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.
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.
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.
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.).
Foxboro, 0 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Taunton junior Jack Moynihan struck out nine batters without allowing a walk or a run in 6.2 innings of work to help the Tigers beat visiting Foxboro. The Tigers pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first inning and tacked on one more in the fourth inning. Evan Melo had two hits for the Tigers while Sean Quinlan and Jacob Crawford each had an RBI. Foxboro’s Michael Devlin went 2-for-3 on the day.
Stoughton, 11 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – Stoughton overcame an early five-run deficit, tying the game and taking the lead in the fifth inning, and added five insurance runs in the top of the seventh to get the win on the road. Stoughton scored two runs in each the third and fourth innings to get within a run. Senior Ruben Gonzalez led off with a triple in the fifth and scored on a squeeze from George Currier. Stoughton took the lead when Matt Hadley doubled and scored on a two-out single from Robbie Seaman. Zak Paquette got the win for the Black Knights with three earned runs allowed, no walks, and two strikeouts.
North Attleboro @ Attleboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Canton @ Franklin – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Sharon @ Mansfield – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Milford @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Franklin, 12 @ Canton, 6 – Final – Franklin pushed across five runs in the first inning, highlighted by Jackie Cherry’s three-run home run, and never trailed in a win on the road at Canton. The Panthers added four more runs in the second and then added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Tara Hartnett had two hits, including a triple, and an RBI, Peyton Arone went 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Natalie Stott had a two-run single. Cherry and Emily Valentino combined for 10 strikeouts for Franklin.
Taunton, 16 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final (5 inn.) – Taunton senior Kya Enos went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs and sophomore Payton Ceglarski had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBI as the Tigers notched a big win on the road. McKenzie McAloon went 2-for-2 with two RBI, Mackenzie Handrahan had two hits, including a double, and knocked in a pair of runs, and Jaime Brown and Kelsey White each had two hits and an RBI. Alexa White earned the win in the circle, allowing three hits while striking out eight.
King Philip, 14 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Meghan Gorman recorded four RBI and scored three runs and Sydney Phillips added three hits and two runs scored to pace the Warriors to a big win. Hailey McCasland, Nicole Carter, Faith Turinese, and Brooke Taute all had multiple hits on the day with KP totaling 17 as a team. Elise Pereira pitched a complete game, allowing three runs in the first but then blanked the Black Knights over the next six. Stoughton’s Gina Carafa was 3-for-3 with a double and two singles, Jordan Lyons was 2-for-4 with a double, and Karly Estremera added another hit. SHS coach Deb Parker noted catcher Brianna Ferrandiz had an outstanding game defensively.
Attleboro @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Mansfield @ Sharon – Postponed to Wednesday, 5/30 at 3:45.
Oliver Ames @ Milford – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 4:00 at Oliver Ames.
Attleboro, 3 @ North Attleboro, 12 – Final – North Attleboro got it done on both ends of the field in a non-league win over Attleboro. Tommy Lindstrom had four goals and five assists, Andy DeMattio scored four goals, and Jack Connolly dished out three assists. Jason McNeany added two goals while Nick Ward and Nick Morse each scored once. North’s defense of Will Yeomans, Max Fontes, Brett Labonte, and Tom Lockavitch combined to force a dozen turnovers while Jack Puccio made five saves in net.
Foxboro, 13 vs. Bishop Feehan, 5 – Final
Milford, 8 @ Oliver Ames, 17 – Final – Oliver Ames used a 10-0 run between the second and third quarters to record a win over visiting Milford. Owen Gallagher (one goal, five assists) notched his 100th career point in the win while Sam Stevens and Eric LeBlanc finished with four goals apiece. Frankie Ireland finished with seven points (two goals, five assists) for the Tigers.
Taunton @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 3:45
Taunton @ Southeastern, 3:30
North Attleboro, 17 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – After a week off, North Attleboro got back on track with a big win on the road. Mackenzie Rosenberg paced the Rocketeers with three goals and four assists, while Katie Lindstrom added four goals and an assist. Camille Pizarro had a hat trick for North, which also got goals from Lilly Cameron, Julia Tolfa, Lexi Sinacola, and Regan Fein. Faith Graveline and Kayla Moulin each made three saves in the North goal. Rocketeers coach Colleen Carchedi said of Attleboro that the Bombardiers played an “aggressive” game and had a strong second half.
Foxboro, 21 @ Bishop Feehan, 9 – Final – Sophia DiCenso and Caroline Boudreau each scored five goals as the Warriors offense exploded for 21 goals in an impressive non-league win. Foxboro also dominated the draw controls with Boudreau, DiCenso, and Christina Rogers controlling the center circle and helping the Warriors win 23-of-29 in the game.
Oliver Ames @ Weymouth, 4:45
Attleboro @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Franklin @ Canton – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Taunton @ Foxboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
King Philip @ Stoughton – Postponed to Thursday, 5/3 at 3:45.
Mansfield @ Sharon – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Oliver Ames @ Milford – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.
North Attleboro @ Attleboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Canton @ Franklin – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Foxboro @ Taunton – Postponed to Thursday, 5/24 at 3:45.
Stoughton @ King Philip – Postponed to Thursday, 5/3 at 3:45.
Sharon @ Mansfield – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Milford @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/1 at 3:45.
Milford, 3 vs. Medfield, 0 – Final
Taunton, 3 vs. Barnstable, 1 – Final
FOXBORO, Mass. – History has a tendency to repeat itself, and Friday afternoon’s matchup between Foxboro and North Attleboro was no different.
The past four regular season meetings between the two sides have all finished very close; two by two goals (2014, 2015) and two by just one tally (2016, 2017).
That trend continued this year as Foxboro used a pair of goals in the final three minutes and a big save from senior Jake Addeche to register a 7-5 decision over the visiting Rocketeers.
In a see-saw battle that featured six lead changes, both sides had multiple leads erased. Neither team led by more than one goal until Foxboro added an insurance goal in the final seconds of the game.
“[Kevin] is such a good coach, those kids play so hard for him,” said Foxboro head coach Matt Noone. “In the last four or five years, it’s been a one or two goal game. I have so much respect for North…I knew it was going to be a battle. We weren’t ourselves in the first quarter, I think we were trying to press a little bit too much, trying to go through double teams. That’s not our system. The defense played well today, just five goals [allowed], and Jake was awesome in net.”
After battling back and forth over the first 36 minutes, the Warriors and Rocketeers entered the final frame knotted at 5-5. And despite combining for six goals in the third quarter, offense was hard to come back in the final 12 minutes.
“We started to shut their shorties off a little bit, they weren’t really going against our poles,” Noone said of fourth quarter adjustments. “The biggest adjustment…they were clearing the ball with their long poles and we were trying to shut everyone off. So we just conceded there and made them beat us 6v6 instead of in transition. What a battle though, that was a big win for us.”
Addeche made the first big save just over four minutes into the frame, but his Rocketeer counterpart, sophomore Jake McNeany (eight saves), was equal to the task and made a huge save on a strong shot from Foxboro star Louis Piccolo (four goals) just two minutes later.
“I thought both goalies were fantastic, I thought both defenses were as good as I’ve seen,” Young said. “Their #1, Louis [Piccolo] is a handful. Tommy Lockavitch was on him all day, just trying to wear him down. I was happy with the defense, they have a couple of guys over there that can really rip it.”
North advanced the ball into the attacking half shortly after McNeany’s save and called a timeout. Foxboro’s defense stood strong through and didn’t allow North to get a good look, getting the ball back with just under five minutes to go.
“It could have gone either way, tt was very evenly matched,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young. “I was happy with how the guys played. I would have liked to come out with the win but [Foxboro] has some good players over there. I thought we had a pretty good defensive plan, and then their defense is always tough, always hard to break down. With the weather, I think we were throwing the ball at each other a little too far out.”
Foxboro eventually got possession back with just under three minutes left and called a timeout to set up the offense. Though they didn’t run a set play, the offense executed and gave the Warriors the lead.
Sophomore Bobby Yerardi moved to the right as Pete Conley came over to provide a screen. Instead of a pick, Conley slipped past and both North defenseman stayed with Yerardi. The sophomore alertly flipped the ball to an open Conley in front and his bounce shot just went over the stick of McNeany to put Foxboro up 6-5 with 2:11 to play.
“That was just executing our offense and Bobby having his head up and seeing his man open after being doubled,” Noone said. “It was just a quick feed inside. That’s not anything we drew up, just people being in the right spots.”
Foxboro’s Shayne Kerrigan won the ensuing draw and Foxboro was able to kill some clock in the offensive end. North was whistled for a 30 second penalty but its defense was still able to come up with the crucial turnover, getting possession back with just over a minute to go.
North attempted to tie the game, setting up a play for defenseman Will Yeomans. The sophomore used a nice move to create some separation and ripped a shot from distance that looked destined for the top corner but Addeche made a huge stop to preserve the lead.
Addeche then turned defense into offense, sprinting over midfield with the ball. With North just getting their man back from a penalty and down a goal, the defense was forced to press out. That allowed Piccolo to find some space and net his fourth of the game, giving the Warriors a 7-5 edge with 16 seconds to go.
North had one chance in the final seconds but Addeche corralled a partially blocked bounce shot for his sixth save of the quarter and 12th for the game.
“I have around eight sophomores out there at most times and when they see an opening in the net, they go for it,” Young said. “As we scale that back, we’ll have a much more disciplined, dangerous offense. I thought we moved the ball around well, but they do make young guy mistakes at times but they’ll figure it out.”
Foxboro took the lead less than a minute into the game when Piccolo used a nice spin move to change direction and create space, firing it in to put the Warriors up 1-0.
But North Attleboro senior Jason McNeany, who had a strong day at the faceoff X, won the ensuing draw and took it himself up the middle, firing the tying goal just seven seconds later. Big Red took a 2-1 lead when McNeany converted on a bounce shot with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
“I thought Jason crushed it at the faceoff today, I thought that really kept us in it,” Young said. “He’s really good at controlling the ball for guys until they get the look they want.”
Foxboro tied things up in the middle of the second quarter. With North down two men, Foxboro executed perfectly with Pat Kaveny finding Shayne Kerrigan in front for the tying goal heading into halftime.
The third quarter featured more offense from both teams, both Foxboro and North Attleboro each finding the back of the net three times.
Piccolo gave the hosts a lead just over a minute into the third but three minutes later, Jake McNeany made a save, tossed a pass to midfield to Yeomans, who took it the rest of the way and deposited into the back of the net to make it 3-3.
Foxboro regained the lead when Piccolo used a fake pass to create separation and make it 4-3, but North came right back a couple minutes later and tied it off a goal from Damien Curtis.
North then grabbed its first lead since the first half when Andy DeMattio curled around a screen right in front of goal to go up 5-4. Foxboro tied it at five apiece with 91 seconds left in the third quarter as Brendan Tully faked out his defenseman and snuck his shot under the bar.
Foxboro boys lacrosse (5-0 Hockomock, 9-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Bishop Feehan. North Attleboro (2-2, 5-3) will try to bounce back on the same day when it opens a three-game homestand against Attleboro.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Koppy
After coming up just one game shy of the postseason, Attleboro is aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in program history in 2018.
The Bombardiers doubled their victory total from 2016 to 2017, going from four to eight in the win column. Attleboro returns 11 players from last year’s squad and has a total of 12 seniors on the team. Now in its fourth year, interest in the program is growing rapidly with 17 combined freshmen on either varsity or the JV roster.
There will be a lot of experience on the defensive end for Big Blue. Junior captain Trevor Koppy is back for his third year as the Bombardiers’ starting goalie. He turned away 306 shots last year with a 64% save percentage. In front of Koppy, senior captain Dan Perry is back to anchor the defensive unit which features all seniors.
“Dan is a physical defender that has excellent field awareness and leads by example,” said AHS head coach Kevin Koppy. “He’s constantly hustling and fighting hard for loose balls.”
Perry is joined by classmates Jim Nordberg and Chris Reynolds on close defense while Matt Potter will man LSM and Matt Jiminez brins an extra long pole presence to the defensive unit. Another returner is senior Kyle Henry, resuming his role as the team’s primary faceoff man. Henry had a successful 2017 season in that role and Big Blue will rely on him to spark the offense once again.
Seniors Jimmy Burke and Aidan McKenna, junior Cam Littig, and sophomore Thomas Shipman return to the midfield for Attleboro. Big Blue will have some new faces on the attack with seniors TJ Infante, Shane Joubert, and Aidan Downey leading the way. Freshman Mike Strachan and Matt Perry will also be involved in Attleboro’s attack.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Bill Bendell
The Bulldogs found themselves in an unfamiliar position at the end of last season: on the outside looking in for the postseason.
Canton is looking to get back into the postseason this year after coming up just one game shy of qualifying. The Bulldogs won three straight to give themselves a chance but fell just short on the road against Abington in the final game of the season.
Using that as motivation, look for the Bulldogs to be right back in the mix this season. Leading the way will be senior captains Kevin Albert, Charlie O’Connor, and Griffin Roach. All three patrolled the midfield last season but could see time in other spots depending on how the lineup comes together.
O’Connor will step in to handle faceoffs but could miss some time early along with defensemen Brian Ghostlaw and Brendan Albert. Until Canton gets back to 100%, it will rely on senior Gabe Galeotos, junior George Kent, and sophomores Nick Mackay and Jace Emma to provide protection in front of sophomore goalie Jack Connolly. Connolly had a superb freshman season in the cage for the Bulldogs and will try to build upon that his season.
Junior Mike Shaw is back for his third year on attack for Canton, providing experience and leadership up front. Juniors Matt Martin and Dan Cohen, along with sophomores Chris Lavoie and David Allen will also figure into the Bulldogs’ offense this season.”
“We have a great group of kids this year with a nice blend of experienced players and new faces,” said CHS head coach Bill Bendell.
2017 Record: 11-9 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East First Round Coach: Matt Noone
It’s safe to say Foxboro head coach Matt Noone is optimistic about the 2018 season.
The Warriors graduated just three players total and return their starting goalie, the entire defensive unit, and top three scorers from a season ago. Foxboro’s record was a bit deceiving based on how much talent they had, with five one-goal losses and two two-goal losses. The Warriors were dropped in the opening game of the playoffs by just one goal after holding a multi-goal lead in the second half.
With so much of the line up back, Noone is hoping to turn those close losses into wins.
“We’re going to be a better team than we were last year,” Noone said. “We have to play within our system, and do the simple things…if we do that, we will be very good and very tough to beat. If they don’t, we’ll be losing those one-goal games again.”
It all starts with defense in Foxboro with Jake Addeche returning in the cage for his third season. Addeche (185 saves) is one of the best goalies in the region and will have a very experienced defense in front of him. Senior Pat Kaveny and junior Pat Stapleton will anchor the defense, both with equipped with plenty of skill and experience, while sophomores Ronnie MacLellan and Matt Lathrop each already have a year of varsity experience under their belts.
Junior Brendan Tully (24 goals, 15 assists) will pace the Warriors in the midfield (“His lacrosse IQ is off the charts,” Noone notes). Tully can help transition Foxboro from defense to offense, and his ability to keep possession helps the Warriors control the tempo. Tully is complemented in the middle by seniors Louis Blake and Mike Collins while both Shayne Kerrigan and Bobby Yerardi will be in the mix as well.
Offensively, the Warriors look to be well-balanced with Louis Piccolo (25 goals, 13 assists) back this year along with senior Mike Moses (18 goals, 20 assists), junior Pete Conley (15 goals, 23 assists) and senior Andrew Whalen.
2017 Record: 16-5 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lou Verrochi
Expectations are high for the 2018 season based on the talent the Franklin Panthers boast this year.
“We return a very good team,” said FHS head coach Lou Verrochi. “We have a very good and deep bench too, we’re looking forward to the season.”
The long list of returning talent starts with All-American and 2017 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Eric Civetti. Civetti (Rutgers commit) has been tormenting opposing defenses since his freshman year. He scored 70 goals and notched 24 assists as a sophomore, and then netted 79 goals and 21 assists last year, totaling 194 points between the two years. The Panthers will also boast senior Zach Alexander and freshman Matt Lazzaro on attack.
The midfield will be loaded with two talented lines available. Captains Kyle McEniry (10 goals, 21 assists) and Chase Tanner (29 goals, 10 assists) will be joined by the speedy Nitin Chaudhury (24 goals, 10 assists) on the Panthers first unit while Jake Davis, Johnny O’Glishen, and Owen Palmieri give Verrochi an incredibly talented second unit.
As if the midfield wasn’t loaded enough, the Panthers have 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Jacob Alexander back to dominate the faceoff X. Alexander, who is committed to play at Bryant University, has dominated at the X for the past two years and really gives the Panthers an advantage in terms of getting possession. “He’s arguably the best FOGO in Mass,” Verrochi noted.
The defense will be anchored by junior Patrick Morrison (Rutgers commit) along with Trevor Raffin, Jack McGrath and Spencer Briggs. Sean Lazzaro will be our top LSM while the Panthers have plenty of talent as SSDM with Will Harvey, Ben Kolb, and Aaron Mollo in the mix. Backstopping the team in goal will be Colorado commit and captain Connor O’Rourke (169 saves, 64% save percentage).
2017 Record: 13-9 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals Coach: Hal Bean
The Warriors will be looking to replicate the success they had in the 2016 season again this year.
After finishing 9-2 in league play (second in the Kelley-Rex), the Warriors had an impressive postseason run, competing with top-seeded and eventual sectional champ BC High in the D1 South Quarterfinals.
A big reason why KP has had a lot of experience over the past four years is goalie Paul Macrina. Macrina is now manning the cage at Drexel University, so there are big shoes to fill in the cage this season for KP.
King Philip also has to find replacements for the production lost by LSM Zach D’Amico, attack Tim Watson (56 goals, 28 points – second in the Hockomock League), and defenseman Connor Khung – the first two selected to the 2017 HockomockSports.com First Team and Khung apart of the Second Team.
All is not lost though as the Warriors have junior Colin DeVellis back to spearhead the attack. DeVellis was fourth overall in the Hockomock League in points last season, scoring 22 goals and notching 36 assists (58 points). Another key piece will be senior Nate Minkwitz, who can make an impact on both ends of the field. Minkwitz had 13 goals and five assists last season and will aim to improve on that. Expect LSM Wesley Bishop and midfielder Aidan Bender to factor in this season as well.
2017 Record: 12-7 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield returns a good amount of talent from last year’s playoff squad so the Hornets will certainly be looking to book a return trip as well as compete for a Kelley-Rex title.
The Hornets return one of the most dangerous attackmen in the area in senior Hunter Ferreira. Ferreira’s combination of size, speed, and strength – as well as finishing ability – make him a must-watch for opposing defenses. Most will dedicate two defensemen his way but Ferreira still finished fifth in the league in points with 34 goals and 19 assists. Ferreira will be joined by returners Aidan Sacco and Mike Reed, giving the Hornets an experienced three-headed monster on offense.
The midfield is also loaded with experience behind returning starters Joe Cox (19 goals, 14 assists) and Danny DeGirolamo (17 goals, 15 assists). Cox, who was named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com Second Team, muscles his way through opponents, while DeGirolamo can use his speed to cause problems. Haig Megerdichian, Brett Kessler, Connor Quirk, and Brad Grant will all see time in the midfield as well.
Tommy Donnelly will anchor the defensive unit but the Hornets will have some new faces in back. Dan Plugis and Chris Copponi will both see a lot of minutes for the Hornets in front of goalie Jack Munroe, who stepped in last season and impressed in the cage.
“Our strength this year will be at the midfield with lots of legs,” said MHS head coach Tim Frias. “We should be good in transition as well.”
2017 Record: 4-13 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jacob Scordato
Milford hasn’t had a ton of success overall since it joined the Hockomock League, but new head coach Jacob Scordato is hoping to change that going forward.
Scordato takes over a team that had just four wins a year ago and is the third coach in the past three years for the program.
“Our players are focused on making our program a successful one,” Scordato said. “Boys lacrosse in the Hockomock is known for being a tough league, and Milford lacrosse is going to be making a lot of noise from here on out.”
Although the Hawks don’t have an incredibly deep roster, the optimism stems from the experience returning on offense. UMass Boston commit and senior captain Andrew Gallagher (16 goals, 7 assists) will be a key weapon up front along with junior captains Ryan Hazard (41 goals, 10 assists) and Josh Ligor.
Scordato also expects junior newcomer Brendan White, who has had successful football and basketball seasons so far this school year, to make a big impact on offense for Milford. Defensively, Milford will rely on senior captain and midfielder Chase Blanchette.
2017 Record: 16-3 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals Coach: Kevin Young
North Attleboro graduated a lot of talent from last year’s squad, so it’s no surprise head coach Kevin Young believes this season will be a big challenge for his young squad.
Although he expects it to be a challenge, the Rocketeers have built a strong program and will likely be in the mix for the division title with Foxboro. Big Red will be anchored by defenseman and captain Tom Lockavitch (Roger Williams commit) and senior LSM Max Fontes. Both Lockavitch and Fontes had tremendous junior seasons and were both honored by HockomockSports.com (first and second teams, respectively). Sophomores Brett Labonte and Will Yeomans will round out a strong defensive unit.
One of the biggest tasks will be filling the void left in goal with Hock MVP and long-time starter Dan MacDonald now graduated. The Rocketeers have three goalies in the mix with Young noting all are working hard to claim the starting spot. Junior Jack Puccio and sophomores Nate D’Amico and Jake McNeany will all be in the mix.
Captain Tommy Lindstrom (Springfield commit) will pace the offense with the help of sophomores Jack Connolly and Andy DeMattio. Faceoff specialist Jason McNeany (Cocker College commit) is also back and will be a key piece of the offense. Nick Ward, Damien Curtis, and Dan Conroy should carry the transition in the midfield with help from Ryan Rajotte and Matt McSweeney.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Ben Devlin
Oliver Ames nearly made it two straight years in the postseason but came up just one game shy of qualifying in 2017. So the goal is simple for the Tigers in 2018: get back to the tournament.
The Tigers return their top six scorers from last season, and now with a year more experience under their belts, should be ready to take on some of the top defenses in the league.
Assistant coach Ben Devlin takes over the reigns of the program, and the familiarity should help make for a smooth transition. Senior captains Eric LeBlanc (30 goals, 13 assists) and Owen Gallagher will spearhead the attack while senior captain Jack Lang will make an impact on both ends of the field while also handling faceoff duties. Junior Colin Bourne and sophomores Sam Stevens and Shane Kilkelly give the Tigers varsity experience in the midfield. Sophomore Frankie Ireland and freshman Remi Creighton will also figure into the mix on offense.
Devlin will have holes to fill on the defensive end but its excited about the skill that the Tigers have. Shane Murphy, Cullen Gallagher, and Matt Saba will be relied upon to carry the defensive unit while Rory Madden will handle LSM duties after missing last season. Nick Gillis will take over for Sean Cosgrove in net after impressing at the JV level.
“We are a couple years into rebuilding this program, which is difficult while playing in such a tough conference against some of the best players and coaches in the state,” Devlin said. “We’re young and inexperienced, but talented on defense. All I can ask is for my kids to play to their capabilities. If we do that I think we can win enough games this season to reach our goal.”
2017 Record: 7-11 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jon Shocket
New head coach Jon Shocket is excited and optimistic that the 2018 season will be a successful one on the lacrosse field for the Sharon Eagles.
Shocket believes the Eagles have the lacrosse IQ and skill to get back to the postseason after missing out on qualification by two wins. A big reason for the optimism is the senior class.
“I have a really good senior group,” Shocket said. “If everyone buys into the system and trusts the process, this should be a fun season. This year, we have to make better decisions and move the ball around. It’s about working as a team instead of as individuals.”
The Eagles have experience at all positions on the field, starting with returning goalie Johnny Greenberg. Greenberg enters his third year as the starting goalie and will have good size in front of him. Both Sam Spencer and Coleman Loftus stand at 6’2 and look to be key pieces in the Eagles’ defensive unit.
In the midfield, Jimmy Fitzhenry, Chase Waxman, and Spencer Hall give the Eagles a well-balanced and experienced group. The three provide a combination of speed, strength, and skill that will help Sharon transition from defense to offense. Junior Matt Callan will handle faceoff duties while freshman LSM Tyler Freidman will be in the mix as well.
Senior Brett Litner brings a strong shot to the offense and will be tough to stop on the inside. Classmate Kadin Nestler gives the Eagles speed on the outside and makes the move from midfield to attack this year. Freshman Drew Litner rounds out the Eagles’ attacking unit.
2017 Record: 4-12 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Pat Healey
After winning four games in its inaugural season at the varsity level, Stoughton boys lacrosse is hoping to continue heading in the right direction this spring.
The Knights picked up wins over Milford twice, Taunton, and Norton and will look to be in competition with those squads again this year. Leading the blue collar group will be captains Justin Ly, Sean Doherty, and Danny Nakhili. Ly is a three-sport athlete that is willing to do the dirty work, Nakhili provides a lot of leadership in the midfield and uses his speed to give the offense a boost, and Doherty will handle the faceoff duties and provide an offensive punch.
Twins Nate and Alex Wilson bring skill to the long poles, Marty Barrett and Josh Cohen will be key pieces on defense, and Charlie Morgan, Luke Bainton, and Mike Tracey will all be in the mix offensively.
“I’m hoping for more wins,” said SHS head coach Pat Healey said in an interview with Stoughton Media Access. “Last year we got four under our belt which is great for a first-year program. We brought up a lot of freshmen this year from the youth program. But baby steps, this is a tough league so we’ll do as best as we can.
Now in its third year as a varsity program, Taunton is aiming to progress day by day to continue to build the program.
The Tigers went without a win last season but bring seven starters back with another year of success on their belts. Junior goalie Ryan Williams returns in cage to give the Tigers a familiar face on the defensive end. Williams has been manning the cage for Taunton since the team moved to a varsity schedule.
In front of Williams will be junior Justin Demoga, a captain, that handles close defense. Head coach Brendan Chambers noted Demoga is great with positioning, takes a great approach, and is willing to learn and improve every day. Chambers noted Demoga will be tasked with menacing opponents’ best attack throughout the season.
In the midfield, junior captain Dylan Nichols provides leadership and experience for the Tigers. Nichols has the speed to make an impact on both ends of the field and Chambers is hoping for some offensive production out of the junior. Nichols will be joined by senior Chris Kanabayashi who will contribute to the offense with his hard shot.
Junior Noah Kuczewski is making the jump from JV to varsity and will be one of the Tigers’ main pieces on attack. Chambers is also relying on junior captain Joel Delgado, who put a lot of time in during the offseason to improve, to be an important part of the offense.
“Our goal this year is to continue to build on what we did last year,” Chambers said. “We want to increase our lacrosse IQ and try to be more competitive in all our games. Ideally, we’ll win a couple games and get better every day.”
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.
Attleboro, 2 @ North Attleboro, 6 – Final – North 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 – Final – Eight players scored for Canton in the win, including sophomores Chris Lavoie, Timmy Kelleher, Jack Connolly and junior Ryan Colby.
Foxboro, 1 @ Norton, 3 – Final – Foxboro junior Brendan Tully scored in the third period but the Warriors fell in a non-league contest against North.
Oliver Ames, 8 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Oliver 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.
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 – Final – Foxboro’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
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.
Mansfield @ King Philip, 4:30
Mansfield @ King Philip, 4:30
Attleboro vs. Burlington, 1:30
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.
Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 6 – Final – Canton junior Ryan Nolte scored a pair of goals and had an assist to help the Bulldogs beat Attleboro. Johnny Hagan opened the scoring to give Canton a 1-0 lead after the first. Jack Connolly, Timmy Kelleher, and Bubba McNeice each scored once in the win.
Franklin, 4 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro took a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Franklin scored twice in each the second and the third periods to earn the win. Jeremy Miller, Joe Lizotte, Scott Elliott, and Luke Downie each scored once for the Panthers. Will Yeomans (from Jake Ebert), Jason McNeany (from Jake McNeany) and Brendan McHugh (from Jason McNeany) scored for the Big Red.
King Philip, 1 @ Archbishop Williams, 4 – Final
Mansfield, 7 vs. Brockton, 1 – Final
Oliver Ames, 10 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames sophomore Jake Gottwald scored a pair of goals while sophomore Brad Powers, junior Adam Lyons, and freshman Ross Carol each netted their first career goals.
Canton, 9 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Canton’s Ava Pacitti earned her her first career shut out, making 12 saves for the win.
Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Nicole Conner scored the game’s only goal to lift KP to a Hockomock win.
Foxboro, 40 @ Canton, 22 – Final
Taunton, 3 @ Franklin, 66 – Final – Taunton’s Woudanly Danger earned the Tigers’ lone win, coming away with a victory at 220.
Sharon, 40 @ Milford, 34 – Final – Sharon got pins from Sam Mandelbraut (132), Matt Callan (145), Dimitri Kalogeras (220) and Justin Wells (285), and a win via major decision from Tyler Cashton (152) to beat the Hawks.
North Attleboro, 64 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final
Franklin, 76 @ Oliver Ames, 93 – Final
North Attleboro, 48 @ Taunton, 46 – Final
Franklin, 79 @ Oliver Ames, 91 – Final
North Attleboro, 44 @ Taunton, 50 – Final
North Attleboro, 134.85 @ Mansfield, 143.75 – Final
FOXBORO, Mass. – Chris Copponi’s shot was scuffed. The forward barely making contact with the puck just outside the right circle, but enough contact was made to redirect it past several sliding North Attleboro players trying desperately to block the Mansfield junior’s attempt at a power play goal.
The puck squirmed through the crowd of bodies right to senior defenseman Tim Arnold, who took advantage of the space and a wrong-footed North goalie Ryan Warren to one-time it into the empty net.
Arnold’s goal with five minutes remaining in the third period turned out to be the game-winner for the Hornets, who held on to beat North 3-2 in Saturday night’s league encounter at the Foxboro Sports Center.
“He whiffs and it still gets through, but we’ll take it,” said Mansfield coach Mike Balzarini outside the locker room after the game. “We’ve been working on our power play because we knew they’d be a tough opponent from the first time we played them (a 4-1 North win in the season opener) and we were just patient. Yeah, it was a misfire, but we’ll take it.”
The Hornets converted on two-of-five power play opportunities in the game, including the game-tying goal in the second period and the eventual winner in the third. Arnold’s goal came on the third power play chance for the Hornets in the final period.
“Penalties are part of the game,” said first-year North coach Ben McManama, “but we’re getting too many lazy penalties where we’re playing defense with our sticks and not our feet. It was a game where we were in it but we shot ourselves in the foot.”
He added, “We also have to have more energy all game. We’re not having a consistent effort and that’s hurt us.”
There was no lack of energy from the Hornets at the start of the game. Mansfield came out flying in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, part of what has made this one of the league’s top rivalries in the last few seasons.
Freshman Justin McIvor created an early scoring chance with a big hit on Will Yeomans on the half-board. The puck popped loose to Copponi for a one-timer from the slot, but Warren (21 saves) stood tall to stop it. Warren then came up with a big pad save to rob Jake Lund in the slot and then blocked the follow-up effort too.
“The first period has been a struggle all year because we’ve come out flat,” Balzarini explained. “We played Stoughton on Wednesday and we scored three goals in the first period and that was the stresser during practice on Friday to come out with intensity.”
The Hornets made the good start count. Senior defenseman Tyler Oakley jumped up to join the attack, skating right down the middle of the North defense. His first shot was saved but he collected the rebound and finished. It was the first of two goals and three points out of the senior defensemen in the game.
“That’s why they where the ‘C’ on their jerseys,” said Balzarini of Oakley and Arnold. “They’re both really good captains, really good leaders and for those guys to step up not only on the ice but off the ice has been huge for us.”
With 7:11 left in the first, a fire alarm went off, momentarily forcing the stands to empty and the teams to head back to the locker rooms. It also stole the momentum from the hosts and allowed North the chance to regroup.
Drew Wissler had North’s first good scoring opportunity when he caught Mansfield up ice and found space in the left circle, but his shot was saved by Hornets goalie Sean McCafferty. The Rocketeers tied the game two minutes later, with only 25.1 on the clock, when Wissler fed the puck to Anthony Zammiello for a shorthanded breakaway and the junior went five-hole for the score.
“Before I could even have a chance to talk to them, they knew that they didn’t come out ready,” said McManama of the fire alarm break. “We’ve had a lot of bad starts this year and it really needs to change. The team is aware of it, but we just need to suck it up and come out ready to play.”
North took its first lead early in the second period. Wissler flew down the left side again, opened his body and unleashed an unstoppable shot over the shoulder of McCafferty and just inside the top corner.
The lead lasted six minutes before Mansfield responded with a power play goal of its own. Oakley lined up a blast from the point that Warren could only parry. The puck fell to Cullin Anastasia and he deposited it into the open net.
The Hornets had the chance to get back in front early in the third but Patrick McCafferty saw his shot carom off Warren’s mask and off the boards behind the net. After Arnold scored, defenseman Nick Levine nearly got into the act for the Hornets but Warren again made an important close-range save.
With time running down and North scrambling for an equalizer, Jason McNeanyhad a tap in at the back post that went wide of an open net and Nick Raneri had a shot in the final minute that was kicked aside at the post.
“The penalties in these games disrupt the flow, so things may be going our way but a penalty for or against if we don’t capitalize changes the whole momentum of the game,” said McManama. “A good hockey team doesn’t get affected by these things, but we’re not there yet. We’re going to get there, but we’re just not there yet.”
Mansfield has now won two in a row and Balzarini is hoping the Hornets can build off a strong week. He said, “The momentum was ours from Wednesday to today and I’m hoping it continues [at practice] on Monday and Tuesday.”
Mansfield (3-3-1, 2-0-0) will host Brockton in a non-league game on Wednesday. North Attleboro (5-3-0, 1-1-0) will host Franklin at the New England Sports Village.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Back in April, North Attleboro boys lacrosse saw its second half comeback effort against King Philip fall just short.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon where no come back was necessary. In fact, the Rocketeers were in driver’s seat the entire way, racing out to an early lead and never looking back to pick up a convincing 10-3 win.
With the win, North Attleboro clinched at least a share of its first ever Davenport division title; also the program’s first ever league title.
“I think we worked together as a team, on both ends of the field,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young on the biggest difference between the two games. “It wasn’t just one guy trying to drive the crease and everyone else watch. Everybody out there was pretty conscious of the transition game, both offense and defense. [King Philip’s] Paul Macrina is one of the best outlet goalies in the league so we always had someone high all the time – that seemed to work. It was a great effort on both sides, I was very happy with the guys today.”
While the Rocketeers were limited to just one goal in the first half of the first meeting between the two, it took North just one quarter to find the back of the net three times.
In the first minute of play, Owen Costello found some space and then found the back of the net to put North up 1-0. The Rocketeers continued its strong start when Zach McGowan found Nick Moore in front for a bounce shot less than four minutes into the game. Big Red’s lead grew to three shortly after with McGowan again assisting. This time the senior connected with Tommy Lindstrom for a man up goal.
King Philip’s Tim Watson found Colin DeVellis with a perfectly weighted pass over the goal and the sophomore finished to bring the Warriors within two by the close of the first quarter.
“They came out a little more intense than us to start,” said King Philip head coach Jamie Stefanini. “And then just mental errors. Guys missing assignments, not communicating on defense, and just throwing the ball away — just simple stuff you can’t do. When you play a quality team like North Attleboro, you can’t throw it away.”
North Attleboro tacked on two more goals in the second quarter with McGowan having a hand in both of them.
First, the senior attack took control of possession, dodged around and defenseman as he raced from behind the net. McGowan released a shot as he curled toward goal and found the back of the net top shelf. Minutes later, McGowan connected with Costello as he eluded his mark in front for a quick goal to make it 5-1 heading into half.
The Rocketeers continued to build their lead into the second half. After neither side scored for the first eight minutes, Colin Young found the back of the net on a feed from Jack Dakin. Moore grabbed his second to put North up 7-1.
King Philip had an answer when Watson recorded his second point of the game, sneaking one in from a tight angle to cut it to 7-2.
If there was any hope for a comeback, it was quickly erased when North scored in transition just one minute in. Freshman Will Yeomans scooped up a loose ball and raced into the attacking zone. When he defense committed, he dropped the ball off to McGowan for an easy finish in close.
King Philip cut it back to five when Aidan Bender converted a feed from John DeLuca, but that would be the Warriors’ last tally.
Young grabbed his second on a nice tic-tac-toe play with passes coming from Moore and McGowan. Dakin then found the back of the net from distance after a simple pass from McGowan.
McGowan (two goals, five assists) paced North’s offense with seven points.
“He’s controlling our offense,” Young said. “He’s smart, he calls the right plays all the time. If he gets the ball and controls the ball, we’re in much better shape. He’s just calm with the ball.
We have a lot of seniors this year that are getting playing time and you can see the difference. Last year we were losing the one goal games, now we’re winning them or we’re getting up early. We traded blows with KP last game and ti went right down to the wire. We were hoping to get up early and we did.”
“My assistant coach John Hensey has been working on some defensive schemes that are really working well,” Young said. “There’s no one that doesn’t have a job. All the slides were set. We have a couple of different sets based on who we play and who is carrying the ball. The defense can play with confidence because Danny is in net and he’s killing it.”
North Attleboro boys lacrosse (11-2 overall, 8-1 league) is back in action against Attleboro in a non-league game. The Rocketeers can win the Davenport title outright with either a win over Mansfield or Stoughton, or a loss from Foxboro. King Philip (10-5, 7-2) is back in action on on Saturday, hosting Walpole.