Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
Rocco Bianculli, King Philip
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Aiden Dryjowiz, Attleboro
Nick Piazza, Attleboro
Dylan Marchand, Franklin
Conor O’Neill, Franklin
Declan Lovett, Franklin
Conor Cooke, King Philip
David Lawler, King Philip
Rocco Bianculli, King Philip
Brad Guden, King Philip
Cam Page, Mansfield
Joseph Gormley, Mansfield
Brady Nichols, Taunton
Davenport Division MVP
Sean Connolly, Canton
Davenport Division All Stars
Sean Connolly, Canton
Liam Polles, Canton
Eamon Kelly, Canton
Dylan Coyne, Canton
Kirk Leach, Foxboro
Brady Daly, Foxboro
Jack Watts, Foxboro
Nik Kojoian, North Attleboro
Brady Sarro, North Attleboro
Charlie Connolly, North Attleboro
Ross Carroll, Oliver Ames
Charlie Caputo, Stoughton
Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Five minutes into Wednesday night’s game at the New England Sports Village and it looked like North Attleboro’s senior night was going up in flames. Foxboro had a three-goal lead and the Rocketeers had barely gotten into the attacking zone.
North coach Ben McManama took his timeout with 10:22 left in the first to settle his team down, remind them that there was still 40 minutes of hockey to play, and try to stem the momentum that the Warriors had at the start.
Whatever was said in that huddle worked. From that point on, North was dominant.
The Rocketeers rallied, scoring once in the first and three times in the second period, then adding two in the third to pull out a 6-5 victory and clinch second place in the Davenport division. After struggling to get started in the game, North ended up with a 34-17 edge in shots on goal.
“We tried to slow them down but they came out flying,” McManama explained. “From that timeout on, I thought we played outstanding.”
He added, “The message was there’s a lot of hockey to be played and we had to go one goal at a time, one shift at a time, and if we have that mindset once that first one goes in then it starts to build. We just worked our butts off and I couldn’t be more proud of how they competed.”
Foxboro needed no time at all to grab the lead. Matt Grace went down the left wing, angled towards goal, and picked the far corner to make it 1-0 after just 58 seconds. The lead was double just 24 seconds after that. North turned the puck over in its defensive zone and Grace found himself free in the left circle for a one-timer.
Things went from bad to worse for the host a few minutes later. Foxboro caught North pushing up the ice and a stretch pass freed Grace down the wing again. This time he saucered the puck across the crease where Tom Marcucella knocked it into the empty net.
About 90 seconds after the timeout, North got one back and started to build momentum. It was a perfect breakout, as Jake Gruber fired a pass up the near boards to Tyler Sarro at the opposite blue line. Sarro drove into the zone and his perfect dot-to-dot pass found Nick Longa for a one-timer.
Ben Ricketts, who was credited with assists on each of the first two Foxboro goals, nearly answered right back, but his shot smacked off the crossbar.
Sam Clarke stole the puck just inside the blue line and forced a good save out of Jack Spinney (15 saves). Foxboro managed to scramble clear the rebound. On the other end, Brady Daly teed up Kirk Leach in front but Kyle Gruber (12 saves) stayed tall and made the stop. Clarke was again a handful and set up Brady Sarro in the slot but Spinney took it in the chest.
“Obviously we had good jump right at the beginning,” said Foxboro coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We got the forecheck going and we tried to sustain that after it was 3-0 and I thought we had them back up against the wall, but they just changed their forecheck and came out more aggressive getting the puck in front of the net and putting pressure on our D getting it deep.”
Controversy erupted just 26 seconds into the second period, as Nik Kojoian was sure that he had knocked in a rebound to make it a one-goal game, but the officials had lost sight of the puck and blown the play dead. North kept pushing, with Joe Quinn coming close off a nice feed by Mark Ayvazyan and Austin Comery’s shot from the point forcing a nice glove save out of Connor Callahan (13 saves).
“We were really positive on the bench,” said McManama. “We weren’t yelling at them after we went down 3-0, just saying it happens, it’s part of hockey. We’re a confident group. I don’t know what happened those five minutes but we were ourselves after that.”
When North’s second goal did come, it sparked a crazy sequence that saw the teams combine for four scores in a little over a minute.
Tyler Sarro got it started when he collected Longa’s angled pass from the point, dragged it around Callahan and deposited it inside the post. Forty seconds later, it was Brady Sarro knocking in a rebound to bring North all the way back to 3-3.
The celebrations had barely started when Foxboro jumped back on top. Grace capped off his hat trick by jumping on a loose puck and smashing a one-timer past Gruber. Twelve seconds after it was tied, Foxboro led. Fourteen seconds after that it was tied again. Anthony Westcott stepped into a shot from inside the blue line and slammed it under the bar to make it 4-4.
“It was going back and forth,” said Cedorchuk about that sequence. “We were exchanging punches. It just showed that they weren’t going to lie down and give up. We knew they were going to keep fighting and we tried to keep that effort up.
He noted, “Our guys hung in there. We needed to get more pucks to the net obviously. After we went up 3-0, we just didn’t get enough pucks to the net and the shot total showed that but overall I’m happy with my guys’ effort.”
Playing two, high-energy games in two days seemed to take its toll on the Warriors and North took advantage in the third period, outshooting the visitors 9-4.
Midway through the third, North grabbed its first lead of the night. Longa got his second of the game, sniping the far top corner to make it 5-4.
Kojoian would hit Tyler Sarro with a cross-ice pass for an empty net goal in the final minute that turned out to be the game-winner because Leach popped up with another pinpoint shot into the corner but with only three seconds remaining.
“I think we had momentum, but more so we had the confidence that it was our game to win and if we just continued that effort shift-by-shift then we’d be fine,” said McManama about his team’s attitude heading into the third. “We were winning battles, puck races, and that’s how you win hockey games.”
North Attleboro (7-5) will play Bishop Feehan in a charity game and there is the possibility of a third meeting with Foxboro (4-6) at the NESV to close out the season on Sunday.
King Philip has plans for trying to topple Franklin’s reign at the top of the Kelley-Rex division and Bianculli, a four-year varsity player, is one of the reasons for optimism. A quintessential attack-minded defenseman, Bianculli is always looking to push the puck up the ice and has the quickness to turn a standard breakout into an odd-man rush. His strength in possession and his stickhandling ability make him tough to stop in open ice and he has the vision to find scoring chances for himself or for teammates. He led the Warriors in assists and tied for the team lead with 24 points last season. Bianculli isn’t afraid to take risks moving forward and more often than not that leads to a shot on the offensive end. He’s also a physical presence in the defensive one and reads plays well to cut the danger. His energy is a key to KP’s success on both ends of the ice and a critical component to the Warriors making a league title challenge.
During its run to back-to-back state championships, Canton was known for a team that could score goals in bunches, overwhelming teams with its ability to put the puck in the net. The Bulldogs were also a dominant defensive team, allowing opponents only the rare open look at goal. Connolly has emerged from the pack as one of the top blueliners for the Bulldogs after an impressive sophomore season. He combines the speed, stickhandling, passing, and willingness to be physical in the corners that make Canton defensemen difficult to play against. He can also jump into the attack himself, scoring two goals and recording six assists last season, and showing the knack for finding the right breakout pass to get the Bulldogs transitioning up the ice. With a couple of years of experience at the varsity level, Connolly will have to be a leader on the ice this season and help the various new faces on the roster acclimate quickly and keep the Bulldogs at the top of the Davenport division.
After back-to-back D2 state championships (with a combined one loss over two seasons), Canton has established itself as one of the top programs in the state. There will be a lot of new faces for the Bulldogs this winter and a lot of layers taking on bigger roles to try and maintain the team’s dominance of the Davenport division. Kelly is battling back from an injury for the second season in a row but will be one of the main attacking threats for Canton this year. The crafty forward scored five goals and had 12 assists last winter, despite missing games at the start of the season. A solid forechecker and a player willing to get to the front of the net, Kelly has popped up with big goals in big games, and his willingness to battle in the corners and fight for the puck open up scoring opportunities for his linemates. With graduations taking their toll on the roster, Kelly is Canton’s top returning scorer and will be counted on to make the jump up to the top lines and produce. Canton reloads rather than rebuilds and Kelly will be leading the cause this winter, as the Bulldogs seek an 11th straight league title.
Each of the past three years, Foxboro has set a new program best for wins and points in a season and last winter added a run to the D3 South semifinal as well. The shortened season means the Warriors won’t be able to keep that trend going but there is still a lot to play for and a lot of attacking firepower to make Foxboro a tough team to beat. Leach is one of the main offensive threats for the Warriors this season. Fresh off a 20-goal, 14-assist junior year, Leach enters the winter as one of the top scoring threats in the league. A creative forward with good speed and the size and strength to keep hold of the puck under pressure, Leach consistently find space for himself and his teammates. He can burst through the neutral zone to create odd-man rushes or go down into the corner and battle for pucks to maintain possession. Leach was the third-leading scorer in the Hock last year and will be hoping to keep Foxboro on the front foot again this winter.
Year in and year out, Franklin is one of the toughest teams to break down defensively. They are one of the most disciplined groups that clog shooting lanes and work tirelessly to interrupt passes. And the Panthers usually have one defenseman they can rely on most and this year it’s the experience of senior Joe LeBlanc. In this third year on varsity, LeBlanc plays in virtually every situation for the Panthers – five-on-five, penalty kill, and power play. Not only is he a reliable option anchoring the blue line unit in the defensive end of the ice, LeBlanc is a weapon when the Panthers push forward. Franklin is aiming to be a puck-possession type team this year and LeBlanc’s skill with the puck will help in the attacking end. Last year as a junior, LeBlanc scored one goal and had eight assists.
Franklin junior Dylan Marchand burst onto the scene last year, emerging as one of the most dangerous attacking players in the Hockomock League. His speed is the first thing that jumps out, racing away from defensemen into the attacking area. Even if it seems like he is out of the play, his speed gets him right back in the mix. Not only can is he able to use his speed to work his way around and past defensemen, but he also has strong stick handling skills and does a nice job finishing around the net. He was a catalyst for the Panthers’ offense last year, scoring four goals along with registering nine assists. Look for Marchand to take a big step forward this year with an expanded role in the offense.
If the Tigers get on the ice again this season — and we certainly hope that’s the case — the strength of the squad will be in its blue line group. Taunton has two of the top defensemen in the league in senior Brady Nichols, a Hockomock League All Star selection last year, and junior Jack DeMoura, a HockomockSports.com All Underclassman Team selection. Nichols is one of the most experienced players in the league, part of the varsity squad since he was an eighth-grader. Not only will he relied upon to lead the way defensively during his fifth season with the Tigers, but Nichols is also a catalyst on the offensive end too. His speed allows him to attack from the blue line and he has a strong shot as well. During his junior year, Nichols was among the top scorers in the Hock with 14 goals and 17 assists.
Mansfield relied on its top line for the majority of its offense last season but graduated all three players that combined for nearly 70% of the team’s goals. That means head coach Mike Balzarini will need some new players to step up and produce offensively. One candidate to step up and lead the charge will be senior captain Cam Page. In his third year on varsity, Page will see an expanded role this season. He will provide a lot of leadership both on and off the ice for the Hornets, who have a relatively inexperienced group of players. Page is a hard-worker that does a nice job back-checking and setting an example for others to follow. Offensively, he isn’t a flashy player but makes a lot of good decisions and is an unselfish player, always willing to make a pass to turn a good chance into a great chance.
New Attleboro coach Greg Chamberlain considers goalie to be a position of strength this season and Piazza’s return between the pipes is one of the main reasons for that. The junior netminder had a breakout season in 2019-20, earning All-Underclassman Team honors after an impressive debut as the starter. He made 489 saves in 19 games, recording a 0.911 save percentage and a pair of shutouts. In back-to-back games, Piazza held Mansfield and Canton to just one goal apiece, keeping Attleboro in games against two perennial league powers. He showed remarkable poise for a young goalie, not getting flustered as teams crashed the net, staying with and clearing pucks from the crease, and pulling off big stops against some of the league’s top forwards. His composure in net was a confidence boost for the guys playing in front of him, knowing that they could count on him to make the stops. As Attleboro learns a new system under a new coaching staff, the Bombardiers know they can rely on Piazza to make the stops to give them a chance at grabbing results.
North Attleboro is starting a new goalie and has a lot of new faces on the blue line so the Rocketeers will be leaning on its experience on the offensive end of the ice, especially early in the season. One of the most experienced players is senior forward Tyler Sarro, who is in his fourth year on the varsity squad. Sarro is a reliable player that is going to provide a lot of leadership both on and off the ice. He sets the tone with his hard work, a two-way type player that works hard on the backcheck. On offense, he does a lot of the little things right and his work ethic is contagious. He’ll be joined on North’s top line with his brother Brady, another experienced Rocketeer forward on the other wing, and center Nik Kojoian. Sarro, a captain, will look to build on his production last season when he scored once and had 10 assists.
2019-2020 Record: 5-14-1 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Greg Chamberlain
Attleboro struggled down the stretch last season, losing nine of its final 11 games (five of those losses by two goals or fewer) and narrowly missing out on a postseason berth. Former Canton assistant Greg Chamberlain has taken over this season with the goal of making the Bombardiers competitive in the Kelley-Rex division.
Goalie will be a position of strength this year, as Attleboro has three players that can step in between the pipes. Junior Nick Piazza will be the starter after a breakout sophomore year where he made nearly 500 saves. Junior Michael DuTremble and freshman Julien Horton are the other goalies on the roster. In front of Piazza, Attleboro has three solid pairings. Senior Owen Dryjowicz moved from forward to defense late last season and looked comfortable on the blue line. Junior Sean Marshall and senior Zack Pierce are also returning defenders that the Bombardiers are counting on.
Offensively, the Bombardiers will miss the scoring of Ryan Morry, who led the team with 21 points, but with several returning players Attleboro has the potential to put together solid forward lines. Senior Aidan Dryjowicz is the team’s top returning scorer with nine goals and classmate Jake Ward, junior Nate Parker, and freshman winger Dane Holskie have the potential to contribute to the attack this season.
“I think the key to this season,” said Chamberlain, “is that everyone needs to pull their weight. If you look around the league teams that win have three or four lines that they can roll out every night. That is going to be the name of the game for us. Keeping it simple and do your job.”
2019-2020 Record: 21-1-3 2019-2020 Finish: Div. 2 State Co-Champion Coach: Brian Shuman
Although Canton didn’t get the chance to go to the TD Garden to face Lincoln-Sudbury and try to avenge its only loss of the past two seasons, the Bulldogs brought home a second straight Div. 2 state championship. Even for a program with the sustained success of Canton, last year’s senior class had a uniquely impressive record and that class’ graduation leaves a lot of holes that new faces will need to step into.
Last year’s top scorers, Johnny Hagan and Chris Lavoie, combined for 37 goals and 68 points, so it will be tough to reproduce that output. Senior Dylan Coyne will be hoping to make up some of that scoring punch and the Bulldogs will hope junior Eamon Kelly can return from an injury and get back to the form he showed last year.
While the defense was also hit hard by graduation, Canton returns a pair of defensemen that saw considerable time on the blue line last season. Junior Sean Connolly and sophomore Vincent Sica both jumped right into the lineup and looked comfortable competing at the top level, but this year they will also be experienced veterans and leaders in that group. Senior Liam Polles will get the chance to jump in goal this year.
Canton coach Brian Shuman said, “I can say that after the first two weeks, things are certainly different in many ways, but I am confident that we will adapt and adjust like most teams our league to give our players a much-needed physical outlet and important connection to a team.”
2019-2020 Record: 12-5-5 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South Semifinal Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Foxboro has grown by leaps and bounds in recent seasons. Each of the past three years have seen the Warriors set a new standard for the best season in program history, culminating in last winter’s 12 wins and run to the Div. 3 South semifinal.
Depth at the forward line will be a strength this season and Foxboro should be capable of scoring plenty of goals. Senior forward Kirk Leach was second in the Hock last year with 20 goals and he leads an experienced group. Junior Jack Watts had 13 goals and 14 assists last year and is another big, physical forward. Senior Brady Daly will look to add to his nine points from last season and junior Eoin Reager can play multiple positions, including forward, and added 14 points as a sophomore.
The Warriors will obviously miss former Hock MVP Espen Raeger, who was one of the league’s top goalies. Senior Jack Spinney was the backup goalie last year and could step in between the pipes after seeing a few minutes of action as a junior. Junior Dylan Pothier and sophomore Alex Coviello are two of the returning defensemen from last year’s team and both played big roles in the team’s strong performance in the postseason. Eoin Reager can also play in the back line.
“We have a lot of forwards returning, so the depth is there,” said Foxboro coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We also have a lot of skilled defenseman holding the blue line. Looking forward to the season, even though it will look and feel a lot different, I’m just happy for our guys get to play.”
2019-2020 Record: 11-8-4 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal Coach: Anthony Sarno
Head coach Anthony Sarno can’t help but wonder what could have been for this season. Franklin had a strong group of returners back from last year’s squad and Sarno had a schedule filled with top teams from around the state ready to see how his Panthers stacked up to the elite talent. But now Franklin will focus on its 10-game Hockomock schedule with a chance to prove it’s the top team in the league.
Franklin will rely on its senior class to lead the way. The Panthers will be very solid in the back, starting with senior goalie Jack Paterson. After serving in a backup capacity previously, Paterson steps into the starting role but is getting pushed in practice by classmate Gary Mandia. Along the blue line, Franklin has plenty of familiar names with the likes of Joe LeBlanc (nine points), Will Sheehan, Justin Abely, and Pat Dolan — all four are seniors with a good amount of varsity experience.
Offensively, the Panthers have a good variety of attacking options led by last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Dylan Marchand (13 points). Sarno is carrying 20 players and plans to use them all, rolling four lines offensively. JT Dwyer and Declan Lovett are both senior centers and have been strong in the face off circle so far. Sophomore Ben Jarosz should see an expanded role after getting some time last year. Franklin will look to expand on its puck possession after making the switch from a dump-and-chase team.
“We were looking forward to playing against some of the best teams in the state but we’re going to make the most of this opportunity,” Sarno said. “We’re going to give it our all each game. We’ve going to practice as hard as we play in games, the energy the kids have brought has been contagious. We’re treating every game like a playoff game, that’s the type of energy we want to bring to each game.”
2019-2020 Record: 10-6-5 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Paul Carlow
King Philip pushed Franklin to the final week of the regular season in its quest to win a first league title since 2013 (and end the nine-year reign for the Panthers in the Kelley-Rex). The Warriors did get back into the postseason, although again Franklin stood in the way in the preliminary round, and will return 13 players to make another run at that elusive league championship.
Experience on both ends of the ice will be the strength for KP this season, with eight seniors and eight juniors on the roster, including a pair of four-year players. Senior forward Conor Cooke and senior defenseman Rocco Bianculli have been critical players for each of the past three seasons. Bianculli is not only a leader at the blue line, but also one of the league’s top offensive defenders. KP returns three of its top four scorers from last year. In addition to Bianculli, senior Aidan Boulger and junior Nolan Feyler provide the scoring punch on the forward line and are a good mix with Cooke’s physical presence up front. Seniors Paul McDonald and Justin Yatsuhashi add speed and depth.
Defensively, senior David Lawler will join Bianculli on the blue line. More of a defensive-minded player, Lawler adds solidity in his own zone and is counted on to make the right plays under pressure. Seniors Shea Cunningham and Geoff Bowes are also returning defensemen that couple size and experience around their own net. Sophomore Kyle Abbott will take over between the pipes
“As always we are looking to build on last year and compete for the league title,” said KP coach Paul Carlow. “Our team this season has some good experience. We also have some real skill and speed in the younger group.”
2019-2020 Record: 7-8-6 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Mike Balzarini
The Hornets aren’t focusing on how many games are on the schedule but focusing on taking it one game at a game instead. Mansfield brings back a lot of players that picked up varsity experience last season during the team’s postseason run.
Replacing three-year starter Sean McCafferty in goal won’t be easy but head coach Mike Balzarini has praised the work of Chris Hormann, who will be taking over in between the pipes. Balzarini said Hormann learned a lot last season in his backup role, is coming off a stellar fall season and has looked strong so far in practice this year. Captain Jake Quirk will anchor the blue line unit for the Hornets and will be joined by some familiar faces. Senior Joseph Gormley will bring a lot of experience to the defensive group and will be joined by sophomore Patrick Gormley as well as Ben Levine and James Hughes.
Senior captain Cam Page will spearhead the attack for the Hornets this season. Mansfield lost most of its point production to graduation so there will be plenty of opportunities for new faces to take advantage of. Mark DiDiralamo, Kyle Oakley, Dillon Benoit, Ryan Doherty, and Liam Anastasia are all in the mix for the top six for Mansfield.
“It’s a shortened season but we have looked good thus far in practice and in our scrimmage,” Balzarini said. “We’re looking to push the pace this year and play a faster-paced game.”
2019-2020 Record: 7-8-6 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round Coach: Ben McManama
On the ice, it’s been business as usual for the Red Rocketeers, who have a strong returning core ready to make a run at dethroning Canton atop the Davenport division. The biggest challenges for head coach Ben McManama and his squad so far have been adapting to all of the changes off of the ice.
Expectations are high for the Big Red with some familiar names at each position. The most returners come from the offense where the Rocketeers have a handful of forwards back, giving McManama the flexibility to run at least three lines. Senior captain Tyler Sarro will be a leader on and off the ice and will be joined by his brother Brady as the wings on the top line. Nik Kojoian is back after missing almost all of last season and will center the top line. McManama notes his second and third lines are interchangeable, more “2A” and “2B” rather than second and third lines. Juniors Sam Clarke and Nick Longa and sophomores Mark Ayvazyan and Joe Quinn will all be in the mix.
The Rocketeers will have a lot of spots to fill along the blue line after graduating a strong corps of defensemen from last winter. Senior Charlie Connolly and junior Austin Comery are the veterans in the group, entering this season with the most experience. McManama has tabbed junior Anthony Westcott as another option along the blue line while the final spot is up for grabs. Senior James Burtch will take over in net for the Rocketeers while freshman Kyle Gruber is pushing for time.
“The big thing for us this year is being a system team,” McManama said. “We have to be disciplined with our system. We’re really harping on sticking to our system and what we do, and we have to be really disciplined and do our jobs. That’s how we’re going to generate goals and it’s going to be how we stop shots too, it works on both ends. We’ve had great practices, it’s been fun getting the kids back.”
2019-2020 Record: 6-13-2 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Mike Zucarelli
Oliver Ames finished 2019-20 with six wins, but also had four losses by a single goal (all four to teams in the playoffs), so the Tigers were closer to earning a postseason berth under first-year coach Mike Zuccarelli than the final record may indicate. This season, the Tigers return to the Davenport division for the first time since 2016 and with only six returning players there will be opportunities for new faces to step in and contribute right away.
Seniors Ross Carroll and Matt Nigro will provide leadership in the forward line and much-needed experience for a young group. Sophomores Sean McCarthy and Jack Perron both saw action last year and their development will be important for the Tigers to get consistent production from the forward lines.
Defensively, senior Kevin Tremblay and junior Elliot Cohen both grew into bigger roles last year and will be expected to lead the blue line corps this season. Sophomore Brandon Burke will take over in net after backing up Owen Connor last winter. Zuccarelli is also counting on a strong freshman group to come in and provide an instant impact and is excited about the potential for the program going forward.
“Patience and resilience are going to be two major themes this year as we have already experienced,” said Zucarelli. “Our goal is to grow as a team and tackle each challenge we are presented together both on and off the ice. I am confident with our senior leadership, outstanding assistant coaches, and the support we receive from the OA community that we will have a season to remember.”
2019-2020 Record: 4-16-1 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Dan Mark
After an up-and-down first year in a co-op with Brockton, the Black Knights are aiming for an improved 2021 season. After a year away, Stoughton is back in Hockomock League competition and will be vying for the Davenport title.
With just four players gone to graduation, longtime head coach Dan Mark has a veteran squad at his disposal for the upcoming 10-game schedule plus a small postseason planned. The foundation of the team starts between the pipes as the Black Knights have two goalies back with experience. Sophomore Chris Andrade will compete with senior Ryan Spano for the starting job in net.
In front of goal, Mark is leaning on a trio of juniors plus one senior to get the job done. Senior Kenny Young will be joined along the blue line by Josh Greenspoon, Anthony Hern, and Steven Westerlund — all returners from a season ago. Offensively, the Black Knights will turn three-year starters in junior Colin Alessi and Joe McNulty to anchor the offense. They’ll be joined by seniors Kyle Cruickshank, Cade O’Connell, Mike Andrade, and Ryan Flannery to bolster the attack.
“We have a veteran team blended with some younger players and are looking to improve on last year’s record,” Mark said.
2019-2020 Record: 10-11-3 2019-2020 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton is returning a plethora of players from last year’s varsity squad that had double-digit wins and made a trip to the postseason. Now, the Tigers are just hoping to play a complete — albeit shortened — season.
The Tigers got a couple of days on the ice before the school district paused all athletic activities over the winter break. Head coach Kris Metea and his 18 returning players are hoping to resume practice on Monday and get their season back on track. While the break will certainly be a setback for the Tigers, having such an experienced squad will help when Taunton does get back on the ice. Leading the way will be a pair of defensemen: senior captain and Hockomock League All Star Brady Nichols and junior Jack DeMoura, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team selection.
Having reliable options on the blue line will be key as the Tigers sort out the situation between the pipes. Senior Jason Frates, who only has a handful of years of experience at the position, is set to start in net. Offensively, the challenge will be replacing the production from Michael Albert, one of the most productive players in program history. Metea will look to juniors Nathan Fernandes and Loren Corcoran as well as sophomores Colton Scheralis and Connor McGrath to replicate that production. Senior Camden Faria will be a leader of the offensive group
“2020 has been a challenging time and we are hoping that athletics can provide respite for players and families as we enter 2021,” Metea said. “We will take whatever games guidelines allows us to play and be thankful for the opportunity to skate in the presence of friends!”
Below are the official 2020 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Johnny Hagan, Canton
Hockomock League All Stars
Nick Piazza, Attleboro
Johnny Hagan, Canton
Chris Lavoie, Canton
Jack Connolly, Canton
Owen Lehane, Canton
Espen Reager, Foxboro
Kirk Leach, Foxboro
Ronnie MacLellan, Foxboro
Tom Tasker, Franklin
Kyle Hedvig, Franklin
Dylan Marchand, Franklin
Joseph Boselli, King Phillip
Chris Daniels, King Phillip
Kyle Gray, King Phillip
Rocco Bianculli, King Phillip
Sean McCafferty, Mansfield
Kevin Belanger, Mansfield
Dennis Morehouse, North Attleboro
Jake McNeany, North Attleboro
Ryan Gottwald, Oliver Ames
Michael Albert, Taunton
Brady Nichols, Taunton
Ryan Morry, Attleboro
Ronan O’Mahony, Canton
Jack Watts, Foxboro
Colin Hedvig, Franklin
Jack Coulter, King Philip
Chris Jenkins, Mansfield
William Yeomans, North Attleboro
Owen Connor, Oliver Ames
Jack DeMoura, Taunton
BOURNE, Mass. – In less than a minute late in the third period, the Foxboro boys hockey team scored the tying goal and had an opportunity to find the winner with a power play.
All of the momentum seemed to be with the Warriors.
Then the Indians used their patented quick breakout, and with four Warriors caught up in the offensive zone, Hanover had a 2-on-1 shorthanded breakaway.
Senior Ethan Davis drew the defenseman before delivering a perfectly weighted pass, finding Manning Morris all alone in front and the Hanover junior buried his bid with less than five minutes to go and the third-seeded Indians skated to a 2-1 win over #7 Foxboro in D3 South Semifinal action.
“We were right there though, we were so close getting to the next level,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “I told the guys coming back to use this as motivation. I wouldn’t be surprised if [Hanover] goes all the way which shows how close we were.”
Hanover took the lead with a goal late in the second period but the Warriors spent the third period working hard, creating chances in search of an equalizer.
As the clock ticked past the midway point of the third, it looked like Foxboro’s best chance had come and gone as senior Ronnie MacLellan drew the attention of a pair of defensemen, allowing junior Kirk Leach to latch onto the puck and fire a shot from in close only for Hanover goalie Matt Rowe to make his best stop of the game.
But Foxboro, who was making its first appearance in a sectional semifinal, didn’t dwell and the pressure continued. Another rush was knocked aside but only as far as sophomore defenseman Eoin Reager, who had pinched down into the play. He took his time gaining possession before sniping a shot into the top corner from the left circle, knotting the score at 1-1 with 5:48 to play.
“Eoin’s vision and hands are phenomenal, he just sees the ice so well and knows how to anticipate,” Cedorchuk said. “He ripped off a great shot.”
Less than a minute later, sophomore Matt Grace was brought down as he entered the offensive zone and just like that, Foxboro was staring at a 5-on-4 opportunity for the next two minutes. But it was the Indians, using the shorthanded breakaway, that found the back of the goal next.
“They transition pretty quick, our defense caught got in too low and it created an odd-man rush and that was the difference.
“But I’m just really proud of these guys, this is the most successful season we’ve had. This senior class, the character they have is fantastic, they helped lay down the foundation of where we are at today. We’ve never gone this far, and we know we can go further but it didn’t work out today. They’ve given everything we’ve asked. Espen Reager is a big reason we’re here too, he’s going to be missed.”
Espen Reager and the Foxboro defense was a big reason that the team had an opportunity to tie the game in the third period. He turned away 11 shots in the opening frame and had 13 more saves in the second period.
And in the third, Reager did his best to make sure it stayed a one-goal deficit. Just two minutes into the frame, Morris intercepted a pass and was wide open in the slot in front of goalie but was denied by Reager’s pad stop.
And the Warriors defense did its part too. The Indians had a 2-on-1 chance with 11 minutes to go but freshman Alex Coviello made a decisive sweep of his stick and prevented a shot on goal.
Foxboro still had 1:45 of its power play left after going down 2-1 and came close to tying the game again. Eoin Reager connected with classmate Jack Watts but the redirection was just wide. Senior defenseman Kyle McGinnis rifled a shot from the blue line that Rowe turned aside.
And on a one-timer off the stick of Leach clanked off the post and stayed out.
“They did a good job on the blue line,” Cedorchuk said. “We wanted to get the pucks in deeper. We were creating offense once we got it in and we got some pucks to the net but that bounce or the shot we needed didn’t happen for us.”
After an even scoreless first period, Hanover cashed in with 3:27 to go in the second period. After being denied by Reager and the Foxboro defense on a handful of bids before, the Warriors had some bad luck as a clearance attempt up the boards appeared to hit the ref and stay in.
Hanover was first to the puck and whipped it across ice to Morris, who was all alone in the left circle. He centered the puck back to Nate Delprete, who was streaking towards goal, and his redirect found the back of the net.
Foxboro had a couple of good looks through the first two periods but couldn’t get the puck across the line. Sebastian Ricketts won a battle down low and found Brady Daky in front for a one-timer that was saved early in the first period. And Watts had a pair of chances during a late power play chance but Rowe was up to the task.
And to start the second, Foxboro broke into the attacking zone with a 2-on-1 as Watts found the stick of Leach, but his bid on net was just wide.
Foxboro boys hockey finishes its best season in program history at 12-5-5.
The Lions, entering Sunday afternoon’s contest averaging over five goals a game and fresh off a dominating win over Greater New Bedford that featured 11 goals, were limited to very few goal-scoring opportunities throughout the 45 minutes of the D3 South Quarterfinal matchup with the Warriors.
That was because of the pairing of McGinnis and Pothier made sure to keep every John Paul II attack to the outside. And Eoin Reager and Coviello were quick to clear the path to the goal, if any shot did get through, Espen Reager had no problem seeing it.
The result was a 3-0 upset for the Warriors, scoring once late in the first period and tacking on two more in the final minutes of the third period. With the win, Foxboro advances to the sectional semifinals for the first time in program history.
“It means a lot for the program, it’s huge for our confidence,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “It’s the first time we’ve reached this far in the tournament so we’re looking forward to the opportunity to challenge whoever we play next.
“We didn’t give [John Paul II] much. They were dumping and chasing for the most part, and the shots they had, they were from the outside and Espen is going to stop those 99.9% of the time unless it gets deflected. They didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the scoring zones, maybe a couple of scrambles, but we really kept them to the outside.”
Perhaps nothing summed the game up better than a three-minute span in the third period. With Foxboro holding a 1-0 lead and less than half of the period left, the Lions broke out of their own zone and into the offensive zone.
But only a few strides in, Eoin Reager stepped up and swept the puck free to the boards and went on to finish his check, and the Lions’ possession came up empty.
A minute later, as John Paul II tried to enter the zone again the Warriors’ backcheck broke the play up as sophomore Matt Grace hustled to get back into the play and broke the play up from behind. Once again, the Lions were without a shot at a crucial point in the game.
“They’re keeping a lot of shots to the outside which is making it a lot easier for me to put rebounds into the corner and only face one shot,” said Espen Reager. “The defense is really helping out right now and I’m really liking it. For the most part I was able to see everything, being able to see the puck obviously helps when you’re trying to stop it. The defense was clearing everyone out in front.”
The defensive work paid off as junior forward Kirk Leach used his speed to race into the offensive zone a minute later, getting past a defenseman before lifting a shot on net. JPII goalie Gunnar Stevens got enough of the puck to stop it from going in but the puck sat on the goal line and Foxboro sophomore Jack Watts crashed the net and buried it for a 2-0 lead with 4:53 to play.
“And on top of the defense, the thing we’ve been working on is our backcheck,” Cedorchuk said. “We don’t want to get caught with three guys down low. We had a certain forecheck going to make sure that wasn’t going to happen. We were backchecking the middle of the ice, staying with them. I’m happy with how the guys played, they played hard. All the guys that were in there really contributed for us.”
The Lions only managed one scrum in front that resulted in a shot that went wide, and one final shot from the neutral zone that Reager easily gloved down, after going down 2-0.
Foxboro senior Ronnie MacLellan lifted the puck out of the defensive zone, Leach carried into the attacking zone and laid it off to Watts for the empty net goal with 32 seconds left.
“Our schedule definitely helped prepare us for this,” Espen Reager said. “And we can look and compare the schedule and see who they’ve played. We’ve played some really good competition and we’ve shown we can stay in games with top teams. And that’s been a great confidence booster for us in the tournament.”
The Warriors wasted little time applying pressure on the 17-win Lions. Just a couple minutes in, Stevens was forced to make a big save when Foxboro sophomore Ben Ricketts found junior Ryan Jacobs right in front for a one-timer.
Minutes later, Leach set up MacLellan and his blast beat Stevens but was denied by the inside of the post, the rebound falling right underneath the goalie.
John Paul II went on the power play on a too many men call on the Warriors but only managed one clean look, turned aside by Reager. Sebastian Ricketts won a battle and got a big clearance to help kill the penalty.
Foxboro’s first line of Leach, Watts, and MacLellan had a pair of bids go begging but the Warriors’ second line came up clutch in the final minutes.
Sophomore Matt Grace won a battle in the neutral zone and carried the puck over the blue line. With an open look at goal, Grace ripped a wrist shot that beat Stevens to give Foxboro a 1-0 lead with 1:05 left in the first period.
“It’s huge, it gives us a big lift,” Cedorchuk said of getting scoring from beyond the first line. “Getting that first goal from our second line, from Matt Grace, it just gives us a lot of confidence. And from there, it’s just a matter of time until our powerhouse line gives us something too. We had some really good chances, hit a couple of posts too. We’re happy with how we’re creating offense, we just have to tighten some things up.
“We felt like we were wearing them down, putting pressure on their defense with multiple lines.”
Reager’s biggest test of the second period came five minutes in on a wrist shot from the circle but the goalie reacted well to deny the bid. He came up with another strong save after PJII’s two-on-one failed, instead a strong shot from the blue line through traffic was gobbled up.
Foxboro boys hockey (12-4-5) will take on #3 Hanover (18-3-1) on Thursday at Gallo Arena with the time still to be announced.
CANTON, Mass. – With the state tournament right around the corner, the Foxboro boys hockey team seems to be clicking on all gears.
The Warriors closed the regular season out in impressive fashion, skating to a dominant 4-1 win over Abington, a team Foxboro could potentially see in the Division 3 South tournament next week.
“I like the way we’re playing right now,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We’re playing well offensive, we’re moving the puck, we’re getting hungry toward the net and we’re finishing our opportunities. And we’re playing well defensively too, keeping guys to the outside so Espen [Reager] can see the puck, picking guys up in front of the net and we’re starting to backcheck better too.
“We’re playing with the team speed we know we have, we’re using it to our advantage. All of our lines are playing well on both ends of the ice. We needed to work on picking guys up in transition coming back, and we’re doing a much better job with that back check.”
After an up-and-down 1-3-1 start to the season, the Warriors have suffered just one loss in the last 14 games (2-0 to Canton), and are undefeated in their last 10 contests (7-0-3). The win over Abington, who entered the contest with the same amount of points as Foxboro, will likely give Foxboro a home game in the tournament without playing in a preliminary game.
While controlling the first period, the Warriors didn’t have anything to show for it, despite a 15-6 edge on shots on goal through the first 15 minutes. Junior Ryan Sullivan had a chance in the opening minutes, batting at a loose puck after Kyle McGinnis had a shot from the blue line saved.
But the biggest moments for the Warriors came shorthanded as Foxboro had to kill a pair of man-advantage chances for the Green Wave. Going on the power play just under five minutes in, Abington had just two saves, both handled by Espen Reager (18 saves). McInnis came up with a big clearance and senior Sebastian Ricketts was a menace on the forecheck, hampering Abington’s efforts to break out.
The Green Wave went back on the power play with 4:13 to play in the first but it was more of the same from the Warriors’ defense. Reager made a strong reactionary stop on a shot from Michael Pineau before Foxboro pushed up ice, Ricketts again setting the tone by applying pressure and drawing a penalty to make it 4-on-4.
It didn’t take long for Foxboro to find the back of the net in the second period. The Warriors went on the power play 12 seconds into the frame and cashed in with just seconds left on the man-advantage. Sophomore Eoin Reager tried to center the puck but it was blocked right back to him and this time he took it himself, tucking it just inside the post for a 1-0 lead with 12:57 left in the period.
“We knew once we got that first goal, it just gave us the momentum and confidence,” Cedorchuk said. “We were outplaying them and the time of possession was in our favor so we just needed to get the first goal. We’re definitely happy with how we’re playing going into the playoffs.”
The lead last just over two minutes as Abington’s Dave McAruther used a nice move to get the puck on his backhand in front and lifted in the tying puck with 10:45 to go in the period.
But the Warriors were quickly back on the attack and took the lead before the end of the period with another power play goal. With sophomore Jack Watts battling in the corner, Leach skated over and picked up puck free, skating towards net and firing a shot into the top corner for a 2-1 lead with 3;48 to play in the second.
“We had a lot of shots yesterday [against East Bridgewater] so we’re creating a lot of offense,” Cedorchuk said. “I like the way the guys are finishing, we’re really playing well behind their defensemen.”
Foxboro nearly tacked on another tally before the end of the period but sophomore Ben Ricketts had a pair of chances denied by Abington’s goalie, and then another chance after a scrum knocked down by a defenseman in front of net.
Leach was the catalyst for the next goal, helping Foxboro take its first two-goal advantage in the game. He pounced on a loose puck and skated behind net, abruptly stopping and changing back to the direction he came from. He picked out Ronnie MacLellan in front, who squeezed his shot five-hole for a 3-1 lead with 11:04 left in the third.
Abington once again went on the power play but the Warriors were up to the task, getting their third kill of the game. Sophomore Matt Grace interrupted a pair of passes, leading to a clearance from McGinnis. The Warriors even had the best scoring chance during the stretch as Leach had a wrist shot denied after a nice clearance from Eoin Reager.
Foxboro tacked on another insurance goal with 4:35 to play as Alex Coviello fired a shot on net that deflected off the goalie and an Abington defenseman, eventually popping free in the slot and Leach was first to it, blasting a shot into the back of the net with the goalie turned around from the scrum.
“We didn’t let them get back into it, didn’t let them get any confidence,” Cedorchuk said. “It was a good third period to see, we definitely keep the pedal to the metal so to speak, just kept coming and put a lot of pressure on them until the end of the game.”
Foxboro boys hockey finished at 10-4-5 and awaits tournament seeding, which will be released on Friday morning.
FOXBORO, Mass. – In the last few weeks, Mansfield has allowed several third period leads to slip away and went home with a point rather than two. On Saturday night at the Foxboro Sports Center, in a game that the Hornets couldn’t afford to lose, they showed the capability to come back from a late deficit too.
Jack Watts twice put Foxboro in front, but both times the lead was wiped out by a goal from Jake Lund, including one with just 3:31 to play, as the teams skated away with a 2-2 tie. The point was enough to secure the Hornets a second-place tie in the Kelley-Rex division and a postseason berth, while the Warriors finished at .500 in league play for the first time.
“We got it done,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “The way we’re playing, it was inevitable that we were going to get a tie. One thing that I’m extremely proud of is the way we battled back. We’ve been on the other end of that, so for us to come back twice was huge, especially in the third period.”
The game was end-to-end right from the opening face-off, with both teams stretching the opposition defense and testing the goaltenders. Mansfield had a 10-5 lead in shots after one, but both teams had their share of good scoring chances.
Foxboro had success with its diagonal outlet passes through the neutral zone, springing its forwards behind the Mansfield defense. Ronnie McLellan got it started just three minutes in with a pass to Kirk Leach, who got a look on the right wing that was saved by Sean McCafferty.
“We got a lot more pucks to the net against a team like this than we have in the past,” explained Foxboro coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We were happy with our offensive effort tonight. Our defense was moving the puck really quickly tonight and creating chances off that.”
Lund and Chris Jenkins had a nice give-and-go sequence on the other end but the final touch sent the puck wide of the net. Just seconds later, Lund got the puck in the slot, spun quickly and forced a good pad save from Foxboro goalie Espen Reager.
Leach had another go from the right circle that McCafferty blockered aside and then Ben Ierardo set up Jake Quirk for a one-timer that was mishit but nearly looped into the net and trickled just wide of the post with Reager wrong-footed.
The second period was even more action-packed, as the teams combined for 25 shots. Watts would put the Warriors in front with 11:35 left in the period. McLellan flipped a pass to Watts, who saw the puck bounce off his stick and flick into the top corner.
Mansfield kept coming back. Patrick Gormley had his shot from the point saved and then Reager dove to poke the rebound away from Cam Page. Watts nearly connected with Leach on the far post and then Jenkins had a backhander pushed aside.
McCafferty stood tall to deny Watts and Lund thought he tied the game only to have a goal waived off because the net was unmoored. McLellan was set up by Watts for a shot right in front that McCafferty had to be quick to stick out a pad and keep it 1-0.
Down by a goal entering the third period, Mansfield needed a response. The Hornets came out of the second intermission and had the first six shots of the period, peppering Reager in search of an equalizer. It finally came after four minutes when Lund got himself on the edge of the crease and knocked in a rebound that fell to him.
“I think we were playing a little nervous in the first period, guys holding their sticks too tight,” said Balzarini, “but we settled down and not once did we lose focus, even being down twice.”
Cedorchuk noted, “In front of our net, we just didn’t get underneath sticks and lift up sticks, particularly on that first goal.” He did praise his team’s overall defensive effort, adding, “We had a modified trap going, so we’d send one guy in and have our F1 and F2 stay with their wings and they had a hard time breaking it out and find outlets. We were just trying to slow them down.”
The goal seemed to spur the Warriors into action. Leach got free on a breakaway and had to be dragged down at the last second, with Watts getting stoned by McCafferty on a one-timer from the slot. Eoin Reager twice forced saves out of the Mansfield goalie and McLellan had a tip in front go just wide. McCafferty (25 saves) was called on again for a big stop when Leach got another breakaway with seven minutes to play.
“Sean’s been unbelievable,” said Balzarini. “If it wasn’t for him these past few games, I don’t know, I’d be nervous without him. He’s been great.”
With 4:21 to play, Eoin Reager fired a shot from the point that Watts managed to redirect past the goalie to regain the lead. This time, it only took 50 seconds for the Hornets to get back even. After Espen Reager (34 saves) stopped the first two chances, the puck fell to Lund in space and he fired a shot into the back of the net.
Balzarini joked, “He played great, but he’s been struggling in front of net, so I called him out at practice the other day. He actually got the hard hat and he dedicated it to me because I told him he was terrible in front of net. He did a great job.”
Mansfield (5-6-6, 3-1-4) has a week off before facing two games in two days, when they host Shrewsbury and Franklin at the New England Sports Village. Foxboro (7-4-5, 2-2-4) will look to build on its playoff positioning when it hosts Wayland on Wednesday.