FOXBORO, Mass. – King Philip established control early in the game while North Attleboro asserted itself in the third period.
It looked like the Warriors and Rocketeers were destined to finish level, especially with the strong play of goalies Kyle Abbott and Nate Kelly.
The Warriors peppered Kelly for two periods but only lit the lamp once while North gained traction offensively in the third, including the tying goal early in the fame. But Abbott came up with two of his biggest stops with under a minute to go.
With 21.9 seconds left in the game, KP senior James Boldy won a faceoff in the defensive zone back to classmate Sam Naggar, who whipped a clearance around the boards and out of the zone. North collected the puck in its own zone but heavy pressure from junior Rowan Boulger down low forced a turnover at the blue line.
With the clock ticking down, Naggar released a quick slap shot that deflected off a defenseman’s leg and through the five-hole with just 5.8 seconds left in the game to deliver King Philip a stunning 2-1 win over North Attleboro.
“Just put it on the net in that situation, good things will happen when it gets there,” said first-year King Philip head coach Toby Carlow. “The first half of the game we were better for sure. The third period, give credit to [North] because they came out and played very hard, they didn’t want to go home with a loss. In a game like this, one mistake ends up as the difference in the game.”
King Philip carried a 1-0 lead into the third period thanks to a second period goal from junior Tyler Douglas. The Warriors had a hefty advantage in offensive zone time and a large edge in shots on goal (29-10) entering the final period.
The chances for North started early in the final and snowballed from there. A weird bounce off the glass on a clearance from KP presented North senior Mark Ayvazyan with a good chance right in front but Abbott came up with the stop.
“I think the kids deserved a better fate,” said North Attleboro head coach Kyle Heagney. “Nate Kelly played very well for us. We had a very sluggish start but we got better as the game went on, got better each shift. The third period, I thought we controlled the majority of the puck but just a simple breakdown at the end destroyed our destiny.
“There’s always a lesson in a win and a loss, but there always seems like a bigger lesson in the loss. When you lose with five seconds in the game, as a coach, you’re always wondering what if, what if, what if. It comes down to inches and milliseconds…there were a lot of what ifs.”
The Rocketeers’ pressure was rewarded with a power play opportunity and despite having limited offensive zone time through the first 30-plus minutes, North wasted very little time cashing in.
Brody Gaulin took the faceoff, Joe Quinn skated in and dished the puck back to Ayvazyan at the blue line and his low shot/pass found Kaden Burns skating in front of the net all alone and he tucked away a low backhand shot into the back of the net just five seconds into the man-advantage situation to pull the Rocketeers level at 1-1 with 10:09 to go in the game.
North kept it going and had another power play chance just two minutes later but Abbott and the KP defense was up to the task. Boldy and Naggar had early clearances, and the line of Nate Garstka, Douglas, Cam Lehan-Allen, and Sonny Bianculli denied North any chances.
The best chance of the power play came when North defenseman Gavin Arabian ripped a deflected shot that took a bounce right in front of goal but Abbott gloved it comfortably and held on.
North had two good chances in the final two minutes. First, Dominic Bertino came flying down the right side but his wrist shot was snagged by Abbott. And right before the final face-off that sent KP to the win, Ayvazian had a good bid from a similar spot but Abbott had another stop.
“Kyle made two huge saves and he was ready for them,” Carlow said. “It’s tough sometimes when for the first half of the game, you’re not seeing a lot so you have to stay ready for when it does come and he was. Their goalie played outstanding too.
The Warriors came out on the front foot and registered 20 shots on Kelly in just the opening 15 minutes. Jack Gresham had two early chances, Evan Regan had a good shot after a feed from Trevor Pelkey, and Tim Mullen had a shot through traffic but all of KP’s chances in the first were turned aside by Kelly.
“Nate showed up and did his job,” Heagney said. “The defense and the forwards, we didn’t do our job for Nate tonight. I thought he played very well and he’s the reason we were in the game so late.”
KP’s breakthrough came just over a minute into the second period. Douglas won a faceoff in the offensive zone, Robison battled in front with a defenseman and Douglas came skating back through and finished a low shot from in close to make it 1-0 at 13:56 of the second.
“Give credit to KP, I thought they outplayed us, I thought they beat us to pucks, and I thought they were tougher on pucks,” Heagney said. “It just seemed like it was their night, I don’t think we put enough pressure on them or tested their goalie. In order to win a game, you need effort, energy, and execution and we were lacking in execution tonight.”
King Philip boys hockey (3-0 Hockomock, 7-1 overall) travels to Canton on Saturday for a big showdown with the Bulldogs at 6:20. North Attleboro (1-2, 4-3) has a non-league tilt at home against Dartmouth.
2019 Record: 6-10 Coach: Jon Burre
Despite graduating over a half a dozen seniors from last year’s squad, head coach Jonathan Burre is excited to see what the new faces will bring to the table this season. One constant the Bombardiers have is junior captain Brendan Raymond, who led the team with an average score of 40.3 last year as a sophomore. Not only is Raymond a solid player on the course and great around the greens, but Burre also said he’s a great leader for the young squad.
Junior captain Parker Sackett, junior Jackson Sweeney, and sophomore Carter Shelton are all back after picking up valuable match experience last season and will be counted on to be key scorers for the Bombardiers, who are playing out of Stone-E-Lea Golf Course for the third straight season. Sophomore Leo Lombardo has made a big leap and will factor into the scoring for the squad while freshmen Dane Holske and Ryan Hill have shown promise in tryouts and practices.
“I like what I have seen from the underclassmen and I am looking forward to seeing who steps up and grabs those last few match spots each week,” Burre said. “The team has been coming in each day with good attitudes and competing at practice. We are well led by our captains and ready for the season!”
2019 Record: 13-1 (Davenport division champions) Coach: Mike Barucci
The three-time defending Davenport division champions will be looking to stretch the streak to four this season, which would be a program first. The Bulldogs earned their third straight crown last season on the back of Hockomock League MVP senior Chris Lavoie, who led the league in average for the regular season, as well as a very deep lineup behind him. The Bulldogs will host division foes at Blue Hill Country Club on the challenger course.
Canton also won three straight league titles from 1998-2000 and the Bulldogs head into this season as the favorite to win a fourth straight Davenport title. Despite losing Lavoie to graduation, Canton returns three other Hock All-Stars in juniors Conor Hunter, Will Gefteas, and Michael Leonetti — all three shot an average of under 40 during breakout sophomore campaigns. They will be joined by four-year starter Thomas Singleton in the quest for a four-peat in 2020. Head coach Mike Barucci praised the improvement of senior Owen Donovan and expects a lot of golfers to be in the mix for a spot in the lineup including Nate MacDonald, Andrew Middleton, Aiden French, Charlie Cohen, and Ryan Doucette.
“We have a lot of depth this year and a lot of guys returning who have experience playing in matches,” Barucci said. “We should have a very competitive and exciting season.”
2019 Record: 10-6 Coach: Jared Tise
It might be a month later than anticipated but the Foxboro Warriors are excited to hit the links and get back out on the course to try and build on their 2019 campaign. Posting an 8-2 record against division foes and a 10-win season overall — the squad’s best in nearly a decade — Foxboro is looking to challenge Canton for the top spot in the Davenport.
Teeing off on the front nine at Foxborough Country Club, the Warriors will be anchored by a pair of senior captains in Dylan Quinn and Luke Davies. Quinn, who qualified for states as an individual last season, spent the summer improving all parts of his game and will be in the mix among the top golfers in the league this year. Davies was apart of the Warriors lineup each match last season and head coach Jared Tise expects him to be a big factor this year.
“[Davies] has improved to come out of tryouts as our number two player,” Tise said. “Luke, like Dylan, has worked very hard this summer improving his game while keeping his strength of iron play.”
Foxboro will turn to a handful of juniors to round out the top four this season, including Jack Rounds, Matt Fossella, Jack Watts, and Dylan Pothier. Rounds and Fossella each played in all of Foxboro’s matches last season while Watts and Pothier gained some valuable experience; all four are likely to factor into scoring this year.
2019 Record: 14-4 Coach: Dustin Picillo
With six starters returning from last year’s 14-win team, including five experienced seniors, the Panthers are primed to make a push for the Kelley-Rex division title. After sharing the crown with OA in 2018, the Franklin finished second last year but will be one of the top challengers as rival Mansfield looks to repeat. Franklin calls Franklin Country Club home and will host teams on the front nine (par 35).
Spearheading the way for the Panthers will be senior Jack Paterson, returning after a stellar 2019 campaign. After finishing the regular season in the top five with an average score of 38.2, Paterson capped the season by shooting a 76 at Blue Hill Country Club to take home the individual title at the Hockomock League Championships. Seniors Nolan Norton, Brian Sandham, Sean Connelly, and Pat Dolan, who is coming off a breakout season in 2019, will make up the backbone of the Panthers this season. Juniors Caroline Woelfel and Jack MacKinnon will also be in the mix after gaining valuable experience on the course a year ago, while underclassmen Jack Hagerty, Ben Paterson, and CJ Steel have impressed in the early going.
“We are excited about our team this year,” said head coach Dustin Picillo. “Greens are firm and fast at FCC which has given us an early test of where we are at. We’re excited to get started against Attleboro.”
2019 Record: 9-5 Coach: Myles McHugh
Despite a late start to the season, King Philip is aiming to be a spoiler in the Kelley-Rex division title hunt this season. Coming off a nine-win season, the Warriors are hoping to take the next step this year. Junior captain and Hock all-star Mike Matheson will lead the way for the Warriors, fresh off a strong 2019 campaign in which he averaged 39.9. He will be joined by senior captain Aidan Leonard, a four-year member of the program who will provide leadership and guidance for a squad with 11 juniors and nine underclassmen.
Head coach Myles McHugh will be leaning on Jared Curran, Pat Reardon, and Kevin Birenbaum — three returners from last season. Juniors Timmy Hartwell and Markus Paschke have shown a lot of improvement from a season ago and will be in the mix for the starting lineup when the Warriors tee off at Wentworth Hills Country Club. Sophomore James Boldy and freshmen Ethan Sullivan and Tyler Douglas have impressed in the early tryouts and practices and will be pushing for spots in the KP lineup.
“With 21 players on the team this year, the eight varsity travel spots are sure to be hotly contested,” McHugh said. “And as always, I would like to thank Wentworth Hills Country Club for hosting our team. It’s is a beautiful course that has afforded us a strong home course advantage for several years now.”
2019 Record: 14-2 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) Coach: Chris Hall
The Hornets had a banner year in 2019, winning the Kelley-Rex division for the first time since 2015 and went on to take first place at the Hockomock League Championship with a 12-stroke margin of victory. With virtually its entire starting lineup back this season, Mansfield enters the season as the favorite to repeat as division champions under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Chris Hall.
Playing the front nine at Norton Country Club its home course, the Hornets will face stiff competition as they try to secure another division championship. But with a strong senior class that features 11 golfers, Mansfield remains the team to beat. Ryan Dow, who led the team with an average of 38.8 and placed second at each of the last two league championships, is joined by brothers Jason See (39.1) and Brian See (39.5) at the top of the lineup for the Hornets. And don’t forget senior Nate Morreale (40.3), who took home the individual title as a sophomore at the 2018 league championship meet. Mansfield boasts incredible depth with seniors Joe Gormley (41.8) and Ava Haggis (42.8), both consistent scorers over the past couple of seasons, back in the lineup.
“Rounding out the team are a variety of incredibly talented senior athletes, mixed with a strong group of juniors and underclassmen looking to complete,” Hall said. “The Hornets have truly worked together to build a successful program at Mansfield High School. While our short term intentions are clear, the future is bright for the Hornets.”
2019 Record: 3-12 Coach: Jason Potty
Milford is hoping to have a bounce back season after just three wins in 2019. Hosting division rivals at Hopedale Country Club (par 35), the Scarlet Hawks will lean heavily on their most experienced golfers as they battle against Kelley-Rex foes this season. While the Hawks will have home course advantage against most of its new division rivals, they will be venturing to a handful of courses for the first time this season.
Seniors Dave Pacella (captain) and Wesley Murdock will lead the way and have a big impact for Milford this season. They will be joined by juniors Ronan Fleming and Tom Donato, who both picked up valuable experience last season as sophomores. After that, the Hawks will turn to youth to fill out the lineup card. First-year sophomores Eric Farrell and Tyler Caldon are going to be in the mix while freshmen Anthony LaPierre, Nate Lawrence, Jacob Hipolito, and Joe Pezza have shown promise early on and could factor into the scoring for Milford.
“We’re really excited that we actually have a season even if it is shortened so the seniors can have a nice send off and young guys can get match experience and play the other golf courses in the Hock,” said head coach Jason Potty.
2019 Record: 8-8 Coach: Steve Nelson
After spending the past two seasons on the gridiron, junior Tyler DeMattio will be hitting the links this season and will be one of the main players for a Rocketeers squad that is looking to break Canton’s streak atop the Davenport division. With football pushed to the wedge season between winter and spring, athletes have the opportunity to participate in a different fall sport and DeMattio is taking advantage, trading his helmet and shoulder pads in for a driver and putter.
Along with the addition of DeMattio, the Rocketeers have sophomore Jake Gaskin back in the fold at Heather Hill Country Club. As a freshman, Gaskin burst onto the scene with an average of 40.6 during the regular season and tied for North’s top score at the league championship match. With a year under his belt, Gaskin will likely be in the mix among the top golfers in the division. Senior co-captains Aidan Weir (43.6) and Sam Gallagher (43.0) will lead the way both on and off the course this season. Head coach Steve Nelson has eight golfers battling it out for the last four spots, hoping the competition among teammates will bring out the best when the Rocketeers tee off this week.
2019 Record: 9-5 Coach: Ryan Riley
After a four-year stint in the Kelley-Rex that featured three division titles, the Tigers are back in the Davenport where they won four straight titles from 2012-2015. With its seven-year title streak snapped in 2019, Oliver Ames is looking to knock off three-time defending champion Canton behind a deep, but young, squad.
Head coach Ryan Riley will lean on senior captain James Walsh and junior captain Jo Jo Gaultier to provide some stability to a team that graduated six seniors, including all three of its participants in last year’s league championships. Senior Logan Domenico and junior Carter Allbritton have match experience and will be key pieces this season while junior Jake Kaplan has impressed in the early going. Freshmen David Rodgers and Sean Kearns don’t have any match experience yet but will be in the mix for the Tigers’ starting lineup. Oliver Ames plays off the white tees at Pine Oaks Golf Course in Easton.
2019 Record: 5-8 Coach: Thor Van Vaerenewyck
Sharon lost two starters to graduation and has just one senior on the team this year, but with two of the top returning golfers back in the fold, the Eagles will contend against division foes this year on the front nine at the Cape Club of Sharon.
Senior Ethan Skelly has been among the league leaders in each of the past two seasons (37.5 average over two seasons) and that trend is likely to continue this year. Skelly, who finished tied for sixth at Hocks last year, is joined by juniors Nathan Daley and Eric Carter, who not only picked up valuable match experience last year but were key contributors in the Eagles’ starting lineup. Daley had a strong finish to his 2019 campaign with a fourth-place finish at Hocks while Carter has shown improvement from a year ago. Juniors Owen Kevorkian and Rosie Leonard will also factor into the scoring for Sharon after getting their feet wet last season.
2019 Record: 1-14 Coach: Brett Boyd
With all eight starters back from a year ago, the Black Knights are aiming to have an improved season on the links. Led by senior captain Max Huminik, who had the top average on the team and was the team’s medalist in almost all matches, the Knights are hoping to increase the win count this year under fifth-year head coach Brett Boyd.
Juniors Anthony Hearn and Patrick Smith are aiming to build on some great rounds from last year, gaining valuable experience as sophomores on courses they will see again this season. Senior Jake Curtis will be another key contributor for Stoughton, who hosts teams on the front nine at Easton Country Club. Curtis is a consistent player and will likely factor into the scoring in each match. Boyd noted how all four golfers have made great adjustments off the team and have positioned themselves to improve their scoring. Jonah Hochberg, Brooke Bulger, Joseph Mark, and Joseph Rush have impressed early on and will be battling for spots in the starting lineup.
“I’m looking forward to having the same squad back from last year that now has experienced playing in matches and seen these other courses,” Boyd said.
“It will only help make us more competitive down the stretch.”
2019 Record: 2-13 Coach: Brad Koneski
The Tigers boast four returning starters from last year’s squad and are aiming to improve as the season progresses. The Tigers are set to tee off on the road against King Philip but later in the week will entertain the Warriors, as well as the rest of the Kelley-Rex division, at Segregansett Country Club.
Seniors Spencer Andrews, Colton Fagan, Dillon Schofield, and Kyle Robinson are the key contributors back for the Tigers in 2020 and will all be important pieces for this season. All four were apart of the Tigers’ starting lineup a year ago and that experience should help as they battle through a loaded Kelley-Rex division. Head coach Brad Koneski, now in his sixth season at the helm, also expects Nathan Fernandes and Alex Dias to factor into the scoring for the Tigers this season.