Team Effort Helps Hornets Knock Out Visiting Brockton

Mansfield boys basketball
Sam Goldberg (4) was one of three Hornets in double figures against Brockton, scoring 15 points to help the Hornets advance to the final of the Roundball Classic. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Unlike some of the other teams that Mansfield will face on its state tournament run, the Hornets are not reliant on one or two scorers to power the offense. Instead, Mansfield utilizes its depth and can turn to a number of different players to score in its motion offense.

On Monday night in the nightcap of day one of the Roundball Classic against Brockton in the Albertini Gym, the Hornets showcased that depth with three players in double digits and 10 players on the scoresheet. Mansfield beat the Boxers 66-42 and advanced to the final of the tournament to face Weymouth.

“I’ve been out scouting the past couple days,” explained Mansfield coach Mike Vaughan. “Everyone’s talking about, it’s the single players versus the depth of the team and I think our scout is that the depth of our team is ultimately going to make this a potential team that can make a run.”

Even though a balanced attack is Mansfield’s strength, the Hornets also know that when they need baskets they can turn to senior Sam Goldberg. The forward put in another strong performance with a game-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

“I told him that he’s playing at an MVP-level right now,” said Vaughan. “He’s getting into a great rhythm, he’s not forcing it, he’s letting the game come to him.”

The Hornets controlled the game in the first quarter, but could not take advantage of the dominance because they could not make shots. Mansfield missed several layups and open looks from deep but still held a 12-6 lead behind four points each from Goldberg and classmate Phil Vigeant.

Mansfield broke the game wide open in the second. The Hornets closed out the half with a 13-2 run that opened up a 17-point lead by the break. Senior Benjamin Albanese got the run started with an offensive rebound in traffic, kicked it out to Max Boen who fired a pass to Vigeant for the layup.

Albanese added the next five points and then assisted on a three by Boen. Christian Weber finished the run with a drive to the basket for his lone hoop of the first half.

Vaughan said, “Their athleticism, I think, bothered us a little bit in the first quarter and probably made us play a little faster than we wanted. We settled down and saw the ball go through the bottom of the net a few times I think it changed the way we played.”

Brockton made a run to try and keep it close in the third quarter behind nine points from Quran Harris, but Mansfield continued to make the shots it needed, including Vigeant (12 points) drilling a three off a Weber pass to extend the lead back to 13.

“Phil’s just been steady all season,” said Vaughan. “He seems to be making a big shot when we need it the most. Tonight, we kind of felt like nothing was going right and then, bang, Phil steps up and knocks down a three at two different points of the game.”

Weber added a three-pointer and then Sam Hyland tossed an alley-oop to Goldberg. With just six seconds on the clock and the ball under the Brockton hoop, Mansfield turned to Weber to close out the quarter. The senior raced up court, weaved through traffic and hit a floater at the buzzer for a 46-30 lead.

“We had to talk to him at halftime and let him know that 1-for-6 and a couple of turnovers is not the way he needs to play,” said Vaughan. “He kept trying to force things to the basket…Once he made the three at the top of the key then everything started going for him.”

Weber (six assists) added five more of his 12 points in the fourth and Vigeant drilled another deep three. Ryan Otto and Goldberg each added four as the Hornets cruised to the victory and a spot in the final.

Mansfield (19-2, 15-1) will face Weymouth, coached by former Franklin head coach Dean O’Connor, in the final on Wednesday at 7:15.

Hill, Peel Lead Mansfield Into Final of Roundball Classic

Mansfield girls basketball
Meg Hill (31) scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lift Mansfield past Marlboro and into the final of the Roundball Classic. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – None of Mansfield’s opponents this season will be shocked as to who the Hornets will turn to on the offensive side of the ball. Everyone knows that senior guard Jen Peel is going to have the ball in her hands and will be looking for junior center Meg Hill.

Of course, having that knowledge does not make them any easier to stop.

Marlboro found that out on Monday evening in the third game of the Roundball Classic at the Albertini Gym, as Hill scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds and Peel scored 18 points and dished out six assists (four of them on baskets by Hill) to lead Mansfield to a 54-38 victory that puts the Hornets in Wednesday’s final against Abington.

“Jen every now and then will do something crazy,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding, “but then the next two possessions it’s no-look for a layup. We’ll live with some of the mistakes with all the benefits that come along with Jen.”

He added, “Meg did a good job. I thought she dominated the boards when she was inside and she hit some big shots for us.”

The Hornets jumped out to a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter with Hill (eight points) and Peel (five points) combining for 13. Hill scored eight of Mansfield’s first 10 points, including three jumpers from around 10 feet from the hoop. Peel added a deep three off a Kara Bendanillo assist to open the lead up.

In the second, Mansfield started to pull away and seemed to have the game in control. Hill scored six points in the quarter, twice scoring at the rim from Ann Maher assists, and Stephanie Kemp added her lone basket on the break as the Hornets built a 28-17 lead.

But the Panthers crept back into the game before halftime on what was an 8-2 run. Marlboro started to control the glass and use those second opportunities to score, including a rebound by Maddison Farrell and a kick out for a three by Halle McCabe that brought the lead back to eight.

Mansfield held a seven-point advantage at the start of the third quarter, which Maher turned to 10 with her lone three points of the game. Marlboro kept fighting and cut the lead to 36-30 before a 9-2 run put Mansfield back on top by double digits heading to the fourth. Peel made four free throws in the run and Mady Bendanillo showed off her speed to race past the defense and score in transition.

“We started okay and in the second quarter we were completely out of sync,” said Redding, “but we’re showing that we’re growing up and we took control of the game in the third and pulled away.”

Bendanillo started the fourth with an assist to Maggie Danehy for a layup on the break and Emily Vigeant added another transition basket. Peel drove to the basket for a hoop and the Hornets held Marlboro to only six points and one made basket in the fourth as the defense picked up.

Redding said about the Hornets holding the Panthers to only 17 points in the second half, “We ended up playing a little more man than zone, which helped with boxing out and getting rebounds and we executed a little bit better on offense.”

Mansfield will advance to the final of the Roundball Classic to face Abington, which beat Dartmouth in the opening game of the day. The Hornets, with just one loss in the regular season (their second was an exclusion game), are also trying to stay in the running for the top seed in Div. 1 South.

Redding explained, “We’ve just got to get one more and then worry about coin flips and all that.”

Mansfield (18-2, 15-1) will take on Abington on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Hornets Sting Franklin, Take Control of Kelley-Rex

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Max Boen pulls up for a shot in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Another chapter in the storied rivalry between Mansfield and Franklin is complete.

And it looks a lot like last year.

For the second straight season, Mansfield won the second game of the series on the road in Franklin after the Panthers won the first contest. This time, the Hornets prevailed 60-43.

Last year’s two contests mirrored each other because of big comebacks from the visiting team.

This year’s two contests mirrored each other because of double digit victories.

Mansfield raced out to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter, with senior Sam Goldberg (12 points, eight rebounds, four assists) putting an exclamation mark on the frame with an off balance three at the buzzer.

In comparison, it was the Hornets who were held in check to just five points in the first matchup. It took until the 3:49 of the third quarter of the first game for Mansfield to reach 17 points the first time around.

“We got a much better start than the first game,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “It’s probably very similar to the first game. After the first game, CJ [Neely] said that at some point they got a little lucky that we missed shots. And to be honest, I have to say the same thing. We got a little lucky they missed some early shots and we were able to capitalize on and create a little separation. I thought our defense was really solid.

“The score doesn’t really represent the level of play and the level that Franklin’s at…that’s a dynamite program that’s going to do great in the state tournament. We’re fortunate we’re playing better, we’re more consistent. Our defensive energy has been fantastic. Now its just a matter of taking care of KP on Tuesday.”

As Mansfield was able to keep the Panthers from scoring the post — largely due to double teams and strong help defense on Franklin center Connor Peterson — the Panthers found life in outside shooting from the hand of Connor Goldstein (21 points).

The Panthers had their best offensive quarter in the second with Goldstein recording 12 of the team’s 18 points to cut the deficit to single digits, 31-24, at halftime.

“[Our post defense] was great,” Vaughan said. “I thought Evan [Christo] did a good job of coming in and that changed our matchups. It kind of eliminates Sam from early foul trouble and moves him off the ball to be a help defender. We were able to do some things with two forwards. Peterson’s a great player, one of the best in the league. For us to be able to neutralize him, we had to throw two bodies at him.”

It looked like that momentum of Franklin’s strong second quarter was going to carry into the third quarter when the Panthers got a steal and easy bucket to start the quarter and a three point play from Jalen Samuels (eight points, five rebounds) cut the lead to 33-29.

But in true Mansfield fashion, as they did time and time again throughout the game, the Hornets answered.

It was an 8-0 run that spanned nearly the rest of the quarter. First, Max Boen (14 points, six rebounds, three assists), scored off a feed from Phil Vigeant (12 points, three assists). Then it was Evan Christo from Boen, followed by two from Boen from Goldberg. Goldberg converted at the rim himself and Tyler Boulter added two free throws to make it 43-29. Goldstein added a three before the buzzer to cut into the lead for Franklin, ending a scoreless drought of over five minutes.

“We talked at halftime about getting one third quarter run,” Vaughan said. “We knew they’d make adjustments and come out and make a push at it, and they did. That’s just a sign of a good team. They cut into it. We had to weather the storm and go on our run ourselves.”

It looked like Franklin had some momentum to build off of when Goldstein drained another corner three.

But on Mansfield’s ensuing possession, Vigeant answered with a trifecta of his own to swing the momentum right back in the visitors’ favor.

“I think it’s a credit to Mansfield, they did a great job. They came in well prepared obviously, they always do,” Neely said. “It’s two good teams that are going to battle like they always do. It’s 3-3 over the past couple of years. We know it’s going to be a battle. Sometimes shots are going for one side and not for the other. And big runs happen and all of a sudden…you know. When things get tough, you have to get back to the basics of what makes your team great instead of panicking and forcing things. I thought we forced things too much tonight.”

Vigeant’s three was the start of what turned out to be a 12-0 game-sealing run from the Hornets. Goldberg added three free throws, Vigeant scored two straight field goals and Boen scored on a feed from Christian Weber (12 points) to put Mansfield up 58-37 with 2:25 to go.

“It’s huge because you can’t have guys take plays off, you can’t have guys lay an egg,” Vaughan said of the balanced scored. “I thought Max played well early, I thought Weber had some huge plays, I thought Goldberg stepped in and made some plays when he had to. Those are the things you have to do to beat good teams. You have to maximize as many possessions as you can.”

Similar to how Franklin was about to limit Mansfield’s offense to just 25% shooting from the floor in the first game, the Hornets held Franklin to just 30% from the floor and the Panthers attempted just seven free throws.

“These games never disappoint,” Vaughan said. “They’ve been great for a long time. The level of play and energy and passion from the kids is second to none. You can’t beat it. There’s no lack of coaching, there’s no lack of passion and effort from either team. We were fortunate to get this one, they got the first one.”

Mansfield boys basketball (16-2 overall, 13-1 league) takes over sole possession of first place in the Kelley-Rex division with the win. The Hornets can clinch a share of their fifth straight division title with a win on Tuesday at King Philip. Franklin (14-4, 12-2) will attempt to bounce back on Tuesday at Attleboro.

Peel Powers Hornets Past Attleboro and to League Title

Mansfield girls basketball
Mansfield senior Jen Peel (14) scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Hornets to a season sweep of Attleboro and clinched at least a share of a second straight league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Last winter Mansfield edged Attleboro on the final night of the league campaign to earn the program’s second Hockomock title. Coming into this season, the Hornets were young with only two seniors on the roster and a host of talented, if inexperienced, underclassmen.

Hornets coach Mike Redding knew his team would still be good, and would get better over the course of the season, but he had no idea that with three games left to spare Mansfield would have the chance to win back-to-back titles for the first time in program history.

That is exactly what the Hornets accomplished on Monday night. Led by senior point guard Jen Peel, who scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds despite being the focal point of the Attleboro defense, Mansfield pulled out a 54-47 victory in the James Albertini Gym to sweep the season series against the Bombardiers and clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title.

“If you told me we’d clinch a share of the title with three to play, I’d say no way,” said Redding. “I think we were hoping we’d be hanging around at this point and the girls have played above and beyond all year. They played really high-level basketball beyond their years.”

Peel came out firing and buried a pair of threes, as the Hornets jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. She added seven points in the second to give Mansfield a halftime lead and in the fourth quarter Peel knocked down the final two of her five three-pointers on the night to extend the Hornets’ lead to as many as 11 and seal the victory.

“I think the bottom line is Jen Peel took over the game. She hit some big threes, was driving and creating, and played great,” said Redding. He added, “She’s just so good with the ball and her vision is great, she finds open people, and she’s the difference tonight.”

Mansfield got off to a quick start in the first, but Attleboro answered back with an 11-0 run take the lead for the first time. Julia Strachan found Sarah Deyo open in the corner for her second three-pointer of the quarter and a piece of program history.

With that basket, Deyo recorded her 1,222nd career point, which moved her past Becky Hardt (Class of 1994) on the school’s all-time scoring chart. Deyo, who finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds on the night, is now the highest scoring female player in Attleboro history.


“That’s a great testament to her hard work,” said Rick Patch of Deyo’s accomplishment. “She takes a beating, she does a lot of little things, and she’s worked hard for that since elementary school. It’s great for her to see her hard work pay off.”

After Deyo’s slice of history, Kara Bendanillo answered back with a three of her own to tie the game at 11-11. Following a pair of free throws by Sam Pierce (eight points), Bendanillo drove and kicked a pass to Meg Hill (eight points, eight rebounds) for a 15-foot jumper that tied the game at 13 apiece after one.

Despite being in the double bonus for the majority of the second quarter, Attleboro struggled to get consistent offense. Strachan was held scoreless for the entire first half and Deyo had no points in the second. The teams traded baskets with Kim White (eight points) knocking down a jumper and Mish Logie and Jordyn Lako scoring on drives that gave Attleboro its last lead of the game at 21-19.

Erin Daniel came off the bench to give Mansfield a spark, assisting on a Mady Bendanillo (eight points, nine rebounds) three and knocking down a long jumper to tie the game. After a Peel free throw, Ann Maher drove to the basket and Peel hit three from the line to close out the half with a six-point advantage.

Attleboro hung around in the third quarter. Grace Mayer banked in a long jumper from a tough angle, Deyo scored on an offensive rebound, and Strachan hit her only shot from the field to cut the lead to 34-32. Mansfield saw Hill head to the bench with her fourth foul with five minutes remaining in the third, but the Bombardiers struggled to take advantage.

Senior Olivia Broyles gave the Hornets a huge lift with a putback and, after Deyo got a three-point play, she scored on a layup off a Peel assist. Those were her only four points of the game, but Broyles also played an important role as a defensive substitute for Hill down the stretch.

“The hidden hero of the game was Olivia Broyles, just playing unbelievable defense and rebounding when Meg got into some foul trouble,” said Redding.

Patch said, “There was no offensive sync. It was like we were playing downhill; we were playing at a breakneck speed. I think we went like 1-for-8 in the next eight possessions. That would’ve been a point to regain momentum, take the lead, and…we didn’t.”

Maggie Danehy and Hill scored the opening four points of the fourth to give Mansfield a little cushion and then Peel put the game away for the Hornets with three-pointers on back-to-back possessions that extended the lead to 11 at 50-39.

“Jen Peel was just on fire when she needed to be,” said Patch. “She hit big shots when she needed to and that’s why she’s an MVP-caliber player. She makes that team go.”

Redding added, “These are two very, very good games and I’m just praying we don’t play again in D1 South, which could happen and if it does it will be another battle.”

Mansfield (14-2, 12-1) can clinch the outright title on Friday night and avenge its only league loss of the season against Franklin. Attleboro (13-4, 9-4) will also look to avenge an earlier defeat and take control of second place in the division with a trip to Oliver Ames.

Hockomock Wrestling Championships 2017

Hockomock wrestling
Franklin’s Brian Farrell (top) grapples with Sharon’s Matt Callan at Hocks. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Franklin had three individual champions, two second place finishes and four more grapplers finish third or fourth to win the team title at the Hockomock League Wrestling Championships at Oliver Ames on Saturday.

The Panthers registered 218.5 points, edging out North Attleboro (212.5 points) and Foxboro (200.5 points).

Franklin’s Ian Bakalars won the 113 title with a 6-2 decision, Mike Racca notched a first round pin to win the 120 title and Dylan Maclean earned the 145 title with a pin. Jordan Carlucci (106) and Brian Perry (285) had second place finishes, Evan Hernandez (182) and Kyler Colella (195) each came in third and TJ Remillard (126) and Brian Farrell (132) both placed fourth.

The Rocketeers, who have clinched at least a share of the Davenport division dual meet title, only had one winner in the tournament but once again show off its depth with three second place finishes, and nine other wrestlers finishing either third, fourth, fifth or sixth. North Attleboro’s Nick Gould was the team’s only champion, scoring an impressive 14-0 win at 152. It marks the second straight year Gould won a Hockomock title after winning the 145 title a year ago. Dan Cooper (113), Jake Direnzo (120) and Brandon Graveline (132) each placed second for Big Red.

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Foxboro’s Matt Kelley was impressive in winning his third straight Hockomock League title. Kelley raced out to a quick 14-0 lead before scoring a pin to earn the Hockomock title at 132. During his sophomore year, Kelley won the 120 title and during his junior year, Kelley scored an 8-0 decision to win the 126 title. Brian Kelley was equally impressive, notching a 10-0 win in a very competitive 138 bracket to win his first Hockomock title. Matt Mullally held on for a 6-5 win to claim the Hock title at 160 – his second straight title at that weight class.

While plenty of veterans claimed titles, there were three freshmen that won Hockomock League titles in their first ever championship event. Mansfield’s Antonios Sevastos, who suffered a first round pin to Franklin’s Jordan Carlucci in a dual meet earlier this week, avenged that loss by scoring a takedown in the final 20 seconds to win the 106 crown. Teammate and classmate Vinnie Holmes continued his stellar freshman campaign, rolling through the bracket and picking up a 14-2 win in the finals. Canton’s Eddie Marinilli made his mark as well, winning four matches on the day, including an 11-2 decision in the 126 final match.

Oliver Ames was fifth on the day, the top finishing team without a champion. Sophomore Anthony Berksza was second at 145 and sophomore Dean Pacini made a run to the finals before falling to Milford’s Ryan Gray (7-1) at 195.

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Team Results

1. Franklin – 218.5
2. North Attleboro – 212.5
3. Foxboro – 200.5
4. Oliver Ames – 128
5. King Philip – 119
6. Canton – 115.5
7. Sharon – 108.5
8. Mansfield – 107
9. Stoughton – 106
10. Milford – 79
11. Taunton – 48

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Finals

WeightMatchupResult
106Jordan Carlucci (Franklin) vs. Antonios Secastos (Mansfield)Sevastos (2-0)
113Ian Bakalars (Franklin) vs. Dan Cooper (North Attleboro)Bakalars (6-2)
120Jake Direnzo (North Attleboro) vs. Mike Racca (Franklin)Racca (pin)
126Eddie Marinilli (Canton) vs. Yosef Ellis-Rech (Sharon)Marinilli (11-2)
132Matt Kelley (Foxboro) vs. Brandon Graveline (North Attleboro)Kelley (pin)
138Brian Kelley (Foxboro) vs. Brett Kimball (Milford)Kelley (10-0)
145Anthony Berksza (Oliver Ames) vs. Dylan Maclean (Franklin)Maclean (pin)
152Nick Gould (North Attleboro) vs. Max Dorman (Foxboro)Gould (14-0)
160Matt Mullally (Foxboro) vs. Cameron Smith (King Philip)Mullally (6-5)
170Wilhelm Bolt (Sharon) vs. Vinnie Holmes (Mansfield)Holmes (14-2)
182Nuno Camara (Taunton) vs. Nick DeGloria (King Philip)DeGloria (9-4)
195Ryan Gray (Milford) vs. Dean Pacini (Oliver Ames)Gray (7-1)
220Andrew Iverson (Stoughton) vs. Bradley Oliverio (King Philip)Oliverio (3-1)
285Lino Azul (Stoughton) vs. Brian Perry (Franklin)Azul (14-5)

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Hornets Dominate From Start To Finish Against North

Mansfield boys basketball
Mansfield’s Christian Weber (3) hits Ben Albanese with a bounce pass in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MANSFIELD, Mass. – As if Mansfield didn’t have a good enough first half, building an impressive 43-14 lead by the break, the Hornets were nearly flawless in the third quarter to put an end to any comeback bids.

The Hornets went 11/13 from the field in the third quarter, running away with an 83-41 win over the visiting Rocketeers of North Attleboro.

Even more impressive, the Hornets had 10 assists on the 11 made field goals — the lone bucket without a field goal was a putback on a miss. The Hornets did have four turnovers in the period but had just one missed shot that resulted in a defensive rebound for North.

“I thought right from the get-go we did a tremendous job of setting the tone defensively,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “Then offensively we picked our spots and got into a nice rhythm. We picked our spots when to dribble, when to keep the ball moving, when to break guys down off the dribble. The point totals were awesome to me, getting that many guys in the book and scoring six, eight, 12, 15 points is a good thing.”

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Christian Weber had a terrific game with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists — scoring six points and adding two assists in the third quarter — while Sam Goldberg added 15 points and four rebounds. Max Boen recorded 14 points and eight rebounds after missing one game with an injury, Tyler Boulter netted eight points and Evan Christo finished with seven points and three rebounds.

In the third quarter, Goldberg netted eight points, Weber had six, Boen had four, Ryan Otto and Phil Vigeant each hit a three and Boulter added two. Ben Albanese had four assists, Weber had three, Vigeant had two and Sam Hyland had one helper.

“We made the right choices on both ends of the floor,” Vaughan said. “I thought we did a good job of when we helped, and when we didn’t, and we never really over-rotated. Offensively I thought Weber did a great job in transition of picking when we go and put pressure and when we pull out and reverse. I thought the combination was good. We’re getting healthy and as we get our sea legs underneath us a group, I think this is a little bit of a sign we can be down the stretch. They’re starting to believe and good things are starting to happen.”

Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Hornets to start the game while things couldn’t have been much worse for the Rocketeers.

North’s Brent Doherty (seven points) scored the opening basket of the game but Mansfield came storming back to build an 11-2 lead midway through the first quarter. The second four minutes continued to go in Mansfield’s favor and the Hornets held a 21-4 advantage after just eight minutes.

Mansfield shot 8/18 from the field in the first quarter, including a trio of trifectas. Meanwhile, North Attleboro was just 2/15 field (0/6 from deep), including misses on some open looks.

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“All the credit in the world goes to Mansfield,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “Their kids shared the ball well, they made shots early and they are tough team to play against from behind. When you get behind a team like Mansfield, the kids naturally start to press a little bit. We talked at halftime about still trying to do our stuff and be us and not get out of our comfort zone. Mansfield defended really well, they shot really well and that’s why they are who they are.”

The Hornets kept up its efficient offense in the second quarter, shooting 10/16 from the field with four more assists. Mansfield totaled 20 assists for the game.

“The ball distribution was great. Everyone was moving the ball, it wasn’t just one or two guys. I thought everyone did a good job sharing the basketball.”

Jonny Friberg led the Rocketeers in scoring with 13 points and four rebounds. Beyond Doherty’s even points, Matt Seavey had six points and Derek Shanks netted five points.

Mansfield (11-2 overall, 9-1 Hockomock) is back in action in a big non-league clash with Bridgewater-Raynham on Sunday at 5:15. North Attleboro (8-5, 5-4) will take on Milford at 11:45AM at the Dunkin Donuts Center in a battle of Davenport division leaders.

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Oliver Ames Overcomes Penalties to Beat Mansfield

Oliver Ames hockey
Oliver Ames sophomore Brett Williams rips a shot in the second period that turned out to be the game winner. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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BROCKTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames had three sophomores score a goal apiece and the Tigers overcame a half dozen penalties over the final two periods to land a key, 3-1, division win over Mansfield.

Sophomores Max Ward, Brett Williams and Collin Bourne each found the back of the net while junior goalie Zach Walsh made 19 saves in the win.

While the Tigers had seven players hit the penalty box over the final 30 minutes, their ability to kill off man-advantage opportunities for Mansfield resulted in momentum gained for OA.

“We work a lot on PK in practice and it’s very aggressive,” said first year OA head coach Sean Bertoni. “We emphasize blocked shots so we get into shooting lanes. Hopefully we don’t have to kill too many penalties – we had way too many tonight – but those PK guys worked extremely hard. Right after that 5-on-3 we go out and score a goal so we took some momentum there which was great.”

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The 5-on-3 Bertoni referenced was Mansfield’s first power play opportunity that came early in the second period. After a delayed interference call, the Hornets were able to keep the puck and draw a hooking call to get a two man advantage.

Despite having a full 1:30 with the two-man advantage, Mansfield registered just two shots on goal. Oliver Ames capitalized on the momentum gained from the kill, scoring the opener just 30 seconds into being even strength.

Ward, who had a penalty shot saved in the first period by Mansfield goalie Tony Rullo (21 saves), blocked a clearance in the offensive end and went right to goal and tucked the puck in to make it 1-0.

Mansfield nearly tied it a minute later when Matt Farragher had his shot saved by Walsh and the rebound chance was scoffed. The Hornets had a power play with 6:43 left, and then again with 3:00 to play but couldn’t find the back of the net either time.

“It wasn’t ideal – we were 1/6 on the power play and that includes the 5-on-3 for 90 seconds,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini. “That’s not what we want. We moved the puck well on the 5-on-3 but we maybe have two shots. We’ve been focusing more on our penalty kill, which was great tonight, but we just have to get back to basics for offense. The guys know the premise but we were trying to rush it.

“OA did a great job of killing the penalties and keeping us outside. They got in front of the shots or got their sticks in the passing lanes so it was a little frustrating. We lost two face offs clean on the 5 on 3 and two more on 5-on-4 and that just sucks the momentum right away from you.”

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The Hornets once again went a man up with 5.3 seconds to play in the second. After a quick save, Mansfield once again won the face off and a quick shot resulted in a rebound right to freshman Ryan Sullivan. He batted the back into the back of the net as the horn sounded and the referee declared it a good goal to tie the game 1-1 through two periods.

Oliver Ames again went down a man just 2:31 into the final period on a high sticking call but the Hornets couldn’t convert. In fact, the Tigers had the best chance on a shorthanded attempt with Bourne streaking in but his back hand attempt sailed high and off the glass.

“I thought defensively we played pretty well,” Bertoni said. “We blocked a lot shots, I don’t think we gave up a lot of shots. They didn’t have a ton of scoring chances and they also missed some opportunities.”

OA was whistled for too many meant with 10:49 to play but Mansfield couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end. With the puck in the defensive zone and the power play over, the Hornets went for a switch but a failed clearance resulted in the puck on the stick of Williams and he took one stride towards goal before unleashing a shot off the iron and in to make it 2-1.

“Our forecheck is pretty effective when our first line is on the puck hard, stick on stick and body on body,” Bertoni said. “Brett Williams, who’s having a good year for us, picked up the puck and buried one which was huge. We’re very effective on the forecheck.

Mansfield killed a late penalty and then pulled Rullo with a minute to go. But OA won a face off in the defensive zone and Bourne raced out with the puck to bury the empty net goal to get to the final score of 3-1.

“I hope the kids get it, that when we’re 5 on 5, we can skate with most teams we play against,” Bertoni said. “We have depth too, we roll three lines. We have to do a better job, there’s no excuses to take that many penalties.”

Oliver Ames (7-3-1 overall, 3-1-1 Hockomock) will try to extend its unbeaten streak to six when it visits Franklin – Bertoni’s alma mater – on Saturday. Mansfield (5-5-1, 2-2) will look to bounce back when they take on King Philip at Foxboro Sports Center the same day.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.