Below are the official Hockomock League Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Mark Sheehan, Stoughton
Hockomock League All Stars
PJ Elliott, Attleboro
Matt Lazaro, Canton
Jackson Maffeo, Canton
Justin Slocum, Canton
Bobby Mullaney, Canton
Aidan Sullivan, Foxboro
Tyler Oakes, Franklin
Nick Jasinski, Franklin
Jake Downie, Franklin
Jack Chaffee, Franklin
Clay Geuss, King Philip
Collin Cooke, King Philip
Evan Remmes, King Philip
Anthony Visconti, Mansfield
Michael Arnold, Mansfield
Brian Ireland, Milford
Andrew Casson, North Attleboro
Zach McGowan, North Attleboro
Matt Mancini, Oliver Ames
Jared Costello, Oliver Ames
Mark Sheehan, Stoughton
Nick Terry, Taunton
Tyler Pietrzyk, Taunton
Jake Parker, Attleboro
Jim Jenkins, Canton
Jeremy Miller, Franklin
Kyle McCarthy, King Philip
Matthew Chirichello, Mansfield
Jonathan Chase, Milford
Paul Baker, North Attleboro
Owen Gallagher, Oliver Ames
Eoin Doherty, Stoughton
Michael Volkmann, Taunton
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.”
BROCKTON, Mass. – Even though it was just the second period of the first game of the year, there were some positive takeaways for Stoughton.
After the Black Knights extended their lead to two goals with 6:19 to play in the middle period, Milford responded within 30 seconds to grab the momentum and cut the deficit to one.
But this year’s Stoughton showed resiliency, battling to gain the momentum back, scoring the all important next goal in the final two minutes of the second period and taking care of business in the third period to open the season with a 5-1 win over the Scarlet Hawks.
“That was huge,” Stoughton head coach Dan Mark said of the late second period goal. “In past years, we’ve fallen apart. We’ve been up two goals, like against Attleboro and Foxboro last year, and normally we fall apart. We didn’t fall apart and I thought our guys played hard.”
Despite a 13-6 advantage in shots and two big chances, the Black Knights headed to the locker room in scoreless tie at the first intermission. Milford’s Jonathan Chase made a nice move just 90 seconds into the game but his bid at the near post was stuffed by Stoughton freshman goalie AJ Scott (16 saves).
The Black Knights had two chances back to back in one sequence but Milford goalie Brian Ireland (30 saves) came up big both times. First Ireland got his pad down for a kick save on chance from Jon Lessa and then after the puck cycled around, Lessa had a open wrist shot right in the slot but Ireland got the handle of his stick in the way to push it over.
“He’s very good, he had a lot of shots against him and played well,” Mark said of Ireland. “Their whole Milford team played really hard, I give them a lot of credit.”
It didn’t take long for Stoughton to take the lead in the second period, finding the back of the net just over two minutes into the period. Senior captain Mark Sheehan picked up possession in the corner, skated towards the front of goal and tucked it in past Ireland to make it 1-0.
Stoughton doubled its lead with 6:19 left when Lessa found junior Ryan Chipman out in front for the one timer.
That’s when Milford snatched the momentum back. Just 22 seconds later, Milford’s RJ Stansbury centered a pass that eighth grader Griffin Burns hit one time to find the back of the net to make it 2-1.
From there, the Black Knights were able to overcome any push from Milford and with with 1:49 left, Stoughton freshman Carter Gerome notched his first career goal right in front to get the two goal cushion back. Since the Scarlet Hawks only had nine skaters, Stoughton knew the third period would be a time to use their skating to push the pace.
“We told the kids to keep playing hard until the end,” Mark said. “We actually had a couple captains speak up because they’ve experienced [losing the lead] before. They spoke up in the locker room to push in the third period.”
To seal the deal, Stoughton’s Sheehan sent in a centering pass less than a minute into the third period that deflected off a skate and in, leaving no chance for Ireland. Lessa added a fifth goal right in front off a feed from Donnie Foley with 6:17 left in the third.
“It’s going to be a learning process trying to figure out if we can move guys from defense to forward and double shift and things like that,” Milford head coach Mike Balzarini said. “As far as the nine skaters we had, I thought we did a good job and the kids never gave up. Even when we were down in the third period the kids didn’t give up. As far as the effort I’ve very pleased. There’s always room for improvement, even with just nine guys.
Stoughton (1-0) matches its win total from last year and will try to make it two when they travel to Stoughton on Monday night. Milford (0-1) will look to break into the win column on Wednesday when they host Attleboro.
“This is great,” Mark said. “We didn’t win until our last game last year and the kids liked the feeling of winning. I think it’s great for the kids, it’s great for them. It’s great to get a win early in the season.”
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.