Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Hockomock League Preview: Young Franklin Looks To Continue Success

Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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Franklin and King Philip have the early edge in the Kelley-Rex Division, while Canton would have to be considered a favorite in the Davenport division.

KELLEY-REX DIVISION

FRANKLIN (10-2-1)

Coach: Anthony Sarno

MIAA Division: 1

Dylan Marchand Franklin

This will be a different looking Panthers squad with as many as 14 players pulling on the varsity sweater for the first time.

“We will be a very young team overall and looking to our senior and junior leadership for guidance with an ultimate goal of growing together in order to become a complete team and family,” Sarno stressed.

A key component of pre-season will be determining who fills the void in goal. Newcomers Cole Pouliot-Porter and Jack O’Connor are vying for time.

Cole Pouliot-Porter Franklin

Seniors Dylan Marchand, Christian Shabbick, Justin Magazu and Dom Lampasona and juniors Ben Jarosz and Ryan Sicchio lead the forward group. Jack MacKinnon and Aidan Hunt are back on defense.

KING PHILIP (9-1-0)

Coach: Paul Carlow

MIAA Division: 1

The Warriors return some nice production from a team that quietly won nine of 10 games a year ago.

In the forward ranks, senior captain Shaun Fitzpatrick (13 pts), senior assistant captain Sean Crowther (13 pts), senior assitant captain Nolan Feyler and junior James Boldy (11 pts) all return for coach Carlow. A newcomer to watch is sophomore Nate Garstka.

On defense, sophomore Brad Guden put up 20 points as a ninth-grader and will be a player to watch, as will sophomore blueliner Max Robison. Sophomore Cam Lehan-Allen adds solid depth to the blue line group.

Also returning between the pipes is veteran junior Kyle Abbott (1.68 gaa).

MANSFIELD (5-6-0)

Coach: Mike Balzarini

MIAA Division: 2

In making the transition to Division 2 this season, Balzarini is intrigued by the Hornets’ prospects as they face a bit of a different non-league schedule in addition to their usual Hockomock slate.

Helping ease the switch will be the return of the top two lines from last season. The trio of seniors Dillon Benoit, Ryan Doherty and Kyle Oakley is intact, as is the new wave with seniors Liam Anastasia, Brayden Purtell and Mark DiGirolamo.

Mansfield returns only three defensemen, but juniors Patrick Gormley, Brendan Flynn and sophomore Will Cameron all are solid on the back line. Having junior Chris Hormann back in net can only help.

TAUNTON (0-6-1)

Coach: Kris Metea

MIAA Division: 3

Entering the 50th season in the history of the program, the Tigers will be looking to overcome a tough COVID 2021 season and get back into the thick of the Hockomock race.

Connor McGrath Taunton

Metea will be looking to his upperclass leadership — starting with senior captains Nathan Fernandes and Ethan Ross — to bolster a large group of young players.

“Overcoming the learning curve to compete in competitive Hockomock will be a large determinant of success,” Metea said.

Fernandes and junior Connor McGrath are the top returning forwards for the Tigers, with Ross and junior Colton Scheralis back on defense. Metea will be leaning on freshman Cam Tomasczycki to step up and take the reins in goal.

** Attleboro will be in the Kelley-Rex Division of the Hockomock League as well. No team information was available as of post time.

DAVENPORT DIVISION

CANTON (11-0-1)

Coach: Brian Shuman

MIAA Division: 2

Like all teams, the Bulldogs didn’t get a chance to put their talents to the test in the postseason a year ago, but still managed to put together an unbeaten season. Now they will take aim at the Division 2 state title, which they shared two years ago with Lincoln-Sudbury – still the only team to defeat them in what is a 32-1-4 run over the last two seasons.

Sean Connolly is back off a Hockomock MVP season from last year and will be the clear leader on the always strong Canton defense.

At forward, Shuman will look to seniors Eamon Kelly and Andrew Valkanas to lead the way.

Brennen Pecararo is a newcomer to the program and can play both forward and defense.

Jack Watts
Foxboro

FOXBORO (5-5-0)

Coach: Mark Cedorchuk

MIAA Division: 3

The Warriors will be looking to their senior class of nine players to provide experience and balance across the lineup.

Much of that veteran play will be at forward with seniors Matt Grace, Jack Watts, Tom Marcucella, Ben Ricketts and Derek Axon.

Seniors Dylan Pothier and Brady Callahan are the top returning defensemen, along with junior Alex Coviello and sophomore Sullivan Kenneally.

Senior Josh Marcoux has emerged as the likely starter in goal.

Cedorchuk expects forwards Henry Diamond, Steve Bridges and Connor Hayes to make contributions as newcomers to the lineup.

NORTH ATTLEBORO (7-6-0)

Coach: Kyle Heagney

MIAA Division: 2

After previously serving as the first coach of the Norton program before taking a couple of seasons off, Heagney takes the reins of the Red Rocketeers this season.

He’ll be in a good position to start out with a pair of returning Hockomock All-Stars at forward in senior center Nik Kojoian and senior left wing Brady Sarro. Junior right wing Mark Ayvazyan will be another top forward to watch.

Defensively the Rocketeers will lean on senior Austin Comery in front of sophomore goalie Kyle Gruber.

“We will be a gritty team that will hunt pucks and take away time and space,” Heagney said of the team’s philosophy entering his tenure. “We will work hard for our success. We will earn our wins. We need to play the D side of the puck first, and be a team that is hard to play against.”

OLIVER AMES (1-9-0)

Coach: Mike Zucarelli

MIAA Division: 2

The Tigers took plenty of lumps during the shortened 2021 season, but can only hope the experience gained will lead to some better results on the ice this season.

Few teams will be as young as the Tigers, who have just two seniors – forwards Cam Tower and Elliot Cohen – and will be led by junior captains Jack Perron and Sean McCarthy – both forwards. The only other juniors are forwards Noah Isleib, Daniel Paul and Matthew Lyons, and goalie Brandon Burke.

Goalie Nolan Gemmeti is back to headline the sophomore class with forwards Jack Corey, Matthew Lawson, Andrew Livingstone and Ryan Parks, and defensemen Jake Cunningham, Aden Ashley, Landon Grothe, Sean Kearns, Andrew Poulos.

OA will have four freshmen – forwards Patrick DeLoughrey and Shaun Teehan, and defensemen Quinton Tower and Bryce Deibel.

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