Canton Ties Franklin to Win Outright League Title

Canton girls hockey
Canton held on for a scoreless tie at Franklin that secured the Bulldogs the outright league title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – In two seasons of Hockomock League play, Canton and Franklin have established themselves as the teams to beat. The Bulldogs won the inaugural league championship and then last season Franklin took the crown for the first time. In year three, the two teams went into the final game of the regular season separated by just two points at the top of the standings.

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As has become the standard when the two teams meet, Wednesday night’s game at Pirelli Veterans Arena was close, defensive, and physical and, in the end, Canton was able to hold out for a 0-0 tie that secured the outright league title.

“It means a lot,” Canton coach Dennis Aldrich said about not sharing the title. “Especially here. When I used to coach the [Canton] boys, anytime we came here or [Franklin] used to come to Ponky, they called it the ‘Dungeon of Doom’, it’s just something about it. The crowd wasn’t the same, but the emotion was.”

With 1:37 remaining and with the Panthers setting up for an offensive zone face-off, Franklin coach Margie Burke called timeout and pulled goalie Gabby Colace (19 saves). There were several surprised reactions from beyond the glass, but it underscored the importance of the title race and how little one point would impact Franklin’s likely seed in the playoffs.

“A win gets us a championship,” said Burke. “I explained it to the kids and they understood why we did it. I had to do it. I’m extremely proud of my girls tonight, they played their heart out.”

The move nearly paid instant dividends, as the Panthers won the draw into the corner and puck was played out in front before being scrambled away. Olivia Maffeo came close to winning the game with 50 seconds left, but the Canton freshman sent a shot from beyond the red line inches wide for icing.

Another face-off led to another good chance for the Panthers, but Lyndsey Atkinson couldn’t keep her shot down from just inside the right circle. Canton pressured to try and get an empty net winner, but the Panthers defense was able to block a couple of shots heading towards goal. The pressure kept the puck in the Franklin defensive zone though and allowed the Bulldogs to run out the clock.

“I have so much respect for her and what she does,” said Aldrich. “It’s a lot of fun for our kids. She’s got a certain style. It’s throw three kids out front, throw the puck there, and see if you can beat them up. We knew that coming in, so we were really stick on stick. We had to commit on that.”

Franklin had more of the attacking play in the first period, outshooting Canton 6-3. Libby Carter had the first good look for the Panthers with a quick shot from the slot that Carolyn Durand (15 saves) was able to stop and then cover before Amanda Lewandowski could pounce on the rebound.

Canton took more than eight minutes to record its first shot, which came off a rush from her own zone by Maffeo. Less than 30 seconds later, the Bulldogs had another good chance when freshman Audrey Koen corralled a loose puck forced a save from Colace.

Atkinson had a near breakaway with six minutes left in the first but the puck was poked away as she tried to pull it onto her backhand and round the goalie.

The visitors started to gain a foothold in the game and ended up with a 10-6 edge in shots in the second. Koen teed up Tess Khoury for an early look right in front but Colace got a pad to the shot. With five minutes left in the second, Maffeo made another long rush into the attacking zone and fired a pass in front by Lizzie Tassinari couldn’t redirect it on net.

Tina Pisano forced a good pad stop from Durand with a wrister from the point and then Canton came inches away from the lead when Maffeo struck the post with a shot from the right circle. Maria Femia followed up the rebound but Colace got across to block the shot.

It remained tense into the third period and it felt like one goal could decide it. Ellie Rae Roberts had a great chance for the Bulldogs, as she collected a deflected puck on the edge of the crease, but Colace again flashed a pad to make the stop.

“It’s so important because we have that confidence that defensively we’re going to do well,” Burke said about the play of her goalie. “It’s putting the puck in the net and we had our opportunities tonight.”

With two minutes to go, Shaw Downing had a shot from the point that was knocked down in front and the Canton defense was able to get it out of the danger area before Lewandowski could get a stick to it. Twenty seconds later, Franklin had a two-on-one rush. Atkinson flipped a pass to Carter on the left wing, but Maffeo came sliding across to block the first chance, and Durand had the angle covered on the second shot.

That set up a frantic finish with the Panthers throwing an extra skater out there in hopes of stealing a share of the title, but the Bulldogs held on to the shutout and both teams got important experience playing in a playoff-like atmosphere.

“We talked about how it was such a good game for us because we should expect that type of game,” Aldrich explained. “It’s going to be that type of punch you in the face, throw the puck to the net. Overall, defensively I thought we did what we wanted to do.”

Burke added, “Franklin and Canton just have that hockey rivalry. They always have and always will.”

Canton (14-1-4) will close out the regular season with a visit from Barnstable on Monday and a trip to Walpole on Wednesday. Franklin (6-8-5) will finish up its regular season when it hosts Leominster next Wednesday.

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Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/13/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Girls Basketball
Milford, 32 vs. Hopedale, 29 – FinalFreshman Brooke Ferreira scored a game-high 14 points to lead the Hawks to their third non-league victory of the season. Jillian Michelson added six points, while Emily Croteau (13 rebounds) and Carley Ferreira (11 rebounds) dominated the glass.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 6 @ Cardinal Spellman, 1 – Final
Taunton, 2 @ Apponequet, 2 – Final

Girls Hockey
Franklin, 7 @ Leominster, 0 – FinalFranklin scored four goals in the first period and never looked back in a big win on the road over Leominster. Freshman Molly Hurley (from Katelyn Brown and Maggie McCaffrey) and sophomore Emma Hunt each scored once in the first period while junior Katelyn Brown scored a pair of goals. Shaw Downing, Samantha Wong, Maggie McCaffrey, and Hurley had assists on Brown’s two goals. Libby Carter, Maddi Dolan, and Olivia Stoller also scored in the win for Franklin while Kelli Maple had a pair of assists. Gabby Colace made 16 saves for the shutout.

King Philip, 6 @ Walpole, 2 – FinalMakenzie Shandley and Morgan Cunningham each scored a pair of goals to lead the Warriors to a big win on the road. Sydney O’Shea and Avari Maxwell each scored once in the win.

Girls Gymnastics
Mansfield. 141.85 @ Franklin, 139.15 – FinalFranklin posted its best score in program history but came up just short against powerhouse Mansfield in a clash of two of the top programs in the league.

Franklin Results:
Vault – Kate Rudolph 9.2 | Caroline Woelfel 8.9 | Lexi Lupien 8.85 | Maddie McGuire 8.75
Bars – K. Rudolph 8.3 | C. Woelfel 8.3 | Emma Nelson 8.2 | Ashley Hammann 7.9
Beam – K. Rudolph 9.4 | L. Lupien 8.7 | E. Nelson 8.65 | A. Hammann 8.6 | Elizabeth Schirduan 8.2 | Olivia Reagan 8.0
Floor – K. Rudolph 9.3 | C. Woelfel 9.0 | L. Lupien 8.6 | E. Nelson 8.5 | A. Hammann 8.4 | Lizzie Brown 8.2

Oliver Ames, 133.95 @ King Philip, 128.7 – Final

Lewandowski Lifts Franklin Past Mansfield/OA

Franklin girls hockey
Franklin goalie Gabby Colace made 25 saves to record a shutout against Mansfield/Oliver Ames. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WALPOLE, Mass. – Goals are at a premium in league games this season and that remained the case when Mansfield/Oliver Ames hosted defending Hockomock champion Franklin at Rodman Arena on Saturday afternoon.

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Amanda Lewandowski scored against the run of play in the second period and Gabby Colace made 25 stops to preserve a 1-0 victory for the Panthers in a game in which they were kept on the back foot for the first 30 minutes.

“Definitely a slow start, but we know that every Hockomock League game is going to be like this,” said Frankin coach Margie Burke. “We’re not going to put a lot of pucks on the net this year. We’re going to have to count on good defense and a few lucky breaks.”

The Warriors came flying out of the gates, taking advantage of their team speed to put Franklin on its heels and force the Panthers to defend for long stretches. After Maggie McCaffrey got an early chance on goal for Franklin, MOA started to step on the gas. Tess Luciano started it with a shot from the right circle and Alex Ledin let fly with a slap shot from the high slot that Colace stopped.

With four minutes remaining in the first Reese Pereira managed to get to the front of the net and get a tip from close range. The puck came back around to Ledin and she sent her shot from the slot just wide of the post.

Franklin had been forced back into a shell for much of the period, but did manage a late flurry of chances on the other end. Lewandowski was the catalyst as he forced Jessica Widdop (17 saves) into a stick save from a tight angle and after Gina Vignone threw one at net she forced a blocker stop while falling down.

The hosts were relying on their defensemen to create offensive chances, with Emma Pereira, Julia Muttart, Megan O’Hara, and Melissa Shanteler all getting looks from the point. Vignone and Gianna Cameron led the Franklin defense in trying to clear out any rebounds from the crease.

“They really played well, they blocked shots, they kept their heads up, they didn’t panic against the boards when they were pressured by two players,” MOA coach Roy Bain said about his blue line corps. “I can’t be upset with the way that anyone in that locker room played.”

MOA held an 11-6 edge in shots after the first and the momentum continued following the short breather between periods. Ledin again got a good look at net that went off Colace’s blocker and straight into the air. Cameron cleared before Reese Pereira could get a stick on the loose puck.

“We had a lot of the zone time, we were breaking out as we want to, and their game plan became obvious early, which was to crash the ‘D’ and pinch on the wings,” said Bain. “The goaltender gave up a lot of rebounds but their defense is very responsible in front of their net and stopped us from getting a lot of follow-up chances.”

Libby Carter sent a warning to the Warriors when she got free on a defensive zone turnover only to have Widdop make a big pad save. The breakthrough came three minutes into the second. Vignone flipped a high pass towards goal. Lewandowski managed to bring it down right on the edge of the crease, kicking it to her stick and sliding it past Widdop’s pad for a 1-0 lead.

“That goal tonight, it was a kick, a drop, and a reach,” said Burke. “It was like a soccer or field hockey goal but not an ice hockey goal. I tell them all the time that ugly goals count the same as pretty goals and ugly wins count the same as pretty wins.”

There were more chances for the Warriors to try and even things up in the second, as MOA outshot the Panthers 10-4 in the period and had a four-minute power play, but Lily O’Brien’s shot from the right circle was an example of how Franklin kept the middle of the ice clear.

It was clear that Burke spent the second intermission emphasizing the need to get on the attack, as the third period was by far the best that Franklin played in the offensive zone.

Burke said, “Absolutely, we talked about how everything in the first two periods was a reach and a poke but no body. You have to reach in with your stick and then with your body. They got more physical for sure.”

Lewandowski continued to be a thorn in MOA’s side. She skated behind the net and fired a pass all the way out to Vignone at the point for a shot through traffic that Widdop saved, and then stopped the rebound effort as well. Freshman Shaw Downing had an effort from the blue line that Lewandowski managed to tip in front but Widdop again stayed tall to stop.

The Warriors kept pushing for an equalizing goal, but Franklin continued to hold them at bay. Colace came up with a huge glove save on a blast by Emma Pereira from the edge of the left circle. It was the last good look for the home team.

“It’s tough when you lose by a goal but you can’t be upset that you lost by a goal because every single person played their heart out,” Bain said. “We played great, they were just one goal better.”

Franklin (2-2-1) will face a battle against the first league champion, Canton, on Wednesday. Mansfield/Oliver Ames (3-4-1) will have a short turnaround to try and end its three-game losing streak when it hosts Stoughton on Sunday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/14/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Foxboro, 3 @ Attleboro, 1 – FinalAfter a scoreless first period, Foxboro found the back of the net twice in the second and tacked on a third in the final period to pick up a win over Attleboro in a non-league clash. Junior Kirk Leach opened the scoring on an assist from Jack Watts, and Eoin Reager doubled the lead on an unassisted goal to make it 2-0. Sebastian Ricketts scored in the third period to make it 3-0 before Attleboro’s Ryan Morry got the Bombardiers on the board.

Canton, 3 @ Franklin, 2 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

North Attleboro, 5 vs. Smithfield (R.I.), 3 – Final

Oliver Ames, 2 @ Medway, 3 – FinalOliver Ames went on the power play and pulled its goalie for the final 1:40 of the game but couldn’t find the tying goal, falling to Medway in its season opener. Senior Duncan Pereira and junior Luca DeCillia (first career goal) scored for the Tigers while senior Owen Connor (29 saves) played well in net.

Stoughton, 0 @ Dartmouth, 3 – FinalStoughton goalie Ryan Spano was outstanding in net for the Black Knights, making 44 saves.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 5 vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 0 – FinalCarolyn Durand made 15 saves to record her second shutout in as many games, as the Bulldogs won for the second time in three days to start the season.

Stoughton, 0 @ Franklin, 7 – FinalFranklin opened the season with a big win at home over visiting Stoughton. Freshman Lyndsey Atkinson had a big debut, scoring her first goal while adding a pair of assists to lead the way. Sophomore Maggie McCaffrey, freshman Shaw Downing, and freshman Molly Hurley also scored their first career goals for the Panthers win the win. Gabby Colace had a 12-save shutout for the win.

King Philip, 0 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 – FinalMOA’s Lily O’Brien scored twice, Julia Muttart anchored the defense, and Jess Widdop notched the shutout in goal as the Warriors skated to a league win over King Philip. Melissa Shanteler put the hosts up with a goal with 5:49 left in the opening period while O’Brien scored twice in the first five minutes of the second. Junior Emma Pereira found her younger sister Reese Pereira with a pass, and she connected with O’Brien down low to make it 2-0. Three minutes later, O’Brien had her second after burying a rebound off a shot from Ella Waryas. Alex Ledin added another second period goal to put MOA up 4-0. Widdop finished with 18 saves for the shutout.

Wrestling
Ashland Early Bird (North Attleboro) – North Attleboro earned 106.5 points to take eight place overall at the Ashland Early Bird Tournament to kick off the season. Tanner Ferguson (106) picked up the first tournament win for the Rocketeers, earning two pinfall victories, including one in the final over the top seed. Michael Edmonds (170) and Montrel Jackson (182) each had third place finishes for the Big Red.

Devin Ness Tournament (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames hosted its annual Devin Ness Invitational to kick off the 2019-2020 season, with the Tigers taking fifth overall with 144.5 points. Ness was a captain on the OA wrestling team that died unexpectedly in January 2013, and the Tigers have hosted this memorial tournament since the start of the 2013-2014 season. Senior Max Anderson opened the season in style, winning the 195 bracket. Anderson won his first two matches by fall, the semifinal matchup by major decision, and then pinned his opponent in 1:52 to win the bracket. Stavros Constantinou (120) and Remi Creighton (126), and Gavin Morrison (285) each earned third place finishes for the Tigers.

Burlington Quad (Canton), 10:00

Mount Hope (R.I.) Quad (Franklin, Stoughton), 10:00AM

Sharon Quad (Mansfield, Sharon), 10:00

King Philip Quad, 10:00

Watertown Quad (Taunton) – Taunton’s Luke Fraga and Ethan Harris both went undefeated on the day while the Tigers post a 1-2 record at the quad meet. Taunton knocked off Carver (48-18) but suffered setbacks to Norwood (24-45) and Watertown (27-41). Fraga went 3-0 wrestling at 113 while Harris had three wins at 152. Taunton’s Christian Balmain (160), Nico Sallaway (170), 182 Peter Ye (182), and Sean Guilmette (195) each had two wins.

Boys Swimming
Attleboro @ Milford, 8:15AM

Canton @ Franklin, 10:30 (@ Milford)

Foxboro, 51 @ King Philip, 59 – FinalFoxboro won a pair of relays and one solo event but came up just short against King Philip. Kris Anderson won the 100 breaststroke in 1:29, and was a member of the winner 200 relay with Anthony Amico, Dimitrios Davis, and Jared Roke (2:11). Foxboro’s 400 relay team of Marek Stone, Amico, Roke, and Joseph St. Pierre won in 5:17.

Girls Swimming
Attleboro @ Milford, 8:15AM

Canton @ Franklin, 10:30 (@ Milford)

Foxboro, 77 @ King Philip, 97 – FinalFoxboro’s Megan Lanthrop recorded a pair of sectional qualifying times in the meet against King Philip. Lanthrop won the 100 fly with a time of 1:06, and took second overall in the 500 free in 5:51.