Mansfield, 0 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Sophomore Vincent Sica and junior Eamon Kelly each scored as the Bulldogs skated to a non-league win over Mansfield. Sica scored in the first and Kelly doubled the lead with a goal in the second.
Oliver Ames @ Foxboro – Postponed to TBD.
King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 6 – Final – Franklin scored three times in each half to pick up a key two points in the Kelley-Rex division title race. CJ Jette scored the opening two goals, the first assisted by Justin Magazu and Dom Lampasona, and the second by Patrick Dolan and Will Sheehan. Magazu then scored just before the end of the half on an assist from Justin Abely. Ben Jarosz (JT Dwyer), Declan Lovett (Dylan Marchand), and Ryan Sicchio (Aiden Hunt, Christian Shabbick) scored second half goals for Franklin while Jack Paterson made 27 saves in net.
Canton, 8 @ Stoughton/Sharon, 1 – Final – Lizzie Tassinari scored three time to power Canton to its third straight win to open the season. Tess Khoury and Ellie Bohane both scored twice and Payton McDonough added one for the Bulldogs. Jillian Parker had the lone goal for the Black Knights, assisted by Ava Buckley.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 vs. Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final
Swimming (Virtual Meets)
Mansfield vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 3:30
Mansfield vs. Plymouth, 3:30
CANTON, Mass. – So much about this season is unfamiliar and out of place, but with its return to the new and improved Metropolis Rink (aka Ponky) Canton found something recognizable. It was a lot brighter (and considerably warmer) than its previous incarnation but the Bulldogs looked right at home in Wednesday night’s season opener.
Audrey Koen scored twice and Carolyn Durand made 12 saves to record a shutout, as defending Div. 2 state co-champ Canton beat rival Franklin 4-0 to kick off its league title defense.
Franklin started quicker. The Panthers tested Durand early, forcing her into three saves in the opening minutes. Lindsay Atkinson had the best chance for the visitors after a shot from the point bounced to her on the edge of the crease but Durand stayed with it to make the stop.
“Our big thing was making sure we had a good start and I think we did that but as the game went on we may have gotten a little away from our position,” said Franklin assistant Mike Lubin, who was in charge in the absence of head coach Margie Burke. “For us having a few girls out and it being the first game, I thought we played excellent. I think we’ll definitely build on it.”
It took Canton seven minutes to get its first shot on target, as sophomore Maya Battista forced Gabby Colace into a glove save. Battista went almost all of last season before scoring her first career goal, but she was Canton’s best offensive threat in the first period, recording five of the team’s seven shots on goal.
“I thought she was going to be better, but she’s been awesome, the confidence she’s been playing with” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said of Battista. “My personality is that I’m a defensive coach, but I’ve got to let the horses run a little bit and we’ve got to talk about picking our spots. She was incredible.”
With 4:35 left in the first, the Bulldogs got a power play opportunity that seemed to flip the momentum of the game. Although Canton wouldn’t find the back of the net, the ice started to tilt towards Colace.
Payton McDonough set up Battista in the slot for a good chance then McDonough got a stick on a blast from Allie McCabe that Colace tipped aside. Koen drove to the net and left the puck for Ellie Rae Roberts but Stephanie Bell was able to clear off the line. Roberts teed up Battista for a drive from the point that Colace (28 saves) was able to stay with through a crowd.
“I told the girls the first five minutes are going to be crazy and don’t get too high or too low,” said Aldrich. “They just grind and you’ve just got to withstand and then hopefully our legs will take over. You don’t have to score on the power play, you just have to turn the momentum a little bit. We’ve been working on it and I thought we got some good looks.”
The momentum carried into the second, which was dominated by the home team. Canton outshot the Panthers 14-2 in the period. Another power play early in the second sparked the Bulldogs into life. Battista’s cross-ice pass to Maria Femia forced a pad stop from Colace and then McDonough went cross-ice to Battista, drawing another good stop.
Colace continued to impress, stopping McDonough on a breakaway after the forward snuck behind the defense.
“Gabby always comes up big,” said Lubin. “She’s just a rock and such a calming presence for everyone. It’s just nice to know she’s back there and always competing.”
The pressure finally paid off with 5:10 left in the period. Tess Khoury’s initial shot was saved and the rebound led to a scrum in front of goal. Lizzie Tassinari managed to knock in the loose puck for what turned out to be the game-winner. One minute and one second later, Koen picked off a pass and was free in the slot, ripping a wrister to the blocker side for a 2-0 advantage.
Aldrich noted that the Bulldogs are missing 30 goals from last season, after standout freshman Olivia Maffeo transferred, and he is counting on a team effort to make up the difference. He said, “Last year Audrey worked so hard and I think she got half her goal output tonight that she had all last year and that’s what we’re expecting. I need six [players] to get five [goals] and I think that’s the mentality.”
Franklin bounced back in the third period and created a few chances to try and get back into the game. Nina Iannuzzi set up Atkinson in front but Durand stayed with the tip. Ashley Puleo would later force a blocker stop from the Canton goalie and Maggie McCaffrey weaved her way through traffic and found Atkinson at the post but Durand was in the right spot to make the save.
By then Canton had put the game away. Again, the Bulldogs struck twice in a short span, this time two goals in 41 seconds.
Ellie Bohane got free in the left circle and her wrist shot was blocked down by Colace but right to the stick of Koen, who smashed in the rebound. McCabe would tack on one more with a shot from the point that went through a crowd in front and snuck inside the post.
It was a convincing win to start the season, but Aldrich knows there are a lot of challenges to overcome for the Bulldogs to claim another league crown. He chuckled, “We’re carrying this target. I’m good friends with all of those coaches but I know they want to beat me every time they see me.”
Canton (1-0) and Canton (0-1) will meet again on Saturday afternoon at Pirelli Arena.
2019-2020 Record: 19-1-4 2019-2020 Finish: Division 2 State Co-Champion Coach: Dennis Aldrich
The pandemic has cost Canton an opportunity to defend its first D2 state championship, but the Bulldogs have an experienced squad that will be looking to claim a second straight league title. Although dynamic defenseman Olivia Maffeo has transferred, Canton can count on 13 returning players, including nine forwards, so there is plenty of continuity as the program makes its move to the rebuilt Metropolis Skating Rink.
Maffeo’s goals will certainly be missed, but the Bulldogs will expect the forward lines to pick up the slack. Seniors Maria Femia, Lizzie Tassinari, and Ellie Rae Roberts all have four years of experience at the varsity level and each is capable of putting the puck in the net on a consistent basis. The forwards will also be the first line of defense, as their forechecking ability puts pressure on the opponents in all three zones.
Defense has been a strength for Canton throughout this impressive run of success. This year, there will be a few new faces on the blue line but junior Allie McCabe and sophomore Maya Battista will lead the defensive unit and both stood out last year for their strength, skating, and passing out of the zone. Backstopping the Canton defense is sophomore goalie Carolyn Durand, who recorded 14 shutouts as a freshman.
“I look for our team defense to be a strength as usual and am looking for our experienced forwards to find the back of the net more often with the confidence gained by capturing the first state title for Canton High School Girls Ice Hockey,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich.
Last winter, Franklin pushed its league title defense right to the final game of the regular season and this year the Panthers will be hoping to reclaim the crown in what should be a typically competitive league campaign. Franklin will hope that a young defensive group can get up to speed right away to complement the experience that the Panthers have in attack.
The forward line should be a strength for Franklin this season. Senior Amanda Lewandowski is back to be the focal point after recording 21 points as a junior. Fellow seniors Libby Carter and Katelyn Brown will add experience and energy to the forward line, providing not only scoring punch but also helping out in the defensive zone as well. Sophomore Lyndsey Atkinson is coming off an impressive rookie season in which she led the team with 10 goals.
Defensively, Franklin graduated a group of players that had several years of varsity experience so it will be new faces that will have to step in this year. Junior Katie LeBlanc and sophomore Shaw Downing are two of the defenders back from last year’s squad. If teams get through the Franklin defense, senior goalie Gabby Colace is back to keep things difficult for opposing forwards. Colace was one of the league’s top shot stoppers last year, allowing fewer than two goals per game.
“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to get on the ice and compete,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke. “This year we expect to have a balanced squad. The Hock should be very competitive as always. ‘Play every game like it’s the last’ will be our motto.”
2019-2020 Record: 10-11-1 2019-2020 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Ken Assad
After coming up just one point shy of the state tournament last season, the Warriors are entering the 2020-2021 campaign with a lot of determination, ready to make a run at the Hockomock League title.
The Warriors have a large amount of returning players back for this season and all now have a year of experience under their belts playing for head coach Ken Assad, who enters the season with plenty of optimism and excitement. Assad will look to role three to four lines throughout the season, giving the Warriors a lot of flexibility with their offensive looks. In senior captain Averi Maxwell (18 points) and juniors Moran Cunningham (24) and Sydney O’Shea (20 points), King Philip has one of the most dangerous attacking units in the league. Not only will the Warriors get a lot of production from that line, but it should also open things up for everyone else on the ice.
Junior Jen Daniels (16 points) is back after a breakout sophomore campaign, sophomore Katarina Precobb will look to follow up a strong freshman season, and seniors Nicole Brady, captain Olivia Donovan, Kara McWhinnie, and sophomore Bridgette Nally will all be in the mix offensively for the Warriors. There will be a lot of familiar faces on the defensive end for the Warriors as well with senior assistant captains Gabriela Trujillo and Libby Curran anchoring the blue line unit. Juniors Meg Sherwood and Alison Donovan bring key experience from last year while sophomores Brielle Hearon and Emma Sullivan will factor in defensively as well.
Mallory Johnston picked up some valuable experience between the pipes last season filling in for an injury and will now take over the starting job in net for KP. The Warriors also have a strong freshmen class ready to contribute right away with Kelly Holmes (forward) and Mara Boldy (defense) in the mix.
“With the experience we have this year and always being very optimistic for a good start, I expect them to work hard in all three zones and be a top contender for a Hockomock title this year,” Assad said. “There is great team chemistry on this team and with our captains’ leadership, they will definitely give it 110%. The girls accept the fact there is not going to be a tournament and are very excited to get on the ice no matter what the season will look like and for that, I continue to be very proud of them and what they have gone through.”
Coming off a strong 2020 campaign and with a group of veteran players on the roster, MOA head coach Roy Bain has a positive outlook on the upcoming season for his Warriors.
MOA recorded double-digit wins last season and nearly pulled off a gigantic upset in the opening round of the state tournament (5-4 loss to #8 seed Boston Latin). The Warriors have 11 seniors on this year’s roster and that, plus a strong mix of experienced underclassmen, should mean good things for the season. The defensive unit for the team remains intact with senior Emma Pereira, the team’s MVP from a season ago, back to anchor that unit. She’ll reunite with junior Julia Muttart for one pairing while seniors Melissa Shanteler and Megan O’Hara are back together on the blue line again this year.
Not only will there be familiar faces along the blueline, junior Jess Widdop returns for her third season between the pipes for MOA. Widdop had a strong season in goal for MOA a year ago and with so much familiarity among the defensemen, the Warriors will be one of the toughest teams to score against. Freshman Kata Callanan will push for time in net as well.
On the other end of the ice, Bain has compiled four lines that could all see time on the ice. Senior Alex Ledin (16 points), senior Ella Waryas (15 points) and sophomore Reese Pereira (17 points) accounted for the majority of the Warriors’ scoring last year and will be among the most dangerous lines in the league. The line of Sam Ledin, Kylie O’Keefe, and Emma Garland will provide a change of pace, using their speed on both ends of the ice; the trio of seniors Lily O’Brien and Tess Luciano centered by junior Cierra Doherty will provide veteran leadership; and sophomore Mya Waryas will be surrounded by freshmen Maeve Anastasia and Cam Shanteler for a youthful option.
“This team only graduated two players, it has essentially the same personnel from last year, but with a renewed sense of the possibilities of what they can build for this program,” Bain said. “Some of the seniors were cheated out of their seasons in other sports and know what’s at stake for girls hockey. I’m impressed by the focus they’ve shown this far. The rules they play under may have changed, but their mindset and their love of the game has not.”
The Black Knights took a step in the right direction last season, picking up points in four contests including three wins. Stoughton will look to build on that this year in a very competitive Hockomock League.
Morgan Lessa was one of the best forwards in the Hockomock League last season, second in the entire league with 21 goals scored and tied for second-most in points with 31. Haley Nelson also had a strong junior campaign and was a big reason for Stoughton seeing an improvement on the ice from the season before. Nelson accounted for nine goals and six assists.
Zofia Bangs made an immediate impact for the Black Knights last season and is coming off a strong field hockey season. Both Bangs and Jillian Parker played key roles in the attack for the Black Knights. Stoughton will have to replace goalie Brianna Buckley (graduation). Buckley recorded over 350 saves last season and was a key piece in the Stoughton defense.
Below are the official 20020 Hockomock League Field Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Shae Salisbury, Attleboro
Madison Ellis, Attleboro
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Kaitlyn Carney, Franklin
Stephanie Bell, Franklin
Makenzie Manning, King Philip
Abby Nixon, King Philip
Grace Crocker, King Philip
Isabelle Crocker, King Philip
Lindsay Devine, Mansfield
Bella Deberghes, Mansfield
Ashley Amaro, Taunton
Alana Tavares, Taunton
Davenport Division MVP
Maria Femia, Canton
Davenport Division All Stars
Maria Femia, Canton
Riley O’Connor, Canton
Allie Gefteas, Canton
Meghan LaBelle, Canton
Ella Waryas, Foxboro
Dylan Rappoli, Foxboro
Shannon Egan, Foxboro
Julia Puccio, North Attleboro
Emily Han, Oliver Ames
Maggie Woods, Oliver Ames
Georgia Costello, Oliver Ames
Haley Nelson, Stoughton
Zofia Bangs, Stoughton
Amanda Burns, Attleboro
Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Molly McElhinney, Foxboro
Sara Carney, Franklin
Alli Beltramini, King Philip
Abby Varricchione, Mansfield
Olyvia Whyte, Milford
Lauren Abusheery, North Attleboro
Peyton Phillips, Oliver Ames
Yesha Sharma, Sharon
Lena Allie, Stoughton
Emily Gannon, Taunton
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Not all scoreless ties are the same. Sometimes, offenses are limited and it becomes a midfield stalemate. Other times, there are chances galore and at the final whistle you are left wondering how it was possible no one found the back of the net.
Sunday morning’s game at Muscato Stadium was definitely the latter.
In a battle for first place in the Davenport division, Oliver Ames and Canton finished 0-0 thanks in large part to the stellar play of the two goalies, Canton’s Riley O’Connor and OA’s Peyton Phillips, and two resilient defenses making critical last-ditch stops.
“It was kind of the battle of the goalies,” said Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor. “They both did such a great job. I thought my defense played a great game today, unfortunately we just weren’t able to put it in the net. I’m not unhappy, it was a good battle back and forth.”
The goalies wasted no time in making their presences known, as the first quarter was end-to-end and featured chance after chance for both teams.
OA jumped out to a quick start, using its speed to cause problems for the Canton back line. Just two minutes in, Georgia Costello teed up Haley Gilman right in front of goal but O’Connor made the stop. Less than a minute later, Emily Han made a strong play to stop the Bulldogs from breaking and then turned it into a break for Costello, who was denied again by O’Connor’s pads.
A minute later and the visitors had their first great chance. Ellie Bohane got behind the OA defense and was clean through on goal only for Phillips to stop not only the first shot but also the rebound. Julia Maclaine then picked out Lexi Gennis on the doorstep but O’Connor read the tip and kicked it to safety.
Canton had two good chances in the final two minutes of the quarter. First, great stick work by Maria Femia sent Meghan LaBelle on a breakaway that Phillips stopped and then Bohane sent Erin Lane clear of the defense only for the goalie to stand tall again.
“She just started playing goalie last year,” Lawrence said of Phillips, who is in her first year as the starter. “She’s really come alive this year and she’s been amazing. She’s got the size, intensity, and athleticism, and that’s built her confidence this season. She’s showing it now.”
Everyone took a much-needed breath during the first break and things settled down for the first half of the second quarter before a flurry of chances to close out the half.
Sofia Anestam showed off her skills, dancing around a pair of Canton defenders before forcing a save out of O’Connor. Two minutes later, Costello slipped a pass through to Anestam on the break but again the goalie was equal to it.
In the closing seconds of the first half, Canton had another break. Lizzie Tassinari started it with a steal in the defensive zone and an accurate outlet pass down the wing to LaBelle, who in turn slid a pass to spring Femia clean through on goal. Phillips aggressively came out and made a sliding block to prevent the goal.
“I’m going to cringe watching those again,” said O’Connor about the chances missed in the first half. “We definitely had those chances, but it’s how to capitalize without putting it right at the goalie’s pads.”
Femia injured her ankle on that play and Canton’s leading scorer was forced to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.
It would have been difficult to follow up that action after the break and chances were harder to come by in the second half. Most of the third and fourth quarters was played in the OA attacking third with the Tigers pressing for the go-ahead score but thwarted by the trio of Allie Gefteas, Carly Fitzgerald, and Tassinari.
“I really felt like Lizzie had probably her best game of the season,” O’Connor said. “You know, these big games is where you see who is ready to really play and she clearly was.”
When OA did get through, O’Connor was still there to make the save. Maggie Woods pushed forward three minutes before the end of the third and her diagonal pass just missed the stick of Maclaine at the back post.
In the final seconds of the quarter, Han again started a break for the Tigers with a pass to Erin Cottam, who was able to hit Costello wide open a few yards from goal. O’Connor was well-positioned and managed to get a foot to the shot, denying another great chance for the hosts.
“Not only her skill but her intensity and her mental toughness, she won’t give up on anything,” Lawrence said of Han, who missed the bulk of 2019 with a broken leg. “She’s the mental anchor back there. Abbey Boyce too, she’s so fast, she’s a very smart player. The two of them are very dynamic.”
Without Femia up top, Canton was finding it hard to sustain attacks and OA continued to press in the final 15 minutes. Woods again found space and fired a pass across the face of goal, but Fitzgerald cleared at the far post. With a minute to play Cottam got free in the middle and forced yet another save out of O’Connor, who made sure the game stayed tied to the end.
“Just keep playing your game and it’s going to fall, it’s going to fall,” said Lawrence about the message to the team in the fourth quarter. “Erin and Georgia kind of alternate the top spot but I put both of them in towards the end because they’re so fast and scrappy around the net. They had the great combination that the goalie got a toe on.”
Oliver Ames (6-0-2) will take on Stoughton this week knowing that two wins will earn the Tigers a Davenport title in their first year back in the division. Canton (6-1-1) is one point behind OA entering the final week and will take on Foxboro hoping to catch the Tigers and win back-to-back league titles.
“We’re not taking Stoughton lightly,” said Lawrence. “We’ve got two games left. We’ll come out tomorrow and have a good practice and finish strong.”
CANTON, Mass. – For 60 minutes, the Canton and Oliver Ames field hockey teams battled back-and-forth, racing up-and-down the field matching each other stride for stride, shot for shot, and stop for the stop.
The only difference came with just over 10 minutes to go off the stick of Tiger senior Haley Gilman, who scored the lone goal of the game to give unbeaten Oliver Ames a 1-0 win over previously undefeated Canton in a battle for Davenport supremacy.
Both defenses shined, constantly thwarting chances and limiting the opposition from ever sustaining a consistent pressure on net, which wasn’t a total surprise as the teams entered the contest with two of the best defenses in the Hockomock League. Canton had allowed just one goal going into the game and OA had surrendered just four goals.
That’s not to say there weren’t chances both ways, including breakaways and point-blank chances in front of net. But Canton senior goalie Riley O’Connor and OA senior keeper Peyton Phillips both had strong games in the cage to keep the game tight.
“It felt like whoever scored first was going to win,” said Oliver Ames head coach Sharon Lawrence. “It was about being in the right place at the right time, [Canton] had some of the same chances as we did. We talked at the end of the third quarter about how we were doing all of the right things, we were making good passes, we just had to keep up our passing and speed and eventually, it will fall. We just had to keep playing our game.”
The fourth quarter started with chances for both sides, with the visiting Tigers putting the pressure on early. Gilman connected with Maggie Woods on the sideline but her centering pass to Georgia Costello was thwarted by good defense from Canton’s Meghan LaBelle. A minute later, Woods set up senior Sofia Anestam for a low shot that was kicked aside by O’Connor.
Canton had a chance to break the deadlock two minutes later, a pass finding space behind OA’s high-line defensively. Bulldogs senior Maria Femia latched onto the ball and raced into goal along the right side but her shot was wide at the near post as Phillips came flying off her line with a feet-first tackle attempt.
The Tigers came back down the other way and finally found the back of the net with 10:25 to play. Woods once again connected with Costello, who delivered a service into the area. O’Connor once again came up with a terrific point-blank stop but Gilman stayed with it and tucked the rebound bid into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
“I thought it was a great game for both sides,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Both teams had great opportunities. For us, we had some chances in the circle we just made some bad decisions. I was hoping we’d be a little more up for the home game [against OA], we did play a little flatter than we usually do on offense. I thought our defense did a solid job. We just needed a little bit more on offense.
“We just have to capitalize on our chances. We were able to get behind the defense and we got in there, maybe we need two people so we can make that extra pass. We’ve had these opportunities before that usually turn into a goal, just didn’t happen today.”
Canton continued to push for the equalizer over the final minutes but OA’s defense and Phillips stood tall. Femia and Sarah Cunningham had a two-on-one chance broken up by Emily Han, and a minute later, OA defender Abbey Boyce had a key interception and clear. Phillips made a positional pad stop on a one-timer from Cunningham in front after a cross from LaBelle.
Oliver Ames field hockey Canton field hockey
“Our defense this year has been so good,” Lawrence said. “With it being 7-on-7 this year, there’s so much space on the field so we’re trying to preserve our energy and move as a unit, using kind of a zone as a defense. We have a lot of speed this year, especially on defense which helps.”
With just over a minute to go, the Bulldogs had another breakaway bid with Femia racing in but once again Phillips came charging off her line with a slide stop, getting just enough of the shot to keep it wide and the Tigers cleared to secure the win.
“We coach Peyton to charge when she needs to and cut down that angle so it’s not an easy shot,” Lawrence said. “We never want her to be a sitting duck in there. So the more aggressive she is, the scarier it is for the offense.”
Both defenses were strong from the get-go. With little chances through the first half, the Tigers nearly found the back of the net just before the end of the first quarter. Woods linked up with Costello for a good chance in the area but Canton’s Allie Gefteas intervened to prevent a chance on goal.
OA continued to push in the second quarter and might have had a couple more shots on goal if not for some great defensive work from Canton’s Lizzie Tassinari. Just before the halftime break, Canton was inches away from the lead when Femia set up Samantha Vrabel in front but Phillips made the point-blank stop.
“I thought both defenses were solid,” O’Connor said. “Having no corners is probably the biggest killer for our offense, for our game. We were in the circle, and if there’s a foul you go back out. Usually we’d have 10 to 12 corners, and we probably turn that into something. That’s probably been the biggest challenge with the modifications.”
Oliver Ames (6-0-1) remains undefeated with the win and moves into first place in the Davenport division with a one-point lead over Canton (6-1). The two teams will meet again on Thursday in a rematch that will have major implications on the Davenport division title.
“It’s our goal, we want to win it all,” Lawrence said. “We don’t focus on it before the games, but we knew this was the biggest week for us coming in. But right now it’s just taking it one game at a time.”
Below are the official 2020 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Makenzie Shandley, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Alexa Maffeo, Canton
Olivia Maffeo, Canton
Meg Aldrich, Canton
Gabby Colace, Franklin
Tina Pisano, Franklin
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Makenzie Shandley, King Philip
Morgan Cunningham, King Philip
Sydney O’Shea, King Philip
Sammy Robison, King Philip
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Melisa Shanteler, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Alex Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Morgan Lessa, Stoughton/Sharon
Haley Nelson, Stoughton/Sharon
Carolyn Durand, Canton
Jordan Dwyer, Franklin
Avari Maxwell, King Philip
Ella Waryas, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Sherman, Stoughton/Sharon
Three different Bulldogs scored in Sunday night’s state semifinal against Norwell at the Warrior Ice Arena and Canton’s defense put in a strong display of how to block shots and clear the middle of the zone. The Bulldogs skated away with a 3-1 victory and they will now face top seed Wellesley in next week’s title game.
“It’s awesome,” said junior forward Lizzie Tassinari, whose second period goal turned out to be the game-winner. “You kind of feel like a celebrity when you’re out there and you see your whole entire school and everyone you know out there cheering you on. It’s the best feeling ever.”
Norwell proved to be a tough out, with its speed through the neutral zone causing problems for Canton early in the game. Allie McCabe had to be quick to backtrack and prevent Margaret Leivi from getting off a shot on a break just a minute into the game and Carolyn Durand stayed tall to stop the loose puck at the near post.
Canton started to get some luck in the offensive zone through its aggressive forecheck. Ellie Rae Roberts nearly teed up Maria Femia for a chance in the slot, but they couldn’t connect. Olivia Maffeo got the first shot on target for the Bulldogs with a trademark rush through three zones and a wrister that was blocked aside by Norwell goalie Nicole Prescott.
It was a freshman defenseman that put Canton in front, but surprisingly it wasn’t Maffeo (who was coming off a four-goal game in the quarterfinal). Her Junior Eagles teammate Maya Battista, who moved up from Texas this year, sent in a shot from the point that fooled Prescott and snuck under the bar.
“Maya has been playing so well,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “She’s just a steady, stay-at-home defenseman. She scored in our very first scrimmage and I thought, we’ve got someone who’s going to score a lot for us, but she hasn’t scored again until now. What a big goal, so I’m so happy for her.”
The lead lasted six minutes before the Clippers found an equalizer. Casey Messina had her first shot saved by Durand (20 saves) but she stuck with the play and managed to squeeze the rebound across the line to make it 1-1.
Norwell carried the momentum into the second period and started with a flurry of chances that Durand and the Canton defense repelled. McCabe, Maffeo, Battista, and seniors Meg Aldrich and Alexa Maffeo were putting their bodies in front of as many shots as possible to kill off a pair of Norwell power plays.
“The amount of blocked shots tonight was incredible,” said Aldrich. “Every time I looked up, we were in a shooting lane. That’s kids who are putting the team and the game ahead of themselves because that hurts.”
Just four seconds into their own power play, and on their first shot of the period, the Bulldogs regained the lead. McCabe showed off her skating ability to gain the zone down the left wing. She threw a puck towards goal and it was picked up by Tassinari, who flung a backhand at Prescott. It was only partially saved and the puck trickled over the line.
“She kind of fumbled it a little, so I kind of saw the opportunity to take the puck and I shot it kind of blindly just to get shots on net,” Tassinari said. “We both saw it turning, her kind of leaning backwards and couldn’t grab it, and it was just trickling in and across the line.”
The goal seemed to energize the Bulldogs, who finished the second period with several chances. Ellie Bohane did well behind the net and put a shot on goal and the loose rebound was snapped on goal by Caroline Tourgee, forcing a pad stop from the goalie.
Leading by one heading into the third period, Canton upped the pressure on its forecheck and remained aggressive in the offensive zone.
“Everything we do, get the puck deep and establish the forecheck and just kind of remember everything we do every single day and tire them out,” Tassinari said about the discussion ahead of the third period. “Just never give up really.”
Aldrich explained, “We knew how we wanted to attack them and got away from that a little bit, so we went in the third period to more of a 2-3 because we were getting caught deep and giving up too many odd-man rushes. It wasn’t like they didn’t have chances, but I like the flow of the third period much better than the first two.”
Audrey Koen forced a pad save after dragging the puck away from the boards and then Tassinari hit Tess Khoury with a nice cross-ice pass but Khoury’s one-timer was skewed wide.
Norwell had a great chance to try and tie the game. Casey Ward raced into the zone and cut across the slot from right-to-left. As a Canton defender slipped, Ward suddenly had acres of space to wind up, but Durand was in the right position to make a smart pad save.
The missed opportunity proved to be costly for the Clippers. With six minutes remaining, Olivia Maffeo put the game away. She weaved her way through the neutral zone and into the right face-off circle. She showed great patience to pick her spot, lifting a shot up over Prescott’s glove hand and just under the bar.
“She’s pretty good huh?” Aldrich asked with a smile. “It’s fun to have a kid like that because it just brings everybody up. She’s the first one in line for drills. She has to win, has to be first, and it’s just contagious in that locker room. The whole attitude in there is different having her around.”
Canton (19-1-4) will face the two-time defending state champions Wellesley at the TD Garden. It is a rematch of the 2018 final that the Raiders won and last year’s first round game, also won by the Raiders.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – Up in the rafters at the Warrior Ice Arena hang the numbers of some of the top players in Boston Bruins history, including Bobby Orr’s famous No. 4. Down on the ice, Canton’s wunderkind was showing that it never gets old to see a defenseman who can skate circles around an opponent and be as effective in the attacking zone as any forward.
Ursuline Academy had no answer for freshman Olivia Maffeo in Wednesday night’s Div. 2 quarterfinal in Brighton. She scored four times to eclipse the 30-goal mark for her rookie campaign and to power Canton to a 5-0 victory that puts the Bulldogs in the state semifinal for the third time in the last four years.
“It’s awesome,” said senior defenseman Alexa Maffeo about her sister’s goal-scoring heroics. “It’s hard to go to the net sometimes because you just want to watch whatever move she does. It definitely helps having a star like that.”
Maffeo’s classmate Carolyn Durand was also impressive in the win, recording 17 saves for her 14th shutout the season. The freshman class, including defenseman Maya Battista and forwards Audrey Koen and Ellie Bohane, has been instrumental in Canton’s success this season even as the team makes another run at a TD Garden trip.
“They don’t play like freshmen,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich when asked if he was surprised about the continued success of the younger players. “Maya is one of Liv’s teammates on the Junior Eagles and they’re as composed as you get. I’ve seen Carolyn have 14 shutouts this season. They’re playing well.”
While youth has been at the forefront for Canton this season, there is experience in the lineup, particularly seniors Meg Aldrich and Maffeo in the defensive corps. They have both been in the mix for the Bulldogs in each of their recent playoff runs and are key to shoring up things in the Canton zone.
“We’re definitely a defense-based team, so having two captains back there we can motivate the girls from the back,” Maffeo explained. “We know that offense comes from defense. We can be there to support them, even if they make mistakes we’ll be back there.”
There wasn’t a lot of offense in the opening period, as both teams looked to get the puck in deep and send the forecheck to try and force turnovers. The first chance came after two minutes when Durand gloved aside a shot by Tess Marchi that went off Alexa Maffeo’s glove on its way to goal. Olivia Maffeo had Canton’s first look with a trademark rush from her own zone and a slap shot from the high slot that Ursuline goalie Lucy Reardon saved.
Tess Khoury showed off her stick skills to dance through a pair of Ursuline defenders, gain the zone, and then force a pad save with a wrister from near the blue line. Maffeo almost got her first with a rip from the right circle that just caught Reardon’s shoulder and stayed out.
The game remained scoreless heading into the final minute of the period. Maffeo collected the puck on the left boards, dragged it between a pair of Ursuline players, beat a third into the middle, and then roofed a shot from the slot while falling down to give Canton a spectacular lead.
Canton wasn’t creating a lot of offense with its forecheck, but was causing Ursuline problems with getting the puck out of the zone. Early in the second that led to a pair of chances, the first from Lizzie Tassinari and the second from Alexa Maffeo. A couple of minutes later, Maffeo hit Maria Femia with an outlet pass down the right wing and her centering pass to Tassinari was tipped just wide.
Ursuline nearly evened the score when Marchi led a 3-on-2 breakout, but her shot was right into the chest of Durand. Tassinari connected with Femia, who managed to wriggle free of a pair of Ursuline players for a breakaway but Reardon came up with a big stop.
Olivia Maffeo got back into the act, as she dragged the puck past a pair of players and forced a blocker stop from Reardon.
In the final minute of the second, Canton not only doubled, but tripled its lead. On a power play, Khoury went circle-to-circle to find Maffeo in space and she buried the chance through the save attempt of the goalie. Just 27 seconds later, Maffeo followed up a loose puck and picked a corner to make it 3-0.
Aldrich said, “They played with a lot of energy the first five [minutes] but I think because we were able to roll three lines and five ‘D’ and the first two periods we had three goals and I think it was from wearing them down a little bit.”
It only took 1:05 into the third for the win to be wrapped up. Maffeo again raced up the ice and got space in the right circle before firing a shot through the goaltender. Durand made seven stops in the third to preserve the shutout, including a nice pad stop on a shot through a screen.
Payton McDonough’s pressure forced a turnover that gave Faith Nelson a chance that hit Reardon and the post on its way by. With 2:03 to play, Canton got a fifth. Koen’s snap shot smacked off the end boards and came right to Khoury, who showed great patience before lifting a shot over the sprawling goalie.
“We’d certainly like to see some other people get some pucks behind some goalies but as long as they’re going in I think these guys are okay,” said Aldrich.
Maffeo credits her years of experience for making things easier when it gets to this stage. She said, “My first year, freshman year, definitely I was nervous and I think playing with those nerves helped me, but moving forward having been here two times already I feel comfortable on this ice. I feel set in my position, I know what to do, I know how to win games of this caliber.”
Canton (18-1-4) will play the winner of Norwell and Notre Dame Academy in the state semifinal on Sunday back at the Warrior Ice Arena at a time to be determined.
CANTON, Mass. – Canton had allowed only 15 goals in 21 games coming into Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 first round game against Norwood, including a shutout of the Mustangs in the regular season. So, it came as a little bit of a shock when Norwood took advantage of a huge deflection to tie the game at 1-1 in the first period.
The goal gave Norwood momentum that carried into the second period, but the Bulldogs managed to hold out and regained control, scoring once in each period and pulling out a 3-1 victory at the Canton Ice House and advancing to the quarterfinal round.
“For the last part of the period, they really came at us,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “We talked beforehand that no matter who scored first it was going to be a battle.”
Olivia Maffeo, who scored a hat trick in the regular season meeting between the teams, had the first good chance for the hosts with a long rush up ice and a shot from the slot that forced a save. Fellow freshman Audrey Koen followed up, but that was also stopped by Norwood goalie Jenna Mazzola.
Three minutes later, the same combo created the opening for the first goal. Maffeo had the first effort that was stopped and Koen forced a pad save from in close. The puck popped out to Caroline Tourgee and she slipped a shot under the goalie and it trickled across the line.
Lizzie Tassinari also had a good look for the Bulldogs in the first when her shot from the left wing was gloved by Mazzola.
Canton freshman goalie Carolyn Durand had only had to make one save to that point, but Marissa Cataldo took advantage of a loose pass to get free in the slot. Her shot hit the back of a Canton defender and took a horrible ricochet that left Durand stranded and the net gaping.
Maffeo nearly had the perfect response when she smashed a shot off the post 20 seconds later, but the Mustangs finished the first with energy and came out of the locker room with a flurry of chances.
Durand responded exactly as the Bulldogs would have hoped. The freshman goalie stood strong to deny Maeve Glavin’s drive to the net and then made stops on a pair of shots from Erinn Wagner.
Aldrich said, “Carolyn, as a freshman, her mental toughness that’s the thing I was really worried about especially playing with a team that’s had success in the past and knowing that she’s basically it. Not only has she handled it well but she’s embraced it and she’s been very confident.”
Tourgee had a good chance for her second of the game, but it was blocked at the post by the Norwood defense. Maffeo forced a blocker save with another strong wrister and then Meg Aldrich tested Mazzola with a shot through the screen of Ellie Bohane. Maria Femia teed up Tess Khoury for a look in front, but again the goalie was up to the test.
The breakthrough came on the power play and it was Maffeo that provided the dagger. As she raced up ice and just as she was gaining the zone, Maffeo let loose with a rocket of a slap shot that picked the top corner.
“They were trying to take Olivia out,” said Aldrich about Norwood’s approach to Canton’s leading scorer. “It’s not too often you see a defenseman get shadowed like that early on but I think they realized it probably wasn’t going to work too well for them.”
Five minutes into the third period, Canton doubled its lead on the power play. Khoury controlled the puck on the near boards and she picked out Tassinari alone in the slot. She took a touch before ripping a wrister, while being knocked down, that made it 3-1 and put the Bulldogs in a more comfortable position.
“I was waiting for another squirter too,” said Aldrich about leading by just a single goal. “I told them I didn’t think they’d get one more but I knew they weren’t getting two more so if we got one then we’d be all set. I wanted them to have the confidence that we’re not in trouble here.”
The Bulldogs hadn’t played in 10 days between the end of the regular season and the playoff opener. Aldrich admitted, “We had to shake some of the rust off. We had some uncharacteristic things, lost a couple of marks there, but hopefully we’ll fix that going forward. The first game of the tournament is really hard to win, especially when you’ve played the team before.”
Canton (17-1-4) will face No. 6 seed Ursuline Academy in the Div. 2 quarterfinal. At the time of writing, the date, time, and location had not been determined.