Mansfield Skates Past North For Balzarini’s 100th Win

Mansfield boys hockey
North Attleboro goalie Ryan Warren (left) makes a pad stop on a backhand shot from Mansfield sophomore Matty Copponi in the first period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For two periods, the Mansfield Hornets boys hockey team controlled the game, finally solving North Attleboro senior goalie Ryan Warren in the final seconds of the second period.

And after that, Mansfield turned to their own netminder, junior Sean McCafferty, to thwart a furious comeback attempt from the Rocketeers in the third period, resulting in a 2-0 decision for the visiting Hornets.

“That was a great game. North Attleboro is relentless, they really are, in all aspects of the game,” said Mansfield coach Michael Balzarini, who earned his 100th career win with the result. “[North Attleboro] got better period by period, they just kept coming and coming. But this was a team win, we played as a team tonight. And Sean McCafferty played out of his mind. His rebound control was great, he was phenomenal.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Balzarini previous had successful stints at Dover-Sherborn and Milford before coming to Mansfield two seasons ago.

A dominant first period saw the Hornets skate to an 8-1 advantage on shots on goal, but no advantage on the scoreboard. While North Attleboro asserted itself more in the second frame, the Hornets still had the edge in play and shots (19-8).

Warren denied Mansfield sophomore Matty Copponi in the first period on a nice backhand attempt with a sprawling pad save. The senior goalie kept senior Jack Garland off the board six minutes into the second on a nice chance at the back post, made a terrific stop on a one-timer from senior Chris Copponi with 7:30 to go in the second, and then gobbled up a hard slap shot off the stick of junior Joseph Troiano.

It wasn’t until the 20th shot, with less than 10 seconds to go in the second period, that the Hornets struck.

North Attleboro had its first power play of the game with 2:43 left in the second period but couldn’t generate any serious scoring chances. Mansfield capitalized on the momentum gained from the kill and took the lead with 8.4 seconds left to go in the frame.

Chris Copponi got the play going, forcing a turnover in the attacking zone with a hit along the boards. The puck popped to senior Brad Grant and his blast was knocked over the net by Warren (26 saves). Garland was first to the puck, he connected with Matty Copponi, who quickly fed older brother Chris right in front for the goal.

“I thought we controlled the play for the most part but getting that goal was huge, with only nine seconds or so left, it was huge,” Balzarini said. “It helped put the momentum our way. We knew they would come out hard in the third period.”

For North Attleboro, it was a tough goal to swallow after just having a power play and an improved period over the first.

“The minute, minute and a half after a power play is so important and we have to tighten that up,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “It’s a crucial part of the game. After a power play and the end of a period, one of the most important times in a game. We just have to get better there.”

Despite giving up a late goal int he second, North Attleboro came out flying in the third period, putting 15 shots on frame. Just seconds into the period, the Rocketeers were testing McCafferty, who was clearly up for the challenge.

North senior Anthony Zamiello found senior Justin Moccia in the slot for an open wrist shot but McCafferty turned it away. The Rocketeers earned another power play and had a big chance off the stick of junior Jeff Baker but McCafferty knocked it down and stood tall on a pair of rebound chances.

Just after the power play expired, the Rocketeers had one of their best chances when Zammiello and senior Todd Robinson found themselves alone in front of the net, and a pass from the former to the latter led to a one-timer in close but McCafferty made an amazing stop to keep the puck out.

“He stepped up tonight — he was calm, he wasn’t frantic, he was in the zone the entire game,” Balzarini said of McCafferty. “Coming off of the loss against Canton, I thought he really elevated his game tonight.”

Mansfield couldn’t capitalize on a power play attempt with 9:16 to go, and was whistled for a trip with 5:46 to go to put the hosts back on the man-advantage. The Hornets were whistled for another penalty 44 seconds into the advantage, giving North a 5-on-3 for 1:17.

But one save for McCafferty and a terrific individual defensive play from senior Coleman O’Brien canceled the power play chance for the Rocketeers. With just under three minutes to go, North Attleboro sophomore Tyler Sarro made a nice read on a clearance attempt, intercepting the pass to go in alone on net but whistled his shot wide of frame.

Junior Dennis Morehouse had another big chance with a minute to go on a loose puck at the back post but he couldn’t get the puck past McCafferty (25 saves).

With just under a minute to go, North Attleboro had an attacking zone faceoff but Matty Copponi won it back to Troiano, who alertly flipped the puck out into the neutral zone and Chris Copponi won the foot race and tapped it into the empty net to go up 2-0 with 50.9 to go.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We’re trying to get better starts,” McManama said. “When our guys are going and we’re forechecking hard, we’re a very good team. But we’re not seeing it for 45 minutes, we’re seeing it spurts. It’s something we know about but we’re working about.

“We have to be tougher in front of the net, we have to bear down. We’re still not going at 100 percent in front of the net, that’s how goals are scored. It doesn’t have to be pretty.”

Mansfield boys hockey (2-1 Hockomock, 8-2 overall) concludes its three-game road trip on Saturday when it travels to Aleixo Arena to take on Taunton at 2:00. North Attleboro (2-1 Hockomock, 4-5 overall) returns to action at the New England Sports Village on Saturday against King Philip at 4:30.

Power Play Goals Lift Canton to Win Over Mansfield

Canton boys hockey
Canton junior Johnny Hagan scored twice and assisted on another goal to help the Bulldogs beat Mansfield 4-0 on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Every team talks about the importance of cashing in on power play opportunities, but teams don’t typically expect to have as many chances as Canton did on Saturday night. The Bulldogs were given a man advantage 11 times against Mansfield and scored three times, including twice in the first period to take control.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Special teams were the story of the night for Canton, which added a crucial shorthanded goal late in the third period that sealed the win, and the Bulldogs skated away with a 4-0 victory over the Hornets on Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Canton Ice House.

Mansfield started the game with a flurry of chances, using an early power play of its own to spark its offense. Matt Copponi, Jack Garland, and Jake Lund were some of the Hornets who created early scoring opportunities but were denied by Canton senior goalie Mike Staffiere (22 saves).

“We had good looks,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini. “We didn’t give up, even the second period with all those penalties I thought the momentum was going our way. We had our chances but their goalie played well.”

With nine minutes left in the first, Brian Grant stepped up and had a chance driving to the net. Staffiere got a piece and the rebound trickled just wide of the post and seconds later Braedon Copparini had a shot that went narrowly wide as well.

“They’ve got a boatload of talent over there,” Canton coach Brian Shuman said. “They’ve got defensemen who are basically like forwards and we expected some flurries and it was good that we had a good goalie to back us up.”

Three minutes later, Canton took the lead. On the power play, Johnny Hagan weaved his way past several Mansfield defensemen and slipped a backhand shot under Mansfield goalie Sean McCafferty, who managed to keep it out but then the rebound was pounced on by Ryan Nolte.

Just three minutes later and the lead was doubled. After a penalty was called, the Bulldogs had a face-off to McCafferty’s left. Hagan was kicked out of the face-off and Nolte stepped in. He won the draw back to Hagan, who was cutting across the circle onto his forehand. The junior forward took the puck in stride and rifled a wrister inside the far post to make it 2-0.

Shuman said, “We had to mix it up a little bit. They knew we were going to run certain plays over and over and finally we just had to keep it simple and get some pucks to the net and get some guys out in front.”

McCafferty (35 saves) stopped a shorthanded breakaway chance by Tommy Ghostlaw before the end of the period and he kept that momentum going in the second, making 19 saves in that period alone. The Hornets were called for six penalties in the second and spent all but about three minutes on special teams in the period.

Hagan nearly got his second assist of the game when he set up Jack Connolly pinching in at the back post only to have McCafferty get across and get a shoulder to it. Hagan also hit the post and had another big chance saved when Connolly found him in space inside the circle.

Chris Lavoie had several chances driving towards the net from the right circle but couldn’t find the angle to beat the goalie. Tommy Vaughn had one of Canton’s best chances when he stole the puck from a Mansfield defenseman right in front of goal but sent his shot over the bar.

“You’re basically using six forwards and four ‘D’ and those guys get tired and credit to their goalie, he made some saves and they made some blocks,” Shuman explained. “It’s kind of ironic that when you’re on all those power plays it can wear you down a little bit, especially when you don’t score.”

Despite playing down a player for much of the period, Mansfield did have a couple of chances. Nick Levine had a shot from the point that was saved and the rebound nearly caromed back in off a Canton defenseman. The best chance of the period fell to Austin Ricker, who got a clean breakaway shorthanded only to be stoned by a great blocker save from Staffiere.

“Mike was probably tested the most he’s seen this year and he played the best he has this year,” said Shuman about his goalie. “He’s an exceptional goalie and he would’ve been a starter on any other team for the past two years if he wasn’t playing behind Quinn [Gibbs].”

Mansfield cleared off 1:16 of a penalty that extended into the third period and the Hornets were still in the game, down just two goals. Canton had the first good chance of the third when Ryan Colby rode a pair of challenges and still managed to slide the puck just wide of the post. Hagan and Nolte combined again on another power play chance but again McCafferty made the stop.

With six minutes to play, the teams traded great chances. Copponi flicked a pass into the slot for Coleman O’Brien but the senior missed the net with his shot and then seconds later Joe Robinson had a breakaway but the puck slid off the toe of his stick when he went to shoot.

““The second period, I think we had two minutes of 5-on-5 hockey,” said Balzarini. “They scored three power play goals and a shorthanded, but I thought when we played 5-on-5 we played well.”

Staffiere came through again to protect the lead when he made the save on a chance for Garland in the slot. That proved to be critical inside a minute when Hagan blocked a shot at the blue line, turned it into a breakaway and then calmly picked his spot to beat the goalie for a three-goal lead.

“That was huge,” said Shuman. “Last year we struggled to get out to the point and block shots and the past two games in particular, Joe Robinson last game and Johnny this game making huge blocks. You have to pay the price in this game.”

John Gormley had a chance for Mansfield that hit the bar and stayed out and with just a minute later, with three minutes left, Canton secured the victory on its 10th power play of the night. Connolly fired a shot from the point and Timmy Kelleher had the deft tip to find the back of the net.

Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Ice House was held in honor of Reo Todesca and Kristin Rocha, who were both connected to the Canton hockey program and both passed away a year ago. Proceeds from the night were donated to the Reo Todesca Memorial Foundation and the Kristin Rocha Memorial Scholarship.

“It was an intense hockey game but it was for a good cause,” said Shuman. “That’s really what the night is all about. We play a silly game and tonight the money raised is going to two good causes, so we’re happy about that.”

Canton (6-0) will travel to face King Philip on Wednesday night, while Mansfield (7-2) will travel to the New England Sports Village to face North Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/15/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 4 vs. Old Rochester, 0 – Final

Canton, 5 vs. Plymouth North, 0 – Final

King Philip, 4 @ Bishop Feehan, 0 – FinalAfter a scoreless first period, King Philip scored twice in the final five minutes of the second period to gain control of the game. Joe Boselli put KP up 1-0 on an unassisted goal with 4:33 to play in the middle period and Chris Daniels made it 2-0, converting a pass from Rocco Bianculli on the power play with 2:19 to go to make it 2-0. Ryan Fitzpatrick made it 3-0 on a feed from Brendan Shandley, who made it 4-0 with an empty net goal. The Warriors went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, including a five minute major in the third. James Lewis made 23 saves and posted his second straight shutout.

Mansfield, 5 vs. Winthrop, 2 – FinalMansfield built a two-goal lead in the first period and never relinquished it for a win over Winthrop. Five different players found the back of the net for Mansfield, who went a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. Brian Grant (from Jake Lund) and Chris Copponi (power play from Matt Copponi and Brad Grant) put the Hornets ahead after one period and Brad Grant (Matt Copponi) made it 3-0 before Winthrop got on the board. Coleman O’Brien (Matt Copponi, Austin Ricker) and Lund (empty net goal) scored in the third period. Junior Sean McCafferty made 28 saves for the win in net.

Oliver Ames, 3 @ North Attleboro, 2 – FinalAll of the scoring game in the opening 15 minutes, Oliver Ames gaining a 3-2 edge through the first period and holding onto it for the next half hour. Oliver Ames junior Hunter Costello scored the first two goals for the Tigers and then set up freshman Bryan Kearns for his first career goal, which turned out to be the game-winner. Senior Cullen Gallagher added two assists and junior Owen Connor made 20 saves in net. Anthony Zammiello and Jeff Baker scored for the Rocketeers.

Stoughton, 0 @ St. John Paul II, 5 – Final

Girls Hockey
Franklin, 5 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

King Philip, 11 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.

Wrestling
Marlboro Tournament (Canton), 9:30 – Canton had seven wrestlings earn fourth place or better and scored 135.5 points as a team to take fourth place at the Marlboro Early Bird Tournament. Eddie Marinilli was the 145 champion, earning three pins on the day including in the finals in just 39 seconds. Harry Carter (132) and Jack Turano (113) each earned second place finishes, Derrell Brown (220) took third, and Cole Murphy (170) and Zach Peters (106) finished fourth overall for the Bulldogs.

Mike Melish Duals (Foxboro, Sharon) – Both Foxboro and Sharon each won three matches at the Mike Melish duals, with the Warriors going 3-0 and the Eagles posting a 3-1 mark. Foxboro opened the day with a 54-11 win over Scituate, highlighted by 10 pins including the first varsity falls for Sean Bubencik and Cam Prescott. The Warriors beat Bridgewater-Raynham, 47-18, with TJ Whitehouse, Tom Cullen, and Aaron Kaplan all earning pins, and . then closed the day with a 55-12 victory over Bristol-Plymouth/Coyle & Cassidy. Adam Lanctot earned his 100th career win in the final match. Sharon picked up wins over Northbridge (63-12), Nauset (71-12) and Bristol-Plymouth/Coyle & Cassidy (1-0, forfeit) and lost to Plymouth South (65-12).

Lawrence Quad (Franklin) – Franklin started the day with a pair of setbacks, falling to Lawrence and Salem (NH). The Panthers dropped match to Lawrence (40-30) and Salem (37-37, criteria). Franklin finished strong by picking up a win over St. John’s Prep (36-29). Jake Carlucci, Jordan Carlucci and Caleb MacLean each went undefeated on the day.

Milford Tournament (Milford, King Philip), 10:00

Mansfield Quad (Mansfield) – Mansfield swept the competition at its own quad, going 3-0 with three big wins. The Hornets knocked off Barnstable (64-17), Braintree (49-24), and Brockton (58-18) to improve to 7-0 on the season.

North Attleboro Quad (North Attleboro) – North Attleboro hosted its second quad meet of the season, suffering three losses on the day. The Rocketeers suffered close losses to Norton (44-33) and Chariho (39-33) as well as Hope (44-21). Michael Burns (145, one pin), Liam Rizk (195, two pins), and Mateusz Kudra (285, one pin) all went 3-0 on the day for the Rocketeers.

Marshfield Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames had a terrific day at the Marshfield Super Quad, posting a 4-0-1 record. The Tigers posted wins over Duxbury (60-24), Pembroke (52-19), Whitman-Hanson (60-18), and Tollgate (45-34) while finishing level with host Marshfield (40-40). John Dobbin, Billy Tat, and Dean Pacini each posted perfect 5-0 records on the day while Nick McGovern and Andrew Fraser were both undefeated at 4-0.

BC High Quad (Stoughton) – Stoughton went 1-1-1 on the day at the BC High Quad. The Black Knights beat Weymouth (48-24), tied the hosts BC High (36-36) and suffered a loss to Hingham (42-30).

Sandwich Tournament (Taunton) – Taunton had a tournament-best four individual champions and had seven grapplers finish fourth or better. The Tigers had 154 points to take third overall in the tournament. Candido Santos (180), Christian Balmain (152, named Most Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament), Devin Wilson (220), and Woudanly Danger (285) each won their brackets, Taunton tying Sandwich with four champions. James Collins (106) and Mason Frank (285) took third and Wansley Perceval (120) was fourth overall.

Gymnastics
Sharon 100.7 @ Franklin, 134.7 – FinalFranklin’s Mia Lizotte and Sadie Rondeau took first and second overall in the All Around to pace the Panthers to a season-opening win over Sharon. Lizotte scored a 35.95 to take first with Rondeau right behind in second with a 33.10. Franklin freshman Kate Rudolph had a memorable debut, scoring in three events – bars (8.1), beam (8.25), and floor (8.55) – for the Panthers.

Boys Indoor Track
Stoughton, 79 vs. Foxboro, 20 – FinalThe Black Knights took first place in 10 events, including both relays, on its way to a big win over Foxboro. Winners for Stoughton included Jeff Grier (55M dash, 6.93), Clayton Rahaman (300M, 38.37), Colin Rahaman (1000M, 2:55.53), Robert Currier (2 Mile, 11:48.32), David Peters (55M hurdles, 7.70) and long jump, 20-03.25), Mark Edge (shot put, 40-01.00), and Jaden Falaise (high jump, 6-02.00). Foxboro’s Will Regan won the 600M (1:27.68) and Ryan Proulx (4:49.29) and Trey Lawson (5:02.47) took first and second, respectively, in the 1 Mile for the Warriors.

Attleboro, 39 vs. Franklin, 61 – FinalFranklin won a total of nine events, including both relays, and took first and second in four of those events. The Panthers had the top two finishes in each the 600M (Daniel Barrow [1:30.52] and Michael Hagen), the 1000M (Camden Harrington [2:51.98] and Nicholas Calitri), the 1 Mile (Tyler Brogan [4:40.69] and Dylan Kehoe) and the 2 Mile (Brogan [10:05.23] and Calitri). Other individual winners for Franklin included Liam Pek (300M, 38.19), Jared Cain (high jump, 5-08.00), and Andrew Faught (long jump, 19-08.00). Attleboro swept the 55M dash, with Colin Levis taking first (6.90) followed by Dante Williams and Henry Boateng. David Cataloni (55M hurdles, 8.26) and Ethan Crosby (39-04.00) also won for Attleboro.

Sharon, 50 vs. Milford, 50 – FinalMilford earned its second straight tie to start the season, finishing level at 50-50 with Sharon. Sharon won seven events while Milford took first in five events. Sharon’s Chris Gong (55M dash, 6.71 and long jump, 20-05.00), Alexander Starovoytov (1 Mile, 4:49.13 and 2 Mile, 10:07.60), and Patrick McManus (55M hurdles, 8.47 and high jump, 5-10.00) were double winners for the Eagles. Milford’s Hugo Lopes (300M, 37.73), Ryan Kelley (600M, 1:30.38), Joey Madden (1000M, 2:43.80), and Josh Ligor (shot put, 37-07.50) won events for the Hawks.

North Attleboro, 66 vs. Canton, 34 – FinalThe Rocketeers won nine of 10 individual events, including a sweep of the high jump, to pick up a victory over Canton. Owen Nassaney (6-02.00), Omar Jasseh, and Nick Taylor took the top three spots in the high jump. Other winners for North included Jasseh (55M dash, 6.92 and long jump, 21-01.00), Liam Monahan (600M, 1:28.90 and 2 Mile, 10:33.84), Jack Clarke (1000M, 2:55.07), Skyler Poirier (1 Mile, 4:52.42), Nick Taylor (55M hurdles, 9.31), and Emmett Ruote (shot put, 38-00.50). Canton’s Jonathan Cherry won the 300M (38.61) while Junior Sainvil took second in the long jump (20-02.50) and the 55M dash (6.98).

Mansfield, 87 vs. King Philip, 13 – FinalMansfield swept five events to roll to a big win over King Philip. The Hornets wept the 55M dash (Greg Waters [6.95], Aidan Sacco, Joe Cappelletti), the 300M (Dan Knight [38.55], Tyler King, Jack Rivard), the 1000M (Mike Mullahy [2:50.77], Peter Sullivan, Peter Oldow), high jump (Andrew Williams [5-10.00], Ethan Thevenot, Jake Wall) and the long jump (Sacco [19-01.00], Williams, Thevenot). Mansfield freshman Dylan Buchanan earned his first victory in the 55M hurdles (9.31), senior Paxton Howard ran a personal best 10:12 in the 2 Mile, and Colbey Eason had a meet-best shot put toss of 50-00.00. King Philip’s Joshua Smith (600M, 1:31.30), Michael Norberg (2 Mile, 10:13.48), Alexander Hagen (55M hurdles, 9.45), and Terrell Jacobs-Baston (shot put, 47-06.25) each had second place finishes.

Taunton, 47 vs. Oliver Ames, 53 – FinalOliver Ames and Taunton split first place in all 12 events but it was OA that took seven second place finishes to get the close win. Sean Flaherty (1:30.29) and Ryan Petrillo took first and second in the 600M, Rory McLaughlin (4:44.13) and Nate Reservitz were the top two finishers in the 1 Mile, and Aaron MacDonald (19-11.25) and Chukwubuikem Akanegbu were the top two jumpers in the long jump. Flaherty also won the 55M hurdles (8.97) while Kyle Sarney won the 2 Mile (10:25.05) for OA. Taunton’s Dylan Kullas (55M dash, 7.08), Sebastien Celestin (300M, 37.66), Cameron Parker (1000M, 2:51.42), Mark Brown (shot put, 43-04.00), and Steven Westgate (high jump, 5-10.00) all had first place finishes.

Girls Indoor Track
Stoughton, 54 vs. Foxboro, 46 – FinalStoughton won both relays and a total of eight events, including a sweep in the 55M dash, to pick up a close win over Foxboro. Junior Chinazo Odunze (7.83), senior Gabriela Diaz, and senior Karly Estremera took first, second, and third, respectively, to sweep the 55M dash for Stoughton. Diaz won the 300M (46.17), Rebecca Lally earned first in the 600M (1:49.51), Cintia Khouzami won the 55M hurdles (9.51), Molly Tuner was the winner of the high jump (4-08.00), and Odunze earned second win with a 14-08.00 leap in the long jump. For Foxboro, Lexi Quinn was a triple winner, taking first in the 1000M (3:24.44), 1 Mile (6:11.95), and the 2 Mile (12:42.15) while junior Grace Groves won the shot put (26-07.00).

Attleboro, 36 vs. Franklin, 64 – FinalFranklin showed its depth, taking at least two of the top three spots in all individual events by one to earn a victory over Attleboro. Jillian Fenerty (300M, 45.86), Samantha Powderly (600M, 1:48.44), Julia Fenerty (1000M, 3:18.54), Daniella Pierre (55M hurdles, 9.37), and Dreya Martin (high jump, 4-10.00) each had individual wins for Franklin. Attleboro’s Kelly Neuendorf and Abisola Olaogun were two-time winners, wih Neuendorf taking first in both the 1 Mile (5:39.04) and the 2 Mile (12:36.36) and Olaogun crossing first in the 55M dash (7.82) and winning the long jump (14-10.00). Tianna McDonald (shot put, 28-06.50) also had a win for the Bombardiers.

Sharon, 60 vs. Milford, 40 – FinalMilford won three events and swept relays, but Sharon earned first place finishes in seven individual events to earn the win. Jada Johnson was a triple winner for Sharon, taking first in the 55M hurdles (8.84), the high jump (5-08.0), and the long jump (17-05.00) while Daphne Theiler won both the 1 Mile (6:00.83) and the 2 Mile (13:01.27). Elliana Hershman (1000M, 3:26.07) and Claudia Sevi (shot put, 29-02.00) rounded out the winners for Sharon. Milford’s Sarah Flanagan (55M dash, 7.61), Kerry O’Connor (300M, 42.64), and Bella Gonzalez (600M, 1:49.57) won for Milford.

North Attleboro, 73 vs. Canton, 26 – FinalNorth Attleboro swept the 600M and 55M hurdles and took first in a total of eight individual events to earn a win over the Bulldogs. Sophomore Tess Collins clocked in at 1:42.51 to win the 6O0M with Sam Hawkins and Allison Carter taking second and third, respectively. In the 55M hurdles, Ari Preacher (9.23) took first with Sabrina Hauer and Cassidy Becker right behind. Stephanie Hawkins (1000M, 3:19.47), Marta Botelho (1 Mile, 6:29.71), Catherine Hanewich (2 Mile, 13:01.54), Julia Mechlinski (shot put, 33-03.25), Air Preacher (high jump, 4-08.00) and Celine Ibrahim (long jump, 15-10.25) also won events for North. Canton’s Nicole Brown was a double winner, taking first in both the 55M dash (7.59) and the 300M (43.85).

Mansfield, 68 vs. King Philip, 32 – FinalMansfield won 10 of the 12 events and swept the 1000M race to earn a win over King Philip. Sophomore Grace Fernandez took first in the 1000M in 3:21.52 with freshman Katherine Miller and junior Jessica Alestock taking second and third, respectively. Amanda Mangano was a triple winner for the Hornets, taking first in the 55M dash (7.63), high jump (5-00.00), and long jump (16-05.25). Other winners for Mansfield included Alexis Kiyanda (300M, 45.37), Bryn Anderson (600M, 1:48.03), Tessa Lancaster (1 Mile, 5:34.55), and Margaret Riley (2 Mile, 12:04.56). King Philip’s Sarah Vigevani won the shot put (29-08.50) and the Warriors swept the 55M hurdles (Abigail Dunne [9.48], Victoria Priestley, Milan Simmons).

Taunton, 69 vs. Oliver Ames, 31 – FinalTaunton junior Kerla Sylvestre won a pair of events and the Tigers swept a pair of events to earn a victory over Oliver Ames. Sylvestre was first in the 55M dash (8.05) followed by teammates Marissa Desir and Morgan Zakrezewski, and then won the 300M (44.53). Taunton also swept the 1 Mile with senior Maggie Sullivan (5:45.93) taking first and Kailey Melito-Santos and Olivia Weber finishing second and third, respectively. Other winners for Taunton included Melito-Santos (2 Mile, 12:48.20), Olivia Dias (600M, 1:44.60), Nia Mainer-Smith (1000M, 3:22.36), Victoria Gravel (55M hurdles, 9.23), and Annabella Chavez (shot put, 28-11.00). OA’s Gabrielle McLaughlin was a double winner, taking first in the high jump (4-10.00) and the long jump (14-11.75)

2018-2019 Hockomock Boys Hockey Preview

2018-2019 Hockomock Boys Hockey Preview
The Hockomock League boys hockey season is kicking off and should be as competitive as ever. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 9-10-2
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South preliminary round.
Coach: Mark Homer

After a two year drought of postseason hockey, the Bombardiers made it to the playoffs last year and are aiming to make it two years in a row. The Bombardiers only had three seniors on the roster last season, so the majority of the squad is back, plus a familiar face is back in the fold this season.

One of the three seniors that graduated was Jake Parker, who led the Bombardiers in scoring last season with 26 goals and eight assists. But Attleboro is slated to return its next three scorers in senior Cam Littig (12 goals, 14 assists for 26 points), junior Ryan Morry (11 goals, 15 assists for 26 points) and senior Kyle McCabe (three goals, 10 assists for 13 points).

Another positive is that the Bombardiers have some experience in goal. Both senior Evan Andrews (13.66 games played) and junior Derrik Rivet (6.33 games) are set to return. Having an experienced goalie is a huge positive but having a strong backup helps even more. Andrews had 270 saves last season with a 0.882 save percentage while Rivet turned away 144 shots and had a 0.842 save percentage. In front of goal, McCabe, Sam Flynn, and Matt Viveiros will be joined by Liam McDonough, Kyle Miniati, and Zach Pierce as members of the defensive unit.

While Littig and Morry will try to replicate their success from a season ago, one name that could help bolster the offense is senior Sam Larkin. Larkin played his freshman year and had seven goals and seven assists before switching over to juniors. His experience should give Attleboro a boost during the season.

“We have had some additions to our team this year that has created a little more depth that had been absent in previous years,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “We are working on maintaining a better consistency in our play. We are still in our tryout mode and hoping to find the right mix to make us more competitive this season, especially in our league games.”

Canton

2017-2018 Record: 17-3-4
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South semifinal.
Coach: Brian Shuman
Canton comes into every year with high expectations and the Bulldogs will be favorites to bring home a ninth straight Davenport division title and 11th Hockomock League title in the past 12 seasons. While the league campaign is a priority, the Bulldogs will also be comparing themselves to the top teams in Div. 2 and hoping this will be the year to break through in the South sectional and get back to the TD Garden for the first time since 2010.

After a dominant winter, the top scoring line is back in full for Canton. Senior Ryan Nolte, the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, and junior Johnny Hagan, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will draw most of the plaudits but junior Timmy Kelleher gives the Bulldogs strong play on the other wing as well. That line combined for 69 points last season (27 apiece for Hagan and Nolte) and will be one of the league’s best going into this year. Canton also has juniors Tommy Ghostlaw and Chris Lavoie back to add scoring punch to the second line.

At the blue line, juniors Owen Lehane and Jack Connolly will both be expected to eat up a lot of minutes after strong sophomore seasons, and the Bulldogs will be looking for other players to step up and fill in defensively. After consistently strong goaltending from Quinn Gibbs over the past few seasons, Canton will turn to senior Mike Staffiere, who has been a backup the past two years and is drawing great reviews for his play during the preseason.

“Overall, we have a lot of experience returning up front at the forward position, but that’s true for a lot of teams in our league and in our division,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “The real question will be how much these players improved from last year, which we won’t know for sure until the games get going.”

Foxboro

2017-2018 Record: 10-9-2
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South preliminary round.
Coach: Mark Cedorchuk
Foxboro is coming off the best season in program history, as the Warriors won 10 games and qualified for the state tournament without relying on the Sullivan Rule. Now, the Warriors come back this season hoping to build on that season and make another run at the state tournament behind an offense that, according to coach Mark Cedorchuk, is as deep as it has ever been.

Junior Ronnie MacLellan and sophomore Kirk Leach are two of the forwards to keep an eye on this season for the Warriors after the duo combined for 15 goals and 32 points last season. Also up front will be senior Tanner Kennedy and juniors Sebastian Ricketts and Josh Bertumen, who combined for 10 goals last year and are looking to continue their development to add depth to the attack.

Senior Brendan Tully will lead the defensive effort but is also the team’s leading scorer. The blue line standout scored 18 goals and had 19 assists and is going to be a major factor in all three zones as well as a leader on the penalty kill and power play. He will be joined on the blue line by junior Kyle McGinnis, while junior Espen Reager will be between the pipes this year.

“Even though we had a successful season last year, best in team history,” Cedorchuk said, “our players are not satisfied, they are hungry to improve on that.”

Franklin

2017-2018 Record: 12-6-5
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Chris Spillane
Franklin started well last winter, reaching the final of the prestigious Mount St. Charles tournament and taking a point off Malden Catholic for the first time, but the Panthers couldn’t carry the momentum throughout the season and were knocked out in the first round of the tournament. As usual, Franklin graduated a lot of players, but also return a strong corps of experienced players to take on arguably the program’s toughest regular season schedule, which is loaded with some of the state’s top teams.

The Panthers return 11 seniors for this season, including eight forwards, but also have a group of eight sophomores that are jumping up from the JV to contribute on varsity this season. The forward line has plenty of experience and should be able to fire in the goals this year. Seniors Joey Lizotte, Zac Falvey, Scott Elliott, Dan Magazu, and C.J. Spillane will all be able to jump into the top scoring lines after playing major roles last year.

Defensively, the top five defensemen will be juniors Tom Tasker (who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last year) and Colin Hedvig and seniors Cam Casella, Matt D’Errico, and Evan Forbes. Three sophomores will also see time on the blue line for the Panthers this season. After graduating three senior goaltenders, the job is open to senior Ryan Cameron and junior Ray Ivers, who are both making the jump from JV.

“Our hope is that team speed will drive the offense and that our returning defense will have the experience to make sound decisions in our end,” said Franklin coach Chris Spillane. “The boys are looking forward to the upcoming season. I see the Hockomock as an extremely competitive league this year. We will also challenge our boys with a high-end non-league schedule.”

King Philip

2017-2018 Record: 8-12-1
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Paul Carlow

King Philip brings 11 players back from last year’s squad and is hoping a tough schedule will result in a battle-tested team ready for the D1 South Tournament at the end of February. It starts with the seniors for the Warriors with four of them back, plus a transfer.

There will be a lot of experience in the top line for KP, as well as its first defensive pair and between the pipes. Captain Ryan Fitzpatrick (10 points) had a strong season last year and will be trying to replicate that this year. Fitzpatrick is joined by assistant captain Luke D’Amico (13 points) as wingers while senior transfer Brendan Shandley steps in at center to give the Warriors a formidable line to work with. Juniors Chris Daniels (13 points), Joe Boselli (11 points), and Jack Coulter (10 points) are all back after successful sophomore seasons and should provide KP with good depth.

On the blueline, veteran Garrett Maxwell is the lone senior back from last year so he will be relied on for leadership. He is one of the strongest players in the league and plays in all situations for KP, including the power play plus the penalty kill. There will be some other familiar faces on defense for KP with junior Kyle Gray (seven points) and sophomore Rocco Bianculli (eight points) both back with varsity experience.

Senior James Lewis takes over in the crease as the starting netminder for the Warriors. Lewis saw action in three games last season, including a pair of wins and shutouts. While new to the starting position, Lewis has plenty of experience and that bodes well for the Warriors. Jesper Makudera and Nate Ihley will be pushing for minutes in net as well.

“I expect the team to have some good chemistry and get off to a good start,” said King Philip head coach Paul Carlow. “Practice has been good, and we have good leadership this year with a strong core. The Hockomock League is always competitive, the Kelley-Rex is a strong division, and we have a tough non-league schedule too, so we want to challenge ourselves.”

Mansfield

2017-2018 Record: 9-7-5
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Mike Balzarini

The Hornets have a strong core of players back this season, along with the addition of a couple of new faces, and head coach Mike Balzarini is hoping that combination will result in success this season.

Experience will be a strong suit for Mansfield as five of its top six forwards played significant minutes last year. Chris Copponi (12 points) and Matt Copponi (16 points) will be on the wings around center Coleman O’Brien for one line while Jake Lund (eight points) and Kevin Bellanger are returners on another line. The sixth forward will be center Jack Garland, who played juniors last year but is back in the fold for the Hornets this year. Ben Ierardo, Cam Page, and Braedon Copparini will be in the mix for minutes as well.

Defensively, while there are certainly some holes to fill, Balzarini has some talent to rely on the blue line. Two-time HockomockSports.com selections Mike Arnold and Tyler Oakley graduated so there is a little bit of a void, but Austin Ricker has stepped on early on to anchor the Hornet defensive unit. Ricker is joined by Brad Grant, who played for the Hornets previously before switching to juniors. Nick Levine and Joe Troiano gained valuable experience last year, and Jack Gormley and Brian Grant should be in the mix as well.

Mansfield also has experience in the goalie position with junior Sean McCafferty back between the pipes after having a breakout sophomore campaign. McCafferty was one of the top goalies in the league last year, earning HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman honors. He had 377 saves and a 92 save percentage, which bodes well for the Hornets this year.

“We obviously want to pick up where we left off after making the playoffs the last two years,” Balzarini said. “With the returning players plus new additions, I think we’re a little bit deeper and we know what we need to do to be competitive and make sure we’re playing well at the end of the season.”

North Attleboro

2017-2018 Record:
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round.
Coach: Ben McManama

Defense will be key for the Rocketeers during the 2018-2019 season. With a handful of returners back on the blue line as well as veteran goalie Ryan Warren, North Attleboro boasts a talented defensive unit.

Senior captain Brendan McHugh will anchor the defensive group alongside juniors Jeff Baker and Will Yeomans. All three are very experienced players that put defense first. They can all get involved in the offense as well. Warren has shined between the pipes each of the last three seasons, earning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year as a freshman and was a HockomockSports Third Team selection last season. Warren is pushed in practice each day as Chris Ulrich and Nick Digiacomo push for time.

Offensively, North Attleboro only lost two forwards from last year’s group, but those two players (Drew Wissler, Jason McNeany) combined for nearly half of the Rocketeers’ 76 goals a season ago. So this year, Big Red will need forwards to step up and contribute. Captain Anthony Zammiello scored 13 goals last year and will look to continue his success this season. Todd Robinson, Justin Moccia, Dennis Morehouse, Jake Ebert, and Jack Connolly are all candidates to have big years for the Rocketeers.

“We are a very big and physical team that works hard,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “We will need to stay out of the box to have success this year. Defense and depth will be the strength of our team. We will also need three lines that can score. I am very optimistic on the season because it is obvious that all our players put a ton of work in during the offseason.”

Oliver Ames

2017-2018 Record: 13-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round.
Coach: Sean Bertoni
Speed has been the strength of the Tigers since Sean Bertoni took over the team and Oliver Ames will be relying on that speed and aggressiveness to try and challenge Franklin at the top of the Kelley-Rex division and to make a run in the state tournament. With a few players coming back from juniors to join with an experienced group, OA has high hopes of pushing the Panthers for the league title.

Senior forward Brett Williams will be the key player in the attack, coming off a season in which he scored 21 goals and recorded 15 assists and was named to the HockomockSports.com First Team. Williams will have plenty of help up front from senior Colin Bourne, who is one of the fastest skaters in the league and had 13 points last season. Senior forward Cullen Gallagher will also give the offense a boost, as he comes back to the program after a year in juniors.

Senior Matt McCormack was one of the league’s top defensemen last year and his steadying presence on the blue line will be critical to OA improving on that end of the ice, after giving up 54 goals as a team last year. Senior James Beatty is back after a year in juniors and should be a big boost to the blue line. Junior Owen Connor is back in net and looking to build off last season’s efforts.

“We are a team that will rely heavily on our team speed,” Bertoni said. “Our aggressive style of defense will lead to a successful offense. We will have to establish our forecheck to be effective. Our transition game will be a strength for us this year, creating turnovers and getting on the attack.”

Stoughton

2017-2018 Record: 1-20-1
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Dan Mark

Overall, the Stoughton Black Knights will be on the young side but they have a veteran first line that will lead the way.

The Knights will be looking to improve on last year’s record, while possibly trying to surprise some teams along the way. Leading the way offensively will be senior Sean Doherty. Doherty was Stoughton’s second-leading scorer last year behind Brendan Campbell (graduated). Doherty was second on the Black Knights with 12 goals and added 11 assists and will be relied upon to be a key piece of the offense this season. Joining Doherty on the first line will be senior Luke Bainton, who brings a lot of varsity experience to the table. Bainton will look to improve on last year after recording seven points (four goals, three assists).

Senior Josh Hough will anchor the blue line for the Black Knights. In his fourth year on varsity, Hough has logged a lot of minutes on the ice over the past couple of seasons and will be one of the most experienced defensemen in the league. Hough is able to create on the offensive end as well, scoring a pair of goals last year along with seven assists. Senior Thomas McCoy is set to return in goal after getting experience between the pipes a season ago.

Taunton

2017-2018 Record: 12-10-2
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South semifinal.
Coach: Kris Metea
Taunton has been a program on the rise for the past few seasons and last year the Tigers took another big step forward by making a push to the Div. 2 South semifinal. That unexpected tournament run as the No. 13 seed, which included wins over No. 4 Old Rochester and No. 5 Nauset, has boosted the team’s confidence heading into a new year in which all but four players are back.

Scoring has not been a problem for the Tigers in recent seasons. Last year, Taunton scored a league-best 98 goals, five more than Davenport champ Canton, and senior forward Cam Sneyd (30 points) and junior Mike Albert (32 points) both eclipsed the 30-point mark. Senior Jack Patneaude added 15 points last year and he is poised for a big year along with classmates Jaden Weyant, Owen Ross, and Nick Vandermeel.

The defense is almost completely returned from last year, led by senior Andrew Carter, who was solid in the defensive zone but also chipped in with 20 points. Senior Brady Nichols and sophomore Dylan Nichols are also back for the Tigers. Junior Sean Bunker returns in net after a solid performance in the tournament run and he will be backed up by classmate Andrew Gomes, who has shown that he is a capable replacement when needed.

“The players have embraced the enjoyment of the journey, the process, and working hard to get better every day,” said Taunton coach Kris Metea. “They have the potential to continue their accomplishment of new heights. They will be fun to coach, and watch grow throughout the season.”

Boys Hockey: Ten Players to Watch in 2018-2019

2018-2019 Boys Hockey Players to Watch
Mansfield goalie Sean McCafferty will be one of the player to watch as the Hockomock boys hockey season kicks off. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Player are listed alphabetically

Mike Albert, Junior – Taunton

Albert is coming off a remarkable sophomore season in which he was among the league’s leading scorers and helped the Tigers make an improbable run to the Div. 2 South semifinal. Albert scored 17 goals and recorded 15 assists last year and is a tenacious forward in the attacking zone, chasing every puck and capable of making plays anywhere in the offensive zone. Although not the biggest forward, Albert never shied away from a hit and his speed makes him a threat wherever he picks up the puck. Taunton has been a program on the rise over the past few seasons and Albert’s skill and scoring touch have the Tigers confident of continuing that upward trajectory this winter.

Johnny Hagan, Junior – Canton

The reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, Hagan is one of the top forwards in the Hockomock League and part of the league’s most dynamic scoring duo, along with senior Ryan Nolte (see below). Hagan was tied for the team lead with 36 points last year, including 14 goals and a team-high 22 assists, and came through in the clutch with nine of his points coming in three playoff games. He seems to love the physical part of the game and is very difficult to dislodge from the puck when he is breaking into the zone and he has the vision to find seams to set up his teammates or take the puck to goal. Hagan has an impressive shot and a love for the big hits (which sometimes gets him in trouble with penalties) and when he is on the ice opposing defenses have to keep an eye out for him at all times. Canton has been consistently among the top teams in Div. 2 and Hagan’s growth on the first line should keep the Bulldogs in that category again this winter.

Joe Lizzotte, Senior – Franklin

Lizzotte is one of Franklin’s top returning forwards from last year’s league title-winning side and he could make the move up from the second to the first line for the Panthers this season. His energy and tenacity in the offensive zone made him one of Franklin’s top scoring threats, as the Panthers advanced to the final of the competitive Mount St. Charles tournament and got a point for the first time against Malden Catholic. Lizzotte scored nine times and assisted on four other goals, partnering with Zac Falvey on the second line and both are back to keep Franklin rolling into a new season. Lizzotte utilizes his speed to open up space for diagonal passes and is willing to chase pucks into the corners to try and keep the offense going. In addition to league play, Franklin has a schedule loaded with some of the top teams in Div. 1, so Lizzotte and the forwards will need to be firing right from the start to help the Panthers compete with some of the state’s best.

Sean McCafferty, Junior – Mansfield

McCafferty has put in two impressive seasons for the Hornets and he will be one of the top returning goaltenders this winter, as Mansfield looks to challenge Franklin for the league title and make some noise in the state tournament. As a sophomore, McCafferty allowed only 1.85 goals against and saved 92 percent of the shots that he faced. Overall, he made 377 saves last year and had a solid performance in the loss to Xaverian in the tournament. McCafferty is quick with a strong glove and does a good job of positioning to be in the right places to make saves. The loss of graduated defensemen Tyler Oakley and Tim Arnold will make McCafferty’s communication with the blue line group even more important this season, but at least the Hornets know that there will be a solid last line of defense if things do break down. McCafferty will be tested this season, but the Hornets are confident he can come through and give them the type of performances needed to push Franklin and try to win a first league title since 2011.

Matt McCormack, Senior – Oliver Ames

McCormack has been one of the most consistent defensemen in the league over the past couple of seasons and is an imposing figure on the blue line for the Tigers, who will be hoping to challenge perennial power Franklin for the Kelley-Rex division title. In addition to his physical presence in the defensive zone and his ability to dominate the crease, McCormack also chipped in on offense, scoring eight goals and providing eight assists. His passing in the transition game is a key to the Tigers taking advantage of their speed in the forward lines and he has a rocket of a shot from the point. Teams look for reliability from the blue line and McCormack has provided that for OA the past few seasons, limiting the opposition’s scoring chances and adding toughness to the lineup. With McCormack in the back line, the Tigers will be confident of keeping pace with the top teams in the division.

Ryan Morry, Junior – Attleboro

With the graduation of leading scorer Jake Parker, the Bombardiers will be counting on Morry to continue his development into a top line center. As a sophomore, Morry centered the second line and was part of the top power play and penalty kill units and he contributed 11 goals and 15 assists to help Attleboro get back into the state tournament. This year, the skilled, physical forward will be counted on to make up some of the production lost from Parker’s graduation and continue playing big minutes (more than 25 minutes per game last season). He has solid stick-handling skills and an accurate shot on the move, but it is his vision and ability to pick out the right pass under pressure that makes him effective for the Bombardiers. With Sam Larkin back after a year at juniors and a year of experience for Morry, Attleboro has the pieces in place to make another run at a playoff place.

Ryan Nolte, Senior – Canton

The 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year and 2018 Player of the Year, Nolte is arguably the top two-way forward in the Hockomock League and leads the top line for the Bulldogs, who went unbeaten in the Hock last year. His partnership with Johnny Hagan (see above) was the league’s most dynamic last year and they are back to try and bring another league title to the Canton Ice House. Nolte scored 18 goals and had 18 assists for the Bulldogs and was also part of both the penalty kill and the power play because of his work in all three zones. Physically strong and with impressive skill with the puck, Nolte can score in a variety of ways and is not afraid of getting into the crease and causing havoc in front opposing goalies. He is also a patient attacker, willing to cycle the puck and wait for the right opening. Canton has high expectations every winter and this season is no different, as the Bulldogs look to secure another league title and make a run at an elusive sectional title.

Tom Tasker, Senior – Franklin

Tasker jumped into the mix for Franklin and made a quick impression as a solid performer on the blue line in all three zones, providing big hits and a hard shot from the point. Now as a junior Tasker has solidified himself as a mainstay and one of the leaders of the Panthers defense as they try to continue their dominance in the Kelley-Rex division and make another run in the tournament. Tasker is a physical presence in the defensive zone but also showed good touch on his outlet passes to get the Panthers into the attack quickly. He scored four goals and had four assists last season and became a dangerous weapon on the power play. After a year of experience on the varsity level, Tasker will be one of the leaders in the back line and keep driving the team forward from the defensive zone. Expectations are high for Franklin defensemen but Tasker seems more than capable of meeting them.

Brendan Tully, Senior – Foxboro

Tully spent a year in juniors but returned last season to lead the Warriors to the best season in program history. The senior defenseman will hope to repeat that success this year, as not only the leader of the team’s blueline corps but also as one of Foxboro’s top scorers. Tully scored 19 goals and had 18 assists from his defenseman position, which was among the top scorers in the Hockomock League regardless of position. He is a skilled player with the puck, but can also play the physical game necessary to keep opponents away from goal. With his speed and game IQ, Tully can cover a lot of ice and always seems to be in the right position to make plays in either zone. Coming off a 10-win season, the Warriors will be turning to Tully to lead another run at a state tournament berth and continue the program’s forward momentum.

Ryan Warren, Senior – North Attleboro

Warren has been one of the league’s top goaltenders for the past three seasons and he enters his senior year with the opportunity to help North Attleboro unseat Canton at the top of the Davenport division. Warren, the 2016 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, allowed only 2.75 goals per game last season and held 11 opponents to two goals or less, which gave the potent North offense the chance in just about every game. A quick and agile goalie, Warren makes some of the most difficult saves seem easy and he came through against some of North’s toughest opponents, such as 36 saves against Franklin or more than 50 stops against Canton. When Warren is on his game, North can compete with anyone in Div. 2 and the Rocketeers will be counting on consistent performances this winter as they make another run at a league title. With Warren back in goal, a tournament run isn’t out of the question for North as well.

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.

King Philip Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive Against Mansfield

King Philip boys hockey
King Philip’s Jack Coulter tries to get past Mansfield’s Tyler Oakley in the second period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – One team is already qualified for the D1 South tournament, the other is battling to keep its postseason aspirations alive.

So it was no surprise that Wednesday night’s tilt between Mansfield and King Philip felt like a playoff game.

The teams skated to a 1-1 tie, exchanging goals in the final four minutes of the second period. With the point, King Philip is still alive for a playoff berth. The Warriors need to win their final two games of the season to join the Hornets in the tournament.

“We can’t lose,” said King Philip head coach Paul Carlow of the remaining games. “We were up 1-0 but our Achille’s Heel, penalties. If we can play even strength, I like our chances. But we had to kill a couple more extra penalties than I would have liked to. But the kids responded, they played a strong third, they killed that penalty off to start. We had our chances.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After a relatively even first period, Mansfield began to gain control of the game, having long stretches of possession in the attacking zone. The Hornets had a 16-5 edge in shots on goal in the frame, peppering King Philip senior goalie Shane Frommer (29 saves).

“Shane played maybe his best game of the year tonight,” Carlow said. “[Mansfield] is a good team, they are very well coached. They are already going to the Division 1 tournament so it was a tall task for our guys to stay alive. They put it on us pretty good earlier in the year.”

It’s best early chance came off the stick of freshman Matt Copponi as he whistled a shot with both Chris Copponi and Adam Anastos skating in front looking for a tip.

When Mansfield went on the power play at the midway point of the game, senior defenseman Tyler Oakley had his wrist shot redirected by sophomore Jake Lund but Frommer was able to get his glove on top of the dribbling puck.

Two minutes later, the Hornets had another chance when Tim Arnold kept the puck in the offensive zone and the puck landed at the feet of Chris Copponi, but Frommer made a point-blank save.

But despite the Hornets having the edge in play in the period, it was the Warriors that struck first. Mansfield goalie Sean McCafferty (23 saves) turned away a bid from Gavin Maxwell, but the puck found its way back in front and sophomore Joe Boselli lifted his shot into the back of the net. Luke D’Amico was credited with the assist while Maxwell provided the screen in front.

“Their goal was at the end of a long shift, our guys were out there for over two minutes so it cost us,” Balzarini said. “They tried their damnedest to get back but they just couldn’t. I don’t think Sean got a good look at it. But I thought we responded well. I thought the second period was much better for us.”

Less than 90 seconds after the Warriors took the lead, they took a penalty to put the Hornets on the man advantage again. This time, Mansfield cashed in.

Matt Copponi tossed a puck towards net from the blue line, where Oakley ripped a shot in close. The puck squirted free onto the other side and Chris Copponi batted in the rebound to tie the game with 1:09 left in the period.

“It was [like a playoff game],” Balzarini said. “I thought we started off slow, which is one thing we struggle with….They did a good job of putting sticks in the passing lanes and the shooting lanes. They had a handful of blocked shots, we just had trouble getting pucks to the net.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

KP had an 11-3 advantage in shots in the first period, but the teams split attacking zone possession. The best chance for King Philip came with just under three minutes to go when Maxwell saw his shot go wide and D’Amico had his rebound bid denied by McCafferty’s paddle on a diving save.

“Their goalie played well,” Carlow said. “We definitely had our chances, we had an odd-man rush late, we had a breakaway early on a shorthanded bid…both goalies played well. It was a good game, it was pretty evenly matched all night.”

Both teams had chances at the winner in the third period but couldn’t find the back of the net. D’Amico took a feed from Jack Coulter but McCafferty made the save right in front. D’Amico set up Boselli with just under six minutes to go, but again McCafferty was there for the save.

Right after the save, Mansfield went down the other end only for Matt Copponi’s shot to ring off the crossbar.

King Philip boys hockey (4-4 Hockomock, 8-10-1 overall) will try to keep its postseason hopes alive when it hosts Norwood on Monday at 5:20. Mansfield (5-2-2, 8-5-5) is on the road on Saturday, traveling to Larsen Arena to take on Winthrop.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton Skates Past Mansfield To Earn Shuman’s 200th

Canton boys hockey
Canton’s Ryan Nolte looks for someone to pass to in the first period against Mansfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – Even on a night with plenty to celebrate for himself, Canton head coach Brian Shuman made sure the focus was on something much bigger.

The Bulldogs scored once in the second and two straight in the third to earn a 3-1 decision over Mansfield, marking Shuman’s 200th career win.

While the timing of Shuman’s 200th win and Saturday night’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” doubleheader was coincidental, it was only fitting that the big milestone came on a night that Shuman helped organized to benefit others.

Canton and Mansfield followed a clash between Xaverian and Malden Catholic, a doubleheader that raised money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in memory of Reo Todesca, mother of Xaverian assistant Paul Todesca and a beloved friend to many in the Canton hockey community.

Canton’s list of accolades on the ice, including numerous Hockomock titles, dozens of playoff wins and a state championship in 2010, is just about as long as the amount of charity work Shuman and his Bulldogs are apart of off the ice.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

There’s the annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk every September that Shuman and his Bulldogs walk in to benefit The Jimmy Fund. And there’s the annual Evening of Hope Gala that Shuman helps organize with his wife Tara.

And Shuman and the Bulldogs spend plenty of time on the ice with the Bear Cubs Hockey program, which team chairman Matty Marcone is apart of. And who could forget two years ago when Shuman, along with Stoughton coach Dan Mark, worked to get Marcone on the ice of a varsity game.

The list goes on and on, which is why it’s so fitting that Shuman reached the milestone while helping raise money to fight cancer.

“I’m a bit embarrassed it happened on a night like this because it’s not about me, it’s a night to remember all of the people that have fought this battle [against cancer],” Shuman said. Canton wore special pink uniforms for the game. “But it really is special because some of the best nights I’ve been a coach in this program have been nights like this where we really together as a community in support of someone or a family, and that’s what makes it all worth it to me as a coach.”

And of course, Shuman was quick to deflect credit away from himself and to the program for getting to 200 wins in just 13 years.

“It says everything about the program. I’m incredibly fortunate to coach in a real hockey town. I think it’s one of the best hockey towns in Massachusetts. It says everything about our players, parents, families, community…just every single time I start or finish a season, I think how lucky I am. This is just one of those special moments that you reflect on how lucky you are.”

The visitors came out strong in the first period, having an edge in time of possession and attacking zone time. The Hornets also had a pair of power play opportunities, the first after a Canton cross-check with 11:17 left in the opening period, and again after a roughing call with 6:17 to go.

But out of those two man-advantage situations, the only real threat came late in the second one when freshman Matt Copponi went to circle the net but dropped a pass right in front of goal instead to his brother Chris Copponi, but the elder brother was unable to get the puck past Canton goalie Quinn Gibbs.

The Bulldogs came out flying in the second period and dominated the second period. Mansfield was able to kill off a cross-checking penalty but Canton was able to cash in a minute later. Junior Ryan Nolte connected a pass to sophomore Johnny Hagan, who lifted his backhand attempt top shelf to give the Dogs a 1-0 lead.

“I thought that first period, that was probably the most we have been outplayed in a period all year long,” Shuman said. “Mansfield has a good team, they play hard, they work hard, they have a great system and they are very, very well coached. I think the breakout for us was everything in the first period. I think the breakout sets the tone for so much of our offense and the flow of the game, and we could not break the puck out of the zone, we struggled in all facets of the breakout. Give credit to Mansfield, they made it hard for us.

“The second period was much better, I think a lot came from our breakout. I thought our line of Ryan Colby, Charlie O’Connor and Kevin Smith really gave us some life in that second period. They went out and had a really good shift and created some chances. Those guys are kind of a hybrid third/fourth line and I thought they played great.”

Canton had two more power play chances, including a brief 5-on-3 chance with just over three minutes to go, but the Dogs couldn’t add to their lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield’s best chance came when the Hornets killed off their third penalty. Senior Adam Anastos came out of the box, took a feed from Cullin Anastaia as he entered the zone, and then center a pass back to Anastasia but his tip effort sailed just wide of the post.

“I’m not sure what exactly happened in the second period, we had such a great first period, we came out with energy,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini. “Their first few shifts kind of set the tone, then we settled down and stuck to the gameplan. I can’t remember a time since I started here that we only had one shot on net in the period. But we had to kill three penalties in that second period, we played shorthanded for six minutes. That sort of gave us some life toward the end of the period and we had that late chance.

“I thought we had a better third period but Canton is a good team, they play every single shift and they play 200 feet.”

Canton senior Jack Goyetch nearly doubled the Bulldogs’ lead two minutes into the final period when he redirected a shot from Jack Connelly but Mansfield sophomore Sean McCafferty made a terrific glove save.

But the Bulldogs continued to put pressure as Goyetch and Mike Dadasis linked up before finding Bubba McNeice in front for a one-timer to make it 2-0. Canton cashed in on its fourth power play attempt with 9:20 left in the game.

Mansfield won the faceoff clean straight back, but McNeice was first to the loose puck and fired a centering pass to Goyetch for a tap-in.

The Hornets struck back just 17 seconds after Canton’s third goal. Fresh out of a timeout, Mansfield had a strong attacking zone possession before sophomore Joseph Troiano stepped into a loose puck and fired one into the back of the net.

“I have nothing but respect for Brian and what he’s done with Canton,” Balzarini said. Both Balzarini (’93) and Shuman (’98) graduated from Catholic Memorial. “It’s bittersweet for him to get the 200th win against us, but him being a CM guy, I like Brian a lot, he’s a really good coach and he deserves it.”

Canton boys hockey (7-0-0 Hockomock, 10-1-4 overall) is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Franklin in a clash of Davenport and Kelley-Rex division champions. Mansfield (5-2-2, 7-5-4) will try to bounce back in a week when it travels to Brockton.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/31/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
North Attleboro, 55 @ King Philip, 51 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Girls Basketball
King Philip, 48 @ North Attleboro, 57 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Boys Hockey
Mansfield, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – FinalMansfield took a 1-0 lead after one period and then scored twice more in each the second and third to beat Attleboro. Cullin Anastasia scored in the second (unassisted) and in the third (from Tim Arnold and Austin Ricker), Ryan O’Hara opened the scoring in the first (from Adam Anastos), Chris Kelleher (from Coleman Jenkins) made it 3-0 and Jake Lund scored an unassisted goal in the third period. Sophomore Sean McCafferty had the shutout in net for the Hornets.

Canton, 10 @ Taunton, 0 – Final

Foxboro, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – FinalOliver Ames junior Brett Williams gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the second period but Foxboro stormed back with a pair of third-period goals to earn the upset on the road. Junior Brendan Tully scored on a power play with eight minutes left in the game to tie the game, and then, along with Aidan Sullivan, set up Tanner Kennedy for the game-winner with two minutes to play. Espen Reager made 36 saves in net for Foxboro.

Franklin, 3 @ King Philip, 1 – FinalKing Philip’s Collin Cooke scored in the first period to give the Warriors the lead after 15 minutes of play, but Franklin tied it in the second and scored two more in the third for the win. Dan Magazu had a pair of goals for the Panthers while Jeremy Miller scored once.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 6 vs. Sandwich, 0 – FinalCanton senior captain Kendra Farrelly and freshman Lizzie Tassinari each scored a pair of goals to help the Bulldogs skate past Sandwich. Junior Maggie Malloy recorded two assists for her 50th career point.

King Philip, 10 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final

Wrestling
Stoughton, 13 @ Canton, 56 – Final

Mansfield, 36 @ Foxboro, 37 – Final

King Philip, 6 @ Franklin, 45 – Final

Taunton @ Milford, 7:00

North Attleboro, 59 @ Sharon, 12 – Final

Oliver Ames, 49 vs. Newton South, 15 – FinalOliver Ames seniors Cobey Williamson (126) and Casey Bellevue (132) each victories on Senior Night for the Tigers.

Boys Swimming
Foxboro, 70 @ Hopkinton, 91 – Final
King Philip, 75 @ Franklin, 93 – Final

Girls Swimming
Foxboro, 67 @ Hopkinton, 95 – Final
King Philip, 83 @ Franklin, 87 – Final

Gymnastics
Oliver Ames, 143 @ King Philip, 134.5 – FinalOliver Ames improved to 7-0 with the win, setting up a showdown with Mansfield next week that will likely decide the Hockomock champion. The Hornets stand at 6-0 with a meet against Canton on Thursday night. For Oliver Ames, sophomore Lauren Picanzi won the all around with a 35.9 while junior Gianna Martucci took second with a 35.8. Picanzi scored a 9.2 on the bars and an 8.9 on each the vault, beam and floor. Martucci earned a 9.2 on both the bars and the floor. Hannah Moynihan had the highest score of the meet with a 9.5 on both the beam and the floor while also recording a 9.0 on the bars. Senior Charis MacCuish scored a 9.3 on floor while freshmen Kiara Nagle, Ashlyn Latham, and sophomore Tina O’Neill also made strong contributions to the team score.