Bombardiers Come From Behind to Tie Mansfield

Attleboro Hockey
Attleboro celebrates Kyle McCabe’s third period goal that tied the game at 2-2 and earned the Bombardiers a point. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

TAUNTON, Mass. – With 8:21 left in the second period, Keagin and Sam Larkin skated to the penalty box for the Bombardiers. Mansfield would have a full 1:30 of two-man advantage to try and extend its 2-0 lead and put Attleboro away.

The Hornets have struggled offensively this season (19 goals in 11 games), but coming off a six-goal performance against Taunton on Wednesday, head coach Rick Anastos thought the team may have broken out of its slump. Unfortunately for Mansfield, offense is still a concern, as the Hornets failed to score on the power play, keeping Attleboro within two.

“It’s been our problem all year long,” said Anastos. “We just can’t score. I thought we were going to have a break out finally and went up 2-0 and thought it was in hand. But [Attleboro] battled…they always battle.”

The missed opportunity quickly came back to bite the Hornets. Attleboro got on the board with 4:22 left in the second and scored again just 1:30 into the third period and managed to come away from Saturday afternoon’s physical game at Aleixo Arena with a 2-2 tie.

“I thought we came out pretty strong again,” said Attleboro coach Mike Cripps, referring to a 7-6 loss to King Philip on Wednesday night.

“If we come out and skate and play hockey then we can skate with anybody. We have limited depth but they’re giving it everything they’ve got.”

The Bombardiers started strongly, controlling the puck in the offensive zone for long periods of the first period and leading at one point 6-1 on shots. Attleboro has been strong at even strength but have been hurt by penalties this season and Saturday was no different.

Mansfield opened the scoring on the power play when Attleboro failed to clear the puck. Max Hoffman found Matt Farragher below the right circle and he flipped a pass right in front of goal to Pat Sunderland and he scored on a one-timer.

“They’re clicking but they need to stay out of the penalty box more,” said Cripps. “They just make it harder on themselves. You just can’t take stupid penalties at any stage of the game.”

The Hornets made it 2-0 with 1:14 left in the first and again it came from an Attleboro error and again came from a special teams unit. This time it was a shorthanded goal from Hoffman on a breakaway off assist from defensemen Matt Chirichiello and Mike Arnold.

Mansfield had plenty of chances to extend the lead. In the opening minutes of the second period, Arnold had a shot from the point that was knocked down by Attleboro goalie Evan Andrews (21 saves) but caused a scramble the crease. Another shot rang the post for Mansfield.

Then came the two-man advantage, but the Hornets only managed a couple of shots from distance. The best chance during the power play was actually for Attleboro forward P.J Elliott who snuck out on a breakaway after blocking a pass near his own blue line, but he got too deep before firing a shot on Mansfield goalie Anthony Visconti (24 saves).

Cripps said, “Thankfully the guys that were not in the box came up big. They have a whole bunch of heart, all 20 kids on the team.”

He joked, “They pick each other up even when they do stupid things.”

Three minutes after clearing off the penalty, Attleboro cut the lead in half. Elliott and Jake Parker fired shots that Visconti was able to knock down but the second rebound popped out to winger Nick Miniati and he fired his shot through traffic and into the back of the net.

The Bombardiers carried that momentum into the third period and stormed back onto the ice to try and tie the game. Just 1:30 into the third, Elliott managed to pick the pocket of a Mansfield defenseman at his own blue line. The puck wound its way to Kyle McCabe, who sent a shot through a screen that bounced past an unsighted Visconti to make it 2-2.

“I can’t repeat much of what I said,” said Cripps with a laugh. “I just kind of laid into them for being selfish and they had to come out and decide whether they were going to come out and play hockey and play a team game or continue to play selfishly.”

“Thankfully they seemed to come out as a team.”

Just seconds after Attleboro tied it, the Bombardiers nearly took the lead. Again it was Elliott that created the chance but his Keagin Larkin was unable to put his shot on target with the net gaping. On the next rush up ice, a shot from the point beat Visconti, but not the post.

Mansfield was on its heels but still managed to create a couple of chances with quick transitions. Sunderland tried to return the favor to Farragher on a two on one, but the pass eluded the forward’s stick. Later, on a three on one, Chad Piotti just missed with Andrews stranded.

“We just keep preaching the same things over and over – rebounds, rebounds, shoot, rebounds rebounds, shoot,” explained Anastos. “It’s not like we’ve been blown out by any team this season…we just can’t score.”

He added, “You don’t score a lot of goals then you start gripping the stick a little harder. I think that was the difference.”

Andrews also came through with several big saves, including a quick kick save on a shot from Shane Doherty in the slot. It was a strong finish for the Hornets but too little too late and for the second time in three seasons, Attleboro was able to earn a point from Mansfield.

Attleboro (5-6-2, 1-4-1) will try to carry that momentum into Wednesday’s meeting with Franklin. Mansfield (2-6-3, 2-2-1) will face North Attleboro on Monday night. 

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Second Period Surge Lifts Attleboro Over Scarlet Hawks

Attleboro's PJ Elliott is tripped up as he takes the puck to the net. Elliott had three assists. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Attleboro’s PJ Elliott is tripped up as he takes the puck to the net. Elliott had three assists. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
TAUNTON, Mass. – After a scoreless first period, Attleboro scored the all important first goal in the second period less than a minute in, added three more in the frame and skated to a 6-1 over Milford.
Milford goalie Brian Ireland made 10 his 30 saves in the first period while Attleboro goalie Tim Gile stopped 12 of his 17 saves in the opening frame. The best chance from either side came when Bombardiers junior PJ Elliott rang the post with a wrist shot with just over six minutes to go.
“The first period went really well,” Milford head coach Mike Balzarini said. “We had two solid days of practice and really focused on breaking down d-zone coverage and making sure guys were where they were supposed to be. And it was evident int he first period, the shots were even too. We made sure we were sound defensively first then transitioned into offense.”
On the other side, Attleboro head coach Mike Cripps wasn’t too pleased with being level after the first 15 minutes.
“We weren’t too happy going to the locker room after that first period,” Cripps said. “We came out a little flat to start despite coming off two good games. That was pretty much our message in the locker room, you better come out with some intensity.”
The Bombardiers had the opportunity to cash in right away as they had 35 seconds of man advantage to start the second period. It took nearly all of that time but Attleboro was able to take advantage of the power play. Senior Keagin Larkin had his shot saved by Ireland but the rebound was batted in by Parker to put Attleboro up 1-0.
Attleboro’s offense was able to keep Ireland busy for the next six minutes, evan forcing a kick save off a double deflection and then a rebound save to rob Nick Miniati with just over nine minutes remaining in the second period.
“Four mistakes in the third period cost us four goals,” Balzarini said.
But inside a four minute span, Attleboro was able to find the back of the net three times to create a big cushion heading into the final period. First, the Bombardiers caught Milford’s defense in a long chance and used a two on one with Elliott feeding Miniati for a tap in with 8:53 left. Two minutes later, the Scarlet Hawks were once caught in a long change after a turnover in the neutral zone with Elliott picking off a pass and finding Parker right on the doorstep to make it 3-0.
“They’ve been clicking well all year,” Cripps said. “Elliott has led us in points and the two of them have some good chemistry.”
Just over a minute later with a man advantage, with a face off in the attacking zone after Milford was called for a penalty, the Bombardiers added another goal to their lead. Just five seconds into the power play, Parker was wide open in the slot and ripped a shot upstairs for Attleboro’s second power play goal of the period.
“We’ve been working on [the power play] quite a bit and that unit’s finally kind of gelling after six games,” Cripps said. We had some success in the last game too. That group is starting to calm down and take their time, realizing they have a minute and a half to use.”
Sam Larkin added a fifth goal for Attleboro in the final period after picking up a loose puck along the nearside boards, skating to between the circles and firing a low shot through traffic. Mitchell Caruso capped Attleboro’s scoring with just under two minutes to go after a deflected shot beat Milford freshman goalie Matt Shaver. Shaver had four saves over the final four minutes, including a glove save on an open shot from Larkin.
Milford was able to get onto the scoreboard with just under five seconds to play on a great individual effort from sophomore RJ Stansbury. Stansbury weaved his way through through a pair of defensemen and then beat Gile.
Attleboro (4-2-1, 1-0) picked up its third straight win and will look to make it four when they travel to Asiaf Arena on Saturday night to take on Oliver Ames at 8:10. Milford (0-5, 0-1) will look to try and break into the win column the same day when they host North Attleboro at 5:30 at Blackstone Valley Ice Arena.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/30/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Basketball
Foxboro, 70 @ Westwood, 55 – Final – Senior Jason Procaccini scored a career-high 25 points and had 10 rebounds for his first double-double with the Warriors. Classmate Alex DuBrow also had a career-high, scoring 24 points and adding six assists. DuBrow was named the Westwood Holiday Invitational MVP. Robbie Lowey had seven points and 11 rebounds for Foxboro. 
Milford, 59 @ Hopedale, 81 – Final
North Attleboro, 37 vs. Bishop Feehan, 50 – Final – Junior Jonny Friberg scored a team-best 11 points off the bench for the Rocketeers and classmate Brent Doherty chipped in with seven points.
Oliver Ames, 67 vs. Falmouth, 42 – Final – Oliver Ames’ offense had its best game of the season led by Carter Evin, who scored 15 points and was named the Muscato Tournament MVP. Dylan Mahoney had a team-high 16 points and was named a tournament all star.
Stoughton, 54 @ Randolph, 61 – Final – Brandon Teixeira scored a team-high 20 points and was named an all star for the Blue Devils Holiday Tournament.
Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 55 @ Dartmouth, 45 – Final

Foxboro, 39 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 37 – Final – Cassidy Harrison led Foxboro with 12 points as the Warriors were able to hold off a late push from the Trojans.

Milford, 54 @ Hopedale, 41 – Final

North Attleboro, 51 @ Bishop Feehan, 85 – FinalSamantha Taggart led the Rocketeers with 12 points while Ashley Ahern and Caroline Collard each chipped in with nine points.
Sharon, 59 vs. Sandwich, 41 – Final – Charlotte Ransom was the top scorer for Sharon with 19 points and fellow captain Alyssa Piazza had 15. The Eagles broke open a one-point game with a 22-8 third quarter.
Hockey
Attleboro, 6 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Sam Larkin scored his first career goal with a penalty shot and Evan Andrews made 16 saves to earn his first varsity win for the Bombardiers. Attleboro also got goals from Nick Miniati, Jack Flynn, Keigan Larkin, Dan Creavin, and Jake Parker.

Canton, 1 vs. Westwood, 1 – FinalBobby Mullaney gave Canton the lead in the first period off an assist by Shaun Kirby but Westwood tied it in the second against the run of play. The Bulldogs outshot Westwood 30-14 for the game (25-5 in the final two periods). 
Franklin, 2 vs. St. Joseph, 4 – Final

King Philip, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Matt Mancini netted his first hat trick and Owen Gallagher had a trio of assists and one goal for Oliver Ames. King Philip sophomore Collin Cooke had a pair of goals for the Warriors. 

Taunton, 7 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Tyler Pietrzyk and Jordan Hoey each scored a pair of goals for Taunton while Nick Croft, Mike Volkmann and Mike Albert each scored once. RJ Stansbury and Griffin Burns each scored for Milford.

North Attleboro, 2 @ Dedham, 1 – Final – Junior Zach McGowan scored his first goal in the second period to tie the game and then scored the game-winner in the third period to lift the Rocketeers. 

Stoughton, 4 vs. Apponequet/Connolly, 3 – Final – Junior captain Jon Lessa found the back of the net twice to help Stoughton edge Apponequet/Connolly at home. 
Wrestling
Mansfield, 3 @ Norton, 63 – Final
Swimming
Foxboro @ Hopkinton, 6:00
Gymnastics
Canton, 118.05 @ Mansfield, 134.90 – Final
Girls Hockey
Canton, 1 vs. Medfield, 0 – Final
Franklin, 1 @ Westwood, 5 – Final
King Philip, 3 vs. Cohasset/Hanover, 5 – Final
Stoughton, 0 vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 7 – Final