Attleboro got off to a strong start early on as Digiacomo came up with a terrific positional save, denying a point-blank chance from Cooke after a great feed from Coulter.
And minutes later, Morehouse skated in uncontested down the right side and flicked his shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead with less than three minutes expired.
King Philip answered at the midway point of the period, and in similar fashion to the bid that was denied early on. Coulter forced a turnover behind the net and linked up with Cooke, who initially looked at goal but instead dished a pass in front and Aidan Boulger buried the one-timer to make it 1-1 with 7:31 left in the first.
Rocco Bianculli was the catalyst of KP’s second goal, taking control of a loose puck in the neutral zone and speeding into the offensive zone. He laid a pass off to Chris Daniels, and he quickly fed the puck across to Feyler for the finish plus a 2-1 lead with 13:42 left in the second.
The Warriors went on the power play shortly before the midway point of the game and took full advantage of their chance. Joe Bosellii, who just had a shot saved, let another rip go that was blocked down, the puck eventually finding Feyler for the finish in close.
“I didn’t think we came out that strong in the beginning, we always seem to give up the first goal,” Carlow said. “But after that, we got the goal back, we seemed to get stronger. Then we got the power play goal, which always helps. In the third, we had a broken skate blade and we ended up running around a little bit, couldn’t get the puck out of our zone and it ends up in the back of the net.
“[North Attleboro] needed a point [to qualify], they definitely had a little more 1-2 in the third than we did.”
Both teams have time to prepare for the postseason. King Philip (4-2-2 Hockomock, 10-4-4 overall) has two games left, including a trip to Rodman Arena on Saturday to take on Walpole, and a home game on Monday afternoon against a good Norwood team.
“We haven’t lost in the last four or five games, we’ve won or tied, but I’d like to see us play a complete game going into the playoffs,” Carlow said. “From the drop of the puck to the final whistle. Overall, I like the way they are playing. They are playing strong defensively for the most part, we aren’t giving up a bunch of goals. I’d like to see us put a few more in.”
North Attleboro boys hockey (2-3-3, 7-6-6) will wrap up its regular season on Friday night when it takes on rival Bishop Feehan in what will likely be a playoff atmosphere.
“It’s more about how you’re playing when the playoffs come [instead of record] and when we look at it, especially that third period, we feel like we can do some work in the playoffs if we play like that. We have a big game on Friday against a rival, but I like where we’re at, I really do, but we just have to keep working.”
Today’s games are listed below.
Taunton, 83 vs. Bishop Stang, 57 – Final – Taunton scored 23 points in each of the first three quarters, building a double-digit advantage through eight minutes and never looked back in a win over Bishop Stang. Sophomore Trent Santos sank four three-pointers on his way to a career-high 18 points, one of five Tigers to reach double figures and one of eight on the team to score. Sophomore Faisal Mass scored in all four quarters, netting nine of his career-high 15 points in the third quarter. Josh Lopes (14 points), Nigel Choate (career-high 12 points), and Tyler Stewart (10 points) all finished in double-figures for Taunton, who improved to 2-2 overall.
Stoughton, 0 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
Canton, 3 vs. Masconomet, 1 – Final
Franklin, 1 @ Pope Francis, 6 – Final
King Philip, 2 @ Archbishop Williams, 0 – Final – King Philip scored a pair of third period goals, used a stellar defensive performance, and Jesper Makudera shined in net in a win over Archies. Makudera made 27 saves for the Warriors and played outstanding according to KP head coach Paul Carlow. Carlow also noted the strong performance of the Warrior defense, highlighting senior Kyle Gray, who played a ton of minutes to anchor the blue line group. Junior Rocco Bianculli scored 45 seconds into the third on an assist from Joe Boselli to give the visitors the lead. Aidan Boulger doubled the lead at 9:58 on an assist from Gray.
Mansfield, 2 vs. Winthrop, 2 – Final – Mansfield had a first period lead but needed to find the back of the net in the third to earn a come-from-behind tie against Winthrop. Seniors Chris Jenkins and Jake Lund scored for the Hornets.
North Attleboro, 5 @ Bishop Feehan, 4 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Matt McSweeney scored twice, including the eventual game-winner, and goalie Nick Digiacomo had a strong game in between the pipes to help the Rocketeers beat their rivals. North had a 1-0 lead five minutes into the first on a goal from the blue line by Jake McNeany, but the Shamrocks scored two quick goals to take a 2-1 lead after one period. In the second, North scored four times to jump in front. Will Yeomans tied the game with a power play goal. After Jake Gruber had his shot sneak inside the post to put North in front, Feehan tied it just 12 seconds later. McSweeney scored twice about a minute apart to put North ahead for good. Feehan got one back in the third, but the North penalty kill was impressive and the Rocketeeers held on for the win.
Oliver Ames, 1 vs. Beverly, 1 – Final
Taunton, 0 @ Barnstable, 8 – Final
Canton, 3 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.
Franklin, 3 vs. Austin Prep, 3 – Final – Franklin scored with 10:26 left in the third period to earn a tie with Austin Prep, last year’s D1 State Finalists. The Panthers scored twice in the first period, taking a 1-0 lead on a goal from Gianna Cameron (assisted by Amanda Lewandowski and Lyndsey Atkinson) and then going back in front 2-1 just over a minute later on a goal from Atkinson (assisted by Libby Carter and Tina Pisano). Sophomore Emma Hunt had the assist on the game-tying goal while Gabby Colace made 32 saves in net to help the Panthers earn the point.
King Philip, 9 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
Marlboro Tournament (Canton) – The Bulldogs sent a pair of wrestlers to the final round of the Marlboro Early Bird tournament, earning one individual championship and a ninth place finish overall with 73 points. Sophomore Zack Peters earned his first tournament win, taking first in the 113 bracket. Peters won his first three matches via pinfall before taking the final match 4-2 over the second seed. Eddie Marinilli added a second place finish in the 160 bracket while Yuril Leskiv took fourth overall at 106.
Melish Duals – Sharon took first place and went 4-0 in the Mike Melish Memorial Duals, beating hosts Foxboro 40-27 in the final match of the day. The Eagles also earned wins over Northbridge (57-12), Boston Latin (61-6), and Plymouth South (31-30). Five Sharon wrestlers – Adam Landstein, David Gelman, Kirit Gosetty, Tyler Freedman, Rhamsez Thevenin – went undefeated on the day.
Franklin @ St. John’s Prep Quad – The Panthers picked up three wins in the quad meet. Franklin beat Lawrence 54-24, Salem (N.H.) 60-21, and then edged out the home team St. John’s Prep 37-34 in the final match.
Brockton Quad (Mansfield), 10:00AM
North Attleboro Quad – North Attleboro picked up a win over Chariho (RI) but suffered setbacks to both Norton and Hope (RI) in the Rocketeers’ first quad of the season. Big Red earned a 51-25 win over Chariho before falling to the Lancers and Hope by identical 42-30 wins. The Rocketeers were close to a win over powerhouse Norton before the Lancers picked up back-to-back pins for an 18-point swing and the win. North’s Mike Edmonds (170), Montrel Jackson (182), and Keysun Wise (220) each went 3-0 on the day with a pair of pins.
Marshfield Super-Quad – Oliver Ames went 4-0 in Marshfield, beating the hosts 54-24, Pembroke 54-24, Scituate 42-18, and Toll Gate (R.I.) 54-18. Jaden Ricci, Onye Nwadiugwu, Stavros Constantinou, and Nelson Malone all went 4-0 on the day and Max Anderson went 3-0 for the Tigers.
Milford Tournament (Milford, King Philip), 10:00
Stoughton Quad, 10:00
Taunton Early Bird (Taunton) – Taunton’s Christian Balmain claimed the tournament title at 152, helping the Tigers take third overall at the Sandwich Early Bird. Balmain needs just 27 seconds to get his first win via pinfall, and then advanced to the finals with a pinfall victory in the semifinals. In the final, Balmain had a takedown in each of the first two rounds to build a lead, and then secured the 7-2 decision with a late takedown in the third. Taunton’s James Collins (106) and Nico Sallaway (170) each had second play finishes while Luke Fraga (113), Brandon Mendes (120), Xavier Sandoval (126), and Ethan Harris (160) finished third overall.
Attleboro @ King Philip, 5:30
Today’s games are listed below.
Franklin @ Attleboro – Postponed to TBD.
Foxboro @ North Attleboro – Postponed to TBD.
King Philip @ Oliver Ames – Suspended until Tuesday, 5/21. KP leads 2-1 in the third inning.
Taunton @ Mansfield – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/21. Game will restart from the beginning.
Stoughton, 6 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Stoughton earned a win on the road over Sharon, clinching the Davenport division title outright. Stoughton senior Evan Jackman tossed a complete game for the win, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks, striking out four. James Genest paced the Stoughton offense with a home run and two RBI.
Attleboro @ Franklin – Postponed to TBD.
North Attleboro @ Foxboro – Postponed to Friday, 5/24 at 4:00.
Oliver Ames @ King Philip – Postponed to TBD.
Taunton @ Mansfield – Suspended until Friday, 5/24. Game is tied 0-0 in the third inning.
Sharon @ Stoughton – Suspended until Tuesday, 5/21. Game is tied 2-2 in the sixth inning.
Franklin @ Canton – Postponed to TBD.
North Attleboro, 6 @ King Philip, 5 – Final (OT) – North Attleboro’s defense and goalie kept the Rocketeers in the game and freshman Matt Antonetti scored in overtime for the game-winner. After starting 1-6, North Attleboro won for the eighth time in its last nine games to punch its ticket to the state tournament. Antonetti finished with three goals while Young praised his defense’s effort in front of Jake McNeany (19 saves).
Mansfield, 15 @ Sharon, 9 – Final
Oliver Ames, 15 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final – Frankie Ireland, Sam Stevens, and Remi Creighton each had four points to pace the Tigers to a win over Stoughton. Ireland scored a hat trick with one assist while Stevens and Creighton each had one goal and three assists. Senior Cullen Gallagher also scored for the Tigers.
Attleboro, 10 @ Taunton, 15 – Final – Taunton sophomore Alana Tavares scored 10 goals to pace the Tigers to a win over visiting Attleboro. Tasia Lajoie added two goals and two helpers while Kamryn Li, Angie Lynch, and Emma Sheehan each scored once for Taunton. Emily Gannon made six saves in the win.
Canton, 1 @ Franklin, 11 – Final – Franklin seniors Annie Walsh and Hailey Toolin both had solid performances for the Panthers in a rain-shortened contest.
King Philip, 22 @ North Attleboro, 9 – Final – Jess Sullivan scored four goals and added four assists to lead the way for the Warriors on the road. Mackenzie Mazur scored five times and Caroline Klim added four in the win. KP also got a hat trick from Dana Truini, a goal and two assists from Lily Brown, two goals apiece by Peyton Mellman and Olivia Tormey, and one goal from Ali Wilson. Caroline Watson recorded 14 saves for KP.
Oliver Ames vs. Pembroke – Postponed to TBD.
Sharon @ Mansfield – Postponed to TBD.
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 5 – Final – Franklin defended home court and picked a 5-0 sweep over Attleboro. Liam Marr didn’t drop a game at first singles in a 6-0, 6-0 win while Rohan Herur won 6-1, 6-0 at second singles and Shoumik Sompally picked up a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Saketh Saripalli and Lucas Gulick secured a 6-3, 6-0 win at first doubles while Ryan McSweeney and Thomas Broyles won 6-1, 6-0 at second doubles.
North Attleboro @ Foxboro – Postponed to TBD.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip won three matches in straight sets, another in a super tiebreaker, and one by default to beat Oliver Ames. Marco DiStefano won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Zak Ryan earned a 6-0, 6-3 decision at second singles, and Jake Mager prevailed 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 at third singles. The team of Tyler Dowd and Andy Cook won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles.
Sharon, 4 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Sharon won a pair of singles matches and swept doubles action for a win over Stoughton. Alberto Olivei won 6-2, 6-1 at second singles and freshman Rueman Bhattacharyya earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Max Brody and Max Chen won 6-0, 6-1 at first doubles while Alex Aspel and Jake Ross picked up a 6-4, 6-2 win at second doubles. Stoughton sophomore Waseem Sablon won 6-3, 6-3 at first singles.
Taunton @ Mansfield – Postponed to Friday, 4/24 at 3:45.
Franklin @ Attleboro, 3:45
Foxboro, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Foxboro won all three singles matches in straight sets in a rain shortened contest at North Attleboro. Pam Nelson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Sarah Prag earned a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, and Julia Muise won 6-1, 6-0 at third singles.
King Philip @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to TBD.
Stoughton, 0 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sharon won four matches and a fifth was called due to rain in a win against visiting Stoughton. Valeria Barajas won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles and Charlize Martinez picked up a 6-1, 6-0 decision at second singles. The team of Sophia Fein and Sasha Fein won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles while Lauren Glass and Makaila Cheung won 6-0, 6-0 at second doubles.
Mansfield, 0 @ Taunton, 4 – Final – The Tigers picked up two wins in singles action and two more in doubles in a rain-shortened match. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles while Jocelyn Pagliuca picked up a 6-3, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Sam Martin and Brianna Fevrier won 6-1, 6-2 at first doubles while Ogechi Ariguzo and Kayla Parrett won 6-2, 6-0 at second doubles.
Taunton, 3 vs. GNBVT, 0 – Final
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With the Sharon defense focusing in on junior Andy DeMattio and senior Damien Curtis out due to a first quarter injury, the North Attleboro boys lacrosse team needed someone else to step up.
Enter members of the Class of 2022.
Freshman Matt Antonetti scored a hat trick, including the game-tying goal with just over a minute to go, freshman Jared Vasher was solid at the face-off X, and freshman Connor Rupert scored the game-winning goal, his second, just over two minutes into the overtime period to give North Attleboro a 7-6 come-from-behind win over Sharon on Ray Beaupre Field.
North Attleboro trailed 6-4 entering the fourth quarter but pitched a shutout for the final 12 minutes of regulation, getting within one with 8:02 left in the game on Rupert’s first goal. The Rocketeers forced a turnover with 90 seconds to go and Antonetti used a nice individual effort to net the tying goal with 1:03 to go.
In overtime, Sharon freshman Ben Shocket won the opening face-off but North Attleboro coach Kevin Young elected to have pole Brett Labonte on the wing, and the junior defenseman came up with a big play by knocking the ball free and giving North Attleboro possession.
DeMattio (two goals) had his first shot saved by Sharon freshman goalie Adam Rabb (eight saves) but the rebound fell to North to keep possession. Rupert unleashed a shot from distance that was wide but DeMattio raced to get his stick in front to keep the ball.
Senior Nick Ward started behind the net and found Ruppert to his left. In one motion, the freshman caught the ball and continuously spun to his right, unleashing a tough sidearm shot that found its way in at the near post for the winner.
“We’re playing five freshmen right now, quite a bit,” Young said. “Early on, they were a little intimated but they are starting to come into their own. That #3 [Antonetti], that went around the net and scored, he’s a freshman. The faceoff kid [Vasher], just came up from JV, he’s a freshman. They are getting used to this level.
“The freshmen looked lights out in our scrimmages. But then they kind of got thrown off a little bit. It’s almost impossible for a 14-year-old to play an 18-year-old. When they get comfortable, and they start to get to the right places, they are getting better. I would have never thought that shot was going in but we’ll take it.”
Though Ruppert didn’t factor into the scoring on North Attleboro’s first goal of the fourth, he was the catalyst for it. He forced a turnover near midfield, raced up the field and found Ward, who found DeMattio for a low bounce shot to make it 6-5.
Sharon had its best chance of the quarter with just over four minutes to go. The Eagles came flying up in transition and senior Brandon Buckman ended up with a wide open bid right in front but North junior goalie Jake McNeany (eight saves) read it perfectly and blocked the low shot, robbing the Eagles of a goal.
The Eagles had possession with a one goal cushion with three minutes to go, and looked to play keep away but North Attleboro was able to force a turnover to get it back. Antonetti set up shop behind the net, eventually going to his right, backing down, spinning out left for a right-handed blast that made it 6-6 with 1:03 to play.
Sharon had strong starts to each half. The Eagles had a handful fo chances in the opening five minutes, with McNeany making a pair of strong saves on chances from senior Mitchell Director, and then turning away Buckman from in close. Senior Daniel Lillenfeld intercepted an attempted clear from the Rocketeers and sprinted up field, finding freshman Zack Waxman all alone and he made no mistake and buried his chance for a 1-0 lead, an advantage that lasted the entire quarter.
Antonetti pickpocketed Rabb and bounced an open shot into the net to tie the game 92 seconds into the second quarter, and DeMattio scored his first of the game just over the midway point on a tough angle shot to put North Attleboro ahead 2-1.
Buckman answered for the Eagles with a nice low shot from in close but North Attleboro sophomore Tyler Sarro, who had a very strong game defensively, made a terrific read, finding Antonetti with a long pass and the latter buried it to make it 3-2.
Sharon answered with a man-up goal with under a minute to go when Brady Daylor skipped one in to tie the game 3-3 heading into half.
The Eagles came out strong in the third quarter, using face-off wins from Shocket to ignite the offense. Sophomore Drew Litner connected with Buckman in front to put the Eagles ahead 16 seconds into the third.
Less than a minute later, on a man-up chance, Director ripped a bounce shot in the back of the net to put Sharon ahead 5-3.
North Attleboro capitalized on a two-minute locked in penalty on the Eagles with Ruppert pouncing on a rebound and tucking in the loose ball to get within one but Director added another tally for the Eagles off an assist from Litner with 1:29 left in third, but that would be the last goal of the game for Sharon.
“We have a solid defense, it’s just about eliminating mental mistakes,” Young said. “We had times where we’d switch off guys and they’d score a goal. We’d drop the ball on a clear and it’d lead to a chance for them. You have eliminate those. But I think our defense is very strong, it’s all guys back from last year.”
Sharon (2-4, 4-5) is on the road at Shrewsbury on Friday.
Today’s games are listed below.
Stoughton @ Attleboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Canton @ Franklin – Postponed to Thursday, 4/11 at 3:45.
Foxboro @ Taunton – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Milford @ King Philip – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/28 at 3:45.
Sharon @ Mansfield – Postponed to Thursday, 4/11 at 3:45.
North Attleboro @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to a Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Taunton @ Foxboro – Postponed to Friday, 4/12 at 4:00.
Mansfield @ Sharon – Postponed to Friday, 4/12 at 3:45.
Oliver Ames @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Monday, 4/22 at 3:45.
King Philip @ Milford – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/28 at 3:45.
North Attleboro, 7 @ Canton, 8 – Final – Canton’s Tommy Vaughan scored the game-winning goal with just a couple minutes left in the game, breaking a 7-7 game to give the Bulldogs the win. North Attleboro led 3-1 after a quarter and 4-1 at halftime but Canton exploded to six goals in the third to seize a 7-4 lead. The Rocketeers scored three times for knot the game before Vaughan tallied his fourth goal for the winner. Griffin Roach, David Allen, Brendan Clifford, and Dan Cohen each scored once for the Bulldogs. CHS coach Bill Bendell said sophomore Jeff Fitzpatrick dominance at the faceoff X and Brendan Albert’s fantastic effort on defense were huge factors in the win. Ryan Rajotte paced North Attleboro with two goals and two assists while Nick Ward added two goals. Jake McNeany made 16 saves in goal for the Rocketeers.
Attleboro, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 19 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – Oliver Ames built an 8-3 lead at by halftime and never looked back in a win over visiting Attleboro. Hunter Costello had a team-high five goals while Shane Kilkelly, Sandro Mascierelli, Sam Stevens and Colin Bourne each scored three times. Remi Creighton (four points) won eight of 10 faceoffs for the Tigers. Attleboro’s Zach Thomas scored twice while Michael Strachan, Matt Perry, and Keigan Conley each scored once for Attleboro.
Sharon, 4 @ Foxboro, 9 – Final – Foxboro held just a one-goal advantage at halftime (4-3) but outscored the Eagles 4-0 in the third to pull away for the win. Shayne Kerrigan scored scored twice in the third while Brendan Tully (two goals) and Pete Conley each scored once to put the Warriors ahead 8-3 entering the fourth. Charlie Baughan finished with three goals for Foxboro.
Milford, 1 @ Franklin, 20 – Final
Stoughton, 3 @ King Philip, 17 – Final – King Philip improved to 3-0 on the season with a win over Hockomock League foe Stoughton. Colin DeVellis paced the offense with four goals and four assists while Andrew Sajdak added three goals and two helpers for the Warriors. Sam Mattson added a hat trick and Matt Minkwitz finished with two goals.
Oliver Ames, 14 @ Attleboro, 7 – Final – Five different players found the back of the net to help Oliver Ames earn a win on the road at Attleboro. Maddie Kullen also had a strong performance in net for the Tigers. Kyra Lyons and Sydney DiLiddo scored three goals apiece for Attleboro while Rylee Fontes added one goal.
Canton, 12 @ North Attleboro, 13 – Final
Foxboro @ Sharon – Postponed to Monday, 4/22 at 6:15.
Franklin, 16 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Kelsey MacCallum scored three goals and had one assist while Sara Carney found the back of the net twice to pace the Panthers to a win on the road.
Taunton, 3 @ Mansfield, 18 – Final – Mansfield coach Lauryn Wilkie credited the Hornets with a big improvement as a team from the season opener, as the hosts jumped out to a 12-3 lead at halftime and shutout the Tigers after the break. Lauren Whitman scored six times and Katie Garvin had four goals and four assists. Katie McCarthy made a pair of saves for the Hornets. Wilkie added, “We played very well in the midfield, winning draws and connecting on our transition.” She also praised the defense for holding Taunton to just three goals and causing a number of turnovers, while also praising Taunton’s goalie for making a number of saves against the Mansfield attack.
Attleboro @ Stoughton – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45 at Attleboro.
Franklin @ Canton – Postponed to Thursday, 4/11 at 3:45.
Taunton @ Foxboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Oliver Ames @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Friday, 4/26 at 3:45.
Mansfield @ Sharon – Postponed to Thursday, 4/11 at 3:45.
King Philip @ Milford – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Stoughton @ Attleboro – Postponed to Monday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Canton @ Franklin – Postponed to Thursday, 4/11 at 3:45.
Foxboro @ Taunton – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
North Attleboro @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to Friday, 4/26 at 3:45.
Sharon @ Mansfield – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Milford @ King Philip – Postponed to Tuesday, 4/9 at 3:45.
Taunton, 3 @ Brockton, 2 – Final – Taunton pulled out a five-set win on the road over the Boxers to improve to 3-2 on the season. Gage Kingman had a strong all-around game for the Tigers, registering 22 kills, 20 digs, two blocks, and an ace. Chris LaCourse finished with 41 assists, two kills, and two aces, Damir Santiago added 10 kills, two aces, and two blocks, and Tyler Stewart chipped in with nine kills and five blocks.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2019 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview
2018 Record: 5-13
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kevin Patton
The Bombardiers will boast a relatively young group in 2019 but are still ready to compete in a difficult Hockomock League.
With a total of 14 underclassmen – eight sophomores and six freshmen – there will certainly be learning curves and some ups and downs throughout the year, but those new faces are hungry to improve throughout the season.
Attleboro’s strong suit will be in net as Hockomock League All-Star Trevor Koppy, a captain for this year’s team, returns to the cage. Koppy is one of the most experienced netminders in the league and the Bombardiers will be relying on him for his play plus his leadership as a captain. Attleboro will also rely on the leadership on and off the field by junior captain Tom Shipman, who will be a key piece in the midfield.
Shipman will be joined by senior Zach Thomas and sophomores Michael Strachan and Aidan Diggin in the midfield. All four have plenty of varsity experience so Attleboro will certainly rely on them to guide the way as the younger players are incorporated into the lineup. Sophomore Matthew Perry returns up front while junior Jack Handy is back defensively.
The Bombardiers are hoping junior Bryson Friess and freshman Fred Wheaton will make an impact defensively while freshmen Keigan Conley and Jack Lamothe will bolster the attack. Freshman Ryan Betts will also be apart of the midfield unit this season.
We are a young team…but they’re all ready to contribute quality minutes,” said Attleboro coach Kevin Patton, who switched from the girl’s team to the boys this Spring. “With Trevor Koppy and Tommy Shipman, our captains, they are prepared to lead the team to the next level. I’m looking forward to the future of the program!”
2018 Record: 10-8
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Bill Bendell
After missing out on the playoffs in 2017, Canton put together a memorable 2018 campaign that ended in the D2 South Sectional Semifinals. The Bulldogs are looking to replicate that success and make another deep tournament run again this year.
And with a good amount of players back from last year’s squad, there is a lot of optimism that tournament run can happen. Senior Griffin Roach, a HockomockSports.com Second Team selection, will pace the offense again this year. Roach had 30 goals and 17 assists last year and his competitiveness is contagious to those around him. Roach will be joined by classmate Dan Cohen, a Hockomock League honorable mention selection. Cohen is a dangerous player, scoring 24 goals in the regular season last year.
David Allen, Chris Lavoie, Brendan Clifford, and Matt Martin are great athletes and capable scorers as well, while Tommy Vaughan will look to make an impact with his playmaking ability. On defense, the Bulldogs will turn to Brendan Albert and Nick Mackay, who head coach Bill Bendell called two of the most underrated players in the Hockomock League. Both possess a boatload of experience at the varsity level and will anchor the Bulldog defensive group. George Kent and James Murphy will also be apart of Canton’s defense while Shane Marshall, Sam Walsh, Jack Albert, and Carson Campbell will all see time and make key contributions this seasons, Bendell said.
Sophomore Dylan Coyne will take over in net for the Bulldogs and has had a strong preseason so far. Bendell believes Coyne is poised for a breakout year. Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Ghostlaw, and Mackay will all be in the running to handle faceoff duties.
“We are very excited about our offensive and defensive potential,” Bendell said. “Our varsity depth is not what we would like it to be at this point, but a few players have shown flashes of potential that make us think we will be much deeper come Memorial Day.”
2018 Record: 15-4
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinal
Coach: Matt Noone
Foxboro will have a young squad with just five seniors this year but that doesn’t mean there will be a lack of experience from the defending Davenport division champions.
Senior Brendan Tully sets the example with his work ethic but is also one of the most dangerous players in the Hockomock League. A Providence College commit, Tully has tormented defenses for the past two seasons. He had 44 goals and 22 assists last year and will be one of Foxboro’s main weapons. Tully will be joined by Bobby Yerardi, who had over 40 points as a sophomore and has improved his game in the offseason. His ability to finish right or left makes life difficult for opponents.
The Warriors bring back junior Shayne Kerrigan for faceoffs. Kerrigan is one of the best in the area on the draw and puts Foxboro in good positions time after time; he will be a key piece in the midfield for the Warriors. Junior Pete Conley, Aiden Stapleton, and Charlie Baughan will make the up the attacking group for Foxboro this year.
Pat Stapleton is one of the most experienced players in the league as well as one of the top defensive players. He will anchor a defensive unit that has been one of the best in the region over the past couple of seasons. He will be joined by juniors Ronnie MacLellan and Will Morrison. All three players have the ability to move up to LSM when needed.
One question mark for the Warriors could be goalie, as Foxboro graduated Hockomock League MVP Jake Addeche. Head coach Matt Noone is confident in his options this season, with four players competing for the time in the cage. Freshman Matt Tully is beginning the season as the starter.
“I am really looking forward to this season as we are young but dangerous,” Noone said. “The best thing about this team is our depth, there is competition for every spot and they love to compete! What more can you ask for?”
2018 Record: 16-4
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Lou Verrochi
Franklin has had a lot of success in recent years, and that trend looks like it will continue in 2019.
“The outlook for this season is very good,” said Franklin head coach Lou Verrochi. “It could be one of the best teams we’ve had at FHS.”
The reason for the high expectations is the amount of talent returning from last year’s Kelley-Rex team that reached the D1 South Quarterfinals. Although the Panthers graduated two-time All-American and two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Eric Civetti and starting goalie Connor O’Rourke, Franklin has experience and talent back at each position.
It all will start with senior Jacob Alexander, who has been arguably the best faceoff man in the entire state over the past couple of seasons. Alexander’s ability to consistently win draws gives Franklin a huge advantage and sets the offense in motion. Patrick Morrison, a second-team All-American selection last season, will anchor the defensive unit for the Panthers this year along with Will Harvey, who was one of the most underrated players last year. Will Davis, who saw time in net some last year, is set to take over in the cage and could be one of the top netminders in the league.
The Franklin midfield will consist of Nitin Chaudhury – one of the hardest working athletes in any sport – along with Owen Palmieri and Ben Kolb, who has really impressed in scrimmages during the preseason. Franklin’s attack could be among the most dangerous in the league this year with three legitimate options. Jake Davis (32 goals, 23 assists), Matt Lazzaro (30 points), and Ben Greco are all unselfish but can also finish.
2018 Record: 9-10
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Hal Bean
King Philip is hoping that a good amount of returning experience from last year’s team will result in a successful season and possibly a run through the D1 South bracket.
The Warriors have one of the most experienced attackmen in the league in Colin DeVellis, who has been one of the best finishers in each of the last two years. He finished fourth overall in points his sophomore year (22 goals, 36 assists) and again his junior year (45 goals, 29 assists) and is the top returning scorer back from last year. His ability to finish in close makes life tough for opponents but he’s also able to find teammates when the defense focuses on him. Andrew Sajdak and Sam Mattson will also be key pieces on the attack and the three showed good chemistry in their first game this year.
Wes Bishop, who is committed to play at UMass Boston, is a great leader that will anchor the defensive unit. He has a lot of varsity experience and is the type of player that leads by example. Luke D’Amico is another experienced defender that will stand out for KP this year. Tyler Bartlett, Aiden Bender, Chris Longobardi, and Garrett Maxwell give coach Hal Bean a large group of experienced players.
Junior Andrew McKinney is back in goal after splitting time in the cage last season.
2018 Record: 9-9
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield has made the state tournament in each of the last four seasons and will be looking to make it five straight in 2019.
It all starts in the midfield with senior Aidan Sacco. Sacco, who played quarterback this past fall for the Hornet football team, is like the quarterback for the Hornet boys lacrosse team. A lot of the offense will run through Sacco because of his vision and ability to share the ball. He is also a key part of the Hornet defense. His ability to get back and track opponents while also causing turnovers and transitioning defense into offense will be key for Mansfield.
On offense, the Hornets have an experienced stick in the hands of Mike Reed, who will be relied on to lead the Hornets into the playoffs down the stretch. Connor Quirk will also be a key cog for Mansfield this year while Joe Plath, Sean Weber, and Will Nelson are going to be important pieces in the defensive unit.
The Hornets have a strong piece in Nico Holmes at the face-off X. Holmes picked up varsity experience at the position last year and he will look to give Mansfield extra possessions this year in their push for the state tournament.
Coleman O’Brien and Brian Rockwell are battling for the starting spot in the cage.
2018 Record: 6-11
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jacob Scordato
After increasing their win total from 2017 to 2018, the Scarlet Hawks will be looking to continue that trend in 2019.
With returning starters back in a lot of positions, second-year head coach Jacob Scordato is hopeful that Milford can make a run at a state tournament berth.
“Our Goal as a team is to make the playoffs, this program hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2012,” Scordato said. “But this group of extraordinary young men are highly motivated on achieving that goal.”
The Scarlet Hawks bring back their leading scorer in Brendan White, who had 45 points last season (31 goals, 14 assists). White is a strong, physical forward with a strong shot. His ability to finish through contact makes him one of the top attackmen in the league. In the midfield, junior captain Danny Farrell is back after a standout sophomore year. Farrell, an LSM, led the team last season with 64 ground balls.
Senior Ryan Pearl will anchor a defensive unit that is looking to improve on last season. Sophomore Evan Hazard had a standout freshman campaign between the pipes last year. He will be relied upon this season to help keep Milford in games as they make a push for the postseason.
2018 Record: 15-5
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals
Coach: Kevin Young
After coming close to the Davenport title a year ago, the Rocketeers are ready to make another run at the division title and as well as a deep playoff run.
While the Rocketeers graduated some top talent in the league such as midfielders Jason McNeany and Max Fontes, defenseman Tommy Lockavitch, and attack Tommy Lindstrom, North Attleboro has talent and experience in every position. Juniors Nate D’Amico and Jake McNeany are back after splitting time last season and will be competing for minutes again this season.
Defensively, the Rocketeers bring back three starters from a unit that allowed a league-low 95 goals last year. Junior Brett Labonte had a terrific season and will be joined by classmate Will Yeomans and sophomore Tyler Sarro. Head coach Kevin Young said the trio is tough, vocal, active, and play very well together. In the midfield, senior captains Nick Ward and Ryan Boyle will be key pieces. Ward will also see time at attack while Boyle will be a defensive minded midfielder.
“Nick is a very smart, sneaky threat with great IQ and stick skills,” said North Attleboro coach Kevin Young. “Ryan is just a grinder that all coaches appreciate.”
Junior Dan Conroy takes over as the main faceoff guy and will be joined by Ryan Rajotte, Damien Curtis, Nick Morse, Jack Puccio, Cam Cornetta, and Joe Milosh in the midfield.
The attack will be spearheaded by junior Andy DeMattio, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year. DeMattio had a tremendous season, scoring 52 goals and adding 22 assists for a team-high 74 points. “He should be fun to watch as he’s picked up some size and speed,” Young said. DeMattio will be joined by junior Jack Connolly and freshman Matt Antonetti.
2018 Record: 14-7
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Ben Devlin
Coming off the best season in program history, Oliver Ames is aiming to have another successful year and hoping to replicate last year’s playoff push.
The Tigers reached the D2 South Sectional Semifinals last season and bring back five of the top seven scorers from a year ago. While the top two scorers — Eric LeBlanc and Owen Gallagher — and their 146 points graduated, there is a lot of optimism in the program because they have reloaded for this year.
Oliver Ames will be young on the attack with junior Sandro Masciarelli and sophomore Remi Creighton, but there is still experience in the position. Masciarelli had 25 goals last year while Creighton will see more minutes this year. The strength of the program will be in the midfield with the likes of senior captain Colin Bourne (30 goals), junior Shane Kilkelly (32 goals), junior Sam Stevens (23 goals), and junior Frankie Ireland (29 goals). That group was a big reason for OA’s memorable season last year and now have a year of experience playing together under their belts.
Defensively the Tigers are looking for senior captains Shane Murphy and Matt Saba to lead the way. Both players were apart of the defensive unit last year and have been a big reason for the program’s improvement over the past couple of seasons. Senior LSM Cullen Gallagher will be a key defensive midfielder while junior Tyler Campbell will likely factor into the Tiger defense this year. Junior Nick Gillis returns as the starting goalie while senior Steve Heino is an experienced backup.
“Our goal is to keep improving each day and keep building on last year’s success,” said OA head coach Ben Devlin. “The kids have bought into the program and are excited and enthusiastic about the season. We don’t expect anyone or two players to replace the production we graduated, but if all our returners can progress like they did last year, we should be in the mix for a tourney berth.”
2018 Record: 12-7
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Jon Shocket
Sharon has a strong mix of returners and new faces and is hoping that combination will result in a return trip to the state tournament.
The Eagles will have an experienced defensive group with all three starting defensemen back this year, and all three are seniors. Sam Spencer, Coleman Loftus, and Ronin McCabe are back to give the Eagles a formidable defensive group. Having an experienced defensive in front of new goalie, sophomore Adam Rabb, will help as the season gets underway.
Sophomore Drew Litner is back after a terrific freshman year. Litner can score but he is one of the most unselfish players in the league and does a terrific job finding teammates on the move. He was among the league leaders in assists last year, dishing out 28 helpers. Litner will be joined by senior Brandon Buckman and freshman Zack Waxman in the attacking group.
The midfield will also have a good amount of experience with seniors Daniel Lillenfeld and Mitchell Director leading the way. Nick Stamm and Rowan Barnes have impressed this preseason and should be apart of the group as well. Junior Max Posner could be poised for a breakout year while sophomore Cobe Jacobson and freshmen Brady Daylor and Jace Nestler will be in the mix too.
Returning LSM Tyler Freedman is back after a terrific rookie campaign and could be a top player for the Eagles while there are high hopes for freshman faceoff specialist Ben Shocket, who could be an X-factor for the Eagles.
2018 Record: 1-15
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Pat Healey
The Black Knights enter their third season as a varsity program and are looking to continue to grow as a program in a difficult league.
After being inexperienced last year, the Black Knights are hoping the lessons learned from last year will pay off this year. It starts with the four captains: Sean Doherty, Luke Bainton, Alex Wilson, and Nate Wilson. Doherty and Bainton will do a little bit of everything for the Black Knights and will be two of the top options offensively. Alex Wilson and Nate Wilson will anchor the defensive unit, bringing plenty of lacrosse experience to that group.
Stoughton is also looking for a big season out of junior Foster McLeod. McLeod has shown in the past the ability to beat defenders and create opportunities for others. Sophomores Max Huminik and Mike McLaughlin will also see increased roles after impressing during their rookie seasons in 2018.
Sophomore Thomas Ratcliffe, a Hockomock League honorable mention last year, returns in the cage and gives the Black Knights a steady presence between the pipes. Sophomore Marty Barrett returns as a long pole and will be a key piece of the Knights’ defense.
The Rocketeers skated with, and arguably outplayed, the top team in the Hockomock on Saturday before the Bulldogs grabbed a late winner. While North Attleboro didn’t win, it learned that they can play with top teams in the area when playing at the top of their game.
That confidence was on full display on Wednesday night in Franklin as the Rocketeers raced out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, skating to a 5-2 decision over the Panthers.
“We’ve kind of compared ourselves to the 2001 Patriots,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “They played the Rams in the regular season and they realized they could play, that they could hold their own. And it was about getting that next big victory and I think we got that today. Guys are realizing we’re good enough but we still have a lot to work on because we can’t rely on Ryan Warren giving us performances like that every game, it’s too much to ask for him.”
Despite the loss, Franklin clinched its eighth straight Kelley-Rex division title with other results around the league. The Panthers (6-6-4 overall) finish 5-2-2 in league play for 12 points, one ahead of both Mansfield and Oliver Ames. A division title also gives the Panthers a berth in the state tournament.
Senior Anthony Zammiello scored a hat trick to pace the offense, and senior Ryan Warren (29 saves) was terrific in net, helping North Attleboro record its first-ever win over perennial power Franklin.
“That one feels good,” McManama said. “Franklin was coming with everything, they were really working hard and Ryan Warren stood on his head. He absolutely kept us in that thing. But for the school, for the town, that’s the first time we’ve ever beat Franklin so we’ll definitely take it.”
Before gaining the lead, the Rocketeers had to withstand a strong push from the Panthers to begin the game, including a power play opportunity less than two minutes in. Warren set the tone for the night with a terrific save late in the man-advantage opportunity, denying a one-timer from Scott Elliott after a nice feed from junior Colin Hedvig.
North Attleboro took the lead a minute into its first power play opportunity. Just when it looked like the Panthers had killed it off, junior Jake McNeany snuck a shot from a tough angle into the net, giving the Rocketeers a 1-0 lead with one second left on the power play.
From there, the Rocketeers finished the period off strong. North Attleboro continued to apply pressure and found the back of the net less than a minute later. Senior Brendan McHugh pounced on a loose puck at the top of the circles and blasted a shot through traffic. The rebound fell to the stick of Zammiello and he tucked it in for a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Panthers once again came out with a lot of energy to begin the period and had another solid opportunity less than two minutes into the game. After a scrum in front, a North Attleboro defenseman covered the puck in the crease resulting in a penalty shot.
Warren was up to the task again, getting the pad to the post to stop a low shot to his left.
After a strong first five minutes, a turnover in the defensive zone hurt the Panthers. Zammiello was able to latch onto the turnover, deked past a defenseman and then slotted his shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.
Warren turned aside two good Franklin chances a minute apart after the Big Red took a three-goal lead. First, it was against a rebound chance from CJ Spillane after a shot from Hedvig, and then it was a diving stop on Shane McCaffrey after Matt D’Errico put one on frame.
Franklin got on the board when it converted on its third power play of the game. The Panthers needed just 13 seconds as Joey Lizotte maneuvered his way past the North defense and slid a pass over to freshman Declean Lovett for an easy tap in to make it 3-1.
“I don’t think we handled taking the lead very well, especially in the second period, it was all Franklin that period,” McManama said. ”We were battling with some penalties, trying to get away from some of that old North Attleboro mentality. But we battled back, it was an up and down kind of game, and we got a couple of breaks but I’m really proud of the kids.”
North Attleboro started the third on the power play but couldn’t convert. The Rocketeers did get a break five minutes into the final frame and took advantage of their opportunity. On a breakout, a Franklin defenseman slipped, and Zammiello went in on a partial break, firing a wrist shot into the back of the net to make it 4-1.
“He finished his chances too,” said McManama about Zammiello. “He worked his butt off tonight, he worked from the drop of the puck for the entire game. He’s been an unbelievable captain for us this year. He’s the guy that I thought would be the guy to step up he did. Him and Ryan Warren really stepped up tonight.
Franklin went on a power play with 8:10 to go but it was the Rocketeers the found the back of the goal. After a pass trying to cycle in the offensive zone was missed, the puck came out of the zone, and Zammiello quickly grabbed onto it, skated in, and passed across to Todd Robinson who redirected the puck into the net for a 5-1 advantage,
Franklin added a power play goal when Spillane found Falvey, and the latter picked out a spot to make it 5-2.
North Attleboro boys hockey (6-2-1 Hockomock, 8-6-1 overall) finishes second in the Davenport division with 13 points and second overall in the Hockomock League. It marks the first time in league history that the top two teams in the league are from the Davenport. North continues its push for a playoff spot when it hosts Beverly on Saturday. Franklin hosts a talented St. Mary’s (Lynn) team on Saturday.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro came into Saturday afternoon’s game with King Philip a game below .500 and already thinking about how many points it will need to ensure a playoff spot. When games are tough and points are at a premium, then it take goals of all kinds to build momentum.
With one minute left to play, Jake Ebert fought his way to the crease and was the first to react when a shot slipped past KP goalie James Lewis. Ebert tapped the rebound into the open net and secured the Rocketeers a much-needed, come from behind 3-2 victory that pulls North back to .500 on the season.
“That’s what we’ve been focusing on,” said North coach Ben McManama. “I asked him after the game, how did you score that and he said, ‘dirty goals,’ and that’s what we’re trying to do. Hopefully they understand now that it doesn’t have to be pretty.”
Through two periods it didn’t look like the Rocketeers would need late heroics to pull out the win.
North grabbed an early lead on a two-man advantage inside the opening five minutes of the game. Will Yeomans had the initial shot from the slot that Lewis (28 saves) was able to get a piece of but not fully collect. The puck fell behind the goalie and Justin Moccia was in the right place at the right time to tap it in.
The Rocketeers kept pushing for a second goal. A scrum in front forced a last-ditch, goal line clearance by KP defenseman Kyle Gray. With a minute left in the first, Lewis was forced into two reaction stops to deny both Jack Connolly and Ebert from point-blank range.
In the second period, the Warriors struggled to stay out of the box. KP picked up four penalties in that period alone, including a five-minute major that carried over to the third.
“We’ve got to stay out of the box,” KP coach Paul Carlow said. “You have to play even strength hockey to win. I would’ve like to have played them even strength more. We were shorthanded most of the night.”
Joe Boselli had a good look dragging the puck into the slot but he shot over the net and then Luke D’Amico forced Warren into a good glove save from a tight angle. Jake McNeany tested Lewis with a shot from the point that was kicked aside and Todd Robinson set up Connolly for a tip on the edge of the crease but it was sent just past the post.
North led 19-10 in shots heading into the third period and with 4:51 remaining on a major penalty, the Rocketeers looked like they were in control. But, KP stormed out of the locker room looking like a completely different team and, despite being down a skater, started to take the game to the hosts.
“You have to give credit to KP on that,” said McManama about North only scoring once while up a skater. “Our power play has been working at 33 percent coming into today and that’s the hardest our power play has had to work. They did a great job. They have a very good system and they work their butts off.”
Ryan Fitpatrick missed the net on a backhand seconds into the third and Warren was forced to make a sprawling save to deny Brendan Shandley when the rebound caromed to him at the far post. North nearly doubled its lead seconds later when Robinson’s shot forced a save out of Lewis and Connolly flicked the rebound wide of an open net.
That miss looked costly as KP skated down the other end and tied the game. Coulter had the initial shot from the right circle and Boselli was right there to follow up the rebound to make it 1-1.
“I think it was good that we had locker room time to talk about the kill and get the guys ready to go out for the kill,” said Carlow. “When you’re getting penalties all night, not only does it take away your chance to score but it kills your guys’ legs, so now when you come back from the kill then you don’t have any legs.”
Both teams continued to get chances in an end-to-end period. Robinson had a shot tipped inches wide by Ebert in front and Anthony Zammiello set up McNeany but his shot was blocked in front. Rocco Bianculli tested Warren with a blast from the edge of the right circle but the goalie got his blocker to it and Shandley forced another save that left the North defense scrambling.
With 5:47 to play, KP stunned the home crowd by grabbing the lead. Coulter played the puck into Conor Cooke, who was parked in the slot with a defenseman on his back. The forward collected the pass, spun, and ripped a shot over the shoulder of Warren and into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.
“Once we killed that penalty,” Carlow said, “it gave everyone a boost of confidence and then we were able to play some 5-on-5. When we played 5-on-5, we scored.”
Rather than get down, North turned the game around again. After KP cleared off yet another penalty (its eighth of the game), North got space in transition with Connolly finding a lot of room on the left circle. He opened his body up and went top shelf, far corner to beat Lewis and tie the game seemingly out of nowhere.
McManama explained, “Not much needed to be said. Everyone just started to step up and really it was one shift that got the other guys going. Winning a battle here or there and that built momentum for the last couple minutes.”
Zammiello hit the post from a very tight angle a minute later and then Ebert popped up 30 seconds after that with the dramatic finish that North needed to pull out a crucial two points at the midway point of its season.
“I thought they were playing very hard in the third period and they were winning all the battles,” McManama said. “It was very difficult to play them, even when we were on the power play…we didn’t match it in the third and that’s why the wheels started to come off a little bit, but I’m proud of the boys for battling back. It’s not an easy thing especially at this point in the season.”
North Attleboro (5-5, 3-1), which is just a game back of Canton in the Davenport title race, will travel to Oliver Ames on Wednesday, while King Philip (6-5, 2-2) will get a week off and be right back at the NESV to face Attleboro.