By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
BROCKTON, Mass. – Stoughton senior Mark Sheehan skated up the middle and unleashed a wrist shot that found the back of the net in the third period. That power play goal turned into the game winner as Stoughton held off Foxboro, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon.
“It would have been nice to score more [on the power plays] but Foxboro really got tired in that third period, they were undermanned,” Stoughton head coach Dan Mark said. “Our kids just don’t know how to win yet and they get in these situations and they get flustered when we get the lead. Being ahead seems to be a bad thing for us sometimes. But it’s a win so we’ll take it.
The Black Knights built a two goal lead in the first period but Foxboro cut the deficit in half in the second period and then tied the game in the first minute of the third period. The Warriors had their momentum cut short in the final period with five penalties.
Less than six minutes into the game, The Black Knights had a 1-0 lead. Junior Nick Hardy was able to fight for control just before the corner along the nearside boards and whipped in a pass to the middle. Senior Adam Potter was the recipient of the pass and slotted the first goal into the back of the net.
And just over two minutes later, Stoughton was able to double its lead. Freshman Carter Gerome snuck past a defender in the corner, stepped towards the front of the net but lifted a backhand up over Foxboro goalie John Cronin to make it 2-0.
Although Foxboro held an 8-4 advantage on shots in the first period, they trailed by two after the first 15 minutes. They led 13-5 in shots in the second period and this time it translated to the scoreboard.
Midway through the middle period, the Warriors went on the power play after a hooking call. Pete Smith and Jason Galanti then set up sophomore Aidan Sullivan just inside the blue line and his slap shot found its way through traffic and past Stoughton freshman goalie AJ Scott to cut the deficit to one.
Foxboro nearly tied the game in the final minutes of the second period when Smith dropped a pass right in front to junior Paul Vey but Scott closed down and smothered the shot.
The Warriors went on the man advantage inside the first minute of the third period and cashed in immediately. Mike Carresi won the face off back to Sullivan, who slid the puck across the blue line to junior John Brolin. Brolin unleashed a low shot that snuck its way in to tie the game 2-2.
“They could have laid down and put their heads down but they didn’t,” Mark said of his team. “I thought they played with some desperation at the end there which is what they need to do. It’s a learning curve with these kids.
“l told them between the second and third periods that they needed to play with desperation. We were still in the ballgame but we just had to play hard and I thought they played pretty hard in that third period.”
After tying the game is when the wheels fell off Foxboro’s comeback train. A slashing call put Stoughton on the power play and 30 seconds into it, another slash call made it a two man advantage of the Black Knights.
Stoughton kept the puck in the offensive zone, passing along behind the goal before Sheehan took control, skated to the middle and buried it for the game winner.
“He deserves it,” Mark said of Sheehan. “I think you can see, he’s definitely a good player. I think he’s one of the better players in the league honestly, he just doesn’t have the same supporting cast as some of the other teams. It was nice for him to get the game winner.”
While Foxboro continued to try and kill the remaining penalty, a miscommunication resulted in another penalty and another 5 on 3 advantage. And when one of those penalties expired, a tripping call put them right back down two men.
“We had a tough first period, I didn’t think we were doing all the right things,” Foxboro head coach Jim Geonvese said. “The second period we controlled most of the play but the third period, the penalties killed us with two or three 5 on 3’s. I know they only scored one but it took the wind out of us.
“They got up and then we went right back to a 5 on 3 and we just couldn’t get our legs back. We battled well in the second and third for sure, at least as much as we could in the third.”
The Warriors had a power play just over the halfway mark of the final period but weren’t able to get a serious scoring chance. Because of a late penalty with two minutes to go, Foxboro couldn’t pull Cronin for a two man advantage until the final 30 seconds.
“It’s a good win, any win is a good win for us,” Mark said.
Stoughton (4-8-3, 2-5) has a non-league contest scheduled for Monday against Apponequet at 5:30 while Foxboro (2-9-1, 1-5) will next play on Wednesday when they host Oliver Ames at 6:20.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
FOXBORO, Mass. – Prior to the season, Taunton coach Kris Metea talked about how his team had taken its lumps over the past few years, but that the players who were overwhelmed as eighth graders had now spent a few years in the program and were physically ready to make their mark this season.
On Wednesday night, in the Tigers season opener at the Foxboro Sports Center, Taunton outmuscled and wore down Foxboro for a dominating 7-0 victory.
Taunton coach Kris Metea said, “It was nice to see the boys come out and it was a little bit of a slow start but in the second period they put it together.”
The Pietrzyk brothers combined for four goals and six points for the Tigers. Senior Tyler had two goals and two assists, while sophomore Trevor added a pair of goals, including the final goal with just 2:09 remaining.
“They work hard,” said Metea. “They embody what we believe in the program. They give everything they’ve got and they bleed Tiger hockey. They bring a ton of energy and it shows.”
Tyler Pietrzyk scored the eventual game winner nearly five minutes into the game. On a rush up ice, Will Walsh drew a defenseman and laid a perfect pass into Pietrzyk’s path and he blasted a slap shot over the shoulder of Foxboro goalie John Cronin.
Taunton outshot the Warriors 10-4 and controlled the vast majority of the offensive zone time and puck possession, but could not extend the lead. Still it was only a one-goal lead and Foxboro nearly pulled it back with two breakaways in the final three minutes of the period but Paul Vey’s shot was stopped by Justin Chappell.
Cronin (22 saves) played his part in keeping the Tigers at bay, including a big double save stopping a Walsh breakaway and the rebound. Foxboro coach Jim Genovese said that Cronin will be crucial to keep the Warriors in games this season.
“He’s going to be our backbone this year, especially because we’ve got four freshmen defensemen,” Genovese explained. “He did all the right things in the off-season to improve.”
During the first intermission, the Tigers talked about turning the dominance into goals and that message was received loud and clear. Taunton had nine shots on goal in the opening four minutes of the second period and finally got a second when Zack Albert hit Pietrzyk on a perfect outlet pass and he beat Cronin top shelf.
“We told them as much as they were carrying the play there was another level they could still bring up,” said Metea. “We talked about our ‘D’ getting shots to the net and getting more pressure in front.”
“They amped it up to another level and did everything we asked for adjustments.”
The goal seemed to open the floodgates for the Tigers, who tacked on three more before the end of the period. Defenseman Nick Terry made it 3-0 on the power play when he collected a loose puck by the near side boards and skated across the crease before roofing his shot.
Six minutes later his blue line partner David Perry added another power play goal with a wrist shot through traffic. With 22.6 left in the second, Trevor Pietrzyk knocked in a loose puck after a scramble in front to make it 5-0.
The third period was sluggish from both teams, as the big lead and fatigue set in for both teams. Walsh got his second point of the night when he finished off a nice move with a wrist shot under the bar against Foxboro backup goalie Clay Leopold. Trevor Pietrzyk tacked on his second with a tap in off Jakob Robert’s second assist.
Foxboro had chances to get back into the game, but was 0-7 on the power play including a full 1:30 with a two-man advantage in the third period. The top attacking line of Tim Luciano, Jason Galanti and Vey with Peter Smith added on power plays struggled to put the puck on net.
“We just got to move our feet quicker on the power play and move the puck better,” said Genovese. “We’re forcing passes. We have to slow it down in that aspect, but we have to be moving.”
Metea knows that these penalties could cause problems over the course of the season. “We definitely stressed that penalties will kill us against good teams. We don’t want to give them power play opportunities.”
Taunton has higher expectations this season and this was a solid beginning for the Tigers, as they start what they hope will be a run to the playoffs.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2014-2015 Record: 16-6-1
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Final
Coach: Brian Shuman
The Bulldogs will look to write a new chapter in their jam-packed history book as they will play their home games at the Canton SportsPlex this season after a roof collapse at Metropolis last season.
That isn’t the only change for Canton this season as they will have to overcome the graduation of many seniors, including Brian Hagan, and the transfers of John Femia and Jerry Harding. The good news is that Brian Shuman returns a bulk of talent including Matt Lazaro, the team’s leading goal scorer the past two seasons.
Also back is last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Jackson Maffeo to power the blue line, goalie Justin Slocum, entering his third year as Canton’s starting goalie, junior forward Shaun Kirby (28 points last season) and senior Jim Jenkins, who has impressed so far in the preseason according to Shuman.
“We have a lot of new faces in the program, so getting the new players acclimated to the varsity level pace of play will be the challenge early on,” Shuman said. “We need to find some balanced scoring this year, as well as get our forwards to play in all three zones – not just the O-zone. Defensively, it starts with Justin Slocum. We’re hoping for a big year out of him. We also need some guys to step up and round out the top five defensively.”
2014-2015 Record: 3-12-3
2014-2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jim Genovese
The Warriors only graduated five skaters (and one backup goalie) from last year’s team and will be looking to make big strides this season.
Leading scorer Peter Smith is back and head coach Jim Genovese is looking for a big offensive season out of the junior after his 11 goal season as a sophomore. Mike Carresi, another player who impressed last year as a sophomore, is back and is looking to improve on his seven goal campaign.
Junior John Cronin, who has been the starter since midway through his freshman year, is back for another year between the pipes after 333 saves last year. Defensively the Warriors are going to rely on youth with sophomore Aidan Sullivan, junior John Brolin and three freshmen joining in.
“We look good up front with the top two lines of returning players,” Genovese said. “This league is tough and for us, we have to come to the rink every night and play mistake free hockey. We don’t have the numbers in our program like some of the other schools so we need to be ready and bring the same intensity every night. I’m excited to get started.”
2014-2015 Record: 13-8-1
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Balzarini
Anytime you are coming off the best season in program history, there is a lot of pressure to follow up. That challenge is going to be a lot harder for head coach Mike Balzarini as he only has 11 total players, two of which are goalies.
After limiting eventual D2 State Champion Westwood for the majority of the game in the D2 South Quarterfinal at Asiaf last season, it looked like it was just the beginning for the Scarlet Hawks. Instead, a mix of transfers, players going to juniors and a handful of players not returning leaves Milford in a tough spot.
The good news is that Milford has senior goalie Brian Ireland back for his third year as starter and he is one of the best netminders in the league. Senior forward Jonathan Chase will be one of the top offensive options, RJ Stansbury is back after an impressive freshman campaign, senior Spencer Lathrop will be another player that will be relied on heavily for the Scarlet Hawks and sophomore Jacob Balzarini – who has a high hockey IQ – will be a good two way player for Milford.
“We’re going to have to be patient,” head coach Mike Balzarini said. “The kids have really put in a lot of effort and we’re going have to stay positive throughout the whole season.”
2014-2015 Record: 9-9-3
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Mark Homer
If there was one (Davenport) team that had the most to replace, it would be Oliver Ames. Besides Franklin graduating over 20 seniors from its Super 8 team, the Tigers have to somehow fill the void left by former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Tyler Provost, 30-point player Tim Doherty and three time HockomockSports.com Goalie of the Year Jimmy Tierney. And on top of that, 13 other seniors were lost to graduation.
Yet there is a lot of optimism around this year’s Tigers hockey team. Matt Mancini (six points last year) will move up to the first line along with former Stoughton player Ben Litwack (three points). Oliver Ames will rely on a pair of sophomores – Eric LeBlanc and Owen Gallagher – to pair up with freshman Cullen Gallagher to provide an attacking punch. Jared Costello is back for his third year and will be a leader on defender after the Tigers lost five defensemen to graduation.
“We will take one practice and one game at a time and will continue to improve as a team moving forward in the season,” OA head coach Mark Homer said. “We need to get better each day and work on things that will develop us to becoming a competitive program in the Hock.”
2014-2015 Record: 1-18-3
2014-2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Mark
It might have taken until the last game to get the first win last season but the Black Knights already have three points in two games this season and there is a lot of promise in this years squad.
Mark Sheehan is lacing his skates up for the Black Knights for the fourth year and will be a big part as Stoughton makes a push for the playoffs. As a Hockomock League All Star last season, Sheehan will be a vital part in getting a young Stoughton team going. Eoin Doherty is another player that is entering his fourth year on varsity for the Black Knights and should anchor the defense. Junior Jon Lessa has shown flashes over the past two years and could be a strong contributor for Stoughton.
“We are still a young team, skating eight freshmen and sophomores, but we are returning many veteran players,” head coach Dan Mark said. “Our strength should be several returning players who have played varsity for three or more years.”