Oliver Ames Battles Back To Earn Tie With Rocketeers

Oliver Ames boys hockey
Oliver Ames players celebrate with Brett Williams (second from right) after he scored the tying goal against North Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BROCKTON, Mass. – Win, lose, or tie, there is one thing that Oliver Ames boys hockey coach Sean Bertoni knows about his team: they aren’t going to give up.

Trailing by a goal entering the third period, and without two of their top point producers due to injury and illness, the Tigers battled back to score the tying goal midway through the period and killed off a penalty in the final two minutes to grab a 2-2 tie with visiting North Attleboro.

“It was an awesome effort, I’m really proud of them,” Bertoni said. “We didn’t win the game but it was one of my proudest moments, being down guys and most teams in that situation against a quality team like North Attleboro are in trouble. Our theme is being resilient. No matter what, we just keep fighting, the effort is always there. We showed it against Canton, we showed it tonight. It’s rewarding to see as a coach.”

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Despite being without leading scorers Cullen Gallagher and Brian Kearns, who each have 17 points, the Tigers twice overcame a one-goal deficit in the game.

North Attleboro took a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game and took that advantage into the locker room during the first intermission. OA knotted the score with 9:50 to go in the second period but the Rocketeers took the lead back with a late goal in the second.

“That’s a bad tie for us,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “That’s taking nothing away from OA, they work their butts off. They have some guys who are sick, some guys who are injured and my hats off to them, they showed something today. We didn’t respond today, we have a full four line, healthy group that just didn’t get it done.”

Rocketeer senior defenseman Brendan McHugh put the visitors up 2-1 with just 1:03 left in the second period. After skating to a relatively even period, McHugh tossed a high shot on net from the blue line that OA goalie Owen Connor (14 saves) never seemed to get eyes on and it fluttered into the back of the net.

The Tigers opened the third by earning a power play but couldn’t muster any chances on goal. Instead, the best chance came for North Attleboro when the penalty expired. Rocketeer junior Jack Connolly came out of the box, took a pass and went flying into the offensive zone alone. But Connolly couldn’t quite get off a final shot with Connor covering the post with the pad.

Three minutes later, Oliver Ames had its equalizer. Senior Brett Williams prevented a clearance along the boards with a strong check that put the puck in the center of the ice. Junior Ryan Gottwald was able to bat the puck back to Williams, who was all by himself, and he deposited his shot five-hole to knot the score 2-2 with 6:47 to go.

North Attleboro had a final chance to go back on top when it went on the power play with 2:13 to go in the game. Oliver Ames’ top penalty killer Matt McCormick was whistled for a boarding penalty but the Rocketeers were only able to get one shot on net during the final two minutes.

Max Ward came up with a big early clear, and then teamed up with Williams to provide an aggressive forecheck that didn’t allow the Rocketeers to leave its own zone. McHugh had the lone shot of the man advantage but Connor easily gloved it.

“Even just getting the penalty with two minutes left in a tie game can deflate a team, especially with our top penalty kill guy in the box,” Bertoni said. “But it felt like we were attacking on it, we didn’t let them set up. I think they only had one shot on net, we had a good chance too. Brett and Max were relentless in the offensive zone. The kids are giving us everything, it’s awesome to see. We haven’t got much puck luck this year but hard work will pay off.

The Tigers even had a chance to score the game winner while shorthanded. Junior Hunter Costello cleared the puck off the boards and senior Colin Bourne used his speed to get around a North defender and get to the puck first. He was able to get a close bid on goal but North senior goalie Ryan Warren (19 saves) made a big pad save to prevent the shorthanded bid.

“They had a lot more energy in the third, they work really hard,” McManama said. “It didn’t feel like one team was better than the other in the third, it felt pretty even but I thought we could have been better. It breaks down into just some simple plays. We weren’t getting pucks in deep, we were turning it over at the blue line. Those little things, they add up. Those little things snowball and can really hurt you.”

North Attleboro struck on a rebound chance 5:31 into the contest. Andrew Zammiello put a shot on goal that Connor turned aside but junior Dennis Morehouse had plenty of space in front to bury it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

North had a couple of chances to add to its lead in the first but couldn’t find the back of the net. The best opportunity came when Todd Robinson fed Connolly in the slot but Connor came up with a big pad stop.

OA’s best chances came off the stick of McCormick, who fired a slap shot that Warren gobbled up and a backhand chance from Jake Gottwald that Warren turned away.

OA senior James Beatty set the tying goal up with an absolute perfect pass. With possession in his own defensive end, Beatty fired a perfectly weighted pass through the neutral zone right onto the stick of Williams as he entered the offensive zone for a breakaway, and Williams used a nice move and lifted the puck into the net to make it 1-1.

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Beyond North Attleboro’s first goal, the Tigers’ defense did a nice job of limiting chances for the Rocketeers.

“Defensive positioning has been great all year,” Bertoni said. “We only rolled four defensemen tonight, [McCormick], James [Beatty], Julian [Krowski], and Ryan [Gottwald]. They gave us a ton of minutes, and we had to kill a couple of penalties too. Other than that first goal, where we didn’t get our sticks in there, we didn’t give up a lot of quality chances. And we had some chances in the third too so I’ll get that point for sure.”

Oliver Ames boys hockey (2-2-1 Hockomock, 7-4-1 overall) hits the road on Saturday with a visit to Taunton at 2:00. North Attleboro (3-1-1, 5-5-1) is off until Monday when it takes on Foxboro at 6:00 at the Foxboro Sports Center.

Ebert Scores Winner As North Battles Back To Beat KP

North Attleboro hockey
North Attleboro celebrates after Jake Ebert scored the game-winning goal against King Philip with only a minute play. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro came into Saturday afternoon’s game with King Philip a game below .500 and already thinking about how many points it will need to ensure a playoff spot. When games are tough and points are at a premium, then it take goals of all kinds to build momentum.

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With one minute left to play, Jake Ebert fought his way to the crease and was the first to react when a shot slipped past KP goalie James Lewis. Ebert tapped the rebound into the open net and secured the Rocketeers a much-needed, come from behind 3-2 victory that pulls North back to .500 on the season.

“That’s what we’ve been focusing on,” said North coach Ben McManama. “I asked him after the game, how did you score that and he said, ‘dirty goals,’ and that’s what we’re trying to do. Hopefully they understand now that it doesn’t have to be pretty.”

Through two periods it didn’t look like the Rocketeers would need late heroics to pull out the win.

North grabbed an early lead on a two-man advantage inside the opening five minutes of the game. Will Yeomans had the initial shot from the slot that Lewis (28 saves) was able to get a piece of but not fully collect. The puck fell behind the goalie and Justin Moccia was in the right place at the right time to tap it in.

It took the Warriors more than nine minutes before they recorded their first shot on goal. Jack Coulter picked off a cross-ice pass and forced Ryan Warren (20 saves) into his first stop of the night.

The Rocketeers kept pushing for a second goal. A scrum in front forced a last-ditch, goal line clearance by KP defenseman Kyle Gray. With a minute left in the first, Lewis was forced into two reaction stops to deny both Jack Connolly and Ebert from point-blank range.

In the second period, the Warriors struggled to stay out of the box. KP picked up four penalties in that period alone, including a five-minute major that carried over to the third.

“We’ve got to stay out of the box,” KP coach Paul Carlow said. “You have to play even strength hockey to win. I would’ve like to have played them even strength more. We were shorthanded most of the night.”

Joe Boselli had a good look dragging the puck into the slot but he shot over the net and then Luke D’Amico forced Warren into a good glove save from a tight angle. Jake McNeany tested Lewis with a shot from the point that was kicked aside and Todd Robinson set up Connolly for a tip on the edge of the crease but it was sent just past the post.

North led 19-10 in shots heading into the third period and with 4:51 remaining on a major penalty, the Rocketeers looked like they were in control. But, KP stormed out of the locker room looking like a completely different team and, despite being down a skater, started to take the game to the hosts.

“You have to give credit to KP on that,” said McManama about North only scoring once while up a skater. “Our power play has been working at 33 percent coming into today and that’s the hardest our power play has had to work. They did a great job. They have a very good system and they work their butts off.”

Ryan Fitpatrick missed the net on a backhand seconds into the third and Warren was forced to make a sprawling save to deny Brendan Shandley when the rebound caromed to him at the far post. North nearly doubled its lead seconds later when Robinson’s shot forced a save out of Lewis and Connolly flicked the rebound wide of an open net.

That miss looked costly as KP skated down the other end and tied the game. Coulter had the initial shot from the right circle and Boselli was right there to follow up the rebound to make it 1-1.

“I think it was good that we had locker room time to talk about the kill and get the guys ready to go out for the kill,” said Carlow. “When you’re getting penalties all night, not only does it take away your chance to score but it kills your guys’ legs, so now when you come back from the kill then you don’t have any legs.”

Both teams continued to get chances in an end-to-end period. Robinson had a shot tipped inches wide by Ebert in front and Anthony Zammiello set up McNeany but his shot was blocked in front. Rocco Bianculli tested Warren with a blast from the edge of the right circle but the goalie got his blocker to it and Shandley forced another save that left the North defense scrambling.

With 5:47 to play, KP stunned the home crowd by grabbing the lead. Coulter played the puck into Conor Cooke, who was parked in the slot with a defenseman on his back. The forward collected the pass, spun, and ripped a shot over the shoulder of Warren and into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.

“Once we killed that penalty,” Carlow said, “it gave everyone a boost of confidence and then we were able to play some 5-on-5. When we played 5-on-5, we scored.”

Rather than get down, North turned the game around again. After KP cleared off yet another penalty (its eighth of the game), North got space in transition with Connolly finding a lot of room on the left circle. He opened his body up and went top shelf, far corner to beat Lewis and tie the game seemingly out of nowhere.

McManama explained, “Not much needed to be said. Everyone just started to step up and really it was one shift that got the other guys going. Winning a battle here or there and that built momentum for the last couple minutes.”

Zammiello hit the post from a very tight angle a minute later and then Ebert popped up 30 seconds after that with the dramatic finish that North needed to pull out a crucial two points at the midway point of its season.

“I thought they were playing very hard in the third period and they were winning all the battles,” McManama said. “It was very difficult to play them, even when we were on the power play…we didn’t match it in the third and that’s why the wheels started to come off a little bit, but I’m proud of the boys for battling back. It’s not an easy thing especially at this point in the season.”

North Attleboro (5-5, 3-1), which is just a game back of Canton in the Davenport title race, will travel to Oliver Ames on Wednesday, while King Philip (6-5, 2-2) will get a week off and be right back at the NESV to face Attleboro.

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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.”

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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.

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“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.

Shamrocks Stun North Attleboro With Late Winner

North Attleboro hockey
North Attleboro senior goalie Ryan Warren made 26 saves to keep Bishop Feehan off the board until the final two minutes of the game. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The parking lot was packed on Saturday afternoon, fans forced to make the trek up to the New England Sports Village from the street, and the stands were filled to the brim for a battle of neighbors. Bishop Feehan’s reaction after pulling out a 1-0 win over North Attleboro matched the atmosphere pulsating down from the crowd.

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Feehan’s players swarmed each other at the final horn, while North players dropped to the ice in anger and frustration. This felt like a Div. 2 playoff game, not one being contested before Christmas with the teams having played only a handful of games between them.

“We did enough to win, but we’re fighting through back breaks,” said North Attleboro coach Ben McManama. “It’s tough. The kids are working hard, they’re good kids, so it’s harder for me to watch them have to go through that. We’re turning the page; it’s not where we start, but where we finish.”

Having had a week off between its opening game against Oliver Ames and its meeting with Feehan, North took a while to get its skates under it. Senior goalie Ryan Warren (26 saves) was on top of his game, however, and held the Shamrocks off the board during a dominant opening period.

Warren made nine saves in the first, while the Rocketeers managed only three on the other end. Just two minutes into the game, Warren was forced into a big pad stop to deny Ben Gaucher as North freshman defenseman Austin Comery chased back to hassle the Feehan forward.

With six minutes left in the first, Warren got a big helping hand from his defense. After Warren was knocked out of goal making a save, junior Jeff Baker reacted first to clear a loose puck off the line. Warren was caught wide of the goal in a mass of bodies and the puck went out to the point, Comery stepped in front of a goal bound shot to prevent the opening goal (in the process suffering an injury that forced him out of the game).

Feehan continued to attack and Gaucher had another chance with a tip on the edge of the crease but again Warren managed to get his pad across to make the stop.

“He was great,” McManama said of Warren. “That’s what we need from him for the rest of the season and I’m confident we’re going to get it from him.”

North’s first good scoring chance came early in the second when Dennis Morehouse dragged the puck through a pair of defensemen and was stopped from a tight angle. A minute later, the Rocketeers were positive that they had the lead. John Connolly got free in the slot and his shot clanged off a post and out towards the corner. North was sure that it hit the back of the net and everyone seemed to pause for a second but there was no signal from the officials.

“We did get the puck in the net, but they called it back,” said McManama, who was clear in his disdain for Saturday’s officiating. “It’s not right. It’s hard for our boys to work hard and compete when they really get the short end of the stick.”

Feehan had its fair share of chances to grab the lead as well. A minute into a penalty kill, North was given a major penalty, meaning 50 seconds of a two-man advantage and then more than four more minutes of power play to kill.

C.J. Botelho had a pair of chances, one saved by Warren and the other that he sent wide of an open net, and Jack Murphy’s shot from the point was redirected in front by Kevin Barrera but Warren managed to keep his pad on the ice to keep the shot out.

Surviving the long power play opportunity seemed to spark the Rocketeers into life. Jake Ebert had a good chance right after North got back to even strength and Will Yeomans had a shot from the point kicked aside. With 90 seconds left in the second, Todd Robinson backhanded a pass across ice to Connolly, who rode a check and managed to get a shot on net.

It was a good flurry for North in the attacking zone and foreshadowed a strong third period push. After being outshot 20-11 through the first two periods, North outshot Feehan 14-7 in the third.

McManama explained, “I think we have to do a better job getting pucks to the net. They did a good job blocking shots, but we’re trying to stickhandle it into the net instead of get it on net and go after the rebounds.”

Anthony Zammiello saucered a pass to Robinson on an odd-man rush and the senior forward forced Feehan goalie Rory Geraghty into a shoulder save. Connolly had another chance from inside the left circle but that was stopped too.

“It’s just because we spent the rest of the game in the box,” said McManama about the North attack in the third period. “It was nice to be able to play five-on-five for a little bit. The captains just talked about, we know what to do, we know we’re the better team, let’s just show it. We just ran out of time.”

Warren was forced into two big stops on the other end to keep the game scoreless and North broke up ice quickly with Justin Moccia forcing Geraghty (24 saves) into another stop. The chances kept coming for North, which was in control of the period, including a series of close calls on a power play opportunity with four minutes left.

But, with just 1:43 on the clock, Feehan managed to find one good scoring chance and made it count. Kevin Borah roofed his shot as he cut across the crease to give the Shamrocks the lead.

North had one more great chance when Robinson, despite Feehan going on the power play during a scrappy closing sequence, got behind the Shamrocks defense but Geraghty stood tall again and made a solid pad save to deny the breakaway and the opportunity for a tie.

North Attleboro (0-2) will be back on the ice on Thursday afternoon at Levy Rink when it opens the Burrillville (R.I.) Hockey Winter Classic against Cumberland (R.I.).

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Big Red Blasts Dartmouth, Books Trip To D2 South Final

North Attleboro baseball
North Attleboro’s Zach DeMattio celebrates after a two-run triple in the first inning. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ROCKLAND, Mass. – Even though it was very early, things weren’t looking good for the top-seeded Rocketeers.

Dartmouth had its first four batters reach on three straight walks and a double, resulting in a quick 1-0 advantage. But that was all the damage the Indians did as catcher Zach DeMattio erased the leadoff walk trying to steal second and starting pitcher Peter Cohen settled in to get two outs with runners on second and third.

And in the bottom half, North had a swift answer. The Rocketeers scored three runs, assuming a lead that they never relinquished, and sparked what would be an offensive showcase that resulted in a 20-2 win.

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North Attleboro advances to the D2 South Final to play Hockomock rival Oliver Ames.

Big Red senior starting pitcher Peter Cohen not only had to face the top of a talented Dartmouth lineup to start the game but also had to deal with a hole near the rubber on the pitching – a mound issue that also gave Oliver Ames starter Michael Mulrean issues in the nightcap.

Cohen walked Dylan Pacheco to start the game but he was erased at second by a perfect throw from DeMattio. But Dartmouth’s Brett Abreu and Hunter Pimental also drew walks. Eric Sylvia sent one to the outfield for a double to bring one run in and put runners on second and third.

But Cohen finally settled in, getting a pair of popups in the infield to end the top of the first down just 1-0.

“It wasn’t a matter of Peter’s ability, he was really struggling with the mound,” said North Attleboro coach Mike Hart. “He figured it out and battled, that’s the senior in him. I’ve said it before, he’s a bulldog. I knew he’d find a way to figure it out to stay in the game, he was excellent from there on out.

“I think you feel great after [the top of the first]. They got one run but it could have been worse the way that first inning was going. But again, Peter has been in that same exact spot before and he’s gotten out of it. So we have a lot of faith in him.”

The momentum the Rocketeers seemed to get from allowing just one run seemed to carry over to the offensive side. Brendan McHugh reached on an error – one of seven miscues for the Indians on the day – and Nick Sinacola walked to quickly put runners on first and second for North.

As he has done all season, DeMattio delivered at the plate but crushing a two-run triple to right center field. Two batters later, DeMattio came home on a hard hit ground ball from Nick Raneri to make it 3-0.

“If you want to pick a defining moment in the game, I think that was it, even though it happened early, that was huge,” Hart said. “Just because of the struggles in the top of the first with a couple of walks and a run. Then we come back and get those three runs, that was huge. I think that Peter at ease and let him kind of figure out the mound and pitch his game.”

Cohen showed he had settled in by needing just 11 pitches in the top of the second inning, striking out the side. And North Attleboro kept things rolling in the bottom of the second, exploding for seven runs.

Three straight singles from Aidan Harding, Shawn Watters, and McHugh loaded the bases with no outs. Sinacola’s hard-hit grounder allowed two runs to score and put runners on the corners. DeMattio followed with an RBI single to plate McHugh, and Sinacola came home on a sac fly from Pearce.

Raneri reached on an error, allowing DeMattio to score to make it 8-1. North’s offense kept rolling with a single from Kyle Bolger, who then stole second. Harding then reached on an error and two runs came in for a 10-1 advantage.

“I think we did a good job putting the ball in play,” Hart said. “Obviously it helps if the other day has some errors. We’ve done well offensively this year but we just try to focus on our at-bats and attacking the baseball instead of what’s happening in the field.

“It’s a good time for everybody in the lineup to be putting in that effort.”

Dartmouth added a second run in the top of the third. Pacheco singled, advanced to second after a walk, took third after Cohen induced a double play, and scored on a wild pitch.

North’s offense went down in order (for the only time in the game) in the bottom of the third but was right back at in the fourth. Nate Pearce struck out but raced to first on a dropped third strike and forced a high throw, allowing him to take second. A line drive double from Raneri made it 11-2, and a two-out single from Harding scored Raneri in from third.

The Rocketeers continued to stay hot at the plate and pushed across five more runs in the fifth inning. Sinacola doubled and DeMattio reached on an error to put runners on the corners. After DeMattio stole second, Pearce was intentionally walked and Raneri made the Indians pay with a two-run single through the right side.

Bolger was intentionally walked to load the bases again and Harding delivered with a two-run single. Watters followed with an RBI single to make it 17-2. The teams came off the field and started to leave the dugouts because of the 15-run mercy run.

The umps called both teams back saying the rule did not apply. A 30-minute delay occurred as officials figured it out. In the end, it was decided that the MIAA 15-run mercy run does not apply past the quarterfinal round.

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After the long break, freshman Dennis Colleran took over on the mound for Cohen (5 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 5 BB, 4 K). Colleran retired the side in order in his first varsity experience.

North tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ryan Pasquel was hit by a pitch and took second on a hit from Matt Seavey. Todd Robinson’s bloop single pushed Pasquel to third but Dartmouth got the force out at second. Bolger drove Pasquel in, Jake Palmer brought Robinson home with a single, and Harding scored Bolger with a base hit.

Ben Arrighi worked around a one-out walk, striking out a pair in the top of the seventh to end the game.

“Our guys came ready to play, they were really excited to get after it today,” Hart said.

North Attleboro baseball (20-2) will take on Oliver Ames in the D2 South Final on Saturday at 10:00AM at Campanelli Stadium.

McHugh, Wanless Lead North Attleboro Past Milford

By Brian Hines, HockomockSports.com Contributor

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The North Attleboro offense has been tough to quiet all season, and that was again the case for the Milford Hawks on Wednesday afternoon at Community Field.

The Red Rocketeers used a pair of home runs, a grand slam by junior Brendan McHugh and a solo shot by senior captain Zach DeMattio, to beat the Hawks 5-1.

McHugh’s grand slam was set up by three consecutive two-out singles by seniors Nolan Buckley and Aidan Harding and junior Shawn Watters. McHugh’s shot hit the bleachers in left field, and after a long discussion between the umpires and two coaches, was ruled a home run.

The very next inning, DeMattio led off with a solo shot, also into the left field bleachers, for his second home run of the season.

“I thought their pitcher, [Andrew] Fauerbach, did a great job mixing up his speeds, which can flummox any team,” said North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart. “But I thought the second time around we definitely stayed back on the ball and looked to keep it simple and just drive it. If we do those things, not worrying about where the balls actually going to go, things will turn out well for us.”

The 5-0 lead was all North needed, especially with junior Matt Wanless on the mound. Wanless pitched six innings, striking out three batters while allowing just one run.

“Matt did a great job,” said Hart. “His big thing is throwing strikes and he did that. He got a lot of first-pitch strikes which sets up the count for him, hit his spots.”

Milford’s lone run came during a sixth-inning rally. After a single and two-out walk, Cameron Soloman’s base hit scored Matt Swanson, but North Attleboro catcher Todd Robinson caught the Hawks trying to advance to third, which ended the inning.

Wanless was able to avoid damage from the other Milford rallies. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, along with an early threat when Milford put runners on second and third in the first inning.

“[Matts] been in some tough spots this year and he’s done well through them,” said Hart. “I feel as though the couple times he got into situations today he did a very good job of getting out of them.”

North Attleboro baseball (13-2 Hockomock, 17-2 overall) will travel to Taunton on Thursday for the final game of their regular season. Milford finishes the season 5-15 overall and 4-12 in Hockomock play.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/03/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 13 – Final

Mansfield, 1 @ Canton, 3 – FinalClick here for a recap of this game.

North Attleboro, 3 @ Foxboro, 2 – FinalNorth Attleboro junior Brendan McHugh scored five minutes into the third period to help Big Red beat Foxboro. North’s Drew Wissler and Todd Robinson scored in the second period to build a 2-0 lead but Foxboro’s Aidan Sullivan and Ronnie MacLellan scored within a minute span to tie the game.

King Philip, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalOliver Ames scored once in each period to beat visiting King Philip. OA junior Brett Williams set up Colin Bourne for the opening goal in the first period, Williams scored himself in the second period, and then Williams assisted on Adam Healy’s third-period goal. Sophomore Owen Connor made 17 saves in net for OA.

Taunton, 1 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 5 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 2 @ King Philip, 0 – Final
Franklin, 0 vs. Ursuline, 0 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 6 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final

Wrestling
Div. 1 State Dual Meet (Franklin) – After a bye to start the day, Franklin won three straight dual meets to claim the D1 State Dual Meet championship. The Panthers beat Lawrence (54-9) in the quarterfinals, took down St. John’s Prep (59-11) in the semifinals, and won the title with an impressive 53-13 win over Chelmsford – ranked fourth in the state – in the finals to earn the title.

Div. 2 State Dual Meet (Milford, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames) – North Attleboro beat Oliver Ames (64-3) and Nashoba to advance to the D2 State Dual Finals but fell to Central Catholic. North senior Jake Direnzo picked up his 100th career victory during the day. Oliver Ames opened the day with a decisive 60-15 win over Beverly, and after losing to North Attleboro, defeated defending D2 state champs North Andover in the consolation round, 39-37. Remy Creighton, Casey Bellevue, Brandon Belleton, Dean Pacini, and Darnele Ryan each earned two wins each on the day for OA.

Div. 3 State Dual Meet (Foxboro) – Tied 27-27 entering the final match, Foxboro’s Adam Lanctot pulled out a 6-0 victory to give the Warriors three points, a 30-27 win over Dedham and the program’s second straight D3 State Dual Championship. Foxboro opened the way with a win over AMSA (54-13) and then took down Wayland (46-22) to advance to the finals.

Hingham Quad (Canton, Mansfield) – Mansfield had a solid showing, picking up wins over Scituate (33-17) and the host, Hingham (42-33). Canton also notched a win against the Sailors (44-17) but suffered a setback against the Harbormen (37-34) in a back-and-forth match.

Franklin County Tech Quad (King Philip) – King Philip dropped matches to Franklin Tech (42-34) and West Springfield (51-26).

Bridgewater-Raynham Quad (Stoughton, Stoughton) – Sharon swept the competition at the Bridgewater-Raynham quad. The Eagles beat Silver Lake (60-24), Duxbury (51-24) and host Bridgewater-Raynham (47-30). Stoughton beat Duxbury (48-31) but lost to B-R (47-27).

New Bedford Quad (Taunton) – Taunton suffered three setbacks, falling to New Bedford (38-14), Braintree (48-6) and Dighton-Rehoboth (18-12). Woudanly Danger (220) and Mason Frank (285) each had two wins for the Tigers while Guerard Theodore (132) and Candido Santos (160) each recorded one victory apiece.

Girls Swimming
Hockomock League Championships (@ Milford) – Click here for results and a photo gallery of this event.

Gymnastics
Franklin, 134.75 @ Attleboro, 130.1 – FinalFranklin junior Mia Lizotte had her best performance of the season, earning a season-high score of 36.8 to take first place in the All Around. Panthers senior Liz Traphagen was second in All Around, notching a 34.75. Franklin results: Vault – Lizotte (9.35), Traphagen (8.55), Lexi Lupien (8.4), Rachel Cyr (8.3), Audrey DiMella (8.2), Katelyn Guidi (8.0), Sophie Redwine (7.9), Chloe Barac (7.8). Bars – Lizotte (8.7), Sadie Rondeau (8.2), Traphagen (8.1), Rylee Dooney (5.8), Guidi (5.7), Redwine (5.0), Molly Stanton (4.5). Beam – Lizotte (9.45), Traphagen (8.9), Rondeau (8.7), Cyr (7.9), Stanton (7.65), Sarah Bernstein (7.4), Sophia Perro (7.1). Floor – Lizotte (9.3), Traphagen (9.2), Rondeau (8.4), DiMella (7.5), Guidi (7.4), Barac (7.4), Caity Sault (6.1).

Canton @ Sharon, 4:30

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro vs. Lowell, 10:00AM

North Kicks Off Season With Big Win at New Home

North Attleboro hockey
Ryan Warren made 20 saves for North Attleboro in the season-opening win against Dedham, including this post-to-post stop in the second period. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro moved into its new home at the New England Sports Village this winter and, although the rink is still under construction, the Rocketeers already looked like a finished product despite the season just getting underway.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Jason McNeany and Andrew Wissler each scored a pair of goals and senior center Zach McGowan recorded three points as North skated to a comprehensive 8-2 non-league victory over Dedham in Wednesday night’s season opener.

“I’m very happy with our effort, our finishing, our capitalization,” said North coach Steve Snizek about the team’s offensive effort. “One thing I do want to see is us stay out of the box. It’s becoming, as you know, more and more of a routine for us.”

It was the visiting Marauders that found themselves in the box in the first period and North took advantage of the extra skater and each time the goal came almost immediately after the penalty.

McGowan got the scoring started with 10:26 left in the first. He fired a wrist shot from the high slot, just eight seconds into the power play, off an assist from William Yeomans. Two minutes later, the lead was doubled by junior Hunter Sarro (assisted by defensemen Brendan McHugh and Vincent Zammiello) from a tight angle.

North outshot Dedham 13-7 in the first period, but after a boarding call against Erik Clements, goalie Ryan Warren needed to come through with a big save just before the horn to keep the Marauders off the board. Warren (20 saves) made the initial stop and then went post-to-post at full stretch to keep out the rebound.

“That was an amazing save,” said Snizek. “If he doesn’t save that then momentum is in their favor and it would’ve been a different ballgame. Again, he was lights out.”

Dedham did pull one back on the power play when Nick Mecuri knocked in a rebound from point-blank range, but the Rocketeers answered back less than a minute later. McNeany got free down the right wing and fired in a shorthanded goal that made it 3-1 and seemed to deflate the visitors.

Snizek said, “That was huge. It took the wind out of their sails a little bit and put it back into ours, so that was a good jumpstart again.”

Wissler stepped up two minutes later to knock in a rebound from McGowan’s shot to extend the lead to 4-1 and, after the Rocketeers cleared off a minute of two-man advantage, sophomore forward Todd Robinson turned a defensive zone face-off into a breakaway goal when he tipped the puck past the pinching defenseman and raced free.

North put the game away before the end of the second when McGowan assisted for the second time on a Wissler goal to make it 6-1. It was a dominating performance by the Rocketeers and Snizek was happy to see all three lines (and the fourth line during the third period) contributing to the win.

“They were impressive tonight,” said Snizek of the third line. “They jumpstarted us when the first two [lines] had some bad shifts, they would jump start us again. It’s good to see the third line contributing.”

He added, “That’s one of the things we practiced in the first week was the line stuff, get used to each other, so they picked it up really fast. I’m happy about that. It was a great win to start the season.”

McNeany added his second of the night off a Sarro assist with 8:36 to play and then freshman John Connolly answered a Dedham goal with the first score of his career to wrap up the scoring and get a pretty loud ovation from the sizable cheering section.

Besides getting two points to start the season, Snizek was also happy to get a debut win at the Rocketeers’ new home rink. He admitted that the crowd seems louder at the New England Sports Village (they are above the glass, unlike the Foxboro Sports Center) and he is looking forward to what the rink will be when it is fully built.

“I love it,” Snizek said. “I like the atmosphere. You saw the fans are right on top of you…it gets the adrenaline pumping.”

North Attleboro (1-0) will face a tough test on Saturday night when it plays host to rival Bishop Feehan.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.