Boston High School: Alec Borkowski

Recap: Franklin 3, Mansfield 2

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
12:57
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - It had not been his strongest game of the season, but in the final minute with his team leading by just a single goal, Franklin senior goalie Devon Maloof made the play that saved the game. His instant reaction allowed him to get a toe to a blast from the point and preserve the Franklin lead.

“He had a huge save at the end,” said Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos about Maloof. “That kick-out save…that was a goal from where we were.”

The save helped Franklin (7-4-1, 5-0-1) hold on for a 3-2 victory over the Hornets (9-2-1, 6-1-1) on Wednesday night in front of a packed house at the Foxboro Sports Center.

The win propels the Panthers to the top of the Kelley-Rex division and a step closer to another Hockomock League title.

Franklin head coach Chris Spillane reflected, “That’s what we expected for it to be -- a rough, physical game that’s back-and-forth. I’m glad to get this one behind us. It’s Mansfield-Franklin, that’s a typical game.”

He added, “You hate to say that it’s the one that you mark at the beginning of the season but we’ve been looking at it for a while and we’re glad to have it behind us and that it ended up in our favor.

The Panthers looked shaky in the opening couple of shifts, but Mansfield penalties allowed Franklin to settle down on the power play and led to dominating first period in which Franklin outshot the Hornets 15-4.

Senior Vince Geromini opened the scoring for Franklin with 7:28 remaining in the first period. He was on hand to follow up after Troy Donahue drove to the net and had his shot saved by Mansfield goalie Dan Moyer. Nearly two minutes later, Franklin scored again and this time on the power play (Mansfield took four first period penalties). Junior Alec Borkowski buried the shot that doubled the lead.

“The first couple of shifts were pretty shaky, but the rest of the first period we pretty much dominated and I think it was our speed causing them to take penalties,” said Spillane.

Anastos could only shake his head at the penalties that allowed Franklin to gain momentum in the first period.

“Penalties kill us,” he insisted. “You can’t give them power plays; you can’t give a good team the opportunity to score. They only scored one power play goal, but you can’t give them that many chances.”

In the second period, Anastos got the reaction that he was looking for from his team. The Hornets bounced back and started hitting in the second and gained the momentum. Junior defenseman Evan Kershaw made it a game again with a blast from the point that eluded Maloof and made it 2-1. Sophomore Pat Graham tied it with 2:59 left in the period on a low shot to the near post on a two on one.

“I think we got a little comfortable with a two-goal lead coming out in the second period and they jumped on it,” explained Spillane. “They were aggressive, they had a two-man forecheck, and they were throwing pucks at the net and they went in.”

The Hornets were not level for long though as a minute after Graham’s goal, Franklin broke for a three-on-one, odd-man rush. Geromini turned provider with a perfectly placed pass across the crease for Donahue to tap in for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Anastos noted, “We let up a three on one just a minute after tying the game and that killed us. It was a sinker. They won the first period, we won the second period, and it was a tie in the third period -- they just got one more goal.”

Spillane praised his senior leadership for coming up big in a huge rivalry game, especially after Mansfield seemed on the verge of taking control.

“[Mansfield was] building on it and they had all the momentum so it was good,” he said. “Our seniors stepped up today. Vince Geromini had a goal and an assist and then Troy [Donahue] had a nice goal. We need those guys.”

The second and third periods were evenly matched and both goalies came up with big saves. Moyer stuffed Franklin’s leading scorer Ryan Spillane from point-blank range and then just a minute later Maloof did the same to Billy Grant. Then with a minute to go, Maloof pulled off his kick save and set off celebrations on the Franklin bench.

Unfortunately, the celebrations turned into more with both teams coming together against the far boards after the final whistle and having to be separated by coaches and officials. The referees pushed both teams off the ice and scrapped the traditional postgame handshake to avoid further trouble.

D2 South: Franklin 3, Oliver Ames 1

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
2:19
AM ET
BOURNE, Mass. – The storylines from Tuesday’s sectional final at the Gallo Ice Arena will sound very familiar to anyone that has followed Division 2 hockey for the past few years.

For the third straight season, the Franklin Panthers took home the sectional title and, for the fourth straight season, Oliver Ames’ season ended against Franklin. The Panthers scored the game’s first three goals and held Oliver Ames to just 17 shots to claim a 3-1 victory and return trip to the TD Garden.

The Panthers started quickly with a goal inside the opening 30 seconds of the first period.

Aiden Isberg flipped the puck in front of the net to fellow senior Cam Curley and Franklin’s leading scorer in the postseason threw the puck on net. Somehow, through traffic, the puck slipped past Oliver Ames star goaltender Jimmy Tierney and stunned the huge OA crowd stationed behind the net.

Curley remarked, while sporting a freshly broken tooth, that getting in front on the scoreboard was a priority for the Panthers. He also commented that he did not even know that the puck had gotten through.

“I got as much on it as I could and I knew that if I put it on net, good things would happen. I had no idea that it went in until Dennis Pisani started yelling,” he noted.

Curley added, “Me and my linemates talked about getting that first one. We got to the net, we put it on net and it went in. And it made it easier for us to play.”

Franklin head coach Chris Spillane also spoke about the importance of getting an early goal past Tierney, who has been one of the stars of the sectional to that point. He credited a change in style for the Panthers’ strong defensive performance.

“We changed up our forecheck and trapped them,”Spillane said. “They struggled to get the puck out of the zone. I think that was a huge part of our success, not letting the big kids stretch their legs through neutral ice.”

Franklin doubled its advantage with just less than three minutes to go in the first period. Eight seconds into the game’s first power play, Tierney robbed Franklin with a great kick save only to have the rebound go directly to senior forward Pat Slason, who buried his shot over the sprawling goalie.

The Panthers made it 3-0 midway through the second period on a well-worked goal from the third line. Nick Downie and Alec Borkowski combined at the blue line before defenseman Kyle Powers drove at the net. Powers sent the puck through the crease where Borkowski was on hand to tap home his second goal in as many games.

“That’s the way we have been the last couple of years; three or four lines,” said Spillane. “You never know when your number is going to get called and you better be ready when we call it.”

Oliver Ames scored a consolation goal in the game’s final minute. Kyle Hayes scored an unassisted goal with a rocket of a shot over the shoulder of Franklin goalie Devon Maloof. Maloof was not tested frequently, but was solid in net for the Panthers.

Oliver Ames head coach Jim Sullivan was proud of his team despite the loss and was proud of the Tigers’ deep run in the tournament.

“We still had the potential to come back,” said Sullivan. “The only way I look at it is someone had to win, someone had to lose. You know, we went all the way and gave it all that we had, can’t be down.”

He added a positive not about the OA program, “We’re moving one step at a time - maybe next year.”

Franklin will now look to a rematch of last year’s D2 final against Wilmington at the TD Garden. Both coach and senior captain are hoping that the third time is the charm.

“We’ve been there three years in a row and been bridesmaids two years in a row,” Spillane reflected. “I just told these kids that I will not be the Marv Levy of high school hockey.”

Curley related, “This is great right here, but I want that big one. Three years in a row I’ve been there and haven’t won one. Especially with them taking it from us last year, we want it bad.”

This has not been the perfect season and Franklin has not been the dominant team of years past, but regardless of how they got there, in their final season before a move to D1, once again the Panthers are the last team standing in D2 South.

D2 South: Franklin 4, Mansfield 3

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
1:04
AM ET
BOURNE, Mass. – During two regular season meetings, only a single goal separated Hockomock League rivals Mansfield and Franklin. So, it was no surprise that Sunday’s Division 2 South semifinal would come right down to the wire.

A third-period goal by sophomore Alec Borkowski was the difference for Franklin, as the Panthers pulled out a 4-3 victory at Gallo Ice Arena and the two-time defending D2 South champions clinched a spot in their third straight sectional final.

Borkowski, who also assisted on the Panthers’ first goal, has been one of Franklin’s best forwards in recent weeks and head coach Chris Spillane called him the player of the game.

“He just demands ice time,” said Spillane. “He’s one of those kids that, in practice, he gets it done and you put him out in the game and he gets it done. As a coach, you just say, alright I’ll give you a little more and a little more and he’s delivering.”

The winning goal came with 8:24 remaining in the game. Borkowski combined with fellow sophomore Nick Downie and, after a great save by Mansfield goalie Rich Shipman, he was on hand to flick home the rebound to make it 4-3.

“I was forechecking near the net, got it off the half boards, Nicky Downie took the shot and I got the rebound,” said Borkowski. “It feels really good, especially being an underclassman and first time being in the playoffs.”

It was the Hornets (14-6-3) that scored first. Senior forward Brendan Murphy took a pass from classmate and linemate Kevin Flynn, shifted the puck onto the backhand, and beat Franklin goalie Devon Maloof on the short side. It was a great goal for the forward, who had been struggling to find the net in the playoffs.

The lead did not last long, however. Franklin got back into the game thanks to Borkowski. He shook off two Mansfield defensemen with a great spin move and laid the puck on a platter for junior forward Randy Gilbert to tap home and make it 1-1.

Within a minute, Franklin (16-6-2) was in the lead. Senior Aiden Isberg, the hero of Franklin’s overtime win against Martha’s Vineyard in the quarterfinals, wristed a shot over the shoulder of Shipman and made it 2-1. It was a stunning turnaround for the Panthers.

Despite the goals, Mansfield kept the energy high in the second period and stormed right back.

With 10:35 left in the second and Mansfield on the power play, Murphy laid a pass into the path of sophomore Will Kelleher and the defenseman buried the shot to make it 2-2. Just 35 seconds later, Kyle Hurley’s shot hit the post and caromed to another sophomore, Jared Collins, and the forward finished into the open net to make it 3-2.

As the second period was winding down, the Hornets got another power play opportunity, but it was Franklin that took advantage. A loose pass was broken up at the blue line and Isberg stretched to tip the puck into the path of senior sniper Cam Curley, who raced clear and rifled a shot under the crossbar to make it 3-3 heading to the third.

Spillane credited the shorthanded goal as being a turning point for the Panthers.

“Huge, huge…their power play was setting up and they had a couple of beautiful opportunities,” remarked the Franklin coach about the importance of the goal. “Cam is our speedster, so anytime that you can get him in the open ice… and he’s a finisher.”

The third period was filled with chances for both teams. Shipman robbed Dennis Pisani after a behind the back pass from Curley set the senior forward clear in the slot and Maloof stopped a great chance from Murphy on the doorstep.

In the end, Spillane pointed to his team’s finishing as what separated the two teams.

“I thought we capitalized on our offensive opportunities,” he explained. “We didn’t have many of them, but every time that we had that quality opportunity – we scored.”

Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos was visibly disappointed after the game.

He said, “This is exactly what we expected, but we expected to win. Unfortunately, we didn’t. You couldn’t ask for a better game and I think we were that evenly matched.”

Anastos also commented that this was a great advertisement for the Hockomock League and the depth of talent within the conference. He was most disappointed for the seniors that had led the Hornets to the sectional finals and semifinals in back to back seasons.

“They’ve meant a lot to the program. We’ve got a really great group of kids, a really tight group of kids,” said Anastos.

Franklin will now prepare for its third consecutive sectional final. It will be the team’s last in D2 as next year the Panthers (along with Mansfield and King Philip) are slated to move into Division 1. The Panthers are confident that they have a good chance at a third straight trip to the TD Garden when they take on another league rival, Oliver Ames.

“If we move the puck, then it neutralizes the physical game and it comes down to who can put the puck in the net,” said Spillane. “I think we have the scorers that can get it done.”

The final will be played on Tuesday night at 5:15 p.m. at Gallo.

Recap: Latin claims Quinn Tourney title

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
1:20
AM ET
Boston Latin hockeyJoshua Perry for ESPNBoston Latin claimed the inaugural Joseph Quinn Tournament championship with a 2-1 win over host Coyle-Cassidy.
RAYNHAM, Mass. -- If the Joseph Quinn Tournament is any indication, the Division 2 state tournament is going to be exciting. All four games at the Raynham Ice Plex were played with playoff-like intensity, with very few penalties, and each was decided by a single goal.

With 7:22 remaining in the championship game and the score tied 1-1, Boston Latin senior forward Joe Gillespie turned with the puck against the near boards. Heeding his coach’s advice, Gillespie flipped the puck towards the net where it ricocheted off the stick of a Coyle-Cassidy defenseman, past goalie Brent Petrowski, and into the far post.

In tight games, sometimes it is the bad bounce that decides the outcome. In the tournament final, the Wolfpack was the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce and turned it into the trophy-winning goal in a 2-1 victory.

It may not have been the prettiest of goals, but following the trophy presentation Boston Latin head coach Frank Woods was not complaining.

“We have a lot of kids that work hard and we preach throw the puck at the net because you never know what can happen,” he explained. “It’s just kind of our game. You give yourself a chance to bang an ugly one or two in, in games like this with competitive teams it’s usually the difference.”

When asked about how unlucky the final goal was, Coyle head coach Dave Borges simply smiled and shrugged.

“Like we told our guys, come next week those are the kind of pucks that go in the net,” Borges said. “You have to get pucks to the net in tight games and you never know what can happen. That’s a perfect example. Unfortunately, we’re on the short end, but I thought it was a great game.”

The Wolfpack (11-6-3) made a conscious effort to get the puck to the net as frequently as possible. Boston Latin dominated the first period, outshooting Coyle ,14-5, and opened the scoring with just 15.9 seconds remaining. Senior captain Ryan Dougherty made a great move through the Coyle defense and punched the puck in on the second attempt.

In the second period, the hosts asserted themselves. Coyle (13-5-1) outshot Latin 10-6 in the period and had a number of scoring chances before finally finding the equalizing goal. Nick Cambria laid the perfect pass in the path of captain Ryan Jones. The forward outskated the defenseman to the net and finished with a backhand over the pads of goalie Michael Murray before following the puck into the back of the net.

Borges praised Petrowski for keeping the team in the game and giving them the chance to turn the game around.

“I told Brent before the game that it’s their style,” Borges said. “They like to throw the puck at the net and he did a great job of either holding them or kicking the rebounds out to the corners.”

He added with a chuckle, “It was a great game…other than losing.”

Boston Latin won both games in Raynham by 2-1 scores (the first was on Tuesday against Franklin) and Woods feels that this will give his team plenty of confidence ahead of the state tournament.

“we have a group of seniors that have had a lot of success with this team, been in tournament games and won the league, but it’s good to get wins with this particular group,” Woods said.

CANTON 3, FRANKLIN 2
The consolation game featured Hockomock League division champions No. 24 Canton and Franklin meeting for the third time this season. The teams had split the opening two games so, in addition to finishing third in the tournament, the game would give one team the edge in the season series.

After losing third period leads in each of its last two games (including Tuesday’s overtime loss to Coyle), Canton (15-3-2) held off a late Franklin (13-7-2) flurry to win 3-2 and clinch the top seed in the upcoming Division 2 South sectional.

Bulldogs head coach Brian Shuman understood the importance of his team managing to hold on and get the victory over its league rival.

“In the third period against a good team, you need a lot of things to go right,” he remarked. “You’ve got to give credit to Franklin, they’re a phenomenal team, two very even teams and we just scored one more goal than them tonight.”

Canton stormed out of the gates and jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Just 2:50 into the game, senior captain Pat Ward scored his third goal of the tournament as Franklin goalie Devon Maloof was caught too deep on his line and the puck squeezed across the line at the near post. The first goal was fortunate, but the second was a great shot from J.C. Marcone just underneath the crossbar.

At this point, it seemed like Canton would cruise to victory, but Franklin showed the heart of a team that has been to consecutive state finals.

The Panthers got on the board on a redirected shot by sophomore Alec Borkowski, who got his stick to a shot by defenseman Kyle Filbert and sent it through Rich Nee’s five-hole. A minute later, captain Mike Patjane pounced on a rebound to make it 2-2 and give the Panthers momentum.

The momentum was short-lived as Canton fully controlled the second period, outshooting Franklin, 14-1. After Maloof robbed Brian Brooks, the Bulldogs got the go ahead goal from junior Ben Lodge, who found space in the slot and fired into the top corner.

Franklin head coach Chris Spillane emphasized the need for his team to play a full 45 minutes if they hope to be successful in the state tournament.

“It’s sort of been the season for us,” Spillane said. “We haven’t played three periods. We always take a period off and tonight it was the second. We had one shot on goal and the puck was in our zone the entire time and it takes a lot of gas out of you.”

Canton withstood a strong third period from the Panthers and Shuman was pleased to see that other players besides his top two scorers (Brooks and Ward) got on the scoreboard.

He said, “We had our second power play out there, which doesn’t get much run because our first line is pretty talented. They just kept it simple. We always say to win this time of year, you need twenty-four guys. You need those second and third liners contributing and we got it tonight.”

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