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.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“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.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/27/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Franklin, 63 vs. Brighton, 35 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameFranklin clamped down defensively, forcing Brighton into 32 turnovers on its way to a big win over the Bengals. The Panthers forced 12 turnovers in the first quarter alone and hit their first eight shots from the floor, taking a 25-6 lead after eight minutes of play. Junior Chris Edgehill had a team-high 15 points, senior Will Harvey added eight points, and Jack Rudolph finished with seven points and three assists. Franklin will play host Bridgewater-Raynham in the championship game of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament on Saturday at 4:45.

King Philip, 64 vs. New Mission, 72 – FinalKing Philip cut the deficit to just three points late in the fourth quarter but New Mission finished strong to close down the Warriors. Bruce Sanitilus scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the final frame to help KP get back into the game. KP scored 38 points in the second half after being held to 26 in the opening 16 minutes. Alex Fritz added 14 points (11 in the second half) while both Andrew McKinney and Tim Nault finished with 11 points. King Philip will play host Auburn in the consolation game on Friday night at 5:00.

Milford, 60 vs. New Bedford, 51 – FinalMilford built an eight-point lead (19-11) after one quarter, led by 11 at half and after three quarters, and held on for a win over New Bedford. Senior Brendan White had a team-high 17 points and hauled in 14 boards while sophomore Jordan Darling also had a big night, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Oliver Ames, 66 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 29 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameOliver Ames turned a dominant performance on the glass into a big win over Dighton-Rehoboth in an opening round game of the Muscato Tournament. The Tigers had an 11-0 advantage on the boards in the first quarter, grabbing six offensive boards to jump out to a 23-7 lead. OA continued to control the boards with a 23-3 advantage at halftime, resulting in a 34-16 lead at the break. Junior Jay Spillane had a career-high 14 points to pace the Tigers while senior Ethan Eckstrom added 11 points. OA will play Cardinal Spellman in the championship game on Saturday.

Taunton, 77 vs. Charlestown, 53 – FinalTaunton outscored Charlestown 24-9 in the second quarter, and put up 48 points between the second and third to earn a double-digit win over Charlestown. Senior Wesner Charles scored a career-high 21 points while junior Dante Law also had a 21-point performance, including 13 in the first half. Senior Mike Quinn added 11 points and Naz Kenion chipped in with 10 points. Taunton will play host Durfee in the finals of the Skip Karam Holiday Classic on Friday at 6:30.

Girls Basketball
Attleboro, 42 @ North Attleboro, 34 – FinalLiv McCall scored 16 points to send Attleboro into Saturday’s final of the North Attleboro holiday tournament. Attleboro coach Marty Crowley credited the Bombardiers great team defense and added that Lillian Froio played really well off the bench.

Oliver Ames, 47 vs. Needham, 64 – FinalOliver Ames trailed by just a point after three quarters but the Rockets dominated the final quarter, outscoring the Tigers 23-7 to earn the win. Freshman Caroline Peper had a career-high 19 points for Oliver Ames, who will host Brockton in the consolation game of the Sue Rivard Holiday Tournament on Friday at 6:00.

Sharon, 34 vs. Middleboro, 38 – FinalEmma Eberhardt led the way for the Eagles with 17 points.

Stoughton, 39 vs. Belmont, 70 – FinalStoughton junior Aliyah Wright had a team-high 11 points for the Black Knights, who will play Newton South on Friday at 5:00.

Taunton, 65 vs. Durfee, 49 – FinalTaunton jumped out to a 13 point lead by halftime (31-18) and kept control in the second half. Sonya Fernandez had another strong all-around game for the Tigers with 20 points, eight rebounds, and nine blocks. Alexa White added 17 points and Lily Patneaude chipped in with 11 in the win.

Boys Hockey
Franklin, 2 @ Mount St. Charles (R.I.), 3 – Final (OT)Franklin senior Joe Lizotte and junior Shane McCaffrey each scored once but the Panthers fell in overtime to host Mount St. Charles. Ryan Cameron had an outstanding game in net for the Panthers. The game will go down as a tie for MIAA purposes.

King Philip, 0 vs. Quincy, 3 – Final

North Attleboro, 2 vs. Cumberland (R.I.), 0 – FinalTyler Sarro and John Connolly scored for the Rocketeers, who earned their first win of the season.

Oliver Ames, 7 vs. Matignon, 0 – FinalBrett Williams scored two goals and assisted on another and Cullen Gallagher had one goal and a pair of assists to power OA to Friday’s tournament championship game against Hanover. Colin Bourne, Max Ward, Ross Carroll, and Brad Powers also scored for the Tigers, while Owen Connor made nine saves to record the shutout.

Stoughton, 5 vs. Tri-County, 3 – FinalStoughton’s offense exploded for four goals in the second period, helping the Black Knights pick up the win. Senior Carter Gerome and freshman Colin Alessi each scored a pair of goals for the Knights while freshman Joe McNulty scored the other goal.

Taunton, 0 vs. Scituate, 2 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 3 vs. Medfield/Norton, 2 – Final (2 OT)After Medfield/Norton scored twice in the third period to grab the lead, Maggie Malloy scored with just 44 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 2-2, forcing overtime and keeping Canton unbeaten this season (both teams get a point for MIAA standings). During the 3-on-3 second OT period, Lauren Fitzpatrick went the length of the ice for her second goal of the game to send the Bulldogs into the Ice House tournament final to face Westwood. Fitzpatrick also opened the scoring for Canton with a second period goal assisted by Lizzie Tassinari and Payton McDonough.

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 0 vs. Walpole, 5 – Final

Wrestling
Lowell Tournament (Canton, Foxboro, Franklin, Taunton), 9:00
Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Sharon), 10:00

Gymnastics
Attleboro vs. Norton, 4:30
Franklin, 137.5 @ Mansfield, 147.5 – Final
King Philip @ Taunton, 11:00AM
Sharon @ Taunton, 11:00AM

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/20/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Milford, 60 vs. Hopedale, 46 – Final – After allowing 20 points in the first quarter, Milford limited Hopedale to just 26 points over the next three quarters, including just five points in the second frame. Senior Andrew Fraioli had a career night, dropping 25 points while hauling in 15 boards, both career-highs. Senior Kayden Kelley added 12 points and 14 rebounds and junior Brendan White added 14 points.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 2 @ North Attleboro, 6 – FinalNorth Attleboro built a 2-0 lead in the first period, tacked on three more goals in the second period and finished the third with one more goal to beat Attleboro. Big Bue scored both of its goals in the second period, trailing 5-2 heading into the third. Jason McNeany netted a hat trick to led Big Red while Will Yeomans, Brendan McHugh and freshman Tyler Sarro (first career tally) all scored once. Eddie Noel and Jake Parker scored for Attleboro with Ryan Morry and Cam Littig recording assists.

Stoughton, 1 @ Canton, 8 – FinalEight players scored for Canton in the win, including sophomores Chris Lavoie, Timmy Kelleher, Jack Connolly and junior Ryan Colby.

Foxboro, 1 @ Norton, 3 – FinalFoxboro junior Brendan Tully scored in the third period but the Warriors fell in a non-league contest against North.

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

King Philip, 4 @ Brockton, 3 – Final

Oliver Ames, 8 @ Taunton, 3 – FinalOliver Ames exploded for eight goals with junior Brett Williams playing a role in six of them. Williams scored a hat trick and added three assists in the win while Max Ward had two goals and an assist in his first game back from injury. Freshman Ross Carroll added a goal and an assist and junior defenseman Matt McCormick finished with three points.

Girls Hockey
Canton, 3 vs. Medway/Ashland, 1 – Final

Franklin, 6 @ Dover-Sherborn/Hopkinton, 0 – Final

King Philip, 3 @ Dedham, 2 – Final

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 3 @ Westwood, 2 – FinalFoxboro’s Cat Luciano scored a pair of goals in the third period to help the Warriors edge Westwood. Senior Kerran Holmes earned the win in goal.

Stoughton, 1 @ Medfield/Norton, 5 – Final

Wrestling
Canton Quad (Canton) – Canton went 2-1 on the day, picking up wins over Lynnfield/North Reading (64-9) and St. John’s Shrewsbury. The Dogs fell to powerhouse Metheun.

Duxbury Duals (Foxboro, Mansfield) – The two Hockomock teams in the Duxbury Duals met in the championship, with Foxboro prevailing 39-36 with a win in the final match. Mansfield beat Quincy (24-0) and BC High (38-38, criteria) to advance to the finals. Foxboro beat host Duxbury (59-6) and Andover (54-14) to advance to the finals.

Burt Burger Invitational (Franklin) – Franklin finished first at the annual Burt Burger Invitational, racking up 249 points. Jake Carlucci (106) and Jordan Carlucci (126) each won their respective brackets. Jordan Carlucci earned the “Most Pins, Least Time” award with three pins in 5:21. Brian Farrell and Bruce Johnson each had second-place finishes for the Panthers.

King Philip Quad (King Philip, Sharon) – Sharon picked up two wins on the day, notching victories over Whitman-Hanson (52-21) and Hock rival King Philip (40-29).

Springfield Central Duals (North Attleboro) – North Attleboro suffered its first dual meet loss of the season, but racked up three impressive wins on Saturday. Big Red notched wins over sixth-ranked Shawsheen Tech (46-24), Windham (NH) (44-16) and Agawam (63-3) but fell to New England’s top team, Mt. Anthony Union (44-18). Brady Folan (113) was the lone Rocketeer to go 4-0 on the day while Dan Cooper (120, two pins), Zack Gould (145, one pin), Adam Eberle (160, two pins), Reid Wills (170, three pins), Chris Ferrigno (182), Brad White (195, three pins), and John Kummer (285, three pins) all had three wins. “This is the kind of effort level we needed to see at this point in the season,” said North coach Wayne Griffin. “It gives us a lot of hope and drive as we prep for the league tournament championships next weekend.”

Sandwich Invitational (Taunton) – Taunton finished ninth overall out of 17 teams and sophomore Woudanly Danger was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Danger won the 220 bracket while Mason Frank (285) was second, Alex Simon (195) took third, and Josh Grasso (132) finished fourth for the Tigers.

Boys Swimming
Mansfield @ King Philip, 4:30

Girls Swimming
Mansfield @ King Philip, 4:30

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro vs. Burlington, 1:30

Indoor Track
MSTCA Division 4 State Relays – Canton’s 4×200 relay team of Marquise Montes, Cam Sanchez, Cordell Smith and Riley McDonnell came in first at 1:36.37, qualifying for states. Canton’s high jump team of Smith, Montes, and McDonell came in sixth overall at 16-03.25. On the girls’ side, Foxboro’s 4×800 relay team finished sixth at 10:23.48 while the 4×50 shuttle hurdle team was seventh at 32.23.