Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Jackson Maffeo, Canton
Hockomock League All Stars
PJ Elliot, Attleboro
Jake Parker, Attleboro
Quinn Gibbs, Canton
Tom Kilduff, Canton
Jackson Maffeo, Canton
CJ Martin, Canton
Mike Carresi, Foxboro
Aidan Sullivan, Foxboro
Luke Downie, Franklin
Brendan O’Rielly, Franklin
Tom Sicchio, Franklin
Jacob Kelly, King Philip
Gavin Maxwell, King Philip
Matt Farragher, Mansfield
Joe Olsen, Mansfield
Erik Clements, North Attleboro
Zach McGowan, North Attleboro
Jared Costello, Oliver Ames
Jack Maloney, Oliver Ames
Brett Williams, Oliver Ames
Cam Doherty, Stoughton
Zack Albert, Taunton
Nick Terry, Taunton
Ryan Morry, Attleboro
Bubba McNeice, Canton
Peter Smith, Foxboro
Cam Benham, Franklin
Jeremy Smith, King Philip
Cullen Anastasia, Mansfield
Vincent Zammiello, North Attleboro
Cullen Gallagher, Oliver Ames
Jon Lessa, Stoughton
Mike Volkmann, Taunton
Sophomore Luke Downie, who celebrated his 16th birthday on Sunday, scored on a wrist shot six minutes into the second overtime to give Franklin a 4-3 win over St. Mary’s Lynn and the program its first MIAA Division 1 State Championship.
Senior Tyler Oakes connected on a pass from his own zone to senior and Jake Downie (Luke’s cousin) along the boards in the neutral, who then dropped the puck back to Luke after crossing the blue line. Luke fired a wrist shot that deflected off the the leg of a St. Mary’s defenseman and found its way over the goalie’s pad short side for the game winner.
“This is awesome,” Luke Downie said postgame. “This is the best birthday present you could ask for.”
Franklin – who had been shutout three straight years in the D2 State Final from 2011-2013 —got off to an ideal start with a pair of first period goals and took that same lead into the final period. But two goals in the first five minutes of the final period from St. Mary’s knotted the game 3-3.
The final 10 minutes remained scoreless, sending the game into a sudden death overtime period. Neither team could find the back of the net in that period either, sending the teams to the locker room for the ice to be cleaned for a second overtime period.
With exactly nine minutes to go in the second overtime period, Downie scored the game winner.
“I think that the problem was we were playing in the wrong division the other times,” Franklin head coach Chris Spillane joked. Franklin moved up to Division 1 at the start of the 2013 season. “This has just been one of those Cinderella years. To follow up last year with a new crop of kids and have them commit to something from day one, and to see them enjoy this success, that’s what high school sports are all about.”
Senior captain and defenseman Joe Corsi scored just his third goal of the season to give Franklin the lead midway through the first period. Sophomore Brendan O’Rielly relayed a perfect outlet pass to senior Sean Hedvig in alone on goal but St. Mary’s goalie Andrew LoRusso got a pad to it.
The puck bounced around and as a St. Mary’s defenseman tried to chip it out, Corsi had pinched in and jumped off the ice to grab the puck, put it on the ice and fired it into the back of the net with 8:26 left in the first period.
“They tried to chip it out and I caught it and just put it down,” Corsi said. “Coach always tells me to roll my wrist and I had to roll it on that one. It was just surreal. I haven’t scored a goal like that before.
“This a dream come true. No one believed we could do this at the beginning of the year, except us, all the guys in the locker room. Each in every day we grinding it out, it’s just a dream.”
Just three minutes later, Franklin doubled its lead. Senior Matt Pleshaw fired a wrist shot from inside the blue line that was blocked down. Before LoRusso could smother the puck, junior Joey Blasie poked it in to make it 2-0 with 5:14 left in the period.
Video courtesy of Gavin Mealey
The Spartans cut the deficit in half just 11 seconds into the second period when Eric Pedro knocked in rebound of shot by Dante Maribito.
But Franklin had an answer just minutes later as Alec Gilliatt found sophomore Jeremy Miller behind the net. Miller skated around and found a perfect passing lane between the post and a defenseman to feed freshman Kevin Mackay. Mackay took a step in and sniped one top shelf to make it 3-1 with just over 12 minutes to play in the second period.
Franklin took a 3-1 lead into the final period but once again St. Mary’s found early period success. Less than a minute in, Conor Foley batted in rebound for powerplay goal to make it 3-2. Just three minutes later, Maribito found the back of the net for his third point of the net to tie the game 3-3.
“Huge momentum swings,” Spillane said. “They started to carry the play and their offensive kids started to open up the ice. Nick did a great job making the saves he needed to make. We talked about team defense, keeping them high on the forecheck and the defensive guys winning the battles and chipping the puck out.
“That was a great hockey team we played tonight, it was back and forth and both teams had chances to win. I’m proud of my kids, they responded.”
The Panthers nearly had the winner at the end of the third period but LoRusso went post to post to deny Jake Downie with 1:11 to go.
Neither side produced a clear scoring chance in the 12 minute overtime period but Franklin goalie Nick Jasinski came up with a huge kick save off a redirection in the opening minutes of the second overtime. Just two minutes later, the Panthers had the game winner.
Like it has been all season, the Panthers got contributions from all three lines — and four different goal scorers.
“Four different goal scorers and that’s kind of been the key to our success,” Spillane said. “You can’t really one focus on that one player. I said in the locker room after overtime, someone in this room is going to be a hero. Who wants to be that hero tonight? Luke’s been playing great hockey for us, midseason he just turned it on. As a sophomore it’s great to see him be that hero. Also, Kevin Mackay scored his first high school goal tonight. That’s quite a team to score your first goal of the year. That’s the type of team we are. There are no one or two superstars, it’s 22 kids out there having the same belief, working hard and just grinding it out.”
“To win championships, you have to have depth and that’s what we have,” Corsi added. “Everyone believed and look at where we are now.”
The Panthers were somewhat of an unknown coming into season after graduating 21 seniors from a squad that made a historic run to the Super 8 last season. Now this year’s team has created its own place in history.
“I think it gives us a little validity as a program that we can do that, anytime you graduate that many seniors it’s a challenge,” Spillane said. “It just tells us what our junior varsity and youth programs are like. We have a lot of kids that want to wear that jersey and they’re going to wait around until they get that opportunity. We have 13 seniors this year and very few of them skated last year, if any. They waited four years to put that jersey on and they made the most of it.
“It feels good but it’s not about the coaching staff. Yeah we’re excited but it’s about seeing the faces on these kids in that locker room, how excited they are and how committed they were to win the hockey game. I know a lot of people said it’s a rebuilding year but I guess they thought different.”
Franklin hockey finished the season with an 18-4-5 record.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Panthers have been on a roll in Hockomock League play. Franklin came into Sunday night’s game with King Philip at Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink having won 14 straight games in the league, including a perfect 10-0 last year and the first three games of this season’s league schedule.
But as the clock was winding down in the third period, the Warriors looked poised to end that remarkable win streak. With 6:23 left to play, Joey Blasie pounced on a rebound to knock the puck home and finish one of Franklin’s numerous scoring opportunities. The goal canceled out Sam Ross’ first period goal and sent both teams home with a point.
“Evan kept us in it; kept us with the lead,” said KP coach Paul Carlow. “This is probably one of the best public school programs in the state year in, year out, so anytime that you can get a point against them you’ll take it.”
Franklin coach Chris Spillane was blunt in his assessment of the game. He explained, “Our boys learned real quick that you don’t win games just by showing up. King Philip showed up and worked their a—s off and we didn’t.”
The Panthers came out sluggish in the first period. Passing was erratic, the skating was slow, and the hosts struggled at times to control the puck. KP took advantage.
Jeremy Smith sent the first warning shot with a blast from the point that rang the post off a face-off win by Nick Connor. Two minutes later, Matt Smith slid a pass across the crease to a wide open Jacob Kelly but the junior forward’s shot from point-blank range was chipped over the bar.
With 8:05 left in the period, KP made the Panthers pay for the slow start. As Blasie raced from the box back into play, Ross found himself with the puck on his stick on the right side of goal and flicked his shot on net. The puck slipped through a screen and under Nick Jasinski’s pads for the opening goal; the first of the season for the senior.
“No bigger time than to get one against Franklin, right?” asked Carlow. He added, “I think when you get power plays, you have to take advantage. We’ve been working on it and the boys got one.”
Franklin had its chances as well. Remmes made 36 saves on the night and he was increasingly put under pressure as the game wore on. He made a quick reaction kick save to rob Thomas Sicchio in the first and then somehow managed to get a piece of a Jake Downie shot from the edge of the crease; sitting on the puck and keeping it out.
In the third period, just a minute before Franklin tied it, Remmes kept KP in front by getting a toe on a chance for Jeremy Miller who was left all alone by a great pass across the front of goal by Adam Assad.
“He played outstanding,” said Carlow. “You get that out of seniors in a big game. He played well against Canton and he played well tonight.”
In addition to the play of the KP goaltender, Franklin also missed a series of good chances. Brendan O’Rielly had a chance on an open net after Remmes stopped Tyler Oakes’s shot from the point in the first but smashed his shot off the bar. Luke Downie had a similar opportunity in the second on a rebound, again from an Oakes shot, but his effort bounced away off the far post.
“We had plenty of chances to score goals and guys don’t bear down to finish the easy goals and it’s frustrating to watch,” said Spillane. “We missed a lot of open nets, a lot of rebounds, a lot of shots were right at the goaltender when we had open ice.”
The Panthers outshot KP 16-4 in the second period, but the Warriors still created chances. Matt Smith skated in alone but his shot missed the net at the short side. As the period wound down, he had another good opportunity, this time from the right circle, and again went for Jasinski’s blocker side but again it went wide. In the opening 30 seconds of the third, Smith set up Ross in the slot but Jasinski (16 saves) was positioned well to clock the shot.
The pressure would eventually tell for the Panthers. Luke Downie collected the puck behind Remmes and tried to skate in front and score but the goalie kicked it away. Unfortunately for KP, the rebound went straight to Blasie and finally Franklin had someone finish.
Spillane said, “I give them a little credit that they worked hard to grab a point and we battled, but these are games that they have to come out and play 45 minutes. If they don’t play 45 minutes then this is the result against any team in our league.
With 3:20 left, Franklin nearly won the game when O’Reilly’s shot slipped past Remmes and sat right on the line. Cory Lombardo saved his goalie and his team by clearing the puck away. Franklin’s momentum was stymied as twice in the final 5:30 the Panthers were forced to go on the penalty kill.
“They were just unnecessary penalties that put you on the kill and then you’re wasting guys legs as the clock is ticking down,” Spillane said.
The Warriors scored five unanswered goals in the third period on Wednesday to come from behind and beat Taunton. Carlow believes that energy and confidence carried over and helped the Warriors grab a point at Franklin.
“I think that third period against Taunton coming back from a four-goal deficit, a period like that can turn your season,” said Carlow. “I think the guys came out tonight and played off that and gave us three good periods.”
Spillane was clearly disappointed with his team’s performance. After so much success in recent seasons, this may be a wake-up call for an atypically inexperienced roster. When Spillane was asked about it, he chuckled.
“Tomorrow morning they have a wake up call at 7 a.m., I can tell you that,” he said. “We will have a good skate.”
On Wednesday, Franklin (5-3-2, 3-0-1) will play host to divisional rival North Attleboro in a huge game in the Kelley-Rex standings. King Philip (5-4-1, 3-1-1) will travel to Aleixo Arena to face Attleboro.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The top rivalry in Hockomock hockey was showcased on a new stage Friday night,, as Canton and Franklin met in their annual non-league matchup at Schneider Arena on the campus of defending national champion Providence College.
Bulldogs junior Shaun Kirby transferred into the rivalry from Catholic Memorial last season, but suffered a pair of one-goal losses to the Panthers. The third time was the charm for the forward, who scored two goals, hit the post, and had two other goals taken off the board by whistles to inspire Canton to a 4-2, come from behind win.
“I think Shaun Kirby played the best all-around game I’ve seen him play in his two years here,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “He was the best player on the ice and he was a difference maker.”
Kirby scored twice in the opening period, both times bringing Canton back from one-goal deficits. His first tally came on the power play just a minute after he had a goal ruled out when the official lost sight of a loose puck and blew the play dead. Rather than hang his head, he came right back down the ice and received a perfect pass from Matt Lazaro for a one-timer in the slot.
After another Franklin goal, Kirby and the Bulldogs responded quickly. Just 30 seconds after falling behind, an odd-man rush by the second line led to another Kirby one-timer with Franklin goalie Nick Jasinski (22 saves) stranded at his near post.
“They were all over us to start the game,” said Shuman, “and until we got a couple of power plays they were outshooting us 8-1, but we battled back.”
Kirby nearly gave Canton the lead in the second period but he had two point-blank chances blocked by Franklin’s senior netminder. With 4:03 left in the second, Kirby appeared to have his hat trick on a breakaway. The puck disappeared, the red light came on and the Canton fans started celebrating, only to have the officials rule that it landed in Jasinski’s jersey and stayed out.
The Bulldogs got off to a quick start to the third period and Lazaro pounced on a deflected shot by sophomore defenseman Brad Murphy that landed right on the senior’s stick at the far post. He buried his shot to give Canton its first lead at 3-2 with 13:51 left to play.
Shuman said of Lazaro, “Everyone on the other team knows who our best player is and it’s going to be a matter of him keeping his head on straight and being mentally tough when things aren’t going his way.”
Not even two minutes later the Bulldogs’ lead was doubled. The puck stayed loose in the crease in front of Jasinski and senior forward Jim Jenkins took a couple swings at it and the puck dribbled slowly inside the far post for a 4-2 lead.
The Panthers come into the season on the back of a historic run to the Super 8 (becoming the first Hockomock team to ever qualify for the prestigious tournament) but also trying to replace 21 seniors who graduated off that team.
In the opening minutes of the first period, Franklin looked like the experienced team and jumped into the lead when junior Adam Assad took an outlet pass from defenseman Thomas Sicchio and finished to make it 1-0. After Kirby tied it, Franklin took the lead with 1:28 left in the first when Matt Pleshaw’s shot from the point was redirected by sophomore Jeremy Miller.
Franklin coach Chris Spillane said, “We came out with a little fire in our belly and then in third period we just didn’t do it. Every time we scored, we let them right back in the game.”
In the third period, trailing by two goals, Franklin had an opportunity to get back into the game when Canton had Jenkins and Murphy sent to the box. The Panthers struggled to get any clear-cut chances, despite the two-man advantage, and at times in the third looked like a team that was still figuring things out.
“There was a lot of unsure plays, not sure what to do with the puck, making bad turnovers,” said Spillane. He added, “We didn’t really have too many quality shots and we had ample opportunities on power plays…and you need to have that killer instinct to put it away and we didn’t do that.”
There is plenty of season remaining for the Panthers and Shuman was confident that at the end of the year Franklin would be right back in its usual perch atop the league. Spillane noted, “It’s a tough way to start the season, but we’ve got some young kids who are happy to be playing hockey and we’ll make it right.”
Canton players rushed onto the ice at the final whistle celebrating with senior goalie Justin Slocum (24 saves). The Bulldogs have not beaten Franklin in a couple seasons and, as one assistant remarked, it was going to be a much happier ride back up I-95 after this win.
Shuman said simply, “It’s been a couple years, so it was a good W.”
Both teams will be right back on the ice on Saturday. Canton travels to Gallo Arena in Bourne to face Sandwich, while Franklin gets a test from fellow Div. 1 tournament contender Bridgewater-Raynham.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.