But North Attleboro sophomore Brendan McHugh battled his way to a second opportunity and didn’t let this one past.
Just seconds after the defenseman had his breakaway turned aside, he tracked the puck down in the corner, got around an opponent and muscled his way to the game-winning goal on the doorstep to hand the fifth-seeded Rocketeers a 2-1 win over 12th-seeded Plymouth North.
“I have pretty awful hands and I came in on a breakaway and I had no idea what to do,” admitted McHugh. “I tried to put it five hole but it didn’t work. I picked it up in the corner and they were kind of off me.
“We play a lot of 3-on-3 at practice so after I beat the first guy, I stuffed it in and then just kept pushing as hard as I could and I saw it go in.”
With the win, North Attleboro advances to the MIAA Division 2 South Sectional Quarterfinals to take on the winner of Westwood and Plymouth South.
“It takes a lot of character, a lot of poise, a lot of teamwork really,” said North Attleboro head coach Steve Snizek. “It’s about knowing your limitations and my guys, they did. They weren’t going to try to overextend themselves when they didn’t have a lot left in the tank. It takes a tremendous amount of self-awareness.
“It’s about smart, unselfish hockey. [Plymouth North] played a great game, they have a hell of a team over there. We were lucky to get the bounces when we needed it.”
The teams were knotted 1-1 after 45 minutes of play, sending the teams into a first overtime period played 4-on-4. While the Rocketeers had a couple of offensive zone trips early, the six-minute span really belonged to the Panthers.
But for every shot, North Attleboro goalie sophomore Ryan Warren had an answer. He registered seven of his 26 saves in that frame to keep Big Red level. The Panthers also had a chance on a rebound but when the puck was chipped across the goal line, North defenseman Will Yeomans knocked it away over the top of the goal.
“I thought our goalie kept in it as usual,” Snizek said. “He was definitely player of the game in mind. They came out strong in that first overtime period and he handled it. He played his angles very well and gobbled everything up, which is what he usually does.”
North Attleboro went on the power play just over a minute into the second overtime period, playing with a 4-on-3 advantage. The Rocketeers nearly cashed in right away but Yeomans had his close range big go over the bar.
After a scoreless first period – a frame that saw the Rocketeers dominate offensive zone time but register just two shots on goal – Big Red was able to break through late in the second period.
Junior Jason McNeany dished the puck back to senior Vincent Zammiello at the blue line. The defenseman took a stride towards goal and unleashed a wrist shot. With plenty of traffic in front, the puck found its way through and looked to take a slight deflection off a Plymouth North player before finding the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Plymouth North found the equalizer right around the same point in the final period. After a faceoff, the puck was played in front before taking a weird bounce with the Panthers’ Brian Kingsbury putting it in the back of the net late in the third.
The two teams played nearly 10 minutes of extra hockey at either 4-on-4 or 3-on-3.
“It shows how important it is for other guys to step up,” McHugh said. “It’s a full team effort every game, you can’t rely on just one line. Everyone has to pick up the slack and work together.”
“At the end when we got the goal, I just wanted to get the freshest legs we had out there,” Snizek said. “We had so many guys that are gassed so we were trying to play everybody. We’ve have some depth so it paid off.”
North Attleboro (14-3-4) will play either #4 Westwood or #13 Plymouth South on Saturday at 2:00 at Asiaf Arena in Brockton.
Today’s games are listed below.
Franklin, 5 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final
Canton, 1 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Mansfield scored a pair of goals in the first period and killed a late penalty in the third period to earn the win over the Bulldogs. Junior Adam Anastos tipped in a shot from sophomore Austin Ricker on the power play to open the scoring with six minutes to play in the first. The Hornets then doubled the lead late in the first, with Cullin Anastasia scoring off a feed from James Bezeau. Canton sophomore Ryan Nolte cut the deficit in half in the second period with a power play goal but the Bulldogs couldn’t find an equalizer. “We had two great practices coming into the game,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini. “We played great in the first period and that penalty kill at the end was huge.” Tony Rullo made 29 saves for the Hornets.
Foxboro, 1 @ North Attleboro, 8 – Final – North Attleboro senior Zach McGowan scored a natural hat trick, netting three straight goals in the second period to help the Rocketeers to a big win. Foxboro’s Mike Carresi opened the scoring in the game but goals from North’s Will Yeomans and Erik Clements had Big Red ahead after one period. Jason McNeany, Devin Sparrow and Colin Young also scored for North Attleboro.
Oliver Ames, 6 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game.
Stoughton, 3 vs. Apponequet/Connolly, 3 – Final – Stoughton scored the first goal to take a 1-0 lead but had to battle back late in the second to tie the game 2-2. Both sides scored once in the third period. Sean Doherty, Ryan Chipman and Brendan Campbell each had a goal for the Black Knights.
Div. 1 State Dual Meet (Franklin) – Franklin took home third at the D1 State Duals meet. After a bye in the first round, Franklin beat Framingham 42-16 but suffered its first in state loss of the season with a 31-24 loss to Lincoln-Sudbury in the semifinals. The Panthers won the third place match 40-22 over St. John’s Prep.
Div. 2 State Dual Meet (North Attleboro, Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames took down Concord-Carlisle 36-15 in the opening round but fell to top-seeded Central Catholic, 46-12, in the quarterfinals. The Tigers beat Beverly, 42-34, in a consolation match. Senior Liston Funai, sophomore Anthony Berksza and sophomore Dean Pacini each went 3-0 on the day. North Attleboro had a bye in the first round but fell to Marshfield on a tiebreaker (match wins). The Rocketeers took down Beverly (52-13) and Algonquin (41-24) in consolation matches.
Div. 3 State Dual Meet – Foxboro won the D3 State Dual Meet title on Saturday. The Warriors beat Ashland 44-22, Norton 56-17 and top-seeded Wayland 45-32 to claim the state title. Adam Lanctot (106), Matt Kelley (132), Tom Gallagher (138), Brian Kelley (145), and Matt Mullally (160) all went 3-0 for the day.
Walpole Quad (Canton) – Canton went 1-2 on the day, securing a winning record in dual meets for 2016-2017. The Bulldogs picked up a win over Scituate but fell to Hingham and Walpole (45-36).
Franklin County Tech Quad (King Philip) – King Philip went 4-0, picking up wins over Gramby Regional (66-18), Smith Voke (69-6), Franklin Tech (50-30) and Shepherd (64-18).
Sandwich Quad (Mansfield) – The Hornets went 2-0 on the day, improving their record to 15-9, more than doubling their win total from a season ago. Mansfield beat Quincy (33-27) and Sandwich (37-30) on the day.
Silver Lake Quad (Sharon, Stoughton), 10:00AM
Barnstable Quad (Taunton), 9:00AM
Hockomock League Championships – Click here for a recap and photos from the league meet.
Franklin, 126 @ Medway, 140 – Final
Sharon, 129.5 @ Shrewsbury, 133.9 – Final
Sharon, 129.5 vs. Westboro, 122 – Final
Canton, 3 @ Plymouth, 1 – Final – Canton sophomore Maggie Malloy scored a hat trick, netting all three of her goals in the final period to help the Bulldogs pick up two points on the road.
King Philip, 9 @ Dover-Sherborn/Hopkinton, 0 – Final
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Westwood, 2 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 9 – Final
Attleboro, 129.2 vs. Braintree, 153.1 – Final
But in a two minute span, North Attleboro completely changed the game and erased a three goal deficit.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they were able to bounce back with one more goal late in the second period to pick up a 4-3 win over the the Rocketeers in a Davenport division showdown.
“I don’t think I’ve ever coached in a game like that were all of a sudden we were up three and then tied in a blink of an eye,” admitted Canton head coach Brian Shuman. “But that’s North Attleboro, they are dangerous. They shoot the puck harder than any team we’ve faced. Those guys can shoot and they had a couple good shots off and it’s a tie ball game, that’s how explosive they are.”
Canton scored a pair of goals in a dominating first period and added one more early in the third period and looked to be cruising. But midway through the period, the Rocketeers turned things around.
First, Hunter Sarro pounced on a loose puck in the offensive zone, corralling the puck and turning and firing all in one motion. Canton goalie Quinn Gibbs (14 saves) got a piece of the shot but the puck found its way over the line.
Just 42 seconds later, the Rocketeers made things interesting as Jason McNeany centered the puck right in front of goal, allowing a tap in opportunity for Sarro to make it 3-2 with 7:17 to play in the second period.
“No adjustments, we told them we just had to stay with our game,” said North Attleboro head coach Steve Snizek. “We came out flat; our team knew it and [Canton] took advantage. It’s tough to comeback but they showed a lot of character tonight which I’m very proud of. We came up short but there were a lot of positives – some negatives – but I thought the positives outweighed especially just being a man and showing a lot of character.”
Canton was able to respond shortly before the end of the period, a goal that turned out to be the game-winner.
Senior defenseman DJ Trerice weaved his way into the offensive zone and dropped the puck back at the blue line to Bubba McNeice. McNeice played catch with CJ Martin on the blue line before firing the puck towards goal. Junior Charlie O’Connor was able to get his stick on the puck to redirect the puck into the back of the net.
“Not only was it important for the scoreboard, it was important for the bench,” Shuman said. “A lot of guys were getting on each other to pick it up so that was huge. CJ Martin, that was the best game I’ve seen him play in two years. He was outstanding out there defensively, he skated the puck when we needed him to and then it was really nice to see him factor into that goal, he had a great game.”
The third period was mostly even, but neither side registered a serious scoring chance. North Attleboro had a power play opportunity with 2:47 left but couldn’t cash in. Canton was able to keep the pressure in the offensive zone to prevent the Rocketeers from pulling goalie Ryan Warren (28 saves).
Canton opened the scoring just three minutes into the game. After an offensive zone face off, junior Mike Dadasis went into the corner and dug out the puck. He carried it right to he near post and tucked it in for a 1-0 lead.
Tommy Kilduff had a chance for Canton midway through the second period but a diving effort from Vincent Zamiello disrupted the partial breakaway chance. The Bulldogs did breakthrough with just under four minutes to play. Jack Goyetch blocked a clearance just inside the blue line and raced in and found the back of the net while being tripped out in front for a 2-0 lead.
“We played really well in the first period,” Shuman said. “We had some really good scoring opportunities, it was nice to spot ourselves the lead but we left a couple on the board. We played really well in the first and then [North Attleboro] came back and killed that penalty in the second period which was a big momentum shift. The third was back and forth game, I thought they had some really good pressure on us in the third but I thought we played better defensively. The few opportunities they had in the second they buried and they played well in the third but we were able to play tighter defensively and limit the good shots.”
Less than a minute into the second period, Canton added to its lead. With the puck dumped into the offensive zone, freshman John Hagan unleashed a big hit in the corner the forced the puck to pop free. That’s where Kilduff ripped a shot from the slot to make it 3-0.
With the win, Canton moves within a point of clinching its seventh Davenport title. Even with big league title implications on the line, Shuman said his team treated it the same they do every league game.
“We say it all the time that every game is important in the Davenport and in the league,” Shuman said. “It’s cliché but at some point it rings true where every game is a championship game. If you drop any game, your chances of taking the league title are hurt. We treated this game like we did Stoughton, Foxboro and all of the other games. We’re a step closer but we’re not there by any means we have three very tough games left in the league.”
Today’s games are listed below.
Franklin, 69 vs. Danvers 29 – Final – Franklin turned a four point lead at the end of the first quarter (11-7) into a big advantage (35-16) at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, the Panthers were up 59-26. Paul Mahon led Franklin with 20 points, Matt Elias added 12 points and Jalen Samuels had nine points.
Mansfield, 81 @ Key West (FL), 49 – Final – The Hornets made a splash in their first game in Florida, putting up 50 points in the first half on their way to a big win. Sam Goldberg scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the opening quarter to pace Mansfield. John McCoy added 11 points and Kristian Conner scored 10 points in the win. Twelve different players scored in Mansfield’s win.
North Attleboro, 66 vs. Fitchburg, 51 – Final – Senior Jonny Friberg had another dominating performance as North Attleboro claimed the Lincoln Sudbury Warrior Winter Slam title. Friberg earned tournament MVP honors after scoring 20 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. He averaged 17 points and 14.5 rebounds in the two games. Chad Peterson, who was named to the all-tournament team, scored 18 points and had six rebounds. Senior Brent Doherty also had 18 points and six rebounds.
Sharon, 47 vs. Tewksbury, 58 – Final – Ricardo Ripley led the Eagles with 16 points while Malik Lorquet notched his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Both Ripley and Lorquet were named to the Wilimington all-tournament team.
Stoughton, 67 vs. Boston Latin Academy, 70 – Final – Stoughton junior Cam Andrews tied a career-high with 24 points as the Black Knights fell just short to BLA. Cam Gomes added 16 points for the Black Knights.
Taunton, 59 @ Durfee, 50 – Final
Attleboro, 68 @ Cranston East, 51 – Final – Attleboro wins the Cranston East Holiday Tournament title.
King Philip, 65 vs. Tiverton, 24 – Final – Shannon O’Connor and Sophia McLaughlin, who hit four threes, each scored a team-high 13 points for the Warriors. Julia Leroux added 12 points to help pace the offense. “We shot the ball very well tonight,” KP head coach Marty Crowley said. Warriors advance to face Ponaganset in the tournament final at 6:45 on Thursday night.
Mansfield, 40 @ Duxbury, 36 – Final – Mansfield built a double-digit lead, up 33-21, through three quarters and held on in the fourth quarter to win the Duxbury Holiday Tournament final. Jen Peel and Ann Maher each had a team-high 14 points for the Hornets.
North Attleboro, 54 vs. Westwood, 46 – Final – Ashley Ahern led the Rocketeers with 17 points. North Attleboro will play host Hingham in the final of the holiday tournament on Friday at 7:30.
Oliver Ames, 46 vs. Walpole, 60 – Final – Click here for a recap from the game.
Sharon, 52 vs. Holliston, 47 – Final – Sophomore Emma Eberhardt paced Sharon with a team-high 19 points while junior Shira Stoller chipped in with 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks as the Eagles picked up their third win.
Stoughton, 53 vs. Wellesley, 70 – Final – Freshman Shyanne Trinh scored a team-high 20 points for the Black Knights while junior Val Whalen chipped in with 16 points and six blocks.
Attleboro, 5 vs. Bellingham, 3 – Final
Canton, 2 vs. Coyle & Cassidy 1 – Final (OT) – Jackson Maffeo opened the scoring for the Bulldogs in the second period but Coyle answered back with only seconds left in the period. The game went to overtime where Bubba McNeice scored two minutes in to seal the victory for Canton in the Gormley Cup at Gallo Arena. The game counts as a 1-1 tie in the overall record.
Foxboro, 4 vs. Norton, 5 – Final
Franklin, 3 @ Mount St. Charles, 5 – Final
Mansfield, 1 vs. Norwood, 2 – Final – Matt Farragher scored a power play goal in the second period to tie the game but Norwood scored an early third period goal to get the win.
North Attleboro, 3 vs. North Smithfield 1 – Final – North Attleboro jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on its way to a win over North Smithfield. Junior Drew Wissler opened the scoring and senior Zach McGowan made it 2-0. North Smithfield cut into the lead late in the first period but Jason McNeany put Big Red ahead 3-1 on an assist from Will Yeomans in the second period.
Taunton, 1 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Stoughton took a 1-0 lead into the third period off a goal from Sean Doherty but Taunton’s Cam Carnes scored the equalizer in the final period.
Lowell Holiday Tournament (Canton, Foxboro, Franklin, Stoughton) – Foxboro’s Matt Kelley had the best finish in the tournament, coming in third at 132. Foxboro’s Brian Kelley (138) was fifth and Matt Mullally (160) was eighth overall. The Warriors finished in 12th overall as a team with 111.5 points. Franklin’s Jordan Carlucci (106) finished fifth and TJ Remillard (126) came in sixth as the Panthers finished 17th with 94.5 points. Canton was 34th with 53 points and Stoughton was 61st with 27 points.
Marshfield Tournament (Mansfield, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames, Sharon) – North Attleboro had a pair of winners en route to a fifth place finish as a team with 162.5 points. Nick Gould picked up a 6-3 win in the 152 final and Brad White earned a pin in the second period to win at 220. The Rocketeers also got placements from Brady Folan (106), who finished third, Mattuez Kudra (195) and John Kummer (285) each in seventh and Zach Gould (138) in eighth. Mansfield was 14th overall with five wrestlers coming in the top eight. Antonios Sevastos (106) came in second, Vinnie Holmes (170) came in fourth, George Glaropoulos (152) came in fifth and Will Stratton (126) and Jayden Curley (160) each came in seventh. Oliver Ames was 19th with 69 points, led by a second place finish by Liston Funai (132). Eric Berardi (152) and Billy Tat (170) each came in eighth. Sharon’s Yosef Ellis-Rech was fourth in the 126 bracket.
Canton @ Mansfield, 3:00
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Norwell, 8 – Final