2019-2020 Hockomock Boys Hockey Preview

2019-2020 Hockomock Boys Hockey Preview
Canton’s Chris Lavoie tries to skate past Oliver Ames’ in the first period at Asiaf Arena in January 2019. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019-2020 Hockomock Boys Hockey Preview

Attleboro

2018-2019 Record: 10-10-2
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Mark Homer

The Bombardiers will be looking to stretch their postseason streak to three years this season. It showed how deep the Kelley-Rex division was last year that the Bombardiers, who did not fare well in league games, made it to the state tournament.

One reason that Attleboro is hopeful for a spot in the state tournament is the addition of a couple of transfers to the program. Jake Ward joined the program and will apart of the Bombardiers top line alongside senior captain Ryan Morry and junior Aidan Diggin. Both Morry and Diggin have a plethora of experience at the varsity level so expect Attleboro’s top line to be a dangerous one in the offensive zone. Attleboro picked up some needed depth with the addition of junior Owen Dryjowicz and freshman Aidan Dryjowicz, who will join sophomore Nate Parker on the second line.

The third line could see some rotation but will mostly feature junior Austin Blais at the center spot, and senior Liam McDonough, junior Owen Graney, and senior Kyle Miniati on the wings. The Bombardiers will have some experience on the blue line with senior Sam Flynn and junior Zach Pierce holding down two of the top spots, with sophomore Sean Marshall also in the mix. The fourth spot between the top two defensive pairs is still up for grabs in the early going. Sophomores Nick Piazza and Michael Dutremble are battling for minutes in net.

“We hope to improve our record from last year through commitment and hard work collectively, and gain entry to the state tournament,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Homer.

Canton

2018-2019 Record: 25-0-1
2018-2019 Finish: D2 State Champions
Coach: Brian Shuman

Having won nine straight Davenport division titles, Canton is used to having a target on its back as the rest of the Hockomock League tries to knock the Bulldogs from the top. But this year, that target is even bigger than before.

Fresh off one of the best seasons in both program and league history that ended with a D2 State Championship, the Bulldogs will be getting everyone’s best game in and game out. And while Canton certainly graduated some key pieces, like two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Ryan Nolte, the Bulldogs enter this season as not only the favorite for a 10th straight division crown but will certainly be in the mix when it comes to the 2020 D2 State title.

While replacing Nolte will be tough, the Bulldogs have several key forwards back from last year’s championship team. It will all start with senior Johnny Hagan, who was named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year as a sophomore and racked up 51 points with 21 goals and 31 assists on the season. Hagan will have a lot of experience to work with in senior Timmy Kelleher (seven goals, seven assists last regular season), senior Tommy Ghostlaw (five goals, six assists), and senior Chris Lavoie (13 goals, 12 assists). Lavoie could be poised for a breakout year, scoring twice in the season-opening win over Franklin.

Canton also brings back top players along the blue line with Jack Connolly and HockomockSports.com Second Team selection Owen Lehane. Both seniors, Connolly and Lehane not only are among the best defensive players in the league but play a big part of the Canton offense with their shooting. Seniors Ronan O’Mahony and Declan Pfeffer are also experienced defensemen that will see increased roles this year. Canton turns to senior Joe Cammarata to start in between the pipes with junior Liam Polles impressing early on and could push for starting minutes.

“We have a lot of experience returning, but that’s true for a lot of teams across the state,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. If our preseason was any indication, there are a lot of outstanding, talented teams this year that improved greatly in the offseason. We will have our work cut out for us in the Hock and with a tough non-league schedule.”

Foxboro

2018-2019 Record: 12-7-3
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South First Round
Coach: Mark Cedorchuk

Foxboro built upon its 10-season win two years ago with its best season in program history last year, picking up 12 wins including one in the postseason. After posting back-to-back successful seasons, the Warriors are hoping that trend continues.

With a good amount of returners back this year, the Warriors will be in good position to compete in the Hockomock League and will be aiming to make a deeper run into the state tournament behind a beefed-up schedule. One strength for Foxboro this year will be its offense with its two top regular season point producers back in junior Kirk Leach (15 goals, 20 assists) and senior Ronnie MacLellan (14 goals, 20 assists). That duo provided the Warriors with a lot of its offense last season and will be one of the top returning duos this season. Senior Sebastian Ricketts brings a vast amount of experience to the offense while sophomore Jack Watts (10 goals, four assists) will be looking to build on an impressive freshman year. Brady Daly, Eoin Reager, Josh Bertuman, Ryan Jacobs and Ben Ricketts will provide needed depth offensively.

Defensively it all starts with senior goalie Espen Reager, the defending Hockomock League MVP back after a strong junior season between the pipes for the Warriors. Reager has the ability to keep his team in teams, and he showed last year that he can help steal a game like he did against Mansfield. In front of Reager, senior Kyle McGinnis is one of the more experienced defensemen in the league and will be the anchor of the blue line group for Foxboro. Freshman Alex Coviello has impressed early on and will be a key piece of the defense.

“Our strength on offense this season will be our depth and overall team speed,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We have more depth on offense than we’ve ever had. We’re looking forward to this season, with a lot of depth up front, excellent team speed and a great goalie we feel we can compete with any team on our schedule.”

Franklin

2018-2019 Record: 12-10-4
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final
Coach: Anthony Sarno

A new chapter begins in Franklin boys hockey with Anthony Sarno taking over on the bench after longtime Panther coach Chris Spillane stepped down following last season. While the Panthers might have a bit of a new look, expectations are still high inside Pirelli for the defending Kelley-Rex champs.

Sarno is hoping that momentum will carry over from the Panthers’ impressive playoff run from a year ago when Franklin upset Mansfield in overtime and knocked off Catholic Memorial in the semifinals. But there won’t be any nights off for Franklin with a loaded schedule that features Malden Catholic, Pope Francis, and a loaded Mt. Hope tournament — and that’s just December.

“It will be a work in progress and we will look to develop a solid team chemistry with a relentless work ethic, staying true to consistency, and discipline in an environment where effort and attitude is paramount, and not up for discussion,” Sarno said.

Up front, the Panthers will be leaning on seniors Shane McCaffrey, Kevin O’Rielly, and Shea Hurley to lead the way. McCaffrey is the team’s top scorer returning from a year ago so it will be vital for new players to step up and contribute. Juniors Conor O’Neil and Declan Lovett are also going to be important pieces to the Panthers’ offense. Senior Ray Ivers returns between the pipes are stepping in last season and playing well. In front of Ivers, Franklin will have two of the best defensemen in the league with senior Tom Tasker, a HockomockSports.com First Team selection last year, and junior Joe LeBlanc, who had a breakout sophomore campaign.

King Philip

2018-2019 Record: 10-11-0
2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Paul Carlow

After missing out on the state tournament in back-to-back seasons, the Warriors have a chance to end that drought in 2020 behind an experienced group of players after losing just five players to graduation.

Head coach Paul Carlow says this is the most experienced group he’s had at his disposal since taking over behind the Warriors’ bench in 2015. There are nine seniors back this year and eight juniors so King Philip certainly boasts a lot of depth, and players that have played plenty of minutes at the varsity level. It starts with senior captain Chris Daniels, senior assistant captain Joe Boselli, and senior assistant captain Jack Coulter. All three have skated plenty of minutes for Carlow over the past couple of years and will be relied upon for their leadership.

Daniels is a crafty forward that scored five goals and had six assists while Coulter is the top returning scorer back this year after scoring six goals and recording nine assists a year ago. Seniors Bryan Lucente and Noah Ray will also be in the mix offensively alongside Daniels, Coulter, and Boselli. The Warriors will also rely on a handful of juniors to chip in offensively including forward Conor Cooke. Cooke had a terrific season with 10 goals and four assists and could be poised for a breakout year.

Defensively, there is a lot of veterans along the blue line for King Philip. Seniors Kyle Gray and Ethan McGuire are joined by junior Rocco Bianculli, a Hockomock League All Star and a HocomockSports.com All Underclassman selection a year ago. Gray is a three-year player that provides physicality while Bianculli is one of the top scoring defensemen in the entire league, scoring seven goals and adding seven assists during his sophomore season. Seniors Nate Ihley and Jesper Makudera will battle for minutes in net.

“I’m really looking forward to this season,” Carlow said. “On top of the seniors and juniors, we also have a strong sophomore class competing for spots. We have speed up front, we’re strong on the back end, and we have two good goalies. I’m looking forward to working with this group and fully expect them to make the tournament.”

Mansfield

2018-2019 Record: 14-6-3
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Mike Balzarini

Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini was a little concerned about his team’s depth coming into the season after graduating nine players and losing two top players to prep school. But after tryouts and a strong preseason, Balzarini believes this year’s squad will be just as deep as last year’ 14-win squad.

Losing a talented senior class hurts, and with Matt Copponi (eight goals, 28 assists, 2019 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year) and Brian Grant (HockomockSports.com All Underclassmen Team) off to prep schools, the Hornets will need new faces to step up and contribute on both ends of the ice. But Balzarini and the Hornets have something that none of the other Hockomock teams have and that’s senior goalie Sean McCafferty. Now in his fourth year starting, McCafferty is a game-changer. Even if the Hornets aren’t having their best games, they’ll still likely have a chance to win because of McCafferty.

In front of McCafferty, the Hornets will turn to senior Joseph Troiano to anchor the defensive unit. He will be joined by Jack Gormley and Conor Benoit, both of whom picked up valuable minutes last season and should help Mansfield be one of the stingiest defensive groups. Offensively, the Hornets do get a boost with the return of senior forward Chris Jenkins. Jenkins was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassmen Team in 2017 after he had 11 goals and 10 assists as a freshman. He will join veterans Jake Lund and Kevin Belanger to form a talented first line for the Hornets. Cam Paige, Liam Anastasia, and Ben Ierardo will team up on Mansfield’s second line.

“We have a little bit of a sour taste after how last year ended,” Balzarini said. “We want to get over that hurdle of the first round of the playoffs. This group really plays well together, they play as a team. They’ve gelled nicely since the first day of tryouts.”

North Attleboro

2018-2019 Record: 11-9-2
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Ben McManama

North Attleboro will be leaning on its defense in order to get back to the tournament again this season. With the defending state champs in Canton as well as an improved Foxboro squad, the Rocketeers have their hands full with a difficult three-team Davenport division.

Seniors Jake McNeany, Will Yeomans, Jeff Baker, and junior Charlie Connolly are all back this season to give North Attleboro a veteran defensive group. With a handful of experienced players leading the way defensively, it should make the transition from four-year starting goalie Ryan Warren a bit smoother. Another reason that transition should go smoothly is senior goalie Nick Digiacomo, who has been impressive in the preseason so far this year.

Senior Dennis Morehouse is back after a breakout junior campaign and will be in the mix as one of the top players in the Hockomock League this season. Morehouse was second on the team in points last year with 15 goals and four assists and is the top returning scorer back for the Rocketeers. Senior Jack Connolly is another experienced forward that will be a key piece of the offense while junior Tyler Sarro will look to build upon a solid sophomore season.

“For us to be successful, we need to be discipline and get scoring from our second and third lines,” said North Attleboro coach Ben McManama. “We are not as big as we were in years past so we need to play tough and physical.”

Oliver Ames

2018-2019 Record: 14-9-1
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Zucarelli

There is a new face at the helm of the Tigers this season, but its a familiar one. Mike Zucarelli takes over after serving as an assistant coach and is optimistic about the upcoming season.

Replacing one of the league’s top forwards in Brett Williams won’t be easy, but the Tigers boast experienced returners at every position on the ice. Senior Owen Connor is back for his third year in between the pipes. He took a big jump from his sophomore to junior year and that Zucarelli expects that trend to continue for the 2019-2020 season. In front of Connor, OA returns senior defensemen Ryan Gottwald and Matt Nosalek. Gottwald, one of the team’s two captains, had an impressive junior year and will be the leader of the defensive group this season.

Offensively, there will be some familiar faces including senior captain Hunter Costello. Costello, who scored nine goals and had 15 assists in the regular season a year ago, is joined by fellow returners Jake Gottwald, Duncan Pereira, and Brad Powers. All four of those seniors will be vital in the attack while juniors Ross Carroll and Matt Nigro should see expanded roles this year.

“We are going to be a gritty, hardworking team this year,” Zucarelli said, citing a preseason scrimmage with Milton. “We held our own during the first as Milton took it to us. We came out flying in the second, tied up the game and took the momentum into the third period with a huge penalty kill. The overall play of the team after one week was great to see.”

Taunton

2018-2019 Record: 8-12-1
2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kris Metea

The Tigers enter the season with a relatively young squad but the goal is to integrate all of the youth with the returners and make a push for the state tournament by the end of the season.

Junior Mike Albert will be the main guy on the offensive end. Albert, who scored 10 goals and added 19 assists last season, was the leading scorer for the Tigers as a sophomore and is looking to take the next step this year. Junior Steve Roderick and sophomores Jack DeMoura and Michael Lucier are all new to the program and should be in the mix right away to help bolster the Taunton attack.

Head coach Kris Metea is also counting on some of the younger players to have breakout seasons, including sophomores Nathan Fernandes, Loren Corcoran, and Evan Perreira. On the defensive side, junior Brady Nichols will anchor the blue line unit. Although just a junior, Nichols has a wealth of varsity experience and the Tigers will lean on him to guide a young defensive core. Senior Andrew Gomes and junior Sean Bunker will battle for minutes in net.

“We have a group of young players that we will look to continue to develop over the course of the season,” Metea said. “The key to our success will be the meshing of the new players with the development of young players. The sky’s the limit for this group with continued commitment.”

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/18/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 66 @ North Attleboro, 56 – FinalNorth Attleboro whittled an 18-point second half deficit down to seven midway through the fourth quarter but Attleboro slammed the door shut to secure the non-league victory. A free throw from Mason Houle (14 points, four rebounds) midway through the third put the Bombardiers up 46-28 midway through the third but the Rocketeers closed the third with an 8-0 run to stay within striking distance. Five points from North Attleboro’s Nate Gonsalves (12 points) and a free throw from Josh Porter made it 53-46 but Attleboro’s Nick McMahon answered with a traditional three-point play, and then Kevin Velazquez (nine points, five rebounds) and Bryant Ciccio (17 points, six assists) each hit a three to help the Bombarders pull away. Junior Tim Callahan added 11 points and classmate Qualeem Charles had 10 points, 16 rebounds. North Attleboro sophomore George Ladd finished with a career-high 13 points.

Foxboro, 70 vs. Randolph, 67 – Final Foxboro junior Brandon Borde turn a turnaround, fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer to help the Warriors steal a win over the Blue Devils. The two teams traded turnovers in the final 10 seconds, the Warriors getting the last look off the hands of Borde. Borde (11 rebounds) dominated the game for Foxboro, scoring 13 of his career-high 28 points in the third quarter to keep the Warriors in the game. Sophomore Kevin Gallagher added 12 points Foxboro, which trailed after the first (17-12) and second quarters (31-27) but had a strong second half and headed into the fourth tied 51-51.

Franklin, 61 vs. North Andover, 58 – FinalFranklin junior Chris Edgehill scored on a drive to the basket in the second quarter for his 1,000th carer point, becoming the first male Panther player to reach the plateau since Kyle Gibson in 2011. Edgehill finished with 11 points while senior Will Harvey added seven of his career-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. Jalen Samuels, who was named Harvey Nasuti tournament MVP, scored a team-high 15 points while Steve Karayan added five fourth-quarter points to help the Panthers secure the win.

King Philip @ Dartmouth (@ Somerset-Berkley) – Postponed to Tuesday at 5:00.

Mansfield, 57 vs. Lowell, 66 – FinalThe Hornets stayed within striking distance throughout the game but couldn’t close the gap against Lowell (18-3). The Hornets trailed by five at half (26-21) but Lowell was able to increase that advantage to 41-32 heading into the final eight minutes. The Red Raiders made eight of their 11 free throws in a 25-point fourth quarter to ice the game. Senior Tommy Dooling, senior Damani Scott, and sophomore Matt Boen each had 12 points for the Hornets while sophomore TJ Guy finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Milford, 63 vs. Malden, 66 – Final (OT)

Oliver Ames, 53 vs. Scituate, 67 – FinalScituate hit seven of its 15 three pointers in the first quarter, racing out to a 25-6 advantage after eight minutes and never looked back. The Sailors shot 50% from deep (7-for-14) to start the game, and finished 15-for-38 from deep to keep the Tigers at bay. After a slow first quarter, Oliver Ames won the final three quarters (47-42), including a strong second half. OA senior Sean O’Brien had a team-high 18 points with Amari Brown and Michael Greene each adding six points.

Sharon, 76 @ Norwood, 66 – FinalSharon had one of its best offensive games to finish the season, scoring over 20 points in three of the four quarters. The Eagles jumped out to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter but saw its lead shrink to just a point, 33-32, by halftime. Norwood kept within striking distance, down 56-52 heading into the fourth but the Eagles put the game to bed with a strong final frame. Senior Sergio Ripley had a carer-high 14 points, senior Greg Persad, junior Aidan Kane, and freshman John Baez each scored 10 points, and junior Andrew Burton finished with nine points.

Girls Basketball
Foxboro, 46 vs. Old Rochester, 36 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Foxboro reaches the final of the Warrior Classic after winning a defensive struggle with the Bulldogs, who came into Monday’s game tied with the Warriors for the top seed in D2 South. Katelyn Mollica scored 14 points to lead the Warriors and Shakirah Ketant added nine points. Foxboro jumped out to a 25-9 lead at halftime, despite struggling from the field, but Old Rochester battled back in the second half and had the lead down to as few as five points in the fourth quarter but the Warriors hit free throws to seal the victory.

King Philip, 50 @ Westwood, 47 – FinalKing Philip held off Westwood in the consolation game of the Riley Winter Classic. The Warriors took the lead by outscoring the Wolverines 14-9 in the third quarter and held that lead until the end of a game that went back and forth throughout. Shannon O’Connor scored 11 points to lead the Warriors, while Faye Veilleux and Brainna James each scored 10.

Lowell, 42 @ Mansfield, 51 – FinalMansfield jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, built it up to 15 by the end of the third quarter, and held on to it in the fourth quarter to earn the non-league win. Sydney Mulkern caught fire from the three-point line, knocking down six from beyond the arc, and finished with 22 points. Maggie Danehy scored 13 points and nine rebounds and Alicia Hottleman added six, all in the first quarter as the Hornets scored 23 as a team.

Boys Hockey
Foxboro, 4 @ Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final

Franklin, 4 @ LaSalle Academy (R.I.), 3 – Final

Oliver Ames, 1 @ Westwood, 6 – FinalOA senior Colin Bourne scored the lone goal for the Tigers, with Jake Gottwald and Hunter Costello getting assists.

Taunton, 3 @ Middleboro, 2 – FinalTaunton senior Andrew Carter scored on a penalty shot halfway through the third period to lift the Tigers to a win. Taunton scored first but Middleboro seized a 2-1 advantage by the end of the first. Taunton was able to tie the game and then a covered puck in the crease in the third led to Carter’s game-winning goal, his second goal of the game. Ethan Ross also had a goal while Jack Patneaude, Loren Corcoran, and Evan Perreira each finished with an assist. Sean Bunker made 17 saves to get the win.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 5 vs. Barnstable, 4 – Final

King Philip, 0 @ Walpole, 3 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game.

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Longmeadow, 4 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game.