WALPOLE, Mass. – Goals are at a premium in league games this season and that remained the case when Mansfield/Oliver Ames hosted defending Hockomock champion Franklin at Rodman Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Amanda Lewandowski scored against the run of play in the second period and Gabby Colace made 25 stops to preserve a 1-0 victory for the Panthers in a game in which they were kept on the back foot for the first 30 minutes.
“Definitely a slow start, but we know that every Hockomock League game is going to be like this,” said Frankin coach Margie Burke. “We’re not going to put a lot of pucks on the net this year. We’re going to have to count on good defense and a few lucky breaks.”
The Warriors came flying out of the gates, taking advantage of their team speed to put Franklin on its heels and force the Panthers to defend for long stretches. After Maggie McCaffrey got an early chance on goal for Franklin, MOA started to step on the gas. Tess Luciano started it with a shot from the right circle and Alex Ledin let fly with a slap shot from the high slot that Colace stopped.
With four minutes remaining in the first Reese Pereira managed to get to the front of the net and get a tip from close range. The puck came back around to Ledin and she sent her shot from the slot just wide of the post.
Franklin had been forced back into a shell for much of the period, but did manage a late flurry of chances on the other end. Lewandowski was the catalyst as he forced Jessica Widdop (17 saves) into a stick save from a tight angle and after Gina Vignone threw one at net she forced a blocker stop while falling down.
The hosts were relying on their defensemen to create offensive chances, with Emma Pereira, Julia Muttart, Megan O’Hara, and Melissa Shanteler all getting looks from the point. Vignone and Gianna Cameron led the Franklin defense in trying to clear out any rebounds from the crease.
“They really played well, they blocked shots, they kept their heads up, they didn’t panic against the boards when they were pressured by two players,” MOA coach Roy Bain said about his blue line corps. “I can’t be upset with the way that anyone in that locker room played.”
MOA held an 11-6 edge in shots after the first and the momentum continued following the short breather between periods. Ledin again got a good look at net that went off Colace’s blocker and straight into the air. Cameron cleared before Reese Pereira could get a stick on the loose puck.
“We had a lot of the zone time, we were breaking out as we want to, and their game plan became obvious early, which was to crash the ‘D’ and pinch on the wings,” said Bain. “The goaltender gave up a lot of rebounds but their defense is very responsible in front of their net and stopped us from getting a lot of follow-up chances.”
Libby Carter sent a warning to the Warriors when she got free on a defensive zone turnover only to have Widdop make a big pad save. The breakthrough came three minutes into the second. Vignone flipped a high pass towards goal. Lewandowski managed to bring it down right on the edge of the crease, kicking it to her stick and sliding it past Widdop’s pad for a 1-0 lead.
“That goal tonight, it was a kick, a drop, and a reach,” said Burke. “It was like a soccer or field hockey goal but not an ice hockey goal. I tell them all the time that ugly goals count the same as pretty goals and ugly wins count the same as pretty wins.”
There were more chances for the Warriors to try and even things up in the second, as MOA outshot the Panthers 10-4 in the period and had a four-minute power play, but Lily O’Brien’s shot from the right circle was an example of how Franklin kept the middle of the ice clear.
It was clear that Burke spent the second intermission emphasizing the need to get on the attack, as the third period was by far the best that Franklin played in the offensive zone.
Burke said, “Absolutely, we talked about how everything in the first two periods was a reach and a poke but no body. You have to reach in with your stick and then with your body. They got more physical for sure.”
Lewandowski continued to be a thorn in MOA’s side. She skated behind the net and fired a pass all the way out to Vignone at the point for a shot through traffic that Widdop saved, and then stopped the rebound effort as well. Freshman Shaw Downing had an effort from the blue line that Lewandowski managed to tip in front but Widdop again stayed tall to stop.
The Warriors kept pushing for an equalizing goal, but Franklin continued to hold them at bay. Colace came up with a huge glove save on a blast by Emma Pereira from the edge of the left circle. It was the last good look for the home team.
“It’s tough when you lose by a goal but you can’t be upset that you lost by a goal because every single person played their heart out,” Bain said. “We played great, they were just one goal better.”
Franklin (2-2-1) will face a battle against the first league champion, Canton, on Wednesday. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (3-4-1) will have a short turnaround to try and end its three-game losing streak when it hosts Stoughton on Sunday.
Canton girls hockey used a pair of second period goals and its fourth straight shutout of the season to earn an important 2-0 win over Mansfield/Oliver Ames in a good battle between two talented teams.
“That’s a great team, Roy [Bain] always does a fantastic job with them,” said Canton head coach Dennis Aldrich. “To mold three schools together, they always play us tough. I just can’t give him enough credit and his girls battled every single shift. It was a great win for us.”
After a scoreless back-and-forth first period that saw each team have extended spans of offense, the second period became the defining frame of the game.
It started with defense for the Dogs, who have yet to surrender through 12 periods of play this season. The Warriors killed the final six seconds of a penalty to start the period and junior Alex Ledin came out of the box at the perfect time as MOA broke up ice. Ledin took a feed into the offensive zone and unleashed a wicked slap shot that was turned away from Canton freshman goalie Carolyn Durand (15 saves).
The Warriors had another chance four minutes into the second when junior defenseman Emma Pereira pinched in to win a battle in the corner. After emerging with the puck, Pereira used a nice fake to find her way between two Bulldogs before firing a wrist shot from the right circle, but her hard shot whistled just wide.
The Bulldogs’ defense was under even more pressure after a hooking call put Mansfield/Oliver Ames on the power play with 10:51 to play in the second period. The Warriors’ best chance came when Pereira played a pass through the Canton defense to Ledin, but her backhanded attempt was knocked away by Durand.
“We have a lot of defensemen on this team right now with a lot of experience and a lot of talent, and I honestly believe that you could borderline say all five are all stars,” Aldrich said. “The composure that they show, that’s what we need to calm our freshman goalie down. They’ve allowed her to see shots, and the very few shots she hasn’t seen, she’s worked hard on her angles. And our forwards know who we are, they know they have to help out.”
After killing the penalty off, and thwarting the Warriors’ earlier chances, the Bulldogs picked up the momentum. A high clearance from freshman Olivia Maffeo deflected off the glass at the blue line, eluding an MOA defenseman. That led to an odd-man rush for Canton with junior Maria Femia carrying the puck into the zone with classmate Tess Khoury skating hard to the net.
With the one defenseman shadowing Khoury, Femia decided to take the shot herself and buried it glove side to give Canton a 1-0 lead with 8:30 left in the second.
“What made that play was Tess [Khoury] going hard to the net because the goalie had to respect that,” Aldrich said. “And then there was some space short side high. She didn’t get a point on it but she helped create it. Maria made the right choice too, she’s a smart enough kid to take that. That goalie [Jess Widdop, 24 saves] has improved a lot, she’s worked very hard and she played really well.”
After the goal, the Warriors came back down with a couple of good chances to try the contest. First, Ella Waryas found space and fired a nice shot that was equaled by a nice save from Durand. Two minutes later, Ledin put a shot through traffic that Durand somehow got an eye on and made a glove stop.
And after that, Waryas dropped a pass off for freshman Reese Pereira, but her bid of the short side was kept out by another stop.
With just under two minutes to play in the period, Maffeo picked up possession behind the net and took off up ice. Using her speed, Maffeo raced her way past a pair of Warriors into the attacking zone, skated out wide to her right and rifled a shot upstairs to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead with 1:34 left in the second.
“That second goal was huge for us because, without it, they are just one bounce away,” Aldrich said. “I scouted them before this but they were really quick, they were much quicker on ice level. I was really impressed with their speed. If they get that next one, they have all the momentum so getting that second goal was huge. And Olivia is a special talent, that was big for us.”
Mansfield/Oliver Ames had an early power play chance in the third but couldn’t create a serious scoring chance. Melissa Shanteler connected with Waryas and Pereira for a chance midway through the third but Durand made a pad stop to maintain the lead.
With under two minutes to go, MOA tried to get the puck up ice with the goalie pulled but Maffeo intercepted the pass in the neutral zone and blasted a shot into the empty net to make it 3-0.
“We played very well,” said MOA head coach Roy Bain. “The lesson learned is that when you make mistakes against a good, well-coached team you pay. We paid for it with a couple of goals. We had to dig out a hole which is tough against that team. We had our chances, both goalies made great saves on both ends of the ice. But one or two talents will cost you against an elite team like Canton.
“I thought we had continuous pressure in the first period and they were able to stave off every chance we had, and that kind of staled our momentum a little bit. It’s tough to come out in the third, against a team like that, and try and build momentum when you’re down.”
Canton girls hockey (2-0 Hockomock, 4-0 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts Medfield at the Canton Ice House. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (1-1, 2-1) returns to Rodman Arena as the road team on Thursday against Walpole.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2019-2020 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview
2018-2019 Record: 12-6-5
2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 First Round
Coach: Dennis Aldrich
The Bulldogs will be using a mix of veterans and new faces as they try to get back on top of the Hockomock League. After winning the first league championship in 2018, the Bulldogs finished second last year but will be aiming to take back the title in 2020.
The strength of the team will be along the blue line with senior captains Alexa Maffeo and Meg Aldrich leading the way. Both have a ton of varsity experienced, including playing in a state championship game, and Canton will lean on them heavily for their leadership both on and off the ice. The defense will also feature sophomore Allie McCabe, who picked up valuable experience as a rookie a season ago. The defense will also get a boost from a pair of new faces with freshmen Olivia Maffeo and Maya Battista expected to be big time players for the Bulldogs.
Offensively, head coach Dennis Aldrich said he expects his side to be very quick and opportunistic in the attacking zone. Junior captain Maria Femia (two goals, nine assists), junior Lizzie Tassinari (five goals, 13 assists) and junior Ellie Rae Roberts (four goals, eight assists) are familiar with the system and have high expectations for the season. Sophomore Tess Khoury (six goals, five assists) returns after an impressive freshman senior. Freshman goalie Carolyn Durand has impressed early on with senior Vicky Revanche give the Dogs an experienced option in net.
“The early energy and closeness of this team has been remarkable,” Aldrich said. “I look for us to make some noise both in the Hockomock League and the state tournament this season.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-3-2
2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Quarterfinals
Coach: Margie Burke
It’s been back-to-back very successful seasons for the Panthers, and head coach Margie Burke is looking for that success to continue in 2020. Franklin won 14 games two years ago, and then went unbeaten in Hockomock League last year and finished with 17 wins overall.
The defending Hockomock champs have a lot of experience back on the defensive end. Junior goalie Gabby Colace is back between the pipes for Franklin and will be one of the top netminders in the area. She posted a 0.905 save percentage in the regular season a year ago, allowing just 1.77 goals a game while making 242 saves. She will have some familiar faces in front of her with seniors Tina Pisano, Gina Vignone, and Gianna Cameron all back playing defense. Franklin was tough to score against last year and that will likely be the case again this year.
The biggest question mark offensively will be trying to replace the production of Regan Paterson and Cassi Ronan, who were two of the top three point producers in the entire league last year. But Franklin has a good cast of players ready for expanded roles this year. Juniors Libby Carter (five goals, three assists), Amanda Lewandowski (eight goals, 10 assists), Katelyn Brown (five goals, three assists), and Maddy Dolan, give the Panthers plenty of options on the attacking end. The Panthers will be looking to get some production out of the eight underclassmen on the roster as well.
“We are looking forward to building on the successes of last year and to be competitive in a very strong Hockomock League,” Burke said.
2018-2019 Record: 4-13-2
2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ken Assad
After helping the Franklin boys team for over a decade, Ken Assad has traded in his Panther blue for the green and gold of King Philip, taking over the helm of the girls’ hockey program. Coming off a four-win season, Assad and his staff are very optimistic about the upcoming season.
The Warriors only have three seniors on the roster, so they will need contributions from every player on the roster to compete for a Hockomock League title and try to get back into the state tournament. Although it’s a small senior class, all three are important pieces to the team and are spread out on the ice. Makenzie Shandley is a newcomer to the program but will be leaned on to guide the offense on the first line. She is joined by returning forwards Avari Maxwell (seven goals, two assists) and sophomore Morgan Cunningham. Assad is hoping to have a deep offense with Jennifer Daniels, Olivia Donovan, Sydney O’Shea, Katarina Precobb, and Meg Sherwood all in the mix to get plenty of ice time.
Defensively, the Warriors are going to lean on senior captain Sami Robison. Fresh off a terrific field hockey season, Robison will be the veteran leader of the blue line unit for the Warriors. Junior Gabriela Trujillo should see an expanded role this year and will be an important part of the defensive unit. Junior Libby Curran, sophomore Ally Donovan, and freshman Maggie Griffin and Brielle Hearon are also apart of the KP defense. In goal, senior captain Cristina Coleman and freshman Mallory Johnston will push one another for time in between the pipes.
“Being a young team is great for the future of this program which is exciting,” Assad said. “We are always optimistic for a good start and to compete at a high level and I know the chemistry we have and the great leadership the girls will come out giving their best.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-9-3
2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Preliminary Round
Coach: Roy Bain
The Mansfield/Oliver Ames/Foxboro girls hockey team is relying on a mix of youth and veterans to push for a return to the state tournament in 2020. Although there are just two seniors on the squad, there is still a handful of experienced players that have played in plenty of contests at the varsity level.
Senior Liz Healy, junior Emma Pereira, and junior Melissa Shanteler will lead the way for the Warriors this season. Healy will be a leader on the offensive end while both Pereira and Shanteler will provide MOA with talent and leadership on the blue line. Joining that junior duo on the blue line will be classmate Megan O’Hara and sophomore Julia Muttart. The Warriors added some depth to the defensive unit with the addition of freshmen Brooklynn Levins and Maya Manganaro. Behind that talented group of defensemen will be sophomore goalie Jess Widdop, who had a terrific freshman year and earned team MVP honors.
On the offensive end of the ice, the Warriors return the speedy line of junior Alex Ledin (six goals, three assists), sophomore Sam Ledin (three goals, six assists), and sophomore Kylie O’Keefe, all representing Foxboro. Healy will be joined by Tessa Luciano and Emma Garland on another line while OA freshman Reese Pereira will be working with Foxboro’s Ella Waryas and Mansfield’s Lily O’Brien, giving the Warriors a lot of depth offensively. MOA is also looking for contributions from Elle Weinstein, Pam Nelson, Maeve O’Keefe, Erin DiCenzo, Cataline Kipp, Ciera Doherty, Ava Adams, and Mya Waryas.
“With a team comprised of two seniors, ten juniors, nine sophomores, and four freshmen, the program can look forward to continued consistency and success for the next few seasons,” said MOA head coach Roy Bain. “This team should compete against the talent-rich and always tight Hockomock League race.”
2018-2019 Record: 0-20-0
2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Rich Grasso
After a down year, the Black Knights are looking to getting back on track as they team up with Sharon High for the second straight season.
Stoughton boasts skill at each position with junior Morgan Lessa back for her third year with the program, junior Haley Nelson returns to anchor the defense, and senior Brianna Buckley gives the Black Knights plenty of experience between the pipes. Stoughton will need contributions from everyone on the roster with four seniors, four juniors, six sophomores, and four freshmen.
Lessa is among the league’s top players at forward, scoring nine goals and adding three assists last year. Senior Abbey Kashian is one of the team’s three captains and will provide leadership on the offensive end. Look for Sharon junior Sam Sherman, another captain on the team, to fill in both offensively and defensively depending on the team’s needs. Seniors Carly Lader and Hannah Duff will provide depth on the attack this season.
Nelson, who logs a ton of minutes, will be the leader of the defensive unit. Sophomore Zofia Bangs and Sharon junior Jillian Parker are going to be key pieces on both ends of the ice this season for Stoughton. Freshman Ava Buckley has impressed early on this preseason and could give the blue line a big boost.
Below are the seeds and matchups for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Records listed are for MIAA tournament purposes and do not include exclusion games. Times and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.
#5 Franklin (16-2-2) will host the winner of #12 Arlington (13-3-4)/#21 Woburn (11-6-3) at a time, date, and location to be determined.
#27 Mansfield/Oliver Ames (9-8-3) will travel to face #6 St. Mary’s (Lynn) (16-2-2) at the William Connery MDC Rink in Lynn at a date and time to be determined.
#12 Canton (11-5-5) will host #21 Norwood (8-8-4) on Monday, Feb. 25 at 5:00 at the Canton Ice House.
The Franklin girls hockey team suffered its first setback of the season over the weekend at the hands of highly touted Walpole, but the Panthers had no interest in letting that trend continue.
Behind a stellar defensive performance, Franklin got back into the win column as it began its second trip through league play with a 4-1 decision over visiting Mansfield/Oliver Ames.
The Panthers pounced for a 1-0 lead after the first period before tacking on two more in the second period to earn the win. Franklin limited the Warriors to just 15 shots on goal for the game.
“I thought we were good tonight, the first two periods I thought we played very well,” said Franklin head coach Margie Burke. “We got a little lax in the third, which we won’t be able to do when we get to the tournament, but overall I thought we played pretty well. Walpole is a good team, [the loss] was going to happen eventually but we responded.”
Mansfield/Oliver Ames came out with a lot of energy and had some early attacking zone time, but Franklin’s defense was up to the task and thwarted any Warrior attacks before they could turn into scoring chances.
The teams traded offensive spells, and there was a good pace to the game as the teams went back-and-forth up and down the ice. It wasn’t until late in the period that Franklin was able to grab the lead.
Senior Regan Paterson eluded a defenseman before tossing a shot on net that was turned aside by Warrior goalie Jess Widdop with a pad save. But the rebound popped right to Cassi Ronan and she lifted her backhand attempt under the bar and into the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage.
Paterson was awarded an assist on the play, giving her 100 career points.
That momentum seemed to carry into the second period, a frame in which the Panthers had the majority of control over. Franklin earned an early power play on a roughing call and didn’t need much time to capitalize. Off the ensuing faceoff, Paterson battled her way between two MOA defenders and then whipped a low shot on net that found the back of the goal for a 2-0 lead, just seven seconds into the man-advantage.
The Warriors made a push in the middle of the period with the best chance falling on the stick of freshman Skyler Sharfman, who ripped a hard slap shot but it was blocked by Franklin junior Gina Vignone and cleared out.
Franklin added to its lead with just over a minute left in the second period. Ronan jumped in front of an MOA forward to keep possession in the attacking zone, raced in along the boards and then blasted a shot upstairs for a 3-0 lead.
The third period belonged to the visitors, who had a lot of offensive zone time. While Mansfield/Oliver Ames had a lot of time in the attacking zone, it couldn’t register a ton of scoring games to go with it. Franklin’s defense did a nice job of preventing dangerous looks on goal.
“The defense has been solid all year long. All three of them played really well and didn’t give them many chances. We have Cassi listed as a defenseman too but it’s mostly Gina, Gianna [Cameron], Tina [Pisano], and Maddi [Dolan] got some shifts too, she’s young but we’ll get her in there.”
The Warriors finally got on the board with just over nine minutes left in the game. Freshman Sammy Ledin took advantage of a turnover at the blue line and raced in and fired a shot on goal. The first shot was turned aside by Gabby Colace but junior Alex Ledin was in perfect position to bury the rebound.
“We were limited from the good scoring areas of the ice, they kept us to the outsides,” said MOA head coach Roy Bain. “We were able to gain penetration just weren’t able to finish. In the third, the girls were tired of not executing, they really carried the bulk of the play and had a lot of zone time, they skated their butts off. They got a good result out of it but just ran out of time.”
Franklin junior Jordan Dwyer intercepted a pass and scored an empty net goal with just over a minute left to make it 4-1.
Franklin girls hockey (5-0-0 Hockomock, 13-1-1 overall) can clinch its first Hockomock League title with a win over Canton on Saturday. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (2-2-1, 5-5-3) will look to bounce back when it hosts Stoughton at 4:10 on Saturday.