Bombardiers Come From Behind to Tie Mansfield

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

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hornets Come Back Twice To Get Tie Against North

Mansfield's Chad Piotti tries to get a chance by North Attleboro goalie Ryan Warren. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Mansfield’s Chad Piotti tries to get a chance by North Attleboro goalie Ryan Warren. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

Click here for a photo gallery of the game.
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief

FOXBORO, Mass. – When North Attleboro took its second lead of the game with just 7:25 left in the game, Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos was tempted to take his one timeout.
On the advice of his son — an assistant coach — Anastos held off, instead mixing up his third line to add a little speed and the switch worked as the Hornets got a push in the offensive zone.
But after three minutes lapsed and the Hornets hadn’t tied the game, Anastos called for that timeout with an offensive zone face off coming up.
“I just wanted to regroup, refocus and keep going out at them,” Anastos said. “We wanted to focus on being aggressive and going at them. We lost the face off but we didn’t make it easy for them to get it out.”
The Rocketeers did win the face off but Mansfield was quick to put pressure as senior captain Pat Graham hugged the boards and blocked a clearance. Graham took possession and quickly fired a centering pass and senior Max Hoffman was able to poke his stick and get enough of the puck to find the back of the net as Mansfield and North Attleboro skated to a 2-2 tie.
“We had the lead and blew the lead twice,” North Attleboro said coach Steve Snizek said. “Obviously that’s not the outcome we wanted especially with them scoring so late in the game. But things happen, they capitalized on a mistake of ours and that’s what good teams do.”
The two rivals skated a scoreless period in the first period but a big reason was Rocketeer goalie Ryan Warren, a freshman making his high school debut, and North Attleboro’s defense.
Mansfield had a good chance on its first power play when a centering pass from Shane Doherty found Chad Piotti but North defensemen Paul Baker and Brendan McHugh got their sticks in the way to send the shot wide.
The Hornets first big test of Warren came with just over five minutes to play when Hoffman connected with Piotti for a close chance but Warren closed well and denied the shot. With just 10 seconds left Hoffman got in alone on Warren and tried to shoot it but the freshman got a piece of it to send it high.
““He stepped up very well for us,” Snizek said of Warren. “He looked very poised out there, especially for a freshman in his first game against our biggest rivals. He had a great game, very relaxed and played the puck, which I love to see. I’m very happy with his performance tonight.”
“We’re still trying to figure out the best combinations with the lines,” Anastos said. “I can’t get them to stop shooting but I can’t get them to shoot in the game. We had so many chances in the first period, we had three almost breakaways. I think if we had scored on those it would have been a tough battle for them to climb but they always play non-stop.”
Six minutes into the second period, North Attleboro took its first lead of the game. Sophomore Hunter Sarro used a pin point pass to find junior Connor Ford right in front and his one timer found the back of the net.
The lead didn’t last long though. Just 35 seconds later, the Hornets were able to level the game when junior Matt Farragher pushed one past Warren to make it 1-1 off assists from Mike Arnold and Shane Doherty.
The Rocketeers didn’t convert on a power play just over three minutes into the final period but were able to find the back of the net just two minutes later. Senior Andrew Casson gained possession behind the Mansfield net and wrapped around. With Mansfield goalie Anthony Visconti and a defender trying to knock it out, Casson and junior Erik Clements were hacking away trying to force it in. The puck eventually went North’s way and trickled over the line to take a 2-1 lead.
“I was going to call timeout at that point,” Anastos said. “I mixed up my third line and put a kid out there that’s fairly fast and they gave us some momentum in the offensive zone. My assistant said to wait and then at 4:07 he said do it, the times right.
“It seems like when you do that you take a step back and calm them down.”
North Attleboro (0-0-1) will skate against Bishop Feehan on Saturday while Mansfield (0-0-2) will get back on the ice the same day when they host Coyle & Cassidy. Mansfield and North Attleboro will meet again on January 16th, this time in a league game.
“We get the one point from this one and they get a point too but the next game is about a month away and that’s going to be a big one,” Snizek said. “Obviously both teams want that win. They’ll get the bugs out of their system, we’ll get the bus out of ours and it should be a great matchup.”
Click here for a photo gallery of the game.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/16/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Girls Basketball
Canton, 44 @ Norton, 47 – FinalEmma Murphy scored 16 points and added nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. 
Hockey
Attleboro, 5 @ Milford, 3 – FinalJake Parker had two goals for the Bombardiers who trailed 2-1 heading into the third period. Attleboro scored four shorthanded goals and outshot the Hawks 41-12.
Taunton, 7 @ Foxboro, 0 – FinalSenior Tyler Pietrzyk scored a pair of goals and added two assists and his sophomore brother Trevor added two goals of his own for Taunton. Defensemen David Perry and Nick Terry each scored goals for the Tigers and Will Walsh had a goal and an assist. John Cronin made 22 saves for the Warriors. 
Mansfield, 2 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – Connor Ford gave the Rocketeers the lead in the second period off an assist from Hunter Sarro. Mansfield tied it up via Matt Farragher from Mike Arnold and Shane Doherty. North Attleboro regained the lead in the third period off a goal from Andrew Casson (assist Erik Clements) while Mansfield tied things again off a goal from Max Hoffman from Pat Graham. 
Wrestling
Canton, 51 @ Taunton, 26 – Final – Canton got wins from Steven Corkery, Justin Dickie, Jack O’Brien, Brendan Lewis, Sean Murphy, Brandon Lentol, Stathi Dandis, Caleb Nix and Nick Matt. Head coach Brian Caffelle noted a strong performance from Cole Lee in his first varsity match at 182. For Taunton, Jorge Rodriguez (138), Alex Rodriguez (145), Brandon Deforitis (152), Nuno Camara (182) and Santiago Lopez (220) got wins. 
Franklin, 27 @ Foxboro, 33 – Final
Stoughton, 27 @ King Philip, 54 – Final
Sharon, 61 @ Mansfield, 18 – Final
North Attleboro, 56 @ Milford, 21 – Final
Swimming
Boys
Oliver Ames, 60 @ Attleboro, 106 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Andrew Abramson (500 free) and Kyle Gray (200 free) each qualified for sectionals in the loss.

Sharon, 106 @ Mansfield, 62 – Final
North Attleboro, 73.5 @ Milford, 93.5 – Final
Girls
Oliver Ames, 89 @ Attleboro, 77 – FinalOliver Ames’ Mia Esterman qualified for sectionals in the 500 free and Makayla Paquin qualified  in the 100 backstroke. 

Sharon, 86 @ Mansfield, 84 – Final
North Attleboro, 112 @ Milford, 57 – Final
Girls Hockey
Canton, 1 @ Falmouth, 3 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ King Philip, 5 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 @ Matignon, 9 – Final

Stoughton, 0 @ Scituate, 8 – Final – In the program’s varsity debut, Stoughton head coach Richard Grasso noted the great defensive play by Julia Russell and Sarah Widrow.

Hockey: Kelley-Rex Division Preview 2015-2016

Kelley-Rex hockey
Mansfield and North Attleboro will be two of the teams gunning to unseat Franklin and win a league title. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

Attleboro
2014-15 Record: 11-13-1 (2-8-0)
2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South semifinal
Head Coach: Mike Cripps

The Bombardiers made an improbable run to the Div. 3 South semifinal before being eliminated by Hanover. Even with a short bench and a goaltender that had never played before, Attleboro won three tournament games for the first time in program history and this year will try to build on that experience and get back to the postseason.

With 20 players on the roster, depth may not be Attleboro’s strength but there are some players that Cripps will be counting on to produce this season led by senior forward Keagin Larkin. He will be helped out on the forward line by junior P.J. Elliott and sophomore Sam Parker. Freshman Sam Larkin will also step in right away and Cripps said that he has been “impressive” during the opening two weeks of practice.

Senior goalie Tim Gile returns between the pipes after a season that saw him put on goalie pads for the first time. He will be joined at the goalie position by junior Tyler Koppy. In front of goal, seniors Will McKenzie and Jack Flynn and sophomore Sam McKenzie will be part of Attleboro’s defensive corps.

There may only be 20 players on the roster, but the Bombardiers are a tight-knit group and Cripps is hopeful that they can get back to .500 and another trip to the playoffs. He said, “Our team is a group of hard-working players with good chemistry. With our lack of depth, we have to avoid injuries and illness. I am very happy with the progress I have seen after the first week.”

Franklin
2014-15 Record: 17-4-3 (10-0-0)
2014-15 Finish: Lost in first round of the Super 8
Head Coach: Chris Spillane

How does Franklin follow up its first ever appearance in the prestigious Super 8 tournament? How does the program recover from losing 21 seniors off a roster that finished unbeaten in the Hockomock League and had one of the league’s most exciting hockey moments when it beat Xaverian in overtime in the Super 8 play-in game?

Those are tough questions that head coach Chris Spillane will be trying to answer in the coming weeks as he incorporates almost an entirely new roster. The top returning scorer from last season is senior Alex Bissanti, who chipped in with five goals as a junior. He will be joined up front by junior Adam Assad, who Spillane said has “lots of offensive potential.” In addition, the coach noted that he is looking towards a “strong” sophomore class to provide a spark offensively.

Ryan Shea was a rock in goal last season after getting his first playing time as a senior and the Panthers will be counting on seniors Nick Jasinki (five games in 2014-15) and Cam Benham to step in this year and have a similar impact. In front of the goalies, Franklin has a strong defensive corps led by senior captains Matt Pleshaw and Jack Chaffee. The defense has been bolstered by the return of senior Tyler Oaks, who had been playing for the South Shore Kings. Spillane called him a “strong offensive defenseman.”

It is only the third season for Franklin in Div. 1 and already the Panthers have accomplished more than most public school programs. This could be a transition year for Franklin but expectations remain high for a perennial power. Spillane said, “With the departure of 21 seniors, the success of this team will rely on finding a identity early in the season.”

King Philip
2014-15 Record: 7-10-3 (4-5-1)
2014-15 Finish: Missed playoffs
Head Coach: Paul Carlow

For the second time in three season, King Philip has changed coaches with Paul Carlow taking charge of the Warriors this winter after two seasons as the JV and assistant coach. Thanks to his experience with the program and with the players, Carlow, who was once a standout player for KP, called the transition “smooth.” He added, “I know the players and they know me, which has made it pretty easy. Everyone know what is expected.”

The Warriors numbers were not huge this winter and depth may not be a strength, but Carlow is excited about the talent that KP will send out on the ice with six forwards and six defensemen returning from last year’s squad. The Warriors will be led on the forward line by senior captain Matt Smith, while fellow captain Clay Guess will lead an experienced blue line group that also includes football star Corey Lombardo.

Sophomore Collin Cooke is a player to watch this season and is poised for a breakout winter after scoring 11 goals and 10 assists as a freshman. Fellow sophomore Dan McLoughlin could be a player that steps in and provides a spark along with junior Richie Lucente, who saw plenty of ice time last season. Carlow also said that junior Jeremy Smith should step right in at defense. He noted that Smith had the talent to get on the ice as a sophomore but was only limited by the experienced players ahead of him.

Carlow has added preseason scrimmages and has changed the schedule around to add teams like Nauset, Walpole, and Coyle to prepare the team for the rigors of the Div. 1 tournament. After narrowly missing out the past two seasons, Carlow is confident the Warriors can make a run to the postseason. “We need to be ready for the type of teams we’re going to face,” said Carlow. “We may not be the deepest team, we didn’t have 90 kids tryout like Franklin, but we’ve got speed and we can play.”

Mansfield
2014-15 Record: 10-11-0 (8-2-0)
2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round
Head Coach: Rick Anastos

Mansfield enters another season as one of the main threats to Franklin in the Kelley-Rex division. The Hornets, who are the only other team to have won the division (in 2011), are one of the few programs to consistently have the talent base to challenge the Panthers and this season is no different.

Junior forward Matt Farragher is primed for a breakout season after scoring 13 points as a sophomore and he will be paired up front with several classmates, including Pat Sunderland and Chad Piotti. Seniors Pat Graham, Shane Doherty, and Max Hoffman will return to give Mansfield strength in depth along its first two lines and the firepower to make the Hornets a dangerous team in the Hock.

Mansfield also has the potential to be strong defensively, as demonstrated by a scoreless tie with Winthrop on Saturday. Anthony Visconti, who gave up just more three goals per game last season, returns in goal and he will be helped out by senior defenseman Mike Arnold, who leads the blue liners, along with classmate Tim O’Brien.

The Hornets have experienced returning players, but there is plenty of youth coming through program as well with two freshman and five sophomores on the varsity roster. Franklin may remain the team to beat, but Mansfield is confident that it will be right there pushing the Panthers to the end.

North Attleboro
2014-15 Record: 12-8-1 (6-4-0)
2014-15 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round
Head Coach: Stephen Snizek

The Rocketeers made it back to the tournament last season but were knocked out in overtime by Milford in the first round. With Sean Young graduated, North Attleboro will be looking for someone that can step into his role as the primary scorer and make a run at a first league title in its final season in the Kelley-Rex.

There is a lot of depth returning for North this season led on the forward line by senior captains Andrew Casson and Brian Poillucci and juniors Zach McGowan and Erik Clements, each of whom have years of experience for the Rocketeers. Sophomores Jason McNeany and Andrew Wissler and a strong freshman class will add to the forwards over the course of the season.

Defensively, North Attleboro will count on juniors Paul Baker and Vincent Zammiello and senior Matthew Marceau on the back line. The defense will be key and Snizek is expecting his forwards to help back as well as the Rocketeers will be using freshmen Chris Ulrich and Ryan Warren in goal this year.

The Rocketeers have a lot of weapons and Snizek is excited for the talent coming through the program. He said, “We have a lot of weapons on offense and we need to get pucks to the net and drive in the dirty goals. Our forwards will need to play in all zones on the ice.  Not just the offensive zone.”

Taunton
2014-15 Record: 9-12-1 (2-8-0)
2014-15 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Head Coach: Kris Metea

The Tigers have been building the program for the past few years, developing young skaters, and waiting for a time that it can come together for a potential run at the state tournament. Head coach Kris Metea is hopeful that this could be the year, as Taunton boasts a talented forward line that could provide the goals needed to get to the playoffs. Metea said, “The eighth graders and freshmen that took beatings three years ago have all grown up and can physically compete with players in the Hockomock now.”

Among the players that Metea highlighted this season are junior Nick Terry, who is coming off an all-star season, and senior Tyler Pietrzyk, who will both be starters. Junior Zack Albert and sophomore Will Walsh will add depth to the forwards as well. Defensively, senior David Perry and junior Mike Volkmann will be two of the key players and add a physical component to the Tigers.

Taunton has three goalies on the varsity roster and Metea has confidence in all of them to win games. Senior Cam Pitts is the most experienced of the trio but junior Justin Chappell and freshman Griffin Speicher both will see time as well.

If Taunton can improve the power play and utilize its overall team speed, this could be an interesting year for the Tigers. “It has been a pleasure working with these players and see them grow up as hockey players and young men,” said Metea. “They have matured physically and mentally and are ready to take the next step to compete with the top end of the ever-competitive Hockomock.”