Canton Ties Franklin to Win Outright League Title

Canton girls hockey
Canton held on for a scoreless tie at Franklin that secured the Bulldogs the outright league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – In two seasons of Hockomock League play, Canton and Franklin have established themselves as the teams to beat. The Bulldogs won the inaugural league championship and then last season Franklin took the crown for the first time. In year three, the two teams went into the final game of the regular season separated by just two points at the top of the standings.

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As has become the standard when the two teams meet, Wednesday night’s game at Pirelli Veterans Arena was close, defensive, and physical and, in the end, Canton was able to hold out for a 0-0 tie that secured the outright league title.

“It means a lot,” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said about not sharing the title. “Especially here. When I used to coach the [Canton] boys, anytime we came here or [Franklin] used to come to Ponky, they called it the ‘Dungeon of Doom’, it’s just something about it. The crowd wasn’t the same, but the emotion was.”

With 1:37 remaining and with the Panthers setting up for an offensive zone face-off, Franklin coach Margie Burke called timeout and pulled goalie Gabby Colace (19 saves). There were several surprised reactions from beyond the glass, but it underscored the importance of the title race and how little one point would impact Franklin’s likely seed in the playoffs.

“A win gets us a championship,” said Burke. “I explained it to the kids and they understood why we did it. I had to do it. I’m extremely proud of my girls tonight, they played their heart out.”

The move nearly paid instant dividends, as the Panthers won the draw into the corner and puck was played out in front before being scrambled away. Olivia Maffeo came close to winning the game with 50 seconds left, but the Canton freshman sent a shot from beyond the red line inches wide for icing.

Another face-off led to another good chance for the Panthers, but Lyndsey Atkinson couldn’t keep her shot down from just inside the right circle. Canton pressured to try and get an empty net winner, but the Panthers defense was able to block a couple of shots heading towards goal. The pressure kept the puck in the Franklin defensive zone though and allowed the Bulldogs to run out the clock.

“I have so much respect for her and what she does,” said Aldrich. “It’s a lot of fun for our kids. She’s got a certain style. It’s throw three kids out front, throw the puck there, and see if you can beat them up. We knew that coming in, so we were really stick on stick. We had to commit on that.”

Franklin had more of the attacking play in the first period, outshooting Canton 6-3. Libby Carter had the first good look for the Panthers with a quick shot from the slot that Carolyn Durand (15 saves) was able to stop and then cover before Amanda Lewandowski could pounce on the rebound.

Canton took more than eight minutes to record its first shot, which came off a rush from her own zone by Maffeo. Less than 30 seconds later, the Bulldogs had another good chance when freshman Audrey Koen corralled a loose puck forced a save from Colace.

Atkinson had a near breakaway with six minutes left in the first but the puck was poked away as she tried to pull it onto her backhand and round the goalie.

The visitors started to gain a foothold in the game and ended up with a 10-6 edge in shots in the second. Koen teed up Tess Khoury for an early look right in front but Colace got a pad to the shot. With five minutes left in the second, Maffeo made another long rush into the attacking zone and fired a pass in front by Lizzie Tassinari couldn’t redirect it on net.

Tina Pisano forced a good pad stop from Durand with a wrister from the point and then Canton came inches away from the lead when Maffeo struck the post with a shot from the right circle. Maria Femia followed up the rebound but Colace got across to block the shot.

It remained tense into the third period and it felt like one goal could decide it. Ellie Rae Roberts had a great chance for the Bulldogs, as she collected a deflected puck on the edge of the crease, but Colace again flashed a pad to make the stop.

“It’s so important because we have that confidence that defensively we’re going to do well,” Burke said about the play of her goalie. “It’s putting the puck in the net and we had our opportunities tonight.”

With two minutes to go, Shaw Downing had a shot from the point that was knocked down in front and the Canton defense was able to get it out of the danger area before Lewandowski could get a stick to it. Twenty seconds later, Franklin had a two-on-one rush. Atkinson flipped a pass to Carter on the left wing, but Maffeo came sliding across to block the first chance, and Durand had the angle covered on the second shot.

That set up a frantic finish with the Panthers throwing an extra skater out there in hopes of stealing a share of the title, but the Bulldogs held on to the shutout and both teams got important experience playing in a playoff-like atmosphere.

“We talked about how it was such a good game for us because we should expect that type of game,” Aldrich explained. “It’s going to be that type of punch you in the face, throw the puck to the net. Overall, defensively I thought we did what we wanted to do.”

Burke added, “Franklin and Canton just have that hockey rivalry. They always have and always will.”

Canton (14-1-4) will close out the regular season with a visit from Barnstable on Monday and a trip to Walpole on Wednesday. Franklin (6-8-5) will finish up its regular season when it hosts Leominster next Wednesday.

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Lewandowski Lifts Franklin Past MOA and Into Playoffs

Franklin girls hockey
Franklin junior forward Amanda Lewandowski scored a pair of goals, as the Panthers beat 3-1 to clinch at least second place in the Hock. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Sometimes goal-scoring is about being in the right place at the right time and for the second time this season Franklin’s Amanda Lewandowski found herself in the right spot to score a game-winning goal against Mansfield/Oliver Ames.

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Lewandowski was left alone on the far post to tap in the game-winning, power play goal with just under six minutes remaining in Saturday evening’s league encounter at Pirelli Veterans Arena. Franklin added an empty net goal in the final minute to beat the Warriors 3-1, sweeping the season series, and in the process clinching at least second place in the league and a postseason berth.

“She’s that player that’s always on,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke about Lewandowski. “Every game this season has been tough and always against this team. They always come to play.”

Both meetings between the Warriors and Panthers have been tight, low-scoring, and evenly-matched. In games like that, one lapse can prove decisive and that is what happened to the Warriors on Saturday.

MOA coach Roy Bain said, “To have the game fall on a third period power play when it was 1-1 kind of stinks, but you go on the power play then it’s our job to defend the net and they were able to put it away.”

He added, “When you play Hockomock foes, it’s going to be a tight game, only a goal or two is going to separate the teams, but when you leave Lewandowski unattended…you can’t do that.”

Franklin came out in the first and was the aggressor. The Panthers dominated zone time and the shot total for the majority of the period. Lewandowski had the game’s first good look and many in the rink thought she had the first goal. She split a pair of defenders and fired a wrist shot that MOA goalie Jess Widdop was able to get a piece of and keep it out.

Maggie McCaffrey had the next good chance when she got space in the left circle on a two-on-one and forced a save out of Widdop. The MOA goalie had to come up big 90 seconds later when Lewandowski collected a pass from Lyndsey Atkinson and put a backhand shot on net. McCaffrey then teed up Atkinson but Widdop stopped the first show and Lewandowski’s rebound.

The Warriors picked up the pace as the period wore on and had a couple of chances in the closing minutes. The best chance came with two minutes left when Emma Pereira fired a diagonal pass to Emma Garland at the far post but Gabby Colace was in the right place to make the stop.

After Franklin held the 9-4 lead in shots in the first, MOA came out stronger in the second. Atkinson nearly got the breakthrough when she split a pair of defenders but the puck slid just wide of the net and Pereira had a good scoring chance at the other end, forcing a pad save from from Colace.

Lewandowski opened the scoring with seven minutes left in the second. She crossed the zone from right to left and showed great patience before lifting a backhand shot over the glove hand. However, the lead lasted less than a minute. Melissa Shanteler answered right back for the Warriors on a shot that rang in off the bar.

Franklin continued to put the puck on net, something that Burke said was a priority after the first meeting. Molly Hurley got free of the defense and then deked past Widdop but was unable to put a shot on the open net. After Gianna Cameron kept the puck in at the blue line, McCaffrey got a shot off from the slot and then Lewandowski set up Libby Carter for a one-timer that drew a save out of Widdop.

The game remained tied well into the third period when the Panthers were given their first power play chance. Franklin needed only 14 seconds to make the advantage count. Tina Pisano fired a shot from the point that was deflected in front of goal and fell right to the stick of Lewandowski on the post and she was able to stuff in what turned out to be the game-winner.

“Get the puck on net and get the traffic in front of the net,” said Burke about the message after the first game against MOA. “That’s one thing that I feel we need to remind them every game. It’s the traffic. They don’t have to be pretty, it all counts the same.”

MOA sprung into life almost immediately after falling behind. Kylie O’Keefe fired a shot from the left circle that snuck through Colace’s armpit but trickled wide of the post. Pereira got free in the slot for a golden opportunity but was denied by a sliding block from Gina Vignone. With 3:40 left Pereira drove down the right side and nearly set up O’Keefe at the back post but her tip went just wide.

“No one was going to quit and they all knew what was at stake,” said Bain. “We know that we’re going to get their best for 45 minutes, no doubt about it. We knew we had to bring 45 minutes of continuous checking and we brought, I don’t know, 43? They played their hearts out, they did exactly what we wanted them to do.”

After scoring twice to put Franklin in front, Lewandowski missed a chance to wrap up the points when she sent it wide of the empty net, but the Panthers would finally seal the win when Jordan Dwyer picked out Atkinson in front to make it 3-1 inside the final minute.

“We’ve been in every game even against the big teams,” said Burke. “We could go into tournament and win a couple games and do alright, you know? Even though we’re squeaking in there, we’ll see.”

Franklin (6-8-4, 5-1-1) will have a shot at sharing the league title when it hosts Canton on Wednesday night. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (6-8-1, 3-4-0) will start its final playoff push when it travels to Stoughton.

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Lewandowski Lifts Franklin Past Mansfield/OA

Franklin girls hockey
Franklin goalie Gabby Colace made 25 saves to record a shutout against Mansfield/Oliver Ames. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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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.

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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.

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2019-2020 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

Franklin girls hockey
MOA’s Emma Pereira (left) and Franklin’s Gina Vignone battle for possession at the blue line last season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019-2020 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

Canton

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.”

Franklin

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.

King Philip

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.”

Mansfield/Oliver Ames

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.”

Stoughton

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.

Franklin Bounces Back With League Win Over MOA

Franklin girls hockey
MOA’s Emma Pereira (left) and Franklin’s Gina Vignone battle for possession at the blue line in the second period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – One of the best ways to measure how good a team can be is to see how they respond to adversity.

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.

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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.

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“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.

Franklin Pulls Out Last Second Win Over Warriors

Franklin girls hockey
Franklin senior Cassi Ronan (10) lines up a shot against Mansfield/Oliver Ames at Rodman Arena. The Panthers got a goal with 4.1 seconds left to pull out a 5-4 win. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WALPOLE, Mass. – Both times that Mansfield/Oliver Ames and Franklin met in the opening season of Hockomock League girls hockey, the game ended in a stalemate, including the opening game of the year. The two teams opened league play again this season and, when the Warriors tied the game with a power play goal inside the final 90 seconds of Saturday afternoon’s game at Rodman Arena, it looked like another tie was on the cards.

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That was until Franklin senior Regan Paterson, who had given away the penalty that MOA had turned into the tying goal, stole a puck on the edge of the attacking zone and skated in alone on the goalie. A head fake, a good deke to the forehand and a drag to the backhand opened up the far post and she slid the puck into the back of the net with just 4.1 seconds on the clock.

Paterson’s goal sealed a 5-4 come from behind win for the Panthers in a game that saw four lead changes and was indicative of how most of the games in the Hockomock League have been played thus far.

“It was a great game,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke. “It seems like it’s always a great game when we play them.”

First-year Mansfield/Oliver Ames coach Roy Bain was obviously disappointed in how things ended but had plenty of positives to take away from the game.

“The only negative was the final score,” he said. “Everyone played their hearts out. We bent a couple times, never gave up, all the way to the last play. They just made one more play than us.”

The Panthers came out of the gates quickly with Paterson nearly opening the scoring within the first minute and then set up Jordan Dwyer in the slot, but both were denied by MOA freshman goalie Jessica Widdop (20 saves). Immediately following the second stop, MOA flew down ice and took the lead. Senior Lindsey Corning drove to the net and scored with the Warriors first shot of the game.

Franklin answered back two minutes later on the power play. Junior Gina Vignone flicked a backhand shot through a crowd in front and it snuck past Widdop to make it 1-1. The Panthers had several chances to grab the lead but Widdop made six saves in the opening period.

Sophomore Libby Carter had one chance stopped and then Paterson combined with classmate Cassi Ronan, who is back on the ice after taking the last two seasons off, behind the net. Ronan shuffled a pass to junior Giana Cameron who fired a shot that was tipped by Amanda Lewandowski right in front only to have Widdop, who is playing goalie for the first time, to get her shoulder onto the shot.

“She played incredible,” said Bain of Widdop. “It’s been a great surprise what we’ve gotten from her. There’s nothing more you can expect from a freshman goaltender. I can’t say enough about the way she played.”

It only took 25 seconds for the Panthers to get the lead in the second period. Ronan forced a good pad save from Widdop and Lewandowski was on hand to tap in the rebound. Emma Pereira brought MOA back level with a blast from the point off a face-off that made its way through bodies in front and found the back of the net.

Franklin started the period strong, but the Warriors grew into the game and started to dominate the action. Freshman Skylar Sharfman had three chances saved by Franklin goalie Gianna Cornetta (eight saves) and Mackenzi Fraser was stopped by Cornetta as well. With only 30 seconds left in the second, freshman Sammy Ledin had her shot partially saved, but the rebound landed on the goal line and Isabelle Shanteler reacted first to tap it in and make it 3-2 heading to the final 15 minutes.

“Win two out of three,” said Burke about the conversation in the Panthers locker room during the second intermission. “We just said to keep working hard and shoot more. They weren’t shooting enough and they weren’t winning the line, losing it at the blue lines, but we really controlled the play in the third.”

The Panthers heeded their coach’s words and dominated the final period. Franklin outshot MOA 10-1 in the third and the puck seemed stuck in the Warriors zone. Widdop made save after save to keep her team in it, but with 9:28 to play Franklin got the tying goal. Carter had her first chance saved but regained the puck on the side of the net, skated out to the circle and then snuck a shot just inside the near post.

Katelyn Brown nearly set up Dwyer for the go-ahead goal only to have Widdop get the tip of her glove to the shot. Ronan ended up creating Franklin’s fourth after picking up the puck behind her own net. She skated the length of the ice and drove to the net. While Widdop stopped the shot but the rebound popped out to Carter and she knocked it into the empty net with 3:11 to play.

“They work very well together and they have similar styles,” said Burke about the play of Ronan and Paterson. “Cassi coming back this year, she can play both sides of the puck, and we can go three ‘D’ and move Cassi up.”

With 1:51 left, MOA got a golden opportunity when Paterson went to the box. Just 23 seconds into the power play, the Warriors had the tying goal. Pereira had another blast from the point and this time it was redirected by Shanteler on the pst and into the top corner.

In past years, Paterson would have been stuck in the box for the rest of the game, but there was a rule change for this season that ends a penalty when a goal is scored. So, she was out there for the final seconds and she turned the game on its head.

“We rode some pressure and come back to score,” said Bain. “It brings the spirits up. It was a great game overall, the defense played great, the forwards skated their butts off, and without our goaltender we wouldn’t have been in the game.”

Burke added, “Two game, two wins, it’s great. We have a game on Wednesday and then we have one more and we go into a little break. It will be really nice to go into it with a little cushion and then the schedule is going to get really tough.”

Franklin (2-0) will try to build off this win it travels to Bishop Stang on Wednesday, while Mansfield/Oliver Ames (1-1) will try to bounce back when it travels to Stoughton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview
King Philip and Franklin will do battle again this winter in the second season of Hockomock League girls hockey and both will look to unseat inaugural champion Canton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Hockey Preview

Canton

2017-2018 Record:
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 state title game.
Coach: Dennis Aldrich
For two straight winters, Canton has advanced to the TD Garden to play in the Div. 2 state title game. Two years ago, the Bulldogs shocked everyone by getting to the final, but last season there was an expectation that Canton could make a deep tournament run. Those high expectations are there again this year, as the first-ever Hockomock League champions return two experienced lines of forwards and defensemen that all saw time during the tournament run.

The first line returns the team’s top two scorers with senior forwards Maggie Malloy (10 goals, 13 assists) and Lauren Fitzpatrick (14 goals, nine assists) forming a dynamic partnership that sparked the Bulldogs attack last season. Malloy was particularly prolific in the playoffs, providing decisive goals throughout the playoffs. Second line center Andrea McNeil has graduated but sophomores Lizzie Tassinari, Maria Femia, and Ellie Rae Roberts provided speed and energy during solid rookie seasons.

Defense has been Canton’s best weapon in each of the last two seasons. Although outstanding goalie Colleen Kelleher has graduated, senior Ava Pacitti is earning rave reviews during the preseason and she will have a well-drilled group of defensemen in front of her. Seniors Katie Trerice and Leah McClellan and junior Meg Aldrich and Alexa Maffeo will form a solid top two pairings at the blue line, with McClellan adding the different dimension of also jumping into the attack as often as possible.

“Canton’s staple has always been one of a hard skating, defensively stingy, opportunistic team. This year should be no exception,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich, who is looking forward to the new challenge of defending a Hockomock League title.

Franklin

2017-2018 Record: 14-4-4
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 first round.
Coach: Margie Burke
Franklin had a very strong 2017-18 season, winning 14 games, including one in the postseason, and will try to build on that momentum to make another run at the postseason and to challenge inaugural league champ Canton at the top of the standings.

There is plenty of experience coming back to power the Panthers up the league standings. Senior Regan Paterson is one of the league’s top skaters and was the league’s top scorer last year with 18 goals and seven assists. Sophomores Victoria Quinn, Amanda Lewandowski, and Libby Carter will also provide offense after combining for 16 goals as freshmen. Junior Jordan Dwyer is also back up top after a 12-point season last year. While this a lot of youth in the forward lines, all saw time last season.

Defense will be one of the team’s strengths this season, with juniors Tina Pisano, Gina Vignone, and Gianna Cameron and senior Cassi Ronan all back to lead a veteran crew. One of the biggest changes for the Panthers will be in goal. Natalie Stott had an impressive freshman campaign but left to attend prep school, so Franklin will turn to sophomore Gabby Colace, who allowed only 0.56 goals against, saved 96 percent of the shots she faced, and had three shutouts as a freshman, and is ready to step into a bigger role. Senior Gianna Cornetta will also see time in net.

Franklin coach Margie Burke, who was honored with the National Ice Hockey Officials Association (NIHOA) Coach of the Year award last March, said, “I expect the hockey [in the league] to be very competitive again this year.”

King Philip

2017-2018 Record: 11-9-2
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 first round.
Coach: Jack Unger
King Philip finished second in the inaugural season of Hockomock girls hockey and nearly reached the Div. 2 quarterfinal, only losing to Archbishop Williams by single goal, and the Warriors bring back their leading scorers to try and make a run at the Hock title. With a mix of experience and youth, KP could give Canton a run in the league and be poised for a tournament run as well.

The forward line will be very experienced with seniors Meghan Gorman, Alli Meehan, Alli Wilson, and Emily Brawley all back to provide scoring punch. Leading scorer Nicole Connor is also back and the senior defender is one of the most dynamic players in the league, giving KP strong play at the blue line and adding to the attack. Connor will be joined in the defense by seniors Madelyn Kelley and Lilly Worthington.

Goaltending should be a strength for the Warriors this season with senior Lilly Potts and junior Cristina Coleman both capable of shutting down the opposition. The team is also loaded with underclassmen, which bodes well for the program’s future. Freshmen Sydney O’Shea and Morgan Cunningham are a pair of newcomers that could make instant contributions for the Warriors this season.

“Despite being a younger team overall, the players have tremendous potential,” said KP coach Jack Unger. “Typical of all the sports programs within the Hockomock League, each game is against the best inter-league contestants out there. We all have the ability to beat one another each time out.”

Mansfield/Oliver Ames

2017-2018 Record: 12-7-3
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 first round.
Coach: Roy Bain
While Mansfield/Oliver Ames has a new coach, as Roy Bain takes over the program this season, and will be looking to move on without leading scorer Cat Luciano, who is now at Holy Cross, there are 15 players returning from the team that got back into the state tournament last winter and nine freshmen that have added depth to the growing program.

Seniors Isabelle Shanteler (Mansfield) and Mackenzi Fraser (Foxboro) will try to make up some of Luciano’s scoring from last year. The duo will be on the top scoring line along with freshman Kylie O’Keefe (Foxboro) and provide the speed and energy to jumpstart the MOA attack. Unlike past years, the Warriors won’t be counting on one player to dominate the stats but will look to take advantage of its depth. Senior Lindsey Corning (Mansfield) will center the second line between sophomore wingers Ella Waryas (Foxboro) and Emma Garland (Mansfield), while sophomores Alex Ledin (OA) and Lily O’Brien (Mansfield) have shown promise as centers as well.

The defense is led by senior Danae Reager (Foxboro), who has been a varsity player for four years and sets the standard for the blue line group. Sophomores Melissa Shanteler (Mansfield) and Emma Pereira (OA) will be paired together, while Reager will be paired with sophomore Megan O’Hara (Mansfield). Freshman Jess Widdop (OA) has been outstanding in net during the preseason and has built the team’s confidence heading into the opening game.

Bain said of his new goalie, “In the 10 days since we’ve started practicing, she’s been nothing short of impressive. Her athleticism and work ethic will serve the team well as we enter the season.”

Stoughton

2017-2018 Record: 4-17
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Rich Grasso
Last winter, Stoughton had its best season as a program, winning four games, including a three-game win streak early in the schedule. This year, the Black Knights will get a boost from a co-op with Sharon, which should increase the numbers in the program as it tries to add its first win in the Hockomock League to its recent accomplishments.

The loss of leading scorer Julia Russell to an injury, which also kept her out of the field hockey season, will be tough, but the Black Knights have several other experienced players coming back to try and pick up the slack. Senior Katie Widrow is one of the leaders on the forward line and she will be joined up front by sophomore Morgan Lessa and a pair of newcomers to keep an eye on: junior Taylor Kim and sophomore Samantha Sherman.

On defense, senior Jordan Lyons and sophomore Haley Nelson will be the returning players to watch, keeping things organized on the blue line. Behind the defense, junior goalie Brianna Buckley will be between the posts to try and keep the opposition out. Stoughton coach Rich Grasso called Buckley the team’s “show stopper” and she is looking to build off a solid year of experience in goal.

“The team has one goal in mind and that is to make the tournament,” said Grasso. “This is a huge task being in the Hockomock League playing against powerhouse teams…We are small in numbers but talented. Looking forward to proving we belong in that league.”

Stott, Dwyer Lead Franklin To Road Win At Canton

Franklin girls hockey
Franklin’s Jordan Dwyer celebrates with her teammates following her third period goal. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – With two of the top defensive units in Canton and Franklin going head to head, goal scoring chances were going to be at a premium.

Franklin sophomore Jordan Dwyer took advantage of her chance, scoring the only goal of the game a minute into the final period to give the Panthers a 1-0 upset over Canton.

While Dwyer provided the lone tally of the game, it was Franklin freshman goalie Natalie Stott (35 saves) that put the Panthers in position to get the win.

“She made the difference,” said Franklin head coach Margie Burke of Stott. “Anytime its a one-goal game, you have to give it to the goalie. She gave us the opportunity to put one puck in the net. And it wasn’t until the third period. If [Canton] gets a couple goals early on, then we don’t even have that chance. She played great.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Stott turned away seven Bulldog shots in the first period, blanked Canton on 17 chances in the second period, and completed the shutout with 15 saves in the final frame, including five stops while trying to kill a penalty.

“She’s terrific,” said Canton head coach Dennis Aldrich of Stott. “We had 17 shots in the second period alone. She’s in such control, her body control is so good and her focus…Maybe a couple of times we didn’t get the crowd out in front that we wanted to and if [Stott] can see it, she can stop it.”

After two scoreless periods, Dwyer broke the stalemate 61 seconds into the third. Off an attacking zone face-off, Dwyer slipped in behind after winning the face-off forward and was able to jump on the loose puck and find the back of the net.

“That’s a faceoff that we practiced but very rarely has worked in a game,” Burke said. “The wing got tangled so Jordan was able to slip right in and finish, it was great.”

The Panthers nearly had an ideal start when freshman Victoria Quinn batted in a loose puck 20 seconds into the game, but one of her teammates had been knocked into the crease and put Canton goalie Colleen Kelleher out of position. The ref waved the goal off due to interference.

Canton had its best chance of the first when junior Lauren Fitzpatrick broke out of her own zone and into the attacking end, finding Lizzie Tassinari with a pass, but Franklin defenseman Jillian McLaughlin was perfectly positioned to disrupt the 2-on-1 chance.

“Everyone stepped up and played well tonight, Burke said. Franklin was without Regan Paterson, one of the team’s top scorers. Burke complimented her team for the ability to adjust. “From beginning to end, I would say that was our best effort all year, all areas of the ice.”

The Dogs continued to pressure Stott in the second period, peppering the goal with 17 shots on target but the freshman didn’t flinch. With nine minutes left, Katie Trerice found Kendra Farrelly in front but Stott denied her with a kick save.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Thirty seconds later, Franklin had a bid when Quinn came off the bench for a line change and had a partial breakaway chance, but Kelleher cut the angle down and Quinn’s bid went just wide.

It looked like Canton was going to take the lead at the midway point of the period but once again, Stott came up big. Freshman Maria Femia found senior Andrea McNeil out front but Stott made a stop on her high shot. Just seconds later, the puck popped free in front and McNeil had another bid but Stoff made a tremendous save to rob Canton of the opening goal.

Fitzpatrick danced her way through three Panthers and fired a wrist shot but Stott made the save and prevented the puck from cross underneath with five minutes to go in the second. On the other end, Franklin’s Jackie Connelly forced Kelleher into a tough save, and the senior made an athletic play to cover the loose puck up.

“We’ve done this a lot this year,” Aldrich said of outshooting Franklin 35-10. “We do a lot well but we can’t seem to get it in enough. A lot of the teams we play kind of crowd the front of the net, so you try to spread them out using the defense. And we’ve practiced it a lot. At this point, I don’t know if the scoring is a mental thing because we’re certainly keeping it out of our net.

“It’s hard to talk to the team and tell them they played really well but didn’t come out on top.”

Franklin girls hockey (2-2-2 Hockomock, 11-3-3- overall) is back in action on Saturday when it travels to Gardner Veterans Arena to take on Leominster. Canton (5-1-0, 10-2-3) will try to bounce back on Saturday when it takes on Mansfield/Oliver Ames in a key league contest.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Warriors and Panthers Tie in First Hockomock Game

Franklin Mansfield/Oliver Ames Hockey
Mansfield/Oliver Ames scored a pair of goals in the final seven minutes to rally for a 2-2 tie with Franklin in the first ever girls hockey game in Hockomock League history. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FRANKLIN, Mass. – Hockomock League history was made on Saturday afternoon at Pirelli Veterans Arena, when Franklin hosted Mansfield/Oliver Ames (MOA) in the first girls’ hockey game to be played under the league’s banner.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Previously, girls’ hockey teams had been part of the Southeastern Mass Girls Hockey League (SEMGHL), but now the Hockomock had expanded enough to have its own competition, although, as Franklin coach Margie Burke explained, her young Panthers squad was more concerned with the start of a new season rather than a new league.

“There wasn’t a lot of focus on that to be honest,” Burke said. “Again, a young team, a lot of them don’t know the history. To them, they just assumed it was the Hock because that’s what the school is in.”

Amanda Lewandowski scored the historic first league goal and Franklin led 2-0 until late in the game, but the Warriors scored twice in the final 7:27 of the game to come from behind and ensure that both teams went home with their first Hockomock League point.

“It was a great comeback,” said MOA coach Mike Dalton. “The girls showed a lot of heart in the third period. We shouldn’t get down like that in a hole, but we dug ourselves out.”

Franklin took the lead a little more than two minutes into the game. On the power play, junior Regan Paterson swung the puck around to Jackie Connelly, who fired a shot towards the far post. Lewandowski was on hand at the back post to redirect the shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

MOA had its chances in the period with Mackenzie Fraser creating a scoring chance after shrugging off two defenders on the far boards, but Franklin freshman goalie Natalie Stott made the stop. Two minutes later, Stott (30 saves) came up big again, this time making a series of three close-range saves to deny a tying goal.

“She played great,” said Burke of the rookie netminder. “It’s her first high school game and you can’t ask much more than that.”

Franklin doubled the lead with 3:47 left in the first. Connelly again got the assist when she played the puck up the boards out of her defensive zone. The puck skipped past an MOA defenseman and Paterson was first to it, racing three quarter of the rink before planting her wrister top shelf.

Paterson had another opportunity early in the second but after dragging the puck past the defense her shot was gloved by MOA goalie Cate Gallagher.

The Warriors had their share of chances to cut into the lead, holding a 24-12 advantage in shots after the second (32-19 for the game), but Stott continued to make big saves. Lindsey Corning had her shot from the slot kicked aside by a quick right pad, then Stott showed quick reflexes to stop a deflected drive from the point by Melissa Shanteler.

In the final seconds of the period, Catherine Luciano split the Franklin defense with an outlet pass to Kristina O’Connell for a breakaway, but Stott went full split to block the shot at the far post. Dalton admitted that the Warriors were getting frustrated heading into the third.

“We had a lot of shots and quite a few chances,” he said. “I tell the girls that we need to relax and it will come because after the second period they were hitting their heads against the wall and trying to figure out what to do.”

The hosts started the third strongly and nearly put the game away. Gallagher made a series of saves in the first few minutes, including several off shots from the point by Gianna Cameron, to keep the Warriors alive.

MOA finally found a way through with 7:22 to play. O’Connell got another chance on a breakaway and she picked out the top corner high on the glove side to cut the lead to 2-1.

Dalton said, “First line played well but I think the second line played even better. Kayla Dalton, Kristina O’Connell and Ella Waryas played their best game that I’ve seen them play.”

With two minutes to play, MOA pressure paid off and tied the game. After a scramble in the crease, in which Stott made two close-range saves, the puck squirted out to the far post where Denae Reager was on hand to punch it in.

Franklin had an opportunity on the power play for the final 1:22 and Burke used a timeout to ensure that her young team would be careful and earn a season-opening point.

“They had two really great scoring opportunities where they scored and that’s what happens,” said Burke about the third period. “It just comes down to being a young team and playing a full game. There were a few spurts where they were a little maybe lax, tired, nerves, young, inexperienced, all of those things. I’m happy with this game; it’s a good start for us.”

When asked what it meant to his team to be playing in the first Hockomock League game, Dalton said, “They were excited. We stepped it up a little for the day. The Hockomock League will be a tough league and we should compete well with everybody.”

He added, “A lot of games like that will be fun to watch.”

Franklin (0-0-1) will travel to the New England Sports Center in Marlboro to face Medway/Ashland on Monday, while Mansfield/Oliver Ames (1-0-1) will head to the Jim Roche Arena in West Roxbury to face Ursuline Academy.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.