Hornets Knocked Out By Xaverian Comeback

Mansfield boys hockey
Mansfield senior Patrick McCafferty opened the scoring in the first round playoff match-up with Xaverian at the Canton Ice House. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – The final score was in no way indicative of the type of game it had been, but the end result was the same as last year for Mansfield against Xaverian in the opening round of the Div. 1 South tournament at the Canton Ice House.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hawks tacked on three goals in the final 1:02 of the game, including an empty net goal and one with six seconds on the clock, to add gloss to a 6-2 scoreline and knock the Hornets out of the playoffs for the second straight season.

“They played very disciplined hockey and they capitalized on our mistakes,” explained Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “It’s been a tough struggle with that all year, but I thought we battled back. I thought we played really well all three periods. We played with the same intensity with the lead and without the lead.”

Mansfield (9-7-5) came into this year’s game as the nine seed and Xaverian as the eight, a reversal of last season, and the game played out as these match-ups typically do. The game was end-to-end, hard-hitting, and tight.

Ryan Pomposelli had the game’s first chance straight off a draw but his point-blank effort was saved by Mansfield goalie Sean McCafferty at the near post. Two minutes later, the Hornets nearly took the lead with a shot from beyond the blue line by Jake Lund that took a slight deflection in front and turned into an awkward blocker save for A.J. Scott, who played at Stoughton last year.

McCafferty came up with a kick save to deny Ross Vona midway through the first and Scott was called upon to stop a backhanded effort by Cullin Anastasia. With four minutes left in the first, the Hornets took advantage of a power play opportunity to take the lead. Tyler Oakley’s shot from the point was tipped in front by Patrick McCafferty, giving Scott no chance.

“One of the things we talked about was getting off to a good start and playing with the lead and we did,” said Balzarini. “They outshot us in the first period but we were able to capitalize.”

The lead was doubled early in the second. Freshman Matty Copponi skated past his marker on the left side of the goal and attempted to saucer a pass in front to Coleman O’Brien but instead, the puck took a deflection and slid under the pads of the Xaverian goalie.

There was a delay before the officials signaled for a goal and then Scott argued that the net had been dislodged prior to the puck crossing the line. After a conversation between the officials, the goal stood and Mansfield had the 2-0 advantage.

“The ref was right there and he called it a good goal,” said Balzarini, “and that seemed to pick us up even more. We played with the same intensity all three periods, but they’re a good team.”

The Hornets could have added a third on two occasions. Dylan Tivnan forced Scott into a shoulder save with a wrister from the left circle after a quick transition and then Anastasia put the puck into the crease where a scrum of bodies was located but no one was able to find the necessary touch to knock it in.

Xaverian had speed to bother the Hornets, but generally, the defensemen, led by Tim Arnold and Oakley, were able to keep the Hawks to the outside and limit their chances. With 1:16 left in the second, Xaverian finally managed to get on the board. Pomposelli got a third bite of the apple from the edge of the crease and managed to lift it over the leg of the sprawling McCafferty, who had already made two saves in the sequence.

The goal gave the Hawks a little energy, but they took a penalty that appeared to give the impetus back to Mansfield. Unfortunately for the Hornets, a mix-up on an offensive zone face-off led to a tying goal. The puck could not be held in at the blue line and Josh Barton was on it in a flash, creating a shorthanded breakaway that made it 2-2 with just 15.2 on the clock.

Balzarini remarked, “It was just a miscommunication. We didn’t get the puck in deep on the first one and they were able to come down through transition in the neutral zone and on the second one we had a lefty on the right point and it got by him but, it happens and they capitalized.”

The momentum carried over into the third period. Xaverian quickly took control again and Austin Ricker was forced to give up a power play in order to stop a breakaway opportunity. On the power play, the Hawks crashed the net and, again after a couple of McCafferty saves, Matt Ryan was able to punch across the go-ahead goal.

Mansfield was struggling to create scoring chances against the organized Xaverian defense, which was clogging the shooting lanes. The Hornets only put five shots on goal in the third, although Patrick McCafferty did have a breakaway chance with six minutes to play that was saved by Scott.

With 1:02 remaining, as people were waiting to see when Mansfield would pull its goalie, Xaverian got a quick breakout of the zone and Matt Talarico scored to seal the win. An empty netter and a goal with barely any time on the clock would make the score far more lopsided than was the action on the ice.

Balzarini said, “They just kept coming and coming, but I thought player for player we hung right with them. It wasn’t a 6-2 game. I’m very proud of them.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/21/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 63 vs. Durfee, 55 – FinalDurfee exploded for 25 points in the third quarter to take a 46-41 advantage into the final frame, but Attleboro had a response with 22 fourth-quarter points to pull away. Sophomore Qualeem Charles scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the second half and hauled in 16 rebounds to pace the Bombardiers while classmate Tim Callahan hit four three-pointers, including two in the fourth quarter, on his way to a career-high 17 points.

Foxboro, 59 vs. Walpole, 40 – FinalSophomore Will Morrison scored a career-high 11 points as Foxboro ended its season by earning its 18th victory. Seniors Teddy Maher and Matt Rongione also added 11 points apiece while Anthony Mollica chipped in with nine points.

King Philip, 51 vs. Dartmouth, 50 – Final (OT)King Philip’s defense held Dartmouth to just six points in the fourth quarter to help force overtime. Pharoah Davis scored half of his eight points in the fourth quarter and the other half in the overtime period to help the Warriors end the season with a win. Bruce Santillus scored seven of his team-high 13 points in the opening quarter and was named to the all-tournament team. Senior Tom Madden added 12 points, including nine in the third quarter.

Mansfield, 66 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 32 – Final

Milford, 46 vs. Dedham, 31 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

North Attleboro, 48 @ Bishop Feehan, 30 – FinalNorth Attleboro limited the Shamrocks to just five points in the second quarter and then just one free throw in the third to finish its season on a winning note. The Rocketeers led 24-16 at halftime and then took a 35-17 advantage into the fourth. Junior Jake Petersen recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds while classmate Josh Montague chipped in with nine points. North finishes the season 9-11.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 43 @ Durfee, 49 – FinalAttleboro rallied from 18 down entering the fourth quarter and cut the lead to as little as four points, but could not get the road win in the season finale. Sam Pierce led the way with 20 points and Kim White added nine for the Bombardiers.

Mansfield, 50 vs. Lowell, 48 – FinalClick here for a Recap from this game.

North Attleboro, 42 vs. Bishop Feehan, 61 – FinalEmily Haskell scored a team-high 14 points for the Rocketeers.

Oliver Ames, 42 @ Norwell, 48 – Final

Boys Hockey
Foxboro, 8 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 2 – Final

Franklin, 3 @ Barnstable, 2 – Final (OT)Joe Lizotte scored the game-winner in overtime to send Franklin to the final of the Barnstable tournament to face Marshfield. The game counts as a 2-2 tie for MIAA seeding purposes. Brendan O’Rielly and Jack McGrath also scored for the Panthers.

Mansfield, 2 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 1 – FinalMansfield junior Chris Copponi help set up a pair of second period goals to lift the Hornets over the Trojans. Chris Copponi and senior Patrick McCafferty set up freshman Matt Copponi’s power play goal at 9:11. The Copponi brothers then combined to assist on junior Coleman O’Brien tally at 5:25 of the period.

North Attleboro, 4 @ Wayland, 0 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 2 @ Walpole, 1 – FinalCanton junior Maggie Malloy assisted on both of the Bulldogs’ goals, giving the visitors a win to close out the regular season. Malloy set up Lauren Fitzpatrick and Lizzie Tassinari for the goals.

Franklin, 7 vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 1 – Final

King Philip, 4 @ Mount St. Charles, 2 – Final

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 1 @ Milton, 5 – Final

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/17/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 9 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalAttleboro senior Eddie Noel scored twice, including his first career goal while senior Jake Parker netted a hat trick in the win. Kyle McCabe added a pair of goals for Big Blue.

Foxboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 4 – FinalMansfield raced out to a 3-0 lead but had to hold off a late surge from Foxboro to earn two points. Junior Chris Copponi scored a pair of goals, including an empty net goal late in the third period to secure the win. Patrick McCafferty (from Cullin Anastasia) and Adam Anastos (from Dylan Tivnan) also scored for the Hornets. Foxboro’s Brendan Tully and Ronnie MacLellan each scored once for the Warriors.

Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 8 – FinalTaunton limited Franklin to just one goal through two periods, but the Panthers exploded for seven goals in the final 15 minutes. Joey Lizotte, Cam Trask, and Luke Downie each scored a pair of goals to lead Franklin.

North Attleboro, 3 @ King Philip, 5 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 1 vs. Medfield/Norton, 1 – FinalLauren Fitzpatrick scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs, who remain unbeaten on the season.

Franklin, 8 vs. Dedham, 0 – FinalSenior Jackie Connelly had a hat trick and freshman Natalie Stott recorded another shutout for the Panthers in a big non-league win. Regan Paterson chipped in with a pair of goals, while Amanda Lewandowski, Jordan Dwyer, and Victoria Quinn each scored once.

King Philip, 3 vs. Medway/Ashland, 2 – FinalNicole Connor scored a power-play goal inside the final five minutes to lift the Warriors to the victory. Meghan Gorman scored a pair of goals for KP in the win.

Wrestling
Canton, 27 @ Sharon, 40 – FinalSam Vilk, Will Stern, Matt Callan, and Alex Bolt each earned pins for the Eagles in the win.

Stoughton, 13 @ Foxboro, 58 – Final

Franklin, 46 @ Oliver Ames, 12 – FinalOliver Ames’ Anthony Berksza and Dean Pacini each earned wins for the Tigers in the loss.

King Philip @ Taunton, 7:00

Mansfield, 43 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 12 – Final

North Attleboro @ Milford – Postponed to Thursday, 1/18 at 7:00.

Boys Swimming
King Philip, 55 @ Taunton, 39 – Final
Sharon @ Milford – Postponed to Thursday, 1/18 at 4:00.

Girls Swimming
King Philip, 56 @ Taunton, 38 – Final
Sharon @ Milford – Postponed to Thursday, 1/18 at 4:00.

Gymnastics
Taunton, 118.75 @ King Philip, 129.1 – FinalVault – Kamryn Li (THS) 9.0; Sidney Treeful (KP) 8.9; Alexis Berthiaume (KP) 8.7. Bars – Elise Ferreria (THS) 8.6; Sidney Treeful (KP) 8.3; Alexis Berthiaume (KP) 7.8. Beam – Sidney Treeful (KP) 9.4; Elise Ferreia (THS) 8.7; Alyssa Florio (KP) 8.1. Floor – Kailey Abbott (KP) 8.6; Alexis Berthiaume (KP) 8.5; Elise Ferreria (THS) 8.4. All Around
Sidney Treeful (KP) 35.4; Alexis Berthiaume (KP) 32.3; Kamryn Li (THS) 31.1.

Mansfield Edges North Behind Late Arnold Winner

Mansfield hockey
Tim Arnold (4) celebrates his power play goal with five minutes remaining that turned out to be the game-winner for Mansfield against North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Chris Copponi’s shot was scuffed. The forward barely making contact with the puck just outside the right circle, but enough contact was made to redirect it past several sliding North Attleboro players trying desperately to block the Mansfield junior’s attempt at a power play goal.

The puck squirmed through the crowd of bodies right to senior defenseman Tim Arnold, who took advantage of the space and a wrong-footed North goalie Ryan Warren to one-time it into the empty net.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Arnold’s goal with five minutes remaining in the third period turned out to be the game-winner for the Hornets, who held on to beat North 3-2 in Saturday night’s league encounter at the Foxboro Sports Center.

“He whiffs and it still gets through, but we’ll take it,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini outside the locker room after the game. “We’ve been working on our power play because we knew they’d be a tough opponent from the first time we played them (a 4-1 North win in the season opener) and we were just patient. Yeah, it was a misfire, but we’ll take it.”

The Hornets converted on two-of-five power play opportunities in the game, including the game-tying goal in the second period and the eventual winner in the third. Arnold’s goal came on the third power play chance for the Hornets in the final period.

“Penalties are part of the game,” said first-year North coach Ben McManama, “but we’re getting too many lazy penalties where we’re playing defense with our sticks and not our feet. It was a game where we were in it but we shot ourselves in the foot.”

He added, “We also have to have more energy all game. We’re not having a consistent effort and that’s hurt us.”

There was no lack of energy from the Hornets at the start of the game. Mansfield came out flying in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, part of what has made this one of the league’s top rivalries in the last few seasons.

Freshman Justin McIvor created an early scoring chance with a big hit on Will Yeomans on the half-board. The puck popped loose to Copponi for a one-timer from the slot, but Warren (21 saves) stood tall to stop it. Warren then came up with a big pad save to rob Jake Lund in the slot and then blocked the follow-up effort too.

“The first period has been a struggle all year because we’ve come out flat,” Balzarini explained. “We played Stoughton on Wednesday and we scored three goals in the first period and that was the stresser during practice on Friday to come out with intensity.”

The Hornets made the good start count. Senior defenseman Tyler Oakley jumped up to join the attack, skating right down the middle of the North defense. His first shot was saved but he collected the rebound and finished. It was the first of two goals and three points out of the senior defensemen in the game.

“That’s why they where the ‘C’ on their jerseys,” said Balzarini of Oakley and Arnold. “They’re both really good captains, really good leaders and for those guys to step up not only on the ice but off the ice has been huge for us.”

With 7:11 left in the first, a fire alarm went off, momentarily forcing the stands to empty and the teams to head back to the locker rooms. It also stole the momentum from the hosts and allowed North the chance to regroup.

Drew Wissler had North’s first good scoring opportunity when he caught Mansfield up ice and found space in the left circle, but his shot was saved by Hornets goalie Sean McCafferty. The Rocketeers tied the game two minutes later, with only 25.1 on the clock, when Wissler fed the puck to Anthony Zammiello for a shorthanded breakaway and the junior went five-hole for the score.

“Before I could even have a chance to talk to them, they knew that they didn’t come out ready,” said McManama of the fire alarm break. “We’ve had a lot of bad starts this year and it really needs to change. The team is aware of it, but we just need to suck it up and come out ready to play.”

North took its first lead early in the second period. Wissler flew down the left side again, opened his body and unleashed an unstoppable shot over the shoulder of McCafferty and just inside the top corner.

The lead lasted six minutes before Mansfield responded with a power play goal of its own. Oakley lined up a blast from the point that Warren could only parry. The puck fell to Cullin Anastasia and he deposited it into the open net.

The Hornets had the chance to get back in front early in the third but Patrick McCafferty saw his shot carom off Warren’s mask and off the boards behind the net. After Arnold scored, defenseman Nick Levine nearly got into the act for the Hornets but Warren again made an important close-range save.

With time running down and North scrambling for an equalizer, Jason McNeanyhad a tap in at the back post that went wide of an open net and Nick Raneri had a shot in the final minute that was kicked aside at the post.

“The penalties in these games disrupt the flow, so things may be going our way but a penalty for or against if we don’t capitalize changes the whole momentum of the game,” said McManama. “A good hockey team doesn’t get affected by these things, but we’re not there yet. We’re going to get there, but we’re just not there yet.”

Mansfield has now won two in a row and Balzarini is hoping the Hornets can build off a strong week. He said, “The momentum was ours from Wednesday to today and I’m hoping it continues [at practice] on Monday and Tuesday.”

Mansfield (3-3-1, 2-0-0) will host Brockton in a non-league game on Wednesday. North Attleboro (5-3-0, 1-1-0) will host Franklin at the New England Sports Village.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Panthers End Losing Streak With Win at Mansfield

Franklin hockey
Brendan O’Rielly scored a pair of goals to help Franklin bounce back and avoid a two-game losing streak in the league with a 5-2 win over Mansfield. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Sometimes even the top teams need a friendly bounce every once in a while.

With Saturday afternoon’s game at the Foxboro Sports Center tied at 2-2 early in the third period, Franklin senior Noah Nasuti turned at the blue line and flung a puck on net. It landed a few feet from goal and bounced on its edge and slid past Mansfield senior goalie Tony Rullo, who finished with 28 saves and had a strong overall game to keep the Hornets in it.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

That bounce allowed the Panthers, who seemed nervous at times in the attacking zone, to breathe a little easier. Two late goals, one on the power play and the other into an empty net, sealed a 5-2 victory for Franklin and put an end to a two-game losing streak.

“I know out third goal won’t be making the ‘Top 10’ on Sportscenter, but it was big for us,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane. “It gave us a little breathing room and we weren’t gripping the sticks so tight and we got into a flow.”

Everyone came into Saturday’s game thinking that Franklin was going to come out flying, motivated by last weekend’s state final rematch loss to St. Mary’s (Lynn) and the shocking loss to Taunton in midweek, which was the first loss for the Panthers in the league since the 2013-14 season. Franklin had not lost twice in the Hock since 2012-13.

Rather than Franklin asserting itself in the first, it was Mansfield that came out stronger and took the lead inside the first five minutes. James Bezeau fed a pass from the half-boards into the middle to a streaking Cullin Anastasia, who had a step on his defender and then slotted his shot five-hole for the opener.

“Everybody’s first shift, we wanted them to make good plays, get the first shot on net, make the first hit, and have them make the first save,” said first-year Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “We put in a good 15 minutes of hockey in the first period.”

Franklin had several chances in the first period to try and get the game on level terms. Nasuti had a good chance knocked down by Rullo, Luke Downie had a wrist shot from the left circle snagged and in the final minute Brendan O’Rielly had a one-timer from the slot saved by Rullo as well.

Despite a 9-8 advantage in shots, Spillane was not happy with the way the Panthers started the game. He said, “I expected us to come out in that first period and just explode and we didn’t do that. We have a lot of work in front of us. We haven’t played a full game…It’s hard to figure these guys out.”

The Panthers picked up the energy in the second period and started to control the play. Downie created a scoring opportunity on the forecheck but shot it into the chest of Rullo. Downie set up James Kilroe for a point-blank chance a couple minutes later but the shot was partially blocked and covered.

Mansfield almost doubled its lead against the run of play when Patrick McCafferty got behind the Franklin defense but his backhand effort was kept out by a combination of Owen Ginley’s shoulder and the post. Rullo then came through with a huge stop, going post-to-post and stretching out a pad to rob Adam Assad after a give-and-go with Jeremy Miller.

The pressure eventually paid off for Franklin with freshman defenseman Colin Oppelt having a shot from the point tipped by Kilroe and the rebound cleaned up by O’Rielly to tie the game. Just 10 seconds later and it was the Panthers in front after Dan Magazu sliding a shot under Rullo’s pads, assisted by Kenny DeMerchant and Jack McGrath.

“[Dan] is a sophomore we don’t play much, but he scores a goal every time we put him out there,” said Spillane. That’s his third goal, so putting players out there like that lets the upperclassmen know their jobs are not secure.”

A minute later, Mansfield tied the score again. After a scramble in front of Ginley, freshman Chris Jenkins got the final touch (Cullen Murphy was credited on the score sheet) to make it 2-2, despite the Hornets being outshot 12-7 in the period.

“The issue in the second period was that we played their game; we didn’t play our game,” said Balazarini. “We were flooding the neutral zone, taking away their D-to-D pass, and then we kind of strayed away from that.”

Franklin got the break it needed 2:24 into the third period, when Nasuti saw his shot find the back of the net.

“It’s tough,” Balzarini said. “They were getting pucks to the net from everywhere. They did a good job at that. It is what it is. That’s hockey. But we didn’t stop and we had some good chances.”

The Panthers were on top on the scoreboard and on the ice, but Mansfield had its chances to get back into the game. Matt Farragher twice in the span of a minute came flying down the right wing and had a shot from the edge of the circle but Ginley (22 saves) was able to glove one and stand tall to stop the other.

Franklin doubled its lead on the power play with 2:09 remaining. Assad pushed the puck to Miller behind the goal and dashed to the net. Miller passed it back out in front and Assad roofed it for a 4-2 lead. O’Rielly made sure of the two points with an empty net goal (his second) in the final minute.

“I like the way we competed in the second and third periods,” said Spillane. “Our forecheck really came to life, our speed jumped out, and the goals came, but that should be consistent every game, every shift.”

After a trying week, Spillane was happy to see the Panthers bounce off their uncustomary position at the bottom of the league standings. He said, “I think we’re going to see this every game in the Hockomock League. Once the message was sent that they’re beatable. we’re going to get everyone’s ‘A’ game. There’s no gimmes, at least not for us.”

Franklin (7-4, 2-1) will be back in Foxboro on Wednesday to face the Warriors, while Mansfield (5-4-1, 2-1) will be on the road to face Oliver Ames.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/18/17

Today’s games are listed below.

Girls Basketball
Milford, 51 vs. Hopedale, 19 – FinalMilford junior Kate Irwin had a team-high 12 points while Emma Liskov added 10 points and Emily Piergustavo chipped in with nine points.

Hockey
Canton, 1 vs. Medfield, 1 – FinalClick here for a recap from this game.

Mansfield, 9 @ Foxboro, 1 – FinalMansfield had 15 different players register a point in a big win over Foxboro. Cullin Anastasia had two goals and two assists to lead the Hornets while Patrick McCafferty and Matt Farragher each netted a pair of goals. Tim Arnold, Adam Anastos, James Bezeau and Dylan Tivnan each registered two points as well.

Franklin, 3 @ Taunton, 5 – FinalTaunton battled to take a 3-2 lead through two periods and then finished off the Panthers in the third period. The Tigers scored an early third period goal to go up 4-2 before Franklin cut the deficit to one with 2:11 to play. However, Taunton scored an empty netter from its defensive zone with 34 seconds to go to ice the game. Zack Albert had four points, registering three assists and scored the game-winning goal. Nick Terry scored twice and had one assist while Jordan Hoey and Mike Volkmann each scored once. Justin Chappell made 24 saves to earn the win.

King Philip, 2 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final

Wrestling
Sharon, 29 @ Canton, 31 – Final

Foxboro, 54 @ Stoughton, 21 – Final

Oliver Ames, 12 @ Franklin, 44 – FinalOliver Ames received wins from Liston Funai (138), Dean Pacini (195) and Jack Mills (285).

Taunton, 28 @ King Philip, 51 – FinalTaunton picked up wins from Josh Alves (106), Josh Grasso (126), Elijah Simmons (195), Woudanly Danger (220) and Mason Frank (285).

Milford, 6 @ North Attleboro, 51 – FinalNorth Attleboro’s Nick Gould earned his 100th career win in the Rocketeers’ victory.

Swimming
Boys
King Philip @ Attleboro, 3:30
Milford @ Canton, 5:00
Franklin, 45 @ Taunton, 49 – Final
Mansfield, 88 @ Oliver Ames, 95 – Final

Girls
King Philip @ Attleboro, 3:30
Milford @ Canton, 5:00
Franklin @ Taunton, 4:00
Mansfield, 91.5 @ Oliver Ames, 87.5 – Final

Gymnastics
Sharon @ King Philip, 7:30

Girls Hockey
Canton, 2 vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 2 – FinalCanton twice battled back from a one goal deficit, including scoring the tying goal inside the final two minutes to earn the tie. Sophomore Lauren Fitzpatrick and senior Rebecca Eckler each scored a goal for the Bulldogs.

Franklin, 0 vs. Medfield, 4 – Final

King Philip, 2 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 – Final