The 2016 Hockomock Hockey All Stars & HMs

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

Honorable Mentions

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

Bounces Go Canton’s Way Against North

Canton hockey
Tommy Kilduff (2) and Jim Jenkins (22) scored two of Canton’s goals on Saturday, as the Bulldogs beat North Attleboro to return to the sectional semifinal. (Josh Perry/

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

BROCKTON, Mass. – Standing in the hallway outside the locker room after the game, Canton coach Brian Shuman did not look pleased. His team had just advanced in the state tournament, but he admitted that the Bulldogs had been outplayed by North Attleboro in Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 South quarterfinal.

Despite being second best on the night, the Bulldogs scored off a deflection, off a loose puck in the slot, and on an empty net and got 25 saves from senior goalie Justin Slocum to pull out a 3-0 win.

“They outplayed us and I think they really carried the play for long stretches of the game and we did what we had to do to win the game and that started in net with Justin Slocum,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman.

The Rocketeers started the game with high intensity and their force-check paid almost immediate benefits with Erik Clements and Andrew Casson driving to the net off Canton turnovers only to be denied by Slocum and heads up play by defensemen Jackson Maffeo and C.J. Martin.

While the Canton defense was doing its job in clearing rebounds and denying chances at the back post, it was struggling to get the puck up ice.

North coach Steve Snizek said, “We were anticipating their breakout and were trying to forecheck the hell out them really so to not give them enough time to break out and hopefully make them make a mistake, which they did at times and we just couldn’t capitalize.”

Shuman was effusive in his praise for the Rocketeers and their 2-1-2 forecheck. He said, “They were all over us. Those first two guys in the zone were absolutely flying and they gave us very little time to get back to the puck and to get the breakout going.”

The North pressure was causing problems but there was no goal to show for it and with 3:45 left in the first, Canton took the lead against the run of play. Martin played the puck across the zone to Jim Jenkins and the senior threw the puck towards the back post where it appeared to take a decisive deflection to beat North’s freshman goalie Ryan Warren (25 saves).

“Sometimes it’s about the bounce of the puck,” said Shuman. “We’ve struggled to score goals this year and we just try to get to the puck to the net but [Warren] is an exceptional young goalie and he’s going to be good for years to come.”

Slocum made the lead hold up into the first intermission when he managed to get post to post to stop a close-range shot by Brian Poilluci who was set up by Clements.

The second period was even with North continuing to force the action, but without any end product. The Rocketeers only managed seven shots in the second despite more possession and trailed 20-15 in shots heading to the third.

The game continued in a similar mode until there was 6:26 remaining. Jenkins tried to take the puck into the middle but lost control. Luckily for the Bulldogs it eluded two North players and found its way to Tommy Kilduff in the slot and he managed to squeeze the puck under Warren for the crucial second.

“I feel bad for our team,” Snizek reflected. “[Canton] got the luck today and we did not, but it’s part of hockey. You have to take the good with the bad. “

North had two power play chances in the final four minutes and managed one good chance when the puck was deflected in front of Slocum and the goalie had to keep his head and bat away the chance.

With 13.6 on the clock and North skating five-on-four with Warren on the bench, Shaun Kirby wrapped up the victory for the Bulldogs with an empty net goal.

A few years ago, North Attleboro and Canton met at the same rink and at the same stage of the tournament but with very different expectations. That night, Canton also won but the fact that the game was close surprised many. No one was surprised on Saturday that the Rocketeers were in it to the end.

“This program has turned around immensely,” said Snizek. “It used to be that playing North was a point but now it’s a game. I’m very proud of the whole program.”

The Bulldogs are moving on and will be in the Div. 2 South semifinal for the fourth straight season.

Shuman said, “I told them in the locker room that I was proud of them because in all the years that I’ve been here you need one of those games in the state tournament where you have to find a way to win and grind it out and that’s what they did.”

Canton (16-2-4) advances to face Scituate at Gallo Arena in Bourne on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Josh Perry can be contacted at and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Canton Pushes Rival to Shootout in Quinn Final

Canton hockey
Jim Jenkins celebrates the opening goal in the Joe Quinn Tournament final against Medfield. (Josh Perry/

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

RAYNHAM, Mass. – While the game may have only been a regular season matchup and both teams will have their sights set on bringing home other trophies this winter, when Medfield and Canton met on Thursday night in the Joseph Quinn Tournament final at the Raynham IcePlex the game had the feel of a sectional final.

The game featured all the hallmarks of a Div. 2 playoff game with big hits, fast skating, great saves, and plenty of drama.

Following a 2-2 tie through regulation, the teams skated through two scoreless periods of overtime (the first was five on five and the second was four on four), before the game had to be decided in a shootout, which the Warriors won 2-1 to claim the tournament title.

Canton coach Brian Shuman was effusive in his praise for Medfield. He said, “That was a hell of a game. Start to finish that was a great game…They have boatloads of talent over there.”

The feeling was mutual outside the Medfield locker room. Warriors coach Toby Carlow said of the Bulldogs, “They’re a great team, well-coached, and they skate hard with a good goalie. If that’s the type of hockey we’re going to see the rest of the way, that’s alright.”

The Bulldogs started the game on top by limiting Medfield’s ability to transition quickly out of the defensive zone. From the bench, Shuman could be heard yelling, “cross-ice pass, cross-ice pass,” obviously picking up on Medfield’s strategy of bypassing the neutral zone with long passes from its own blue line.

The forecheck put pressure on the Warriors defensemen and created chances. The best one of the first period came from junior forward Shaun Kirby, who set up Jim Jenkins on the edge of the crease but Medfield goalie Matt Malvese got across in time to block the shot.

With 48.4 remaining in the first, the same combo hooked up again with Kirby centering the puck to Jenkins, who settled it and sent a shot towards the post that Malvese had just left to make it 1-0.

Justin Slocum (30 saves) was forced to stop a late flurry from Medfield in the period’s closing seconds. He got his stick to a shot by Matt Treiber that looked destined for the top corner and then also blocked a chance at the post by John MacLean.

Canton doubled its lead in the second period. Junior defenseman Jackson Maffeo pinched in from the blue line and Kirby picked him out in space. Maffeo rifled a shot off the post and in to extend the lead to 2-0.

The two-goal cushion would last less than a minute. MacLean backhanded a loose puck past Slocum after a scrum in front of goal and the Warriors were back in the game. Two minutes later and Medfield tied it on the power play with Treiber assisting on freshman Brian Abely’s goal.

“It was one of those things where we were playing well, but there was scrum in front and the puck found one of their sticks,” said Shuman. “The power play goal that they scored, one of our guys got knocked down in the corner and the puck squirted to one of their guys, so it was just bad luck.”

He added, “I still felt like we battled and played hard after that…They hit two posts and we had some great chances. It was anyone’s game after that.”

Canton nearly regained the lead with 1:12 left in the second. Jenkins split two Medfield defensemen with a tape-to-tape pass to Kirby just as he hit the blue line, but Malvese (22 saves) was able to stick out a left pad and kick away the shot.

The game went back and forth through the remainder of regulation. Medfield got the edge in shots, 10-4, in the third period, but Canton also had good chances in the slot for Bobby Mullaney and Matt Lazaro but both sent their efforts wide.

“That goes down to him figuring out what we want to do and when we adjusted he readjusted,” said Carlow about the battle of wits on the benches. “That’s how you get down to these kind of hockey games that go to two overtimes and a shootout.”

Medfield had several face-off chances in the offensive zone in the final minute of regulation, but Mullaney was excellent on face-offs all night and he was able to win the late ones to help preserve the tie.

In overtime, Medfield twice hit the post through MacLean, but neither team could find the winner and the game went to a shootout. MacLean scored for Medfield but was canceled out by Mullaney who created an opening and squeezed a backhand shot through Malvese’s five-hole.

Ryan Johnson got a second for Medfield, while Kirby, Jenkins, and Lazaro were all saved by Malvese allowing the Warriors to celebrate with the tournament trophy at center ice.

“They weren’t happy with a tie and they definitely weren’t happy with a shootout loss,” said Shuman about his squad’s mood in the locker room after the game. “So I think more than anything else they want to sit and let it burn for a little while and hopefully we’ll get another shot at them.”

He added, “Considering they’re the D2 South favorites and who many people think is the top team going into the tournament, for us to stick with them for that whole game…I was really proud of our guys.”

Canton (14-2-3) will close out the regular season with another tough test when it travels to face Newburyport a week from Friday.

Josh Perry can be contacted at and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/18/16

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Basketball
Mansfield, 75 vs. Cohasset, 52 – Final – Junior Matt Ehrlich connected on six three pointers en route to a career-high 30 points. The Hornets tied a program record with 15 three point field goals. Sophomore Tyler Boulter added 15 points and Max Boen had 11 points. 
Girls Basketball
Oliver Ames, 69 vs. Brockton, 42 – Final – Kaitlyn McCarthy led all scorers with 21 points and was named MVP of the Norwell Invitational tournament. Junior Niyera Mitchell had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Francesca Calabraro scored 12 points and was named to the all-tournament team.
Mansfield, 50 vs. Dartmouth, 32 – Final – Mansfield held a 20 point lead at halftime and cruised to win the Roundball Classic. Julianna Newell was named the tournament’s MVP while Caroline Maher – who broke the program record with her 134 career three pointers – was named a tournament all star.
Milford, 52 @ Taconic, 33 – Final – Kate Irwin led the Scarlet Hawks with 13 points and Nicole Dahlgren added 12 points in the win. 
Stoughton, 54 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 56 – Final
Taunton, 4 @ Attleboro, 6 – FinalTaunton scored three goals in the second period to take the lead in the game that was restarted with Attleboro ahead 2-1. The Bombardiers scored four times in the third to pull out the win. P.J. Elliott and Sam Larkin each scored two goals and had two assists for Attleboro, which also got goals from Jake Parker and Mitchell Caruso. Taunton goals were scored by Kyle Smith, Nick Terry, Tyler Pietrzyk, and Dylan Nichols.
Canton, 2 vs. Medfield, 3 – Final (SO) The game counts as a tie for MIAA purposes. Jim Jenkins opened the scoring in the first period and Jackson Maffeo made it 2-0 in the second, both assisted by Shaun Kirby. Medfield scored two goals in the second to tie it and the game stayed tied through the third period and two overtimes. The Warriors won 2-1 in the shootout to claim the Joe Quinn Tournament title. Justin Slocum made 30 saves in the loss. 
Franklin, 2 vs. Marshfield, 3 – Final (OT) – The game counts as a tie for MIAA purposes.
Girls Hockey
Franklin, 4 vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 2 – Final – Franklin scored four goals in the third period to rally for a win. 

Canton and Franklin Finish Scoreless in Rematch

Nick Jasinski
Franklin goalie Nick Jasinski (31) denies Canton forward Matt Lazaro (9) in the second period on Saturday. (Josh Perry/

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

FRANKLIN, Mass. – The top two teams in the Hockomock have been struggling to score goals consistently this season and on Saturday afternoon at Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink Canton and Franklin continued to find offense hard to come by in a scoreless tie that provided plenty of excitement despite the puck never finding the back of the net.

“I joked with Coach Spillane in the line, if that doesn’t sum up both of our seasons right there then I don’t know what does,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “We’re both struggling to put the puck in the net.”

“Ironically that was one of the most wide open Franklin-Canton games. We both had plenty of chances.”

Franklin coach Chris Spillane agreed with those sentiments. All season he has talked about the need for players to step up on the offensive side and that continued against the Bulldogs.

“Canton has the same disease as Franklin, can’t put the puck in the net,” he laughed. “Both teams had really good opportunities and maybe credit the goaltenders, they stepped up and made stops when they had to but yeah it was a game with very few quality, wow that should’ve been a goal.”

Franklin had the first chance of the game just two minutes in. Alex Bissanti and Luke Downie combined to create an opening to slide a pass across the crease to Adam Assad charging in at the back post but the junior was not able to put the puck on net under pressure from the defenseman.

With 7:44 left in the first, Jeremy Miller had a chance after intercepting a poor clearance but his shot from the slot was wristed wide.

Canton held a 5-4 edge in shots after the first but the Panthers dominated territorially in the second, controlling the puck in the Bulldogs’ zone for the opening four minutes of the period and managing five shots on goal. Despite Franklin’s domination of possession, it was Canton that had the best chances.

Midway through the period, Jim Jenkins redirected a shot from the point but was denied by a quick kick save by Nick Jasinski (15 saves). Nearly two minutes later, Canton had two great chances, both created by Matt Lazaro. He set up Bobby Mullaney for a shot from the slot with a behind the back pass but it went wide and then 30 seconds later he had another chance on an odd-man rush and was stoned at the near post by Jasinski.

“Any time that their first line was on the ice they seemed to have a little edge,” said Spillane. “Lazaro creates opportunities and other than that it was equal. He’s always finding those second and third trailers and giving them good opportunities.”

With 4:23 left in the second Miller had another shot on a rebound in the slot but Justin Slocum (25 saves) stood tall and denied the close-range chance.

“You can’t discount what the goaltenders did,” said Shuman. “They made some big saves on both ends.”

The third period was a replica of the second. Franklin outshot Canton 21-10 in the final two periods and had almost constant pressure on the Bulldogs back line, but defensemen Jackson Maffeo, C.J. Martin, D.J. Trerice, and Ryan Lodge helped Slocum keep the Panthers off the board.

Shuman explained, “They were all over us for very long stretches of time. I thought they outplayed us for long part of that game, but we still had chances to win it. It was an exciting game.”

Canton also had the two  best scoring chances of the third, despite only recording four shots in the period. Brad Murphy created the first with a charge up the far boards and a pass right across the crease that Bubba McNeice directed towards goal but Jaskinski snatched it. With 1:01 remaining, Lazaro had a clear look from the slot but again the Franklin goalie stood tall to save.

“That’s what you get with us,” said Spillane about the rivalry. “There was very little flow, it was back and forth, hard forechecking, hard hits…it’s good hockey, good to watch.”

He also credited his defensemen for keeping shots from getting all the way to the goaltender. Joe Corsi made a diving intervention to block a 2-on-1 in the first period and he and fellow seniors Matt Pleshaw and Tyler Oakes and freshman Kevin McKay were regularly in the way.

“Sometimes, I think it was more out of panic, sliding around, but today I think that we did line up with them well and play good, positional defensive hockey,” said Spillane.

It was a game that had the potential to break open, but both teams came in struggling to create offense and that continued, although both will go home with an important point and still unbeaten in the league this season.

“We just couldn’t put it away and sometimes that happens,” said Shuman. “Two good teams, good defenses and a couple guys holding the stick a little tight and throwing it at the pads.”

Franklin (7-3-3, 5-0-2) will travel to Asiaf Arena to face Stoughton on Wednesday, while Canton (10-2-1, 7-0-1) will travel to Aleixo Arena to face Attleboro on Monday.

Josh Perry can be contacted at and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/30/16

Today’s games are listed below.
Foxboro, 5 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final
Canton, 0 @ Franklin, 0 – FinalNick Jasinski made 15 saves for the Panthers and Justin Slocum made 25 saves for the Bulldogs. 
Milford, 0 @ Mansfield,  7- Final

Oliver Ames, 4 @ North Attleboro, 6 – Final – Erik Clements had a pair of goals and Drew Wissler had three points with a goal and two assists as the Rocketeers recovered from an early 2-0 deficit. OA’s Owen Gallagher had a hat trick for the Tigers. 
Stoughton, 2 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Mark Sheehan scored a pair of goals for the Black Knights and freshman goalie AJ Scott made 31 saves. 
Hockomock League Championships (@ Taunton) – Click here for full results. 
Indoor Track (@ Reggie Lewis Center)
Hockomock League Championships – Click here for full results. 
Sharon @ Shrewsbury, 11:00AM
Girls Hockey
Canton, 1 vs. Duxbury, 1 – Final
King Philip, 5 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 – Final

Medway Goalie Saves The Day Against Canton

Shaun Kirby
Medway goalie Mike Purnell made 25 saves to shutout Canton on Wednesday in a potential Div. 2 South matchup. (Josh Perry/

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

FRANKLIN, Mass. – Coming into Wednesday afternoon’s game with Medway at Pirelli Veterans Arena in Franklin, Canton knew that it would be facing an uphill battle to score against Mustangs goalie Mike Purnell, who is one of the top high school netminders in the state.

The Bulldogs also boast a strong defensive unit, one that had only allowed 11 goals in 11 games entering Wednesday, so this was poised to be a game where one opportunity could be decisive.

Canton thought it had the chance with eight minutes remaining in the second period. A misplaced Medway clearance was intercepted by Matt Lazaro and turned into a quick two on none break for the Bulldogs. Lazaro held the puck for an extra second before sending a pass across the crease to a wide open Jim Jenkins.

It seemed to everyone that Canton was about to take the lead, until Purnell, who had been hugging the post to deny Lazaro a shot, dove across the goal and denied Jenkins point-blank and at full stretch with his glove.

“The whole bench had their hands up and they thought it went in,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman after the game. “It was just a great save.”

“He had a 2 on 0 and I think that’s what great goalies do – they can sense when that pass is going across and he was leaning and made the stop. It was probably the save of the season.”

Just three minutes after Purnell (25 saves) made his remarkable stop, Medway jumped into the lead. A shot from the point was knocked down by a screened Justin Slocum (25 saves) and the rebound was batted in by Matt Narducci. It turned out to be the game-winner, as Medway added a second goal in the third period and skated away with a 2-0 win.

“He’s certainly rewriting the record books for us in Medway,” said Mustangs coach Chris Ross about Purnell. “He’s probably the top goaltender Medway has ever had. His mystique sort of started in the shootout last year against [Oliver Ames goalie Jimmy] Tierney and he’s played unbelievable.”

The Bulldogs were the team that came out flying to start the game. Canton held an 8-1 advantage in shots early in the opening period, but many of them came from the outside, including a few shots from junior defenseman Jackson Maffeo. None of the shots looked likely to beat Purnell.

As the period wore on Medway started to gain traction and created the two best chances of the frame. Narducci nearly opened the scoring with 8:35 left in the first but his wrister in transition clipped Slocum’s shoulder before skipping off the crossbar. Four minutes later, Andrew Diebus had a good look in the slot from a face-off win but Slocum gloved his hard shot.

“They were right in his face the entire game, knocking him down, and he got up and made some big saves,” said Shuman of Slocum. “He’s a very good goaltender and I know we’d love to have another crack at these guys.”

Canton again got off to a strong start to the second period with Maffeo stepping into a slap shot that bounced off the outside of the post. Jenkins and then senior Bobby Mullaney both had chances off a rebound four minutes into the period but Purnell was able to adjust and block both shots.

“Against him you’ve to get guys out front because very rarely do you beat him clean,” said Shuman. “All credit to them for matching our net front presence; very rarely did we outnumber them and they were able to clear away some pucks.”

Other than the turnover that led to Purnell’s amazing save, Medway bottled up the Canton forwards limiting them to shots from the outside and keeping bodies central to force the play out to the wings.

Ross explained, “We spent all week working on our forecheck and that was definitely our plan to stop their progress from their zone coming out. We felt with our goaltender and our defense we’d be able to take care of things in our zone, I was more worried about transitions.”

Trailing by a goal entering the third, Canton struggled to get into a rhythm and sustain pressure on Purnell and the Medway defense. An early pass went through the crease but Medway outshot the Bulldogs, who twice were forced to the penalty kill, 10-7 in the period.

With 7:15 remaining, Lazaro had Canton’s best chance to tie the game when he managed to squeeze past two defensemen and skate in on Purnell. He gave a head fake and then dragged the puck to the backhand getting the goalie to slide, but his shot to the back post slid wide.

Medway sealed the win with 2:05 left. James Anderson sprung Cole Fisher with a quick outlet pass and, despite the best efforts of Ryan Lodge to get back, he managed to hold off the defense and flick a shot just inside the post.

Shuman said, “That second goal was just a result of us trying to get a little too aggressive at the blue line. Both Jackson and C.J. [Martin] pinched and it left the middle wide open, but when you’re down 1-0 with a couple minutes left you have to take those chances.”

Canton (9-2-1, 6-0-0) will try to rebound on Saturday with a trip to Asiaf Arena to face Oliver Ames.

Josh Perry can be contacted at and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/20/16

Today’s games are listed below.
King Philip, 7 @ Attleboro, 6 – FinalJacob Kelly had a hat trick for the Warriors in the victory. Sam Larkin scored a goal and had two assists for the Bombardiers.
Canton, 0 @ Medway, 2 – Final – Justin Slocum made 25 saves in net for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 2 @ Milford, 1 – Final

North Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 4 – Final – Franklin senior Jake Downie scored a pair of goals in the first period while Joey Blaise added another in the first and Adam Assad scored once in the third period. Zach McGowan scored North Attleboro’s lone goal and freshman goalie Ryan Warren had 37 saves. 
Mansfield, 6 @ Taunton, 2 – Final
Oliver Ames, 6 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Freshmen Brett Williams and Max Ward each scored a pair of goals for the Tigers. 
Canton, 33 @ Sharon, 48 – Final

Stoughton, 22 @ Foxboro, 49 – Final

Franklin, 21 @ North Attleboro, 42 – FinalNorth jumped out to a 30-0 lead. Nick Gould (145), Jordan Tillinghast (160), Jack Donohue (170), and Nick Morrison (182) each had pins for the Rocketeers. Evan Herandez (195) and Jordan Carlucci (106) had pins for Franklin, which cut the lead to 36-18 with three matches left. Devin Spratt (120) clinched the win for North and Anthony Biaungo (132) finished the match for the hosts with an overtime win. North clinches a share of the league title.
King Philip, 48 @ Taunton, 31 – Final – Taunton got wins from Josh Grasso (126), Justin Bradley (132), Alex Rodriguez (138), Nuno Camara (182), Elijah Simmons (195) and Santiago Lopez (220).

Mansfield, 48 @ Middleboro, 24 – Final

Milford, 26 @ Oliver Ames, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Shea O’Connor (145) got a pin for his 100th career win.
King Philip, 59 @ Taunton, 33 – Final
King Philip, 51 @ Taunton, 43 – Final
Girls Hockey
Canton, 2 @ King Philip, 0 – Final
Franklin, 4 vs. Medway/Ashland, 2 – FinalCassi Ronan scored a pair of unassisted goals to break a 2-2 tie for the Panthers. Elizabeth Quinn (assisted by Maddie Hinckley) and Jackie Connelly (from Marlee Paterson) had the other Franklin goals.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Cohasset/Hanover, 3 – Final – Cat Luciano scored a pair of goals and Lilly Feeney and Emily Ierardo each scored once for the Warriors. 

Canton Claws Out Win Over Improved Taunton Team

By Jarett Leonard, Contributor
TAUNTON, Mass. – For the second straight Hockomock League game, an opponent that Canton once may have breezed past gave the Bulldogs a run for their money.
But for the second straight game, the Bulldogs clawed out a narrow victory, edging Taunton 3-1 on Saturday.
“It’s a testament of how strong the league is,” Canton head coach Brian Shuman said. “I think the league is a great hockey league with great teams. You saw tonight a team [Taunton] that was young a couple years ago and all these guys are coming into their own as juniors and seniors now, and they’re a great hockey team.”
After a scoreless first period, Mike Dadasis put Canton on the board early in the second. Dadasis redirected a pass from Jackson Maffeo in the right circle past Taunton freshman goaltender Griffin Speicher.
Taunton answered quickly, though, as Will Walsh ripped a wrist shot from the right side over the shoulder of Canton goalie Justin Slocum on a two-on-one rush with Tyler Pietrzyk.
“Will is an emotional leader,” Taunton head coach Kris Metea. “He wears his heart on his sleeve and he will sacrifice everything for his teammates. When he does well, our team feeds off his energy. He has an absolute passion for the game and it shows.”
But just as quickly, Seamus Pecararo buried his own rebound on the doorstep to restore the Bulldogs’ lead at 2-1. The eventual game-winning goal was Pecararo’s fourth tally of the season.
Early in the third period, Matt Lazaro added some insurance for Canton, netting his fourth of the year after finding the puck on his tape in the crease. Taunton put some pressure on Slocum and the Bulldogs with an extra attacker in the final minute, but the senior goaltender preserved the win.
“He’s calm and composed in the net,” Shuman said of Slocum, who made 11 saves in the game. “He’s shown maturity over the years by not letting a goal like that rattle him. He made some big saves. They’ve got some guys that can shoot on that team and he made some big saves and didn’t give up any rebounds. Justin’s been our rock all year and he continues to be our rock.”
Taunton played a hard, physical game, preventing the Bulldogs from the time and space that they thrive on, and Shuman had high praise for the Tigers.
“They’re going to be a tournament team, and you saw why tonight,” Shuman said. “They were fast, they were skilled, they had some great goaltending, and it was a great high school hockey game.”
Speicher, who had won his two prior starts this season but allowed eight goals combined, stopped 35 of the 38 Canton shots he saw but suffered his first loss of the year.
“Griffin is very good in tight, and we knew that coming into this game,” Metea said. “We knew this would be a game that he would do well in because he would face a lot of in tight shots. He works hard as a freshman, he deserves a good opportunity, and lived up to everything we thought.”
Metea was also pleased with the effort of the skaters in front of Speicher, keeping pace with one of the top teams in the league.
“The work ethic was there,” Metea said. “They worked all night long. Sometimes we overworked instead of playing smarter hockey. We just worked so hard and put ourselves out of position sometimes. But give Canton all the credit in the world, they’re one of the best teams in the state for a reason.”
Canton improves to 6-1-1 overall, 3-0-0 in the league, and will travel to Stoughton on Tuesday at 7:30. Taunton, now 7-3 overall and 1-2 in the league, will be off until Wednesday when it hosts King Philip at 6:00.