The Panthers pounced for a 1-0 lead after the first period before tacking on two more in the second period to earn the win. Franklin limited the Warriors to just 15 shots on goal for the game.
“I thought we were good tonight, the first two periods I thought we played very well,” said Franklin head coach Margie Burke. “We got a little lax in the third, which we won’t be able to do when we get to the tournament, but overall I thought we played pretty well. Walpole is a good team, [the loss] was going to happen eventually but we responded.”
Mansfield/Oliver Ames came out with a lot of energy and had some early attacking zone time, but Franklin’s defense was up to the task and thwarted any Warrior attacks before they could turn into scoring chances.
The teams traded offensive spells, and there was a good pace to the game as the teams went back-and-forth up and down the ice. It wasn’t until late in the period that Franklin was able to grab the lead.
Senior Regan Paterson eluded a defenseman before tossing a shot on net that was turned aside by Warrior goalie Jess Widdop with a pad save. But the rebound popped right to Cassi Ronan and she lifted her backhand attempt under the bar and into the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage.
Paterson was awarded an assist on the play, giving her 100 career points.
That momentum seemed to carry into the second period, a frame in which the Panthers had the majority of control over. Franklin earned an early power play on a roughing call and didn’t need much time to capitalize. Off the ensuing faceoff, Paterson battled her way between two MOA defenders and then whipped a low shot on net that found the back of the goal for a 2-0 lead, just seven seconds into the man-advantage.
The Warriors made a push in the middle of the period with the best chance falling on the stick of freshman Skyler Sharfman, who ripped a hard slap shot but it was blocked by Franklin junior Gina Vignone and cleared out.
Franklin added to its lead with just over a minute left in the second period. Ronan jumped in front of an MOA forward to keep possession in the attacking zone, raced in along the boards and then blasted a shot upstairs for a 3-0 lead.
The third period belonged to the visitors, who had a lot of offensive zone time. While Mansfield/Oliver Ames had a lot of time in the attacking zone, it couldn’t register a ton of scoring games to go with it. Franklin’s defense did a nice job of preventing dangerous looks on goal.
“The defense has been solid all year long. All three of them played really well and didn’t give them many chances. We have Cassi listed as a defenseman too but it’s mostly Gina, Gianna [Cameron], Tina [Pisano], and Maddi [Dolan] got some shifts too, she’s young but we’ll get her in there.”
The Warriors finally got on the board with just over nine minutes left in the game. Freshman Sammy Ledin took advantage of a turnover at the blue line and raced in and fired a shot on goal. The first shot was turned aside by Gabby Colace but junior Alex Ledin was in perfect position to bury the rebound.
“We were limited from the good scoring areas of the ice, they kept us to the outsides,” said MOA head coach Roy Bain. “We were able to gain penetration just weren’t able to finish. In the third, the girls were tired of not executing, they really carried the bulk of the play and had a lot of zone time, they skated their butts off. They got a good result out of it but just ran out of time.”
Franklin junior Jordan Dwyer intercepted a pass and scored an empty net goal with just over a minute left to make it 4-1.
Franklin girls hockey (5-0-0 Hockomock, 13-1-1 overall) can clinch its first Hockomock League title with a win over Canton on Saturday. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (2-2-1, 5-5-3) will look to bounce back when it hosts Stoughton at 4:10 on Saturday.
WALPOLE, Mass. – Both times that Mansfield/Oliver Ames and Franklin met in the opening season of Hockomock League girls hockey, the game ended in a stalemate, including the opening game of the year. The two teams opened league play again this season and, when the Warriors tied the game with a power play goal inside the final 90 seconds of Saturday afternoon’s game at Rodman Arena, it looked like another tie was on the cards.
That was until Franklin senior Regan Paterson, who had given away the penalty that MOA had turned into the tying goal, stole a puck on the edge of the attacking zone and skated in alone on the goalie. A head fake, a good deke to the forehand and a drag to the backhand opened up the far post and she slid the puck into the back of the net with just 4.1 seconds on the clock.
Paterson’s goal sealed a 5-4 come from behind win for the Panthers in a game that saw four lead changes and was indicative of how most of the games in the Hockomock League have been played thus far.
“It was a great game,” said Franklin coach Margie Burke. “It seems like it’s always a great game when we play them.”
First-year Mansfield/Oliver Ames coach Roy Bain was obviously disappointed in how things ended but had plenty of positives to take away from the game.
“The only negative was the final score,” he said. “Everyone played their hearts out. We bent a couple times, never gave up, all the way to the last play. They just made one more play than us.”
The Panthers came out of the gates quickly with Paterson nearly opening the scoring within the first minute and then set up Jordan Dwyer in the slot, but both were denied by MOA freshman goalie Jessica Widdop (20 saves). Immediately following the second stop, MOA flew down ice and took the lead. Senior Lindsey Corning drove to the net and scored with the Warriors first shot of the game.
Franklin answered back two minutes later on the power play. Junior Gina Vignone flicked a backhand shot through a crowd in front and it snuck past Widdop to make it 1-1. The Panthers had several chances to grab the lead but Widdop made six saves in the opening period.
Sophomore Libby Carter had one chance stopped and then Paterson combined with classmate Cassi Ronan, who is back on the ice after taking the last two seasons off, behind the net. Ronan shuffled a pass to junior Giana Cameron who fired a shot that was tipped by Amanda Lewandowski right in front only to have Widdop, who is playing goalie for the first time, to get her shoulder onto the shot.
“She played incredible,” said Bain of Widdop. “It’s been a great surprise what we’ve gotten from her. There’s nothing more you can expect from a freshman goaltender. I can’t say enough about the way she played.”
It only took 25 seconds for the Panthers to get the lead in the second period. Ronan forced a good pad save from Widdop and Lewandowski was on hand to tap in the rebound. Emma Pereira brought MOA back level with a blast from the point off a face-off that made its way through bodies in front and found the back of the net.
Franklin started the period strong, but the Warriors grew into the game and started to dominate the action. Freshman Skylar Sharfman had three chances saved by Franklin goalie Gianna Cornetta (eight saves) and Mackenzi Fraser was stopped by Cornetta as well. With only 30 seconds left in the second, freshman Sammy Ledin had her shot partially saved, but the rebound landed on the goal line and Isabelle Shanteler reacted first to tap it in and make it 3-2 heading to the final 15 minutes.
“Win two out of three,” said Burke about the conversation in the Panthers locker room during the second intermission. “We just said to keep working hard and shoot more. They weren’t shooting enough and they weren’t winning the line, losing it at the blue lines, but we really controlled the play in the third.”
The Panthers heeded their coach’s words and dominated the final period. Franklin outshot MOA 10-1 in the third and the puck seemed stuck in the Warriors zone. Widdop made save after save to keep her team in it, but with 9:28 to play Franklin got the tying goal. Carter had her first chance saved but regained the puck on the side of the net, skated out to the circle and then snuck a shot just inside the near post.
Katelyn Brown nearly set up Dwyer for the go-ahead goal only to have Widdop get the tip of her glove to the shot. Ronan ended up creating Franklin’s fourth after picking up the puck behind her own net. She skated the length of the ice and drove to the net. While Widdop stopped the shot but the rebound popped out to Carter and she knocked it into the empty net with 3:11 to play.
“They work very well together and they have similar styles,” said Burke about the play of Ronan and Paterson. “Cassi coming back this year, she can play both sides of the puck, and we can go three ‘D’ and move Cassi up.”
With 1:51 left, MOA got a golden opportunity when Paterson went to the box. Just 23 seconds into the power play, the Warriors had the tying goal. Pereira had another blast from the point and this time it was redirected by Shanteler on the pst and into the top corner.
In past years, Paterson would have been stuck in the box for the rest of the game, but there was a rule change for this season that ends a penalty when a goal is scored. So, she was out there for the final seconds and she turned the game on its head.
“We rode some pressure and come back to score,” said Bain. “It brings the spirits up. It was a great game overall, the defense played great, the forwards skated their butts off, and without our goaltender we wouldn’t have been in the game.”
Burke added, “Two game, two wins, it’s great. We have a game on Wednesday and then we have one more and we go into a little break. It will be really nice to go into it with a little cushion and then the schedule is going to get really tough.”
Franklin (2-0) will try to build off this win it travels to Bishop Stang on Wednesday, while Mansfield/Oliver Ames (1-1) will try to bounce back when it travels to Stoughton.
2017-2018 Record: 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 state title game. Coach: Dennis Aldrich
For two straight winters, Canton has advanced to the TD Garden to play in the Div. 2 state title game. Two years ago, the Bulldogs shocked everyone by getting to the final, but last season there was an expectation that Canton could make a deep tournament run. Those high expectations are there again this year, as the first-ever Hockomock League champions return two experienced lines of forwards and defensemen that all saw time during the tournament run.
The first line returns the team’s top two scorers with senior forwards Maggie Malloy (10 goals, 13 assists) and Lauren Fitzpatrick (14 goals, nine assists) forming a dynamic partnership that sparked the Bulldogs attack last season. Malloy was particularly prolific in the playoffs, providing decisive goals throughout the playoffs. Second line center Andrea McNeil has graduated but sophomores Lizzie Tassinari, Maria Femia, and Ellie Rae Roberts provided speed and energy during solid rookie seasons.
Defense has been Canton’s best weapon in each of the last two seasons. Although outstanding goalie Colleen Kelleher has graduated, senior Ava Pacitti is earning rave reviews during the preseason and she will have a well-drilled group of defensemen in front of her. Seniors Katie Trerice and Leah McClellan and junior Meg Aldrich and Alexa Maffeo will form a solid top two pairings at the blue line, with McClellan adding the different dimension of also jumping into the attack as often as possible.
“Canton’s staple has always been one of a hard skating, defensively stingy, opportunistic team. This year should be no exception,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich, who is looking forward to the new challenge of defending a Hockomock League title.
2017-2018 Record: 14-4-4 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 first round. Coach: Margie Burke
Franklin had a very strong 2017-18 season, winning 14 games, including one in the postseason, and will try to build on that momentum to make another run at the postseason and to challenge inaugural league champ Canton at the top of the standings.
There is plenty of experience coming back to power the Panthers up the league standings. Senior Regan Paterson is one of the league’s top skaters and was the league’s top scorer last year with 18 goals and seven assists. Sophomores Victoria Quinn, Amanda Lewandowski, and Libby Carter will also provide offense after combining for 16 goals as freshmen. Junior Jordan Dwyer is also back up top after a 12-point season last year. While this a lot of youth in the forward lines, all saw time last season.
Defense will be one of the team’s strengths this season, with juniors Tina Pisano, Gina Vignone, and Gianna Cameron and senior Cassi Ronan all back to lead a veteran crew. One of the biggest changes for the Panthers will be in goal. Natalie Stott had an impressive freshman campaign but left to attend prep school, so Franklin will turn to sophomore Gabby Colace, who allowed only 0.56 goals against, saved 96 percent of the shots she faced, and had three shutouts as a freshman, and is ready to step into a bigger role. Senior Gianna Cornetta will also see time in net.
Franklin coach Margie Burke, who was honored with the National Ice Hockey Officials Association (NIHOA) Coach of the Year award last March, said, “I expect the hockey [in the league] to be very competitive again this year.”
2017-2018 Record: 11-9-2 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 first round. Coach: Jack Unger
King Philip finished second in the inaugural season of Hockomock girls hockey and nearly reached the Div. 2 quarterfinal, only losing to Archbishop Williams by single goal, and the Warriors bring back their leading scorers to try and make a run at the Hock title. With a mix of experience and youth, KP could give Canton a run in the league and be poised for a tournament run as well.
The forward line will be very experienced with seniors Meghan Gorman, Alli Meehan, Alli Wilson, and Emily Brawley all back to provide scoring punch. Leading scorer Nicole Connor is also back and the senior defender is one of the most dynamic players in the league, giving KP strong play at the blue line and adding to the attack. Connor will be joined in the defense by seniors Madelyn Kelley and Lilly Worthington.
Goaltending should be a strength for the Warriors this season with senior Lilly Potts and junior Cristina Coleman both capable of shutting down the opposition. The team is also loaded with underclassmen, which bodes well for the program’s future. Freshmen Sydney O’Shea and Morgan Cunningham are a pair of newcomers that could make instant contributions for the Warriors this season.
“Despite being a younger team overall, the players have tremendous potential,” said KP coach Jack Unger. “Typical of all the sports programs within the Hockomock League, each game is against the best inter-league contestants out there. We all have the ability to beat one another each time out.”
2017-2018 Record: 12-7-3 2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 first round. Coach: Roy Bain
While Mansfield/Oliver Ames has a new coach, as Roy Bain takes over the program this season, and will be looking to move on without leading scorer Cat Luciano, who is now at Holy Cross, there are 15 players returning from the team that got back into the state tournament last winter and nine freshmen that have added depth to the growing program.
Seniors Isabelle Shanteler (Mansfield) and Mackenzi Fraser (Foxboro) will try to make up some of Luciano’s scoring from last year. The duo will be on the top scoring line along with freshman Kylie O’Keefe (Foxboro) and provide the speed and energy to jumpstart the MOA attack. Unlike past years, the Warriors won’t be counting on one player to dominate the stats but will look to take advantage of its depth. Senior Lindsey Corning (Mansfield) will center the second line between sophomore wingers Ella Waryas (Foxboro) and Emma Garland (Mansfield), while sophomores Alex Ledin (OA) and Lily O’Brien (Mansfield) have shown promise as centers as well.
The defense is led by senior Danae Reager (Foxboro), who has been a varsity player for four years and sets the standard for the blue line group. Sophomores Melissa Shanteler (Mansfield) and Emma Pereira (OA) will be paired together, while Reager will be paired with sophomore Megan O’Hara (Mansfield). Freshman Jess Widdop (OA) has been outstanding in net during the preseason and has built the team’s confidence heading into the opening game.
Bain said of his new goalie, “In the 10 days since we’ve started practicing, she’s been nothing short of impressive. Her athleticism and work ethic will serve the team well as we enter the season.”
2017-2018 Record: 4-17 2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Rich Grasso
Last winter, Stoughton had its best season as a program, winning four games, including a three-game win streak early in the schedule. This year, the Black Knights will get a boost from a co-op with Sharon, which should increase the numbers in the program as it tries to add its first win in the Hockomock League to its recent accomplishments.
The loss of leading scorer Julia Russell to an injury, which also kept her out of the field hockey season, will be tough, but the Black Knights have several other experienced players coming back to try and pick up the slack. Senior Katie Widrow is one of the leaders on the forward line and she will be joined up front by sophomore Morgan Lessa and a pair of newcomers to keep an eye on: junior Taylor Kim and sophomore Samantha Sherman.
On defense, senior Jordan Lyons and sophomore Haley Nelson will be the returning players to watch, keeping things organized on the blue line. Behind the defense, junior goalie Brianna Buckley will be between the posts to try and keep the opposition out. Stoughton coach Rich Grasso called Buckley the team’s “show stopper” and she is looking to build off a solid year of experience in goal.
“The team has one goal in mind and that is to make the tournament,” said Grasso. “This is a huge task being in the Hockomock League playing against powerhouse teams…We are small in numbers but talented. Looking forward to proving we belong in that league.”