Below are the official 2020 Hockomock League Girls Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Makenzie Shandley, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Alexa Maffeo, Canton
Olivia Maffeo, Canton
Meg Aldrich, Canton
Gabby Colace, Franklin
Tina Pisano, Franklin
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Makenzie Shandley, King Philip
Morgan Cunningham, King Philip
Sydney O’Shea, King Philip
Sammy Robison, King Philip
Emma Pereira, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Melisa Shanteler, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Alex Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Ledin, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Morgan Lessa, Stoughton/Sharon
Haley Nelson, Stoughton/Sharon
Carolyn Durand, Canton
Jordan Dwyer, Franklin
Avari Maxwell, King Philip
Ella Waryas, Mansfield/Oliver Ames
Samantha Sherman, Stoughton/Sharon
With both the boys and girls hockey teams set to play for state championships on Sunday night, Canton was ready to host its own version of a “Garden Party.”
But unfortunately, neither team will hit the ice at the TD Garden. In fact, none of the six hockey games scheduled for Sunday will happen after the MIAA decided to cancel them due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The MIAA also canceled all of the basketball state championship games scheduled for Saturday.
With the cancellations, all of the teams that were scheduled to play in the final are considered co-champions. The Canton girl’s hockey team shares the title with Wellesley while the boys share the crown with Lincoln-Sudbury.
There will be a lot of anger, frustration, and disappointment among other emotions. Time will tell if this incredibly tough — and rather unprecedented — decision the MIAA made was the best choice. While it’s hard to swallow, keeping student-athletes safe is and should always be a top priority.
“We understand this is disappointing news however, this decision was made in the best interests of all our student-athletes, schools and communities,” read a statement on the MIAA website. “Schools who would have been participating in the State Finals will be considered Co-Champions.”
It’s tough to put in words how unfair it is to take away this opportunity from those who have earned it. One thing is for sure, it’s heartbreaking for all of the players, coaches, and team personnel involved that started this journey together back in December with hopes of reaching this point, only to have that opportunity taken away.
“I’ve been in the locker room in the past trying to console players after a heartbreaking loss but when we found out about the decision after practice, it was like nothing I’ve had to do before,” said Canton boys head coach Brian Shuman. “Sadness, frustration, disappointment…the full gamut of emotions.
“I wish I had the right words to make them feel better.”
Over the past week, we’ve seen the professional sports leagues like the NBA and NHL postpone their current seasons due to the outbreak. The MIAA also announced that the start of the spring season will be pushed back at least two weeks.
As the week went on, school systems across Massachusetts starting to announce closures ranging from days to up to a month in some locations.
“It’s just really horrible for us and for our opponents,” Shuman said. “We both had remarkable seasons and we were both looking forward to closing it out on Sunday. It’s just really unfortunate, I’m really bummed out for the kids.”
The Bulldogs would have entered Sunday’s championship game with a record of 21-1-3, the lone loss coming to their opponent Lincoln-Sudbury back on February 12th. At the time, it snapped Canton’s 43-game unbeaten streak that dated back to the 2018-2019 season, a year in which the Bulldogs went undefeated and won the D2 State Championship.
While Shuman noted the goal was to always return to the Garden to try and defend the title, there has to be an extra layer of frustration that the Bulldogs won’t get a shot at avenging their lone blemish in a remarkable two-year stretch.
“The kids worked incredibly hard every single game, not just skating, passing, and shooting, but emotionally and mentally every single day was such a grind. Not just this season, but for two years. It requires such mental toughness and commitment. To go through that, and then to not have that final test or final opportunity to hopefully put the cherry in top of a remarkable run is overwhelming.”
It would have been the third trip in the past four years to the TD Garden for the Canton girls team. It would have been a chance for those seniors to skate together one last time, a chance to deliver the first state championship in program history.
Canton (19-1-4) would have entered Sunday’s D2 Final as the underdog against the top-seeded Raiders (22-1-0) but that hasn’t stopped the Bulldogs from winning before. Back in 2017 as the 14-seed, Canton gave a scare to top-seed Notre Dame Academy, and a year later, the Bulldogs nearly knocked off the Raiders in a one-goal game.
In the run up to the final, Canton outscored its three opponents 11-2 and knocked off #2 Norwell in the state semifinal.
Unfortunately, we won’t get to see if the third time would have been the charm for the Bulldogs.
Three different Bulldogs scored in Sunday night’s state semifinal against Norwell at the Warrior Ice Arena and Canton’s defense put in a strong display of how to block shots and clear the middle of the zone. The Bulldogs skated away with a 3-1 victory and they will now face top seed Wellesley in next week’s title game.
“It’s awesome,” said junior forward Lizzie Tassinari, whose second period goal turned out to be the game-winner. “You kind of feel like a celebrity when you’re out there and you see your whole entire school and everyone you know out there cheering you on. It’s the best feeling ever.”
Norwell proved to be a tough out, with its speed through the neutral zone causing problems for Canton early in the game. Allie McCabe had to be quick to backtrack and prevent Margaret Leivi from getting off a shot on a break just a minute into the game and Carolyn Durand stayed tall to stop the loose puck at the near post.
Canton started to get some luck in the offensive zone through its aggressive forecheck. Ellie Rae Roberts nearly teed up Maria Femia for a chance in the slot, but they couldn’t connect. Olivia Maffeo got the first shot on target for the Bulldogs with a trademark rush through three zones and a wrister that was blocked aside by Norwell goalie Nicole Prescott.
It was a freshman defenseman that put Canton in front, but surprisingly it wasn’t Maffeo (who was coming off a four-goal game in the quarterfinal). Her Junior Eagles teammate Maya Battista, who moved up from Texas this year, sent in a shot from the point that fooled Prescott and snuck under the bar.
“Maya has been playing so well,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “She’s just a steady, stay-at-home defenseman. She scored in our very first scrimmage and I thought, we’ve got someone who’s going to score a lot for us, but she hasn’t scored again until now. What a big goal, so I’m so happy for her.”
The lead lasted six minutes before the Clippers found an equalizer. Casey Messina had her first shot saved by Durand (20 saves) but she stuck with the play and managed to squeeze the rebound across the line to make it 1-1.
Norwell carried the momentum into the second period and started with a flurry of chances that Durand and the Canton defense repelled. McCabe, Maffeo, Battista, and seniors Meg Aldrich and Alexa Maffeo were putting their bodies in front of as many shots as possible to kill off a pair of Norwell power plays.
“The amount of blocked shots tonight was incredible,” said Aldrich. “Every time I looked up, we were in a shooting lane. That’s kids who are putting the team and the game ahead of themselves because that hurts.”
Just four seconds into their own power play, and on their first shot of the period, the Bulldogs regained the lead. McCabe showed off her skating ability to gain the zone down the left wing. She threw a puck towards goal and it was picked up by Tassinari, who flung a backhand at Prescott. It was only partially saved and the puck trickled over the line.
“She kind of fumbled it a little, so I kind of saw the opportunity to take the puck and I shot it kind of blindly just to get shots on net,” Tassinari said. “We both saw it turning, her kind of leaning backwards and couldn’t grab it, and it was just trickling in and across the line.”
The goal seemed to energize the Bulldogs, who finished the second period with several chances. Ellie Bohane did well behind the net and put a shot on goal and the loose rebound was snapped on goal by Caroline Tourgee, forcing a pad stop from the goalie.
Leading by one heading into the third period, Canton upped the pressure on its forecheck and remained aggressive in the offensive zone.
“Everything we do, get the puck deep and establish the forecheck and just kind of remember everything we do every single day and tire them out,” Tassinari said about the discussion ahead of the third period. “Just never give up really.”
Aldrich explained, “We knew how we wanted to attack them and got away from that a little bit, so we went in the third period to more of a 2-3 because we were getting caught deep and giving up too many odd-man rushes. It wasn’t like they didn’t have chances, but I like the flow of the third period much better than the first two.”
Audrey Koen forced a pad save after dragging the puck away from the boards and then Tassinari hit Tess Khoury with a nice cross-ice pass but Khoury’s one-timer was skewed wide.
Norwell had a great chance to try and tie the game. Casey Ward raced into the zone and cut across the slot from right-to-left. As a Canton defender slipped, Ward suddenly had acres of space to wind up, but Durand was in the right position to make a smart pad save.
The missed opportunity proved to be costly for the Clippers. With six minutes remaining, Olivia Maffeo put the game away. She weaved her way through the neutral zone and into the right face-off circle. She showed great patience to pick her spot, lifting a shot up over Prescott’s glove hand and just under the bar.
“She’s pretty good huh?” Aldrich asked with a smile. “It’s fun to have a kid like that because it just brings everybody up. She’s the first one in line for drills. She has to win, has to be first, and it’s just contagious in that locker room. The whole attitude in there is different having her around.”
Canton (19-1-4) will face the two-time defending state champions Wellesley at the TD Garden. It is a rematch of the 2018 final that the Raiders won and last year’s first round game, also won by the Raiders.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – Up in the rafters at the Warrior Ice Arena hang the numbers of some of the top players in Boston Bruins history, including Bobby Orr’s famous No. 4. Down on the ice, Canton’s wunderkind was showing that it never gets old to see a defenseman who can skate circles around an opponent and be as effective in the attacking zone as any forward.
Ursuline Academy had no answer for freshman Olivia Maffeo in Wednesday night’s Div. 2 quarterfinal in Brighton. She scored four times to eclipse the 30-goal mark for her rookie campaign and to power Canton to a 5-0 victory that puts the Bulldogs in the state semifinal for the third time in the last four years.
“It’s awesome,” said senior defenseman Alexa Maffeo about her sister’s goal-scoring heroics. “It’s hard to go to the net sometimes because you just want to watch whatever move she does. It definitely helps having a star like that.”
Maffeo’s classmate Carolyn Durand was also impressive in the win, recording 17 saves for her 14th shutout the season. The freshman class, including defenseman Maya Battista and forwards Audrey Koen and Ellie Bohane, has been instrumental in Canton’s success this season even as the team makes another run at a TD Garden trip.
“They don’t play like freshmen,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich when asked if he was surprised about the continued success of the younger players. “Maya is one of Liv’s teammates on the Junior Eagles and they’re as composed as you get. I’ve seen Carolyn have 14 shutouts this season. They’re playing well.”
While youth has been at the forefront for Canton this season, there is experience in the lineup, particularly seniors Meg Aldrich and Maffeo in the defensive corps. They have both been in the mix for the Bulldogs in each of their recent playoff runs and are key to shoring up things in the Canton zone.
“We’re definitely a defense-based team, so having two captains back there we can motivate the girls from the back,” Maffeo explained. “We know that offense comes from defense. We can be there to support them, even if they make mistakes we’ll be back there.”
There wasn’t a lot of offense in the opening period, as both teams looked to get the puck in deep and send the forecheck to try and force turnovers. The first chance came after two minutes when Durand gloved aside a shot by Tess Marchi that went off Alexa Maffeo’s glove on its way to goal. Olivia Maffeo had Canton’s first look with a trademark rush from her own zone and a slap shot from the high slot that Ursuline goalie Lucy Reardon saved.
Tess Khoury showed off her stick skills to dance through a pair of Ursuline defenders, gain the zone, and then force a pad save with a wrister from near the blue line. Maffeo almost got her first with a rip from the right circle that just caught Reardon’s shoulder and stayed out.
The game remained scoreless heading into the final minute of the period. Maffeo collected the puck on the left boards, dragged it between a pair of Ursuline players, beat a third into the middle, and then roofed a shot from the slot while falling down to give Canton a spectacular lead.
Canton wasn’t creating a lot of offense with its forecheck, but was causing Ursuline problems with getting the puck out of the zone. Early in the second that led to a pair of chances, the first from Lizzie Tassinari and the second from Alexa Maffeo. A couple of minutes later, Maffeo hit Maria Femia with an outlet pass down the right wing and her centering pass to Tassinari was tipped just wide.
Ursuline nearly evened the score when Marchi led a 3-on-2 breakout, but her shot was right into the chest of Durand. Tassinari connected with Femia, who managed to wriggle free of a pair of Ursuline players for a breakaway but Reardon came up with a big stop.
Olivia Maffeo got back into the act, as she dragged the puck past a pair of players and forced a blocker stop from Reardon.
In the final minute of the second, Canton not only doubled, but tripled its lead. On a power play, Khoury went circle-to-circle to find Maffeo in space and she buried the chance through the save attempt of the goalie. Just 27 seconds later, Maffeo followed up a loose puck and picked a corner to make it 3-0.
Aldrich said, “They played with a lot of energy the first five [minutes] but I think because we were able to roll three lines and five ‘D’ and the first two periods we had three goals and I think it was from wearing them down a little bit.”
It only took 1:05 into the third for the win to be wrapped up. Maffeo again raced up the ice and got space in the right circle before firing a shot through the goaltender. Durand made seven stops in the third to preserve the shutout, including a nice pad stop on a shot through a screen.
Payton McDonough’s pressure forced a turnover that gave Faith Nelson a chance that hit Reardon and the post on its way by. With 2:03 to play, Canton got a fifth. Koen’s snap shot smacked off the end boards and came right to Khoury, who showed great patience before lifting a shot over the sprawling goalie.
“We’d certainly like to see some other people get some pucks behind some goalies but as long as they’re going in I think these guys are okay,” said Aldrich.
Maffeo credits her years of experience for making things easier when it gets to this stage. She said, “My first year, freshman year, definitely I was nervous and I think playing with those nerves helped me, but moving forward having been here two times already I feel comfortable on this ice. I feel set in my position, I know what to do, I know how to win games of this caliber.”
Canton (18-1-4) will play the winner of Norwell and Notre Dame Academy in the state semifinal on Sunday back at the Warrior Ice Arena at a time to be determined.
CANTON, Mass. – Canton had allowed only 15 goals in 21 games coming into Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 first round game against Norwood, including a shutout of the Mustangs in the regular season. So, it came as a little bit of a shock when Norwood took advantage of a huge deflection to tie the game at 1-1 in the first period.
The goal gave Norwood momentum that carried into the second period, but the Bulldogs managed to hold out and regained control, scoring once in each period and pulling out a 3-1 victory at the Canton Ice House and advancing to the quarterfinal round.
“For the last part of the period, they really came at us,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “We talked beforehand that no matter who scored first it was going to be a battle.”
Olivia Maffeo, who scored a hat trick in the regular season meeting between the teams, had the first good chance for the hosts with a long rush up ice and a shot from the slot that forced a save. Fellow freshman Audrey Koen followed up, but that was also stopped by Norwood goalie Jenna Mazzola.
Three minutes later, the same combo created the opening for the first goal. Maffeo had the first effort that was stopped and Koen forced a pad save from in close. The puck popped out to Caroline Tourgee and she slipped a shot under the goalie and it trickled across the line.
Lizzie Tassinari also had a good look for the Bulldogs in the first when her shot from the left wing was gloved by Mazzola.
Canton freshman goalie Carolyn Durand had only had to make one save to that point, but Marissa Cataldo took advantage of a loose pass to get free in the slot. Her shot hit the back of a Canton defender and took a horrible ricochet that left Durand stranded and the net gaping.
Maffeo nearly had the perfect response when she smashed a shot off the post 20 seconds later, but the Mustangs finished the first with energy and came out of the locker room with a flurry of chances.
Durand responded exactly as the Bulldogs would have hoped. The freshman goalie stood strong to deny Maeve Glavin’s drive to the net and then made stops on a pair of shots from Erinn Wagner.
Aldrich said, “Carolyn, as a freshman, her mental toughness that’s the thing I was really worried about especially playing with a team that’s had success in the past and knowing that she’s basically it. Not only has she handled it well but she’s embraced it and she’s been very confident.”
Tourgee had a good chance for her second of the game, but it was blocked at the post by the Norwood defense. Maffeo forced a blocker save with another strong wrister and then Meg Aldrich tested Mazzola with a shot through the screen of Ellie Bohane. Maria Femia teed up Tess Khoury for a look in front, but again the goalie was up to the test.
The breakthrough came on the power play and it was Maffeo that provided the dagger. As she raced up ice and just as she was gaining the zone, Maffeo let loose with a rocket of a slap shot that picked the top corner.
“They were trying to take Olivia out,” said Aldrich about Norwood’s approach to Canton’s leading scorer. “It’s not too often you see a defenseman get shadowed like that early on but I think they realized it probably wasn’t going to work too well for them.”
Five minutes into the third period, Canton doubled its lead on the power play. Khoury controlled the puck on the near boards and she picked out Tassinari alone in the slot. She took a touch before ripping a wrister, while being knocked down, that made it 3-1 and put the Bulldogs in a more comfortable position.
“I was waiting for another squirter too,” said Aldrich about leading by just a single goal. “I told them I didn’t think they’d get one more but I knew they weren’t getting two more so if we got one then we’d be all set. I wanted them to have the confidence that we’re not in trouble here.”
The Bulldogs hadn’t played in 10 days between the end of the regular season and the playoff opener. Aldrich admitted, “We had to shake some of the rust off. We had some uncharacteristic things, lost a couple of marks there, but hopefully we’ll fix that going forward. The first game of the tournament is really hard to win, especially when you’ve played the team before.”
Canton (17-1-4) will face No. 6 seed Ursuline Academy in the Div. 2 quarterfinal. At the time of writing, the date, time, and location had not been determined.
North Attleboro, 50 @ Attleboro, 62 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The game remained tight until the closing minutes, as North stayed within three at the half and trailed by only six heading into the fourth quarter, but the Bombardiers scored 22 points in the final eight minutes to earn their 16th win of the season. Bryant Ciccio scored 11 of his game-high 21 in the fourth, including three shots from beyond the arc, to lift Attleboro to the win. Qualeem Charles added 14 points and 12 rebounds and Tim Callahan had 11 points in the win. George Ladd matched Ciccio with 21 points, 15 of them in the first half, to lead North. Edan Kelley added 12 on four three-pointers and Ethan Friberg had nine on a trio of shots from deep.
King Philip, 59 vs. Hanover, 51 – Final – King Philip outscored Hanover in three of the four quarters, and were even in the other, building an early lead and riding that to a win in the Blue Raider Classic final at Somerset Berkley. KP took a 12-9 lead at the end of the first and kept a three-point lead (28-25) going into halftime. The Warriors extended the lead by two (40-35) going into the fourth and finished strong to get the win. Senior Alex Fritz scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the second half, classmate Tommy Donahue added 15 points, and Andrew McKinney chipped in with 12 points in the win. Held to just one three-pointer through three quarters, both Fritz and Chris Roy connected from deep in the fourth to help ice the win.
Oliver Ames, 81 vs. Southeastern, 27 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Oliver Ames’ offense poured in 23 points in the first quarter and 25 more points in the second, seizing a 48-14 lead at halftime and never looked back, rolling to a win that qualified the Tigers for the state tournament. Senior Jay Spillane connected on eight three-pointers and went for a career-high 32 points along with five assists, four rebounds, and four steals. Adam Cann hit four three-pointers and finished with a career-high 16 points and senior Amari Brown had 13 points and four assists in the win.
Mansfield, 59 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 72 – Final – After falling behind by 20 points through three quarters of play, the Hornets rallied to get within eight points late but ran out of time in a loss to Whitman-Hanson in the Roundball Classic finals. Mansfield had a 10-9 lead but the Panthers had a strong second and took a 27-23 lead into the halftime break. That momentum carried into the second as Whitman-Hanson used a 13-4 surge to start to pull away. Senior Sam Stevens scored a team-high 24 points while TJ Guy added nine points for Mansfield.
Milford, 49 vs. Wellesley, 45 – Final – With the game tied 45-45, Milford senior Colby Pires connected on a turn around jumper with 3.5 seconds left to give the Scarlet Hawks the lead for good. The Raiders missed on the front end of a one-and-one on the other end and Tyler Wetherbee sank two free throws to ice the win, denying Wellesley a spot in the state tournament. Pires scored six of his 11 points in the final quarter for the Hawks while junior Jordan Darling had a team-high 15 points.
Taunton, 66 vs. New Bedford, 44 – Final – Taunton finished the regular season on a high-note, running away with a big win over New Bedford. The Tigers built a 33-19 lead at halftime before pushing the advantage to 60-32 at the end of the third quarter. Sophomore Trent Santos scored 19 of his team-high 21 points after the break to help the Tigers pull away with the win. Junior Tyler Stewart added 15 points, junior Josh Lopes added 11 points, and sophomore Tristan Herry sank a pair of threes, finishing with eight points.
Mansfield, 37 vs. Natick, 68 – Final – Natick won the Roundball Classic title with a strong defensive performance. Ashley Santos scored seven points and Becca Hottleman scored six points, dished out five assists, and had three steals for Mansfield. Santos and Hottleman were both named to the all-tournament team.
Oliver Ames, 51 @ Norwell, 63 – Final – Oliver Ames took a 44-42 lead into the final quarter but the Clippers clamped down defensively, holding the Tigers to just seven fourth quarter points, pulling away to get the win. The teams were tied 15-15 after one, and Norwell had a 28-23 lead at halftime before the Tigers surged ahead with a 21-point third quarter. Caroline Peper led OA with 16 points, Caroline Flynn added 10 points, and Tori Harney chipped in with nine points.
Franklin, 4 vs. Weymouth, 0 – Final – Franklin scored twice in the first period and then once in each of the next two to skate to a 4-0 win over Weymouth in the first round of the Coach Melchiono Showdown. Tom Tasker got the Panthers on the board with a power play goal (assisted by Kyle Hedvig and Declan Lovett), while Kyle Hedvig (from Colin Hedvig and Joe LeBlanc) doubled the lead in the first. LeBlanc picked up his second assist, setting up Justin Abely in the second to make it 3-0. Ben Jarosz scored his first career goal, unassisted, in the third period to cap the scoring. “[Ben] made the most of [his opportunity],” said Franklin coach Anthony Sarno, noting Jarosz’s hard work to earn a varsity spot after starting the year on JV. “Perfect example of a JV player never giving up and working hard no matter what.” Franklin will take on Marshfield in the tournament final on Thursday at 5:00.
Mansfield, 6 vs. Barrington (R.I.), 2 – Final
Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Stoughton, 2 – Final – Senior Cam Perron scored twice and classmate Brad Powers registered three assisted to help Oliver Ames skate to a win over Stoughton/Brockton in a battle of teams that call Asiaf Arena home. Senior Matt Nosalek scored his first career goal in the win while classmates Jake Gottwald and Hunter Costello each scored once. Sophomore Wes Towers recorded his first varsity assist in the win for OA. Senior Owen Connor posted a first period shutout while freshman Brandon Burke took over for the second and third to earn his first career win. Joe McNulty and Colin Alessi each lit the lamp once for Stoughton/Brockton.
Taunton, 3 @ Somerset-Berkley, 1 – Final – Taunton picked up a win in the final game of the regular season to earn a trip to the state tournament, marking their fourth postseason appearance in the past five years. Nathan Fernandes scored a pair of goals while Michael Albert scored once to lead the offensive charge for the Tigers. Jack DeMoura and Brady Nichols each had two helpers while Cam Faria, Loran Corcoran, and Ethan Ross each finished with one assist. Sean Bunker made 19 saves in net to get the win.
Canton, 4 @ Walpole, 0 – Final – Olivia Maffeo scored a hat trick and Meg Aldrich added one, as the Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season. Carolyn Durand made 23 saves to earn her 13th shutout of the season. Canton heads into the playoffs with just one loss.
Franklin, 7 vs. Leominster, 2 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 @ LaSalle Academy, 4 – Final – A day after taking down one of the top teams in Massachusetts in Westwood, the MOA Warriors came up just short against LaSalle Academy, the top team in Rhode Island. MOA got within one goal, down 3-2, in the third period but the Rams scored less than a minute later to regain a two-goal lead, one it held until the final buzzer. Lily O’Brien (from Emma Pereira and Reese Pereira) put the Warriors up 1-0 in the first period but LaSalle Academy tied the game before the end of the period, and scored twice in the second to seize a 3-1 lead. Melissa Shanteler (from Kylie O’Keefe and Emma Pereira) fired a wrist shot in to make it 3-2. MOA needs one point from its final game against Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake on Thursday.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Skating five-on-five, there was very little to separate Canton and King Philip on Saturday night at the Foxboro Sports Center. When given the opportunity to skate 5-on-3, the Bulldogs found the back of the net and the Warriors had a shot come up and inch short of crossing the goal line.
In a game decided by the finest of margins, Olivia Maffeo’s power play goal in the first period turned out to be the game-winner and Lizzie Tassinari tacked on an empty net goal in the final minute, as Canton won 2-0 and took over first place in the league standings.
“We were way too deep and gave up way too many odd-man rushes and too many bad reads,” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich about his team’s play over the first two periods. “I think we slowed down mentally and just got back to what we usually do, which is get pucks behind them and grinding. We’re not a flashy team. We have a damn good record but we have to work.”
Aldrich was full of praise for the Warriors, calling them one of the top two teams that Canton has faced this season and first-year head coach Ken Assad was happy to hear that assessment of his team’s effort.
“Defensively we skated all three zones hard and we back-checked as best as we could do and took No. 16 (Maffeo) out of the play as much as possible,” Assad said. “I think the girls did a fantastic job with that and did exactly what I asked them to do.”
KP got off a to a good start, instantly putting pressure on the Canton defensive unit. Morgan Cunningham got space on the left wing and saucered a pass into the middle where Makenzie Shandley was able to beat two players to get to it, but couldn’t beat freshman goalie Carolyn Durand.
Three minutes later, Shandley again caused problems for the Bulldogs. She popped up on the left side and fired a shot from a tight angle that slipped underneath Durand but was hooked off the line by forward Maria Femia.
Canton was struggling to get anything consistent going in the attacking zone. That changed with 10 minutes left in the first when the Bulldogs went on the power play and then just 35 seconds later KP sent another player to the box.
Maffeo continued her impressive rookie campaign by taking advantage of the space and time in the left circle and roofing a shot over KP goalie Cristina Coleman (15 saves).
The Bulldogs nearly doubled the lead near the end of the period. Tassinari sparked the breakout from the defensive zone with a pass up the boards to Femia, who sent a pass cross-ice to Tess Khoury on the left wing. Khoury gained the zone and set Tassinari up in front of goal but Coleman made the stop.
There were even fewer chances for either team in the second period, but Tassinari had a good look off a Femia face-off win and Shandley took advantage of a slip by a Canton defenseman to create a scoring opportunity.
As the period wound down into the final three minutes, the Warriors got their own five-on-three chance. Shandley and Sydney O’Shea had a nice give-and-go on the right side and then set up Cunningham at the back post. It appeared that the puck had gone in and the Warriors all raised their arms to celebrate but the officials ruled that the puck hadn’t fully crossed the line and Durand (19 saves) scrambled to cover.
“We know they’re tough defensively and we just wanted to get pucks low and get girls on them,” said Assad. “We’re struggling offensively obviously and we wanted to get pucks to net and crash and I think we did a pretty good job of that. It’s tough to get a goal and that would’ve been a big boost for us but it didn’t happen.”
It was the moment that KP was looking for, but the Bulldogs remained in front. Coming into the third period with the lead, Canton was able to get back to its typical style of getting pucks deep, controlling play in the defensive zone, and putting pressure with the forecheck.
Maffeo continued to be Canton’s main offensive threat, as the freshman time and again carried the puck out of defense to get into shooting range.
Assad explained, “It’s just about getting the puck in the net. They’re battling and they just need to find that knack, and hopefully it will come soon. There’s a lot to gain from this.”
“Ken is doing a great job,” Aldrich said. “I would put them on par with Westwood. That’s a damn good team and he’s doing a fantastic job with them. The kids believe, they play with confidence, they’ve got an edge to them.”
He added, “I think at times we tried to get a little too pretty but for these kids it doesn’t suck being 7-0 and not playing as well as you want to but beating a very good team.”
Canton (7-0) will have a chance to extend its lead in the league standings when it hosts defending champion Franklin on Wednesday. King Philip (2-4) will try to get back on track when it hosts Shawsheen Tech.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
Canton, 4 vs. Sandwich, 0 – Final – Canton got the season off to a winning start with a shutout of Sandwich. Freshman Carolyn Durand made 10 saves to earn the win on her debut. Seniors Meg Aldrich and Caroline Tourgee each scored once, junior Ellie Rae Roberts added one, and freshman Olivia Maffeo marked her first varsity game with her first varsity goal.
Stoughton, 1 vs. Pope John Paul II, 7 – Final – Junior Jack Mahoney scored for the Black Knights while Ryan Spano played well in net.
CANTON, Mass. – Foxboro and Canton have finished as the top two teams in the Davenport division in each of the past three seasons. The Warriors won two of those three titles, but the largest margin that has separated the teams at the end of the year has been three points. This year is no different.
Once again the two rivals entered Tuesday night’s title showdown at WWII Veterans Memorial Field as the top two teams in the Davenport and with the Bulldogs holding a slim two-point edge. Both teams would have four league games remaining after Tuesday and none would be against teams with winning records, so this felt like Foxboro’s best chance of trying to catch the league leaders.
The Warriors got off to the perfect start, playing like a team that knew it needed the win, and jumped out to a one-goal lead, but the Bulldogs turned the game around in the second half and it finished 1-1. That leaves Canton holding its own title destiny entering the final two weeks of the regular season.
“We took a few minutes to get going,” admitted Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor. She noted that things changed after the break, “Totally felt like we had a little momentum. We were correcting some of the things we had gotten wrong. We made some adjustments and overall I was happy with how we played, but unfortunately with Foxboro things end in a tie.”
Canton had a couple of early looks with a cross through the crease and a chance for Shayna Johnson that the senior had bounce off her foot right in front of goal, but the first half largely belonged to the visitors.
Nine minutes into the game, the Warriors took the lead. Jaime Notarangelo created the opening with a run down the right side, something that would become a theme of the half, and she squared it into the middle. After a couple of deflections, the ball dropped to Brooke Connolly and she knocked it in.
Meg Aldrich had a chance to equalize for the Bulldogs after a rush right through the middle of the Foxboro defense, but it was kicked aside by goalie Hannah Trombly (two saves).
The Bulldogs struggled to contain Notarangelo and the Warriors looked to get her the ball on the right wing as often as possible. After the senior midfielder raced past players on both teams, she cut inside and forced a save out of Canton goalie Riley O’Connor (seven saves). A minute later Mikayla Cloherty had a go from distance that was kicked away as well.
“Jaime played out of her mind,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “She was phenomenal. You could see how much she was digging and kept trying. Her ball control tonight was outstanding.”
Inside the final 10 minutes of the half, Canton started to stem the tide and gain a foothold in the game. Maria Femia opened up a chance for Erin Lane, but her shot just went wide and couldn’t be held in at the end line by Ellie Bohane.
The momentum that the home team built at the end of the first half carried over at the start of the second.
It only took four minutes after the break for Canton to find the tying goal. After a corner was cleared by Foxboro, the Bulldogs charged back at the goal again and Kaitlyn Goyetch found room in the left channel. Her backhand effort flicked up over Trombly’s shoulder and the goalie could not keep it out.
“It’s that extra spark of energy,” said O’Connor about Goyetch. “She’s able to flip that switch and when she does and when she gets to that second gear then everyone follows and it raises the level of play on the field.”
Canton took control of the game in the second half. The hosts had the ball in front of Trombly for seemingly the entire 30 minutes, but Foxboro had a handful of chances as well. Notarangelo created the opening with another run down the wing and her cross to Mya Waryas at the back post was kept out by O’Connor, who then scrambled the rebound off the line. Ella Waryas then set up Notarangelo in front but the redirection was blocked by the goalie at close range.
Carly Fitzgerald had a shot from long range that forced Trombly into a stop and the rebound was left in front for several Bulldogs, including Femia, Lane, and Meghan LaBelle, to have a swat at.
Bordieri said, “They put serious pressure on. I couldn’t even see the play, just saw the ball come flying out of the circle, so defense came up big in a lot of places. But, it has to be consistent. We didn’t play 60 minutes tonight and it resulted in another tie.”
Femia was the primary creator for Canton and was a constant menace when in possession. She nearly created the winner with a run up the left side and a cross to Grace Nourse at the back post, but Lauren Foster got in the way to deny the chance.
“She’s a gamer,” O’Connor said about Femia. “She’s a game time player and she wants to get it done and usually she makes things happen. I thought we were in the right positions, I thought the offense was there, we were right there, but they were right there with their defensive stands.”
Riley O’Connor was forced to come up with one more big stop before the end, as Nicole Bubencik had a shot through traffic that was sneaking inside the post until the goalie stuck out a toe to keep it out.
“A tale of two halves,” said Bordieri. “They came out flying in the second half and found us flat. I just felt like we couldn’t find that momentum we had in the first half, we couldn’t continue it and they did a really good job of taking that momentum and running with it.”
Canton (8-2-3, 8-1-3) will try to hold its lead in the division against Stoughton on Thursday, while Foxboro (8-1-5, 6-1-5) will try to keep the pressure on when it hosts Milford.