Below are the official 2020 Hockomock League Boys Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Johnny Hagan, Canton
Hockomock League All Stars
Nick Piazza, Attleboro
Johnny Hagan, Canton
Chris Lavoie, Canton
Jack Connolly, Canton
Owen Lehane, Canton
Espen Reager, Foxboro
Kirk Leach, Foxboro
Ronnie MacLellan, Foxboro
Tom Tasker, Franklin
Kyle Hedvig, Franklin
Dylan Marchand, Franklin
Joseph Boselli, King Phillip
Chris Daniels, King Phillip
Kyle Gray, King Phillip
Rocco Bianculli, King Phillip
Sean McCafferty, Mansfield
Kevin Belanger, Mansfield
Dennis Morehouse, North Attleboro
Jake McNeany, North Attleboro
Ryan Gottwald, Oliver Ames
Michael Albert, Taunton
Brady Nichols, Taunton
Ryan Morry, Attleboro
Ronan O’Mahony, Canton
Jack Watts, Foxboro
Colin Hedvig, Franklin
Jack Coulter, King Philip
Chris Jenkins, Mansfield
William Yeomans, North Attleboro
Owen Connor, Oliver Ames
Jack DeMoura, Taunton
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Heading into the final six games of the regular season, Oliver Ames needed at least five wins and a tie in order to qualify for the postseason, but for the second time in 11 days the Tigers found themselves trailing Attleboro as the second period was winding down.
Last time out, in the league meeting between the two teams, the Tigers scored three times in the third period to pull out the win. On Wednesday evening at the New England Sports Village, OA didn’t wait quite as long to rally. Cam Perron tied the game with two minutes left in the second and then broke the tie four minutes into the third to power the Tigers to a 2-1 victory and a season sweep of the Bombardiers.
“We’ve had to grind out wins all season long, so being down a goal or two goals, these kids don’t give up,” said OA coach Mike Zucarelli. “It’s something I’m really proud of them.”
OA dominated the first period, outshooting the Bombardiers 11-4 and pinning the hosts back in the defensive zone for long stretches. Ross Carroll had one of the early looks with a wrister that Attleboro goalie Nick Piazza saved but dropped in front of the crease causing a scrum. Perron nearly broke the deadlock when he slipped in between two defenders but Piazza smothered the partial break.
Attleboro created a couple of scoring opportunities late in the period. Aidan Dryjowicz skated in from the left side but shot wide at the near post and then Ryan Morry struck the post with a wrist shot from the right circle. After Brad Powers had his close-range shot stuffed by Piazza, Jaydin Rossi snuck out and got behind the OA defense for a last-second breakaway that Owen Connor was able to stretch and save.
The late flurry at the end of the first period was foreshadowing for a much better start to the second for the Bombardiers. Attleboro needed only 28 seconds after the intermission to grab the lead. Nate Parker saucered a perfect pass to Owen Dryjowicz on a two-on-one break and the junior finished at the far post to make it 1-0.
“It was horrible,” Attleboro coach Mark Homer said of the first period. “We talked about it in the locker room and they realized that we can compete with OA. This was a game that we could’ve won, so it’s a matter of settling down, control your emotions, and go out there and do the simple things.”
The game got more physical as the period wore on and a procession to the penalty box ensued. Both teams found themselves guilty of giving away power play opportunities and scoring chances. Aidan Dryjowicz skated through a pair of defenders and forced Connor into a stop and then Ryan Gottwald sprung Costello with a perfect two-line pass, but Piazza made the blocker save.
With 2:03 left in the second, Perron caught the Attleboro blue line pinching in on the power play and Costello hit him with a perfect pass to spring a breakaway. This time, Perron gave Piazza no chance by going bar-down to make it 1-1.
OA started the third period with 2:43 of power play time, including a full two minutes with a two-man advantage. The Tigers thought that they made it count when Perron fired a shot from the point that smashed the bar on its way into the back of the net, only to be ruled out because there was a man in the crease.
Piazza also denied the Tigers on a pair of golden scoring chances. Gottwald got the first look from the left side of the net only to have Piazza kick out the right pad to stop what looked like a sure goal. Costello followed up on the rebound but again the sophomore netminder was able to respond quickly to block it and help the Bombardiers get back to even strength.
Homer said, “I thought he had a rough start, he wasn’t seeing the puck well, wasn’t controlling his rebounds, but this is the thing about Nick, he doesn’t let that bother him. You saw in the second and third periods, he’s a stalwart. He regains his focus and he plays for the next shot.”
The Attleboro goalie stood no chance on the go-ahead score. While falling down in the high slot, Perron was able to squeeze a shot through traffic in front of goal, past the unsighted goalie, off the bar (again) and into the back of the net.
Zucarelli joked, “He went bar-down in the second and a kid on the bench said, ‘You won’t do that again,’ and he went and did it two more times just too bad the second one didn’t count.”
Morry forced a blocker save out of Connor with a chance from the left side, Duncan Pereira was denied by Piazza on a shorthanded breakaway chance, and Power saw a chance go off the post, as both teams continued to fashion scoring opportunities in the closing minutes.
“It was a 2-1 game, you’ve got to put the puck on net,” said Homer. “We should’ve been in a better rhythm. We didn’t get into a rhythm until the late stages of the game.”
Zucarelli credited the Tigers for not getting down when they fell behind or when they failed to make the long power play count at the beginning of the third and finding a way to pull out a win.
“Our record shows that we got off to a real slow start,” he said, “and they had the option to put their heads down and sulk and see if it continues or to grind it out and work hard and get better and that’s what they’ve done. That third period showed the work that the team has put in all season.”
Oliver Ames (5-9-2) will try to keep things heading in the right direction on Saturday in a trip to King Philip. Attleboro (4-10-1) still has its own playoff hopes through the Sullivan rule and will travel to Stoughton this weekend.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
Attleboro sophomore Nick Piazza has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Dec. 29 through Jan. 4. Piazza is the 15th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2019-20 school year and the fourth for the winter season.
Piazza put together an impressive week between the pipes for the Bombardiers, keeping Attleboro in games against two of the league’s powerhouse programs. He limited Mansfield and Canton only one goal apiece (the second goal against the Hornets was scored on an empty net) and no goals when skating five-on-five. He made a total of 77 saves in those two games.
“Nick’s play in net has resonated a quiet confidence within our team,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Homer. “Nick’s physical play is complimented by his mental awareness and hockey IQ, when playing in high intensity situations. He is the type of goaltender who makes most saves look easy.”
Mansfield was held without a goal until four minutes into the third period and its sixth power play of the game. Piazza made at least nine saves in each of the three periods and finished with 30 total. On Saturday, Piazza was even better against the defending Div. 2 state champion Bulldogs. He stopped 47 shots and was only beaten late in the third period by a shorthanded breakaway. It was Attleboro’s closest game with Canton since moving to the Hockomock League. In the previous four meetings, Canton had scored a combined 26 goals.
Although Attleboro lost both games last week, 2-0 and 1-0 respectively, Piazza gave his team a chance to win both games with his solid performances and drew rave reviews from both of the opposing coaches. For the season, Piazza has a goals against average of 1.50, has saved 146 shots, and saved 94 percent of the shots he has faced. Attleboro has allowed only 10 goals, tied with Canton for the fewest goals against in the league.
The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Mansfield and Attleboro met for a New Year’s Day matinee at the New England Sports Village to not only kick off a new year but also the start of league play. In a game filled with chances at both ends of the ice, one goal proved decisive and made for a happy start to 2020 for the Hornets.
Cam Page scored with 10:52 remaining in the game and Jake Lund added an empty net goal in the final minute to secure Mansfield a 2-0 victory. Senior goalie Sean McCafferty made 23 saves to record his second straight shutout and he was matched save-for-save by Attleboro sophomore Nick Piazza, who made 30 stops to keep the Bombardiers in the game to the end.
“It took us a while,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “Their goalie played phenomenal. His rebound control was great. He was poised, he didn’t get flustered. We had good looks, we had shots, but we didn’t get enough people to the front of the net.”
Despite coming out with a loss, Attleboro coach Mark Homer was proud of the effort that his team put in, particularly in the defensive zone.
“In order to get to the next level, you have to be able to compete with the bigger teams in the league and I thought we did that today,” he explained. “They would have control in the zone and then there’d be a push back. The kids coming out of a game like this gained a lot of confidence, especially our defense. They know that they’re that close.”
Kevin Belanger had the game’s first chance when he got behind the Attleboro defense just 40 seconds into the game, but Piazza stayed with the puck and made a big pad save. Sam Flynn forced McCafferty into a save with a shot from the high slot and McCafferty stopped the rebound as well.
The best chance of the first period came with four minutes left. Joseph Troiano raced down the left wing and centered the puck to Page, but again Piazza stood tall to stop the close-range effort.
“That has been our struggle the past few games, coming out of the gates,” said Balzarini about the lack of clear chances in the opening period. “I thought everyone’s first few shifts were good and then we just kind of stopped for whatever reason. We stopped moving our feet and we started trying to make the more difficult plays rather than the easy play.”
Things picked up in the second, as both teams had flurries of attacking zone play and created numerous scoring chances.
Mansfield started the period on the front foot. On the power play, Troiano had a chance from the slot that was blockered aside and seconds later Ben Ierardo set up Mark DeGirolamo, but Piazza flashed a pad to deny the opening goal.
Freshman Aidan Dryjowicz nearly broke the deadlock when he stole a puck in the neutral zone and skated in alone but his shot was wide of the net. Ryan Morry kept a puck alive on the boards to set up Liam McDonough at the point, but Morry was unable to get a clean tip at the post. Dryjowicz and Morry had breakaway opportunities just seconds apart, but McCafferty stopped both.
With two minutes left in the second, Braedon Copparini and DeGirolamo both had shots from the edge of the crease but in both cases Piazza made sure the puck didn’t get through.
“He’s the type of kid that we don’t have to say too much to him,” said Homer about Piazza. “He’s fundamentally sound. He’s making better and better decisions. Having him back there, we know that most shots we’re going to have a good chance of stopping the puck.”
Three penalties in the final 23 seconds of the second gave Mansfield more than 90 seconds of 4-on-3 to start the third period and the Hornets used it to build momentum. Belanger had a good early chance when he drove off the left wing boards and forced Piazza into a good kick save. Page teed up Chris Jenkins for a backdoor one-timer but he hit the side of the net.
“There were a few chances where we just forced pucks into the middle rather than using our point and regrouping,” said Balzarini about finding ways of turning zone time into more goals. “We’ll start with getting the ‘D’ more active.”
Attleboro almost stunned the Hornets with a shorthanded break. Dryjowicz gained the zone and passed it to Sean Marshall, but his backhand try slid just wide of the post. Owen Dryjowicz nearly put the Bombardiers in front a minute later with a clean breakaway, but McCafferty was able to sprawl and get a toe to the shot and keep it out.
The breakthrough finally came on the power play. Belanger and Page had a nice passing sequence and Page found space right in front of goal for a one-timer into the corner that gave Piazza no chance.
Owen Dryjowicz was an inch from tying the game two minutes later. On the power play, he lined up a shot from the point that McCafferty never saw but that struck the bar and caromed to the corner. Jake Ward sprung Morry up the boards for a rush with three minutes to go, but again the shot was saved and the rebound covered up after a scramble.
After Attleboro pulled the goalie for an attacking zone face-off, Mansfield put the game away. Lund flicked the puck into the empty net from just outside the blue line to seal the 2-0 win.
“They’re creating the opportunities and I think once they pocket one and they figure it out then I think more of those are going to go in,” said Homer. “I like the fact that we’re getting those opportunities. We were penetrating and I saw forwards going to the net. These guys aren’t afraid to go to the dirty parts of the ice.”
Mansfield (3-1-1) will try to make it four wins in a row when the Hornets travel to Shrewsbury on Saturday. Attleboro (2-2-1) will try to carry its performance into Saturday night’s visit from Canton.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Nothing better for a team heading into an 11-day break around Christmas than to have its best performance of the early season. Attleboro did just that on Saturday evening at the New England Sports Village, dominating a former league rival.
The Bombardiers picked up a 3-0 victory against Stoughton/Brockton, but the final score doesn’t do justice to just how much Attleboro controlled the game. The hosts held a 38-4 advantage in shots, not allowing a shot on goal over the final two periods, and seemed to spend ages in the offensive zone.
“This was the best game that we’ve played this year,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “It’s taken a little time. We’ve got some new guys, some new combinations that are going on, but they’ve been getting a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better.”
Attleboro didn’t start the game in control, picking up three penalties in the opening three minutes of the game, including a penalty for too many men on the ice as the first penalty kill was ending, with a bench misconduct added on top. Despite being shorthanded, Attleboro had the first chance when Ryan Morry hit the side of the net on a break and spent the majority of the time in the offensive zone.
Stoughton came close on the power play when Colin Alessi struck the bar from the slot, but it took six minutes before either team recorded an actual shot on target. Within seconds of each other, Aidan Dryjowicz set up Morry for a one-timer that was saved and on the other end Kyle Cruickshank forced a save out of Nick Piazza.
With 6:39 left in the first, Attleboro’s pressure paid off with the opening goal. Nate Parker went down the left wing and skated behind the goal. He flipped a pass out in front to Dryjowicz, who was alone in the slot and he hit a one-timer that gave Stoughton goalie Ryan Spano (30 saves) no chance.
Dryjowicz was a constant threat to the Stoughton goal. He got behind the defense with three minutes left in the first, but he slipped at the last step and the puck trickled inches wide of the far post. Owen Dryjowicz nearly added to his brother’s goal with 1:20 left in the period, but his shorthanded effort was kicked aside by Spano.
The Bombardiers had a 12-4 edge in shots after the first and that domination continued into the second, although they couldn’t add to the lead on the scoreboard.
“I’m in the locker room between the first and second periods and I said guys we’re getting chances but we’re not burying the puck,” Homer explained. “As much as we’re playing offensively, we still have defensive responsibilities out there. One bad bounce, one missed shot, and it’s 1-1 and then momentum changes.”
Sean Marshall nearly caught Stoughton in a change with a pinpoint outlet pass to Aidan Dryjowicz who passed it on to Jake Ward, but the chance was stopped. A few minutes later, another great outlet pass from Marshall sprung Owen Dryjowicz, but somehow Spano managed to get the hilt of his stick on the shot to keep it out.
Spano made another impressive stop on a Dryjowicz slap shot, as the shots kept coming for the hosts. Sam Flynn fired a diagonal pass from the right point to Morry at the post but the shot was stopped and then Aidan Diggan watched his follow up effort go over the bar.
Finally, Attleboro got its second goal. With 3:10 left in the period, Austin Blais had his shot stopped and Liam McDonough was in the right place to stuff in the rebound from close range. After doubling the lead, it took only nine seconds for a third to be added. Off the ensuing face-off, Morry raced into the zone and scored an unassisted goal to make it 3-0.
Stoughton failed to put a shot on target in the second and Attleboro extended its edge in shots on goal to 25-4. With the game all but won entering the third, things slowed down and more than eight minutes went by before either team added to its shot total.
Homer said, “I really thought we had more offensive zone time and that meant we didn’t really have a lot of situations where we had to defend. Being in the offensive zone took a lot of pressure off.”
Flynn had a shot from the point turned aside and Kyle Miniati sent the rebound over the bar. Ward and Morry also had chances that Spano saved, before he was replaced by Nathan Petti. A change in goalie didn’t help the Bombardiers, who had a series of chances stopped, notably two in quick succession from Morry.
“I think tonight was all about having the energy and beating them to the puck, hitting the open guy with the pass, all the fundamental things we’ve worked on,” Homer said about his team’s dominating performance.
Attleboro (2-1-1) will be off until New Year’s Day when it opens league play at home against Mansfield.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2019-2020 Hockomock Boys Hockey Preview
2018-2019 Record: 10-10-2
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Mark Homer
The Bombardiers will be looking to stretch their postseason streak to three years this season. It showed how deep the Kelley-Rex division was last year that the Bombardiers, who did not fare well in league games, made it to the state tournament.
One reason that Attleboro is hopeful for a spot in the state tournament is the addition of a couple of transfers to the program. Jake Ward joined the program and will apart of the Bombardiers top line alongside senior captain Ryan Morry and junior Aidan Diggin. Both Morry and Diggin have a plethora of experience at the varsity level so expect Attleboro’s top line to be a dangerous one in the offensive zone. Attleboro picked up some needed depth with the addition of junior Owen Dryjowicz and freshman Aidan Dryjowicz, who will join sophomore Nate Parker on the second line.
The third line could see some rotation but will mostly feature junior Austin Blais at the center spot, and senior Liam McDonough, junior Owen Graney, and senior Kyle Miniati on the wings. The Bombardiers will have some experience on the blue line with senior Sam Flynn and junior Zach Pierce holding down two of the top spots, with sophomore Sean Marshall also in the mix. The fourth spot between the top two defensive pairs is still up for grabs in the early going. Sophomores Nick Piazza and Michael Dutremble are battling for minutes in net.
“We hope to improve our record from last year through commitment and hard work collectively, and gain entry to the state tournament,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Homer.
2018-2019 Record: 25-0-1
2018-2019 Finish: D2 State Champions
Coach: Brian Shuman
Having won nine straight Davenport division titles, Canton is used to having a target on its back as the rest of the Hockomock League tries to knock the Bulldogs from the top. But this year, that target is even bigger than before.
Fresh off one of the best seasons in both program and league history that ended with a D2 State Championship, the Bulldogs will be getting everyone’s best game in and game out. And while Canton certainly graduated some key pieces, like two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Ryan Nolte, the Bulldogs enter this season as not only the favorite for a 10th straight division crown but will certainly be in the mix when it comes to the 2020 D2 State title.
While replacing Nolte will be tough, the Bulldogs have several key forwards back from last year’s championship team. It will all start with senior Johnny Hagan, who was named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year as a sophomore and racked up 51 points with 21 goals and 31 assists on the season. Hagan will have a lot of experience to work with in senior Timmy Kelleher (seven goals, seven assists last regular season), senior Tommy Ghostlaw (five goals, six assists), and senior Chris Lavoie (13 goals, 12 assists). Lavoie could be poised for a breakout year, scoring twice in the season-opening win over Franklin.
Canton also brings back top players along the blue line with Jack Connolly and HockomockSports.com Second Team selection Owen Lehane. Both seniors, Connolly and Lehane not only are among the best defensive players in the league but play a big part of the Canton offense with their shooting. Seniors Ronan O’Mahony and Declan Pfeffer are also experienced defensemen that will see increased roles this year. Canton turns to senior Joe Cammarata to start in between the pipes with junior Liam Polles impressing early on and could push for starting minutes.
“We have a lot of experience returning, but that’s true for a lot of teams across the state,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. If our preseason was any indication, there are a lot of outstanding, talented teams this year that improved greatly in the offseason. We will have our work cut out for us in the Hock and with a tough non-league schedule.”
2018-2019 Record: 12-7-3
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South First Round
Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Foxboro built upon its 10-season win two years ago with its best season in program history last year, picking up 12 wins including one in the postseason. After posting back-to-back successful seasons, the Warriors are hoping that trend continues.
With a good amount of returners back this year, the Warriors will be in good position to compete in the Hockomock League and will be aiming to make a deeper run into the state tournament behind a beefed-up schedule. One strength for Foxboro this year will be its offense with its two top regular season point producers back in junior Kirk Leach (15 goals, 20 assists) and senior Ronnie MacLellan (14 goals, 20 assists). That duo provided the Warriors with a lot of its offense last season and will be one of the top returning duos this season. Senior Sebastian Ricketts brings a vast amount of experience to the offense while sophomore Jack Watts (10 goals, four assists) will be looking to build on an impressive freshman year. Brady Daly, Eoin Reager, Josh Bertuman, Ryan Jacobs and Ben Ricketts will provide needed depth offensively.
Defensively it all starts with senior goalie Espen Reager, the defending Hockomock League MVP back after a strong junior season between the pipes for the Warriors. Reager has the ability to keep his team in teams, and he showed last year that he can help steal a game like he did against Mansfield. In front of Reager, senior Kyle McGinnis is one of the more experienced defensemen in the league and will be the anchor of the blue line group for Foxboro. Freshman Alex Coviello has impressed early on and will be a key piece of the defense.
“Our strength on offense this season will be our depth and overall team speed,” said Foxboro head coach Mark Cedorchuk. “We have more depth on offense than we’ve ever had. We’re looking forward to this season, with a lot of depth up front, excellent team speed and a great goalie we feel we can compete with any team on our schedule.”
2018-2019 Record: 12-10-4
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final
Coach: Anthony Sarno
A new chapter begins in Franklin boys hockey with Anthony Sarno taking over on the bench after longtime Panther coach Chris Spillane stepped down following last season. While the Panthers might have a bit of a new look, expectations are still high inside Pirelli for the defending Kelley-Rex champs.
Sarno is hoping that momentum will carry over from the Panthers’ impressive playoff run from a year ago when Franklin upset Mansfield in overtime and knocked off Catholic Memorial in the semifinals. But there won’t be any nights off for Franklin with a loaded schedule that features Malden Catholic, Pope Francis, and a loaded Mt. Hope tournament — and that’s just December.
“It will be a work in progress and we will look to develop a solid team chemistry with a relentless work ethic, staying true to consistency, and discipline in an environment where effort and attitude is paramount, and not up for discussion,” Sarno said.
Up front, the Panthers will be leaning on seniors Shane McCaffrey, Kevin O’Rielly, and Shea Hurley to lead the way. McCaffrey is the team’s top scorer returning from a year ago so it will be vital for new players to step up and contribute. Juniors Conor O’Neil and Declan Lovett are also going to be important pieces to the Panthers’ offense. Senior Ray Ivers returns between the pipes are stepping in last season and playing well. In front of Ivers, Franklin will have two of the best defensemen in the league with senior Tom Tasker, a HockomockSports.com First Team selection last year, and junior Joe LeBlanc, who had a breakout sophomore campaign.
2018-2019 Record: 10-11-0
2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Paul Carlow
After missing out on the state tournament in back-to-back seasons, the Warriors have a chance to end that drought in 2020 behind an experienced group of players after losing just five players to graduation.
Head coach Paul Carlow says this is the most experienced group he’s had at his disposal since taking over behind the Warriors’ bench in 2015. There are nine seniors back this year and eight juniors so King Philip certainly boasts a lot of depth, and players that have played plenty of minutes at the varsity level. It starts with senior captain Chris Daniels, senior assistant captain Joe Boselli, and senior assistant captain Jack Coulter. All three have skated plenty of minutes for Carlow over the past couple of years and will be relied upon for their leadership.
Daniels is a crafty forward that scored five goals and had six assists while Coulter is the top returning scorer back this year after scoring six goals and recording nine assists a year ago. Seniors Bryan Lucente and Noah Ray will also be in the mix offensively alongside Daniels, Coulter, and Boselli. The Warriors will also rely on a handful of juniors to chip in offensively including forward Conor Cooke. Cooke had a terrific season with 10 goals and four assists and could be poised for a breakout year.
Defensively, there is a lot of veterans along the blue line for King Philip. Seniors Kyle Gray and Ethan McGuire are joined by junior Rocco Bianculli, a Hockomock League All Star and a HocomockSports.com All Underclassman selection a year ago. Gray is a three-year player that provides physicality while Bianculli is one of the top scoring defensemen in the entire league, scoring seven goals and adding seven assists during his sophomore season. Seniors Nate Ihley and Jesper Makudera will battle for minutes in net.
“I’m really looking forward to this season,” Carlow said. “On top of the seniors and juniors, we also have a strong sophomore class competing for spots. We have speed up front, we’re strong on the back end, and we have two good goalies. I’m looking forward to working with this group and fully expect them to make the tournament.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-6-3
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Mike Balzarini
Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini was a little concerned about his team’s depth coming into the season after graduating nine players and losing two top players to prep school. But after tryouts and a strong preseason, Balzarini believes this year’s squad will be just as deep as last year’ 14-win squad.
Losing a talented senior class hurts, and with Matt Copponi (eight goals, 28 assists, 2019 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year) and Brian Grant (HockomockSports.com All Underclassmen Team) off to prep schools, the Hornets will need new faces to step up and contribute on both ends of the ice. But Balzarini and the Hornets have something that none of the other Hockomock teams have and that’s senior goalie Sean McCafferty. Now in his fourth year starting, McCafferty is a game-changer. Even if the Hornets aren’t having their best games, they’ll still likely have a chance to win because of McCafferty.
In front of McCafferty, the Hornets will turn to senior Joseph Troiano to anchor the defensive unit. He will be joined by Jack Gormley and Conor Benoit, both of whom picked up valuable minutes last season and should help Mansfield be one of the stingiest defensive groups. Offensively, the Hornets do get a boost with the return of senior forward Chris Jenkins. Jenkins was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassmen Team in 2017 after he had 11 goals and 10 assists as a freshman. He will join veterans Jake Lund and Kevin Belanger to form a talented first line for the Hornets. Cam Paige, Liam Anastasia, and Ben Ierardo will team up on Mansfield’s second line.
“We have a little bit of a sour taste after how last year ended,” Balzarini said. “We want to get over that hurdle of the first round of the playoffs. This group really plays well together, they play as a team. They’ve gelled nicely since the first day of tryouts.”
2018-2019 Record: 11-9-2
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Ben McManama
North Attleboro will be leaning on its defense in order to get back to the tournament again this season. With the defending state champs in Canton as well as an improved Foxboro squad, the Rocketeers have their hands full with a difficult three-team Davenport division.
Seniors Jake McNeany, Will Yeomans, Jeff Baker, and junior Charlie Connolly are all back this season to give North Attleboro a veteran defensive group. With a handful of experienced players leading the way defensively, it should make the transition from four-year starting goalie Ryan Warren a bit smoother. Another reason that transition should go smoothly is senior goalie Nick Digiacomo, who has been impressive in the preseason so far this year.
Senior Dennis Morehouse is back after a breakout junior campaign and will be in the mix as one of the top players in the Hockomock League this season. Morehouse was second on the team in points last year with 15 goals and four assists and is the top returning scorer back for the Rocketeers. Senior Jack Connolly is another experienced forward that will be a key piece of the offense while junior Tyler Sarro will look to build upon a solid sophomore season.
“For us to be successful, we need to be discipline and get scoring from our second and third lines,” said North Attleboro coach Ben McManama. “We are not as big as we were in years past so we need to play tough and physical.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9-1
2018-2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Zucarelli
There is a new face at the helm of the Tigers this season, but its a familiar one. Mike Zucarelli takes over after serving as an assistant coach and is optimistic about the upcoming season.
Replacing one of the league’s top forwards in Brett Williams won’t be easy, but the Tigers boast experienced returners at every position on the ice. Senior Owen Connor is back for his third year in between the pipes. He took a big jump from his sophomore to junior year and that Zucarelli expects that trend to continue for the 2019-2020 season. In front of Connor, OA returns senior defensemen Ryan Gottwald and Matt Nosalek. Gottwald, one of the team’s two captains, had an impressive junior year and will be the leader of the defensive group this season.
Offensively, there will be some familiar faces including senior captain Hunter Costello. Costello, who scored nine goals and had 15 assists in the regular season a year ago, is joined by fellow returners Jake Gottwald, Duncan Pereira, and Brad Powers. All four of those seniors will be vital in the attack while juniors Ross Carroll and Matt Nigro should see expanded roles this year.
“We are going to be a gritty, hardworking team this year,” Zucarelli said, citing a preseason scrimmage with Milton. “We held our own during the first as Milton took it to us. We came out flying in the second, tied up the game and took the momentum into the third period with a huge penalty kill. The overall play of the team after one week was great to see.”
2018-2019 Record: 8-12-1
2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kris Metea
The Tigers enter the season with a relatively young squad but the goal is to integrate all of the youth with the returners and make a push for the state tournament by the end of the season.
Junior Mike Albert will be the main guy on the offensive end. Albert, who scored 10 goals and added 19 assists last season, was the leading scorer for the Tigers as a sophomore and is looking to take the next step this year. Junior Steve Roderick and sophomores Jack DeMoura and Michael Lucier are all new to the program and should be in the mix right away to help bolster the Taunton attack.
Head coach Kris Metea is also counting on some of the younger players to have breakout seasons, including sophomores Nathan Fernandes, Loren Corcoran, and Evan Perreira. On the defensive side, junior Brady Nichols will anchor the blue line unit. Although just a junior, Nichols has a wealth of varsity experience and the Tigers will lean on him to guide a young defensive core. Senior Andrew Gomes and junior Sean Bunker will battle for minutes in net.
“We have a group of young players that we will look to continue to develop over the course of the season,” Metea said. “The key to our success will be the meshing of the new players with the development of young players. The sky’s the limit for this group with continued commitment.”
Today’s games are listed below.
Attleboro, 68 vs. Durfee, 55 – Final – Attleboro senior Kevin Velazquez caught fire in the fourth quarter, hitting three three-pointers and scoring 13 of his career-high 24 points to help the Bombardiers pull away and end the regular season with a win. Attleboro led by one after eight minutes, and took a 31-28 advantage over the Hilltoppers into the locker room at half. Junior Qualeem Charles (14 rebounds) dominated the third quarter, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the frame as the Bombardiers created a double digit lead (49-38) going into the fourth. Junior Bryant Ciccio had another strong game for Attleboro with 18 points.
King Philip, 49 vs. Falmouth, 54 – Final – King Philip had a bright start but went cold in the final eight minutes, suffering a setback to Falmouth in its season finale. The Warriors led 26-21 at halftime but allowed 20 points in the third quarter and trailed by one (41-40) entering the final frame. KP was held to just nine points in the final quarter. Senior Bruce Saintilus had a team-high 20 points and junior Alex Fritz added 17 points, both players connecting on three three-pointers.
Mansfield, 64 vs. Brockton, 57 – Final – Mansfield had a successful day from three-point range, connecting on 14 triples – one shy of the program record – to pick up a win over visiting Brockton. Junior Sam Stevens hit four threes in the third quarter along, the Hornets totaling eight triples in that frame alone, to create the necessary separation. The game was tied at 26-26 at halftime but Mansfield’s red-hot shooting in the third helped the Hornets take a 49-39 lead into the final eight minutes. Stevens finished with five threes total and a team-high 17 points, Tommy Dooling connecting on five threes for 15 points, and sophomore TJ Guy finished with 11 points, including one three-pointer. Damani Scott (seven points) and Matt Boen (seven points, 11 rebounds) also hit threes for Mansfield.
Milford, 68 vs. Tantasqua, 59 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – Milford’s three seniors finished their careers in style, leading the Scarlet Hawks to an upset win over Tantasqua (15-5). Brendan White, Danny Corsini, and Brendon Sailer each scored 20 points, combining to score 60 of Milford’s 68 points in the win. White added 16 rebounds, five steals, and five assists, Corsini scored eight of his points in the opening quarter to give the Hawks an early lead, and Sailor shot 50% from the field along with six rebounds and four assists. The Scarlet Hawks built a 35-20 lead at halftime, and the advantage ballooned to 24 (50-26) late in the third before Tantasqua made a comeback bid in the fourth. The Warriors cut it to eight on two occasions, including with two minutes to go, but Corsini answered with a traditional three point play to thwart the comeback. “I just want thank Brendan, Brendon and Danny for all their hard work and commitment to this program,” Milford head coach Paul Seaver said. “I’m very proud that they were able to end their careers with a victory tonight and that they all found success in their final games of their careers.”
North Attleboro, 59 @ Framingham, 54 – Final – Framingham’s Victor Carrillo scored 17 points in the first quarter and had 22 by halftime but the Rocketeers clamped down defensively on the Flyers’ leading scorer, allowing him just four points in each the third and fourth quarters to get a comeback win. Behind Carillo, Framingham led 19-11 after one and took a 33-25 advantage into halftime. North scored 16 points in the third quarter, sparked by eight from senior Nate Gonsalves (14 points) to cut the deficit to 47-41 going into the fourth. In the final frame, senior Josh Montague scored nine of his team-high 19 points, Gonsalves went 4-for-4 from the line, and sophomore George Ladd (11 points) sank a key three to help North pull ahead for the win.
Oliver Ames, 70 @ Barnstable, 34 – Final – After an even start, Oliver Ames dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Raiders 32-9 to build a sizable halftime lead that it ever relinquished. The Tigers led by just one, 12-11, after eight minutes but then kicked it into gear, limiting Barnstable to single digits in each of the remaining three quarters. Harry DeChellis scored six of his team-high 13 points in the second quarter, Sean O’Brien (11 points) and Michael Greene (nine points) each hit a three in the second, while Amari Brown (eight points), Jay Spillane, Jake Erlich, and Evan Craig each scored as well.
Taunton, 68 @ New Bedford, 56 – Final – Taunton sophomore Danny MacDougall scored seven of his career-high 13 points in the second quarter, helping the Tigers outscore the Whalers 22-8 in the frame to create enough separation for the rest of the way. Tied 14-14 after eight minutes, Wesner Charles (12 points) added six points in the second, Mike Quinn scored five and sophomore Josh Lopes had four to help Taunton build a 36-22 lead by halftime. New Bedford was able to close the gap to nine (44-35) heading into the final quarter but Taunton closed the door with 24 points in the finale frame, including nine from Quinn.
Attleboro, 57 @ Durfee, 40 – Final – Attleboro won for the third time in its last four games to end the season on a high. Nyah Thomas was the top scorer for the Bombardiers with 13 points, 11 in the second half, and Jordyn Lako added 11. Hailey Perry chipped in with eight points off the bench in the second half for Attleboro, igniting its comeback on the road.
Franklin, 33 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 43 – Final
King Philip, 46 vs. Dartmouth, 34 – Final – Emma Glaser led the Warriors with 16 points and Faye Veilleux scored 11 as KP closed out the regular season with back-to-back wins.
Mansfield, 43 vs. Bishop Feehan, 22 – Final – The Hornets won the Roundball Classic with a strong second half, earning head coach Mike Redding his 300th career victory. Maggie Danehy scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and was named the tournament MVP. Sydney Mulkern had a team-high 13 points and Mady Bendanillo scored five points, pulled in six assists, and had four steals. Mansfield led 13-10 at halftime and by eight after three quarters. The Hornets sealed the win by outscoring the Shamrocks 17-4 in the fourth quarter.
Milford, 51 vs. Burncoat, 29 – Final – Milford picked up a win in its season finale, knocking off visiting Burncoat. Katie Maietta had a team-high 17 points while Jill Michaelson added 11 points for the Scarlet Hawks.
Oliver Ames, 51 @ Norwell, 63 – Final – Oliver Ames and Norwell were tied at halftime (24-24), and the Tigers trailed by just two (42-40) entering the final frame, but the Clippers put together their best quarter in the final eight minutes to outscore OA 21-11. Freshman Caroline Peper had a team-high 15 points while sophomore Caroline Flynn added 12 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds.
Taunton, 62 vs. New Bedford, 54 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
Attleboro, 10 @ Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk, 3 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – – Attleboro scored five goals in the second period to get a win in the regular season finale over Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk. Senior Sam Larkin scored a hat trick, Aidan Diggan and Cam Littig each scored twice, and Kyle McCabe finished with five points, including four assists. Freshman Nick Piazza earned the win in net for the Bombardiers.
Foxboro, 3 vs. Blue Hills, 0 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – – Foxboro scored once in each period and Espen Reager made 13 saves for the shutout as the Warriors claimed the Dan Jordan Invitational championship. Kirk Leach put the Warriors ahead less than four minutes into the contest, but Blue Hills goalie Brendan Todd (44 saves) made it tough for the Warriors to add to its lead. Sebastian Ricketts fired a wrist shot in with 5:11 left in the second period, and then Ronnie MacLellan (from Leach) iced the game with a power play goal late in the third.
Franklin, 2 vs. Marshfield, 1 – Final – Just over a minute after surrendering a shorthanded goal that tied the game, Franklin scored what turned out to be the game-winner with four minutes left in the second period. Just 1:18 after the Rams knotted the score at 1-1, Franklin’s Kyle Hedvig found Tom Tasker, and the junior defenseman buried his chance to put the Panthers ahead 2-1. Junior goalie Ray Ivers had a strong third period to help Franklin secure the win. Junior Shane McCaffrey put Franklin up midway through the first off an assist from Zac Falvey.
King Philip, 8 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 1 – Final
North Attleboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final
Taunton, 2 vs. Middleboro/Hull, 4 – Final
Franklin, 2 vs. Norwood, 3 – Final – Cassi Ronan and Amanda Lewandowski each scored a goal and had an assist for the Panthers against a Norwood team that needed a point to make the playoffs. Libby Carter also had an assist while Gabby Colace made 18 saves in net.
King Philip, 2 vs. Dedham, 3 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 0 – Final – Jessica Widdop made 26 saves to record the shutout and the Warriors wasted no time, scoring three goals in the first period to sweep the season series against WHSL and qualify for the state tournament. Three different players scored in the first for the Warriors, with Kenzi Fraser, Ella Waryas, and Skyler Sharfman lighting the lamp in the opening period. Lily O’Brien scored in the second on an assist from Emma Pereira.