Boston High School: Evan Stawarz

D2 boys' final: Wilmington 3, Franklin 2

March, 19, 2012

BOSTON -- Wilmington junior forward Cam Owens has dreamed of playing in the state finals at the Garden since he was just a little kid.

On Sunday, Owens not only reached his long awaited goal, but he did so in impressive fashion. Owens earned himself a hat trick, scoring all three of the Wildcats' goals, to defeat South champion and first-seeded Franklin, 3-2 in the Div. 2 State Finals at the TD Garden.

“I can’t even describe the feeling right now,” Owens said. “We’ve all been playing together since we were little kids and we’ve been talking about making it to the Garden for a long time and we did it. It’s unreal. It’s something you’ll always remember for the rest of your life.”

Owens broke a 2-2 tie at 7:27 in the third period when line mate Luke Foley ripped a slap shot on net that bounced into the left corner. Junior forward Jake Rogers corralled the puck and found Owens set up in the slot and he fired a wrist shot to beat Franklin goaltender Mike Donadio (30 saves) to give Wilmington a 3-2 lead that they never lost.

“Owens was the show,” Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon said. “He’s very talented offensively and he just has a knack for the net. He’s got a sixth sense when it comes to hockey. He’s elusive and has good skills. He was the man today on offense.”

Wilmington (16-4-5) jumped out of the gate appearing to be the more aggressive team, out shooting Franklin 13-3 in the first period. However, Donadio turned away several of the Wildcat’s early scoring chances to keep Franklin (19-3-3) in the game, holding the game scoreless after one.

Wilmington came out flying as they did in the first period, but found results this time around. Owens potted his first goal of the game at 3:10 when he ripped a shot through traffic from the high slot and beat Donadio to get Wilmington on the board.

Midway through the second period, Rogers carried the puck into the zone and threw a weak shot on net as he was losing balance. Owens trailed the play and crashed the net to scoop up the loose rebound and increased Wilmington’s lead to 2-0 at 8:02.

Franklin refused to go out quietly, however.

The Panthers responded to Owens’ back to back goals when freshman forward Justin Miller hit teammate Cam Curley in front of the net and he beat Wilmington goalie Drew Foley (19 saves) on a wrist shot to breathe life back into the deflated Franklin crowd.

Franklin capitalized on their momentum by netting another goal with 41 seconds left in the second period. Foley made a save on a long slap shot by Keith McKay and the puck flew up in the air and landed on the back of the net. Senior forward Evan Stawarz freed the puck off the net and shot it off Foley’s back to score and tie things up at 2 heading into the last period.

Owens showcased his playmaking ability in the third period when he flew to the net and connected on a pass from Rogers to score the game winning goal for Wilmington at 7:27.

The Wildcats buckled down on defense and denied the rest of Franklin’s scoring chances, including a last second slap shot by Franklin that was blocked by a diving crowd of Wilmington players.

For Franklin it was the second year in a row they had the state title slip through their fingers. After an overtime loss to Tewksbury last year at the Garden, the Panthers looked to right their wrong. But Franklin coach Chris Spillane acknowledged that they just couldn’t stop Wilmington’s high-powered offense.

“Our offense sputtered today and their offense was firing on all cylinders,” Spillane said. “Their first line just pretty much dominated that game and we didn’t have an answer for that. We just couldn’t slow them down.”

Mansfield rises to cream of Hockomock crop

January, 31, 2011

FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Mansfield moved to the top of the Hockomock League standings with a 4-1 win over Franklin at Sgt. Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink on Sunday night.

The Hornets (11-1-1, 8-1-0) used three goals in the third period to hand the Panthers (9-2-0, 7-1-0) their first league loss of the season, but it might have been Mansfield’s defensive work in the first two periods that ultimately decided this one.

The penalty-killing unit for the Hornets staved off five of the six power plays it faced in the first two periods, and sophomore goaltender Rich Shipman stood tall with 23 saves on the night.

“We are aggressive as can be, but we stress team defense bringing guys back up the middle,” Hornets head coach Rick Anastos said. “There was never an odd-man rush. We had three guys back on every play, and we were still aggressive in the offensive zone.”

The Hornets' aggressiveness put them down a man four times in the first period, but other than Evan Stawarz’ wrist shot that clanged off the post, the opportunities on the man-advantages for the Panthers were few and far between.

That changed in the second period when Mark Teehan banged in a loose puck past Shipman on the doorstep for a power play goal at 2:34.

The Panthers outshot the Hornets, 11-4, in the period and just when it looked like all the minutes killing off penalties and playing a man down was causing the Hornets to be a step slow, Mike Blackman tipped home a Connor McGowan blast from the right point with 3:27 remaining in the second to notch it up at 1.

Brendan Murphy would tack on another one just over a minute later for the Hornets, but his goal was called off due to a delayed penalty call.

Anastos doesn’t have a problem with his team taking aggressive penalties just as long as the team sticks to their game plan on the defensive end.

“We just did our thing,” said Anastos. “We played defense.”

Anastos’ aggressive philosophy also calls for his team to be able to switch from that defensive mindset right into an offensive assault at the drop of a hat, and that’s exactly what his team did in the third period.

The Hornets were awarded four power plays in the third period and capitalized on their second try. Jason Collins notched the game winner at 5:50 with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that found the tiniest amount of daylight to beat Ryan Geary.

Colin Yanovitch, who had to substitute for Murphy after he was dinged up on the previous play, sent a shot wide of the net from the right side, but the puck caromed off the back boards to the left side where Tom Hurley was waiting for a back breaking 3-1 lead.

Blackman’s empty-netter with 2.1 seconds ended the scoring.

Shipman waited patiently on the bench last season as a freshman, but the first-year starter is showing the year of learning paid off. Minus the one hiccup in the second period, the sophomore was brilliant as he showed good positioning with his pads and a quick glove to match.

“He’s worked really, really hard,” Anastos said of his goalie. “Last year he didn’t see much time, but he’s been in every camp you can possibly think of. He is really committed and dedicated to playing goal.

“You can really see it,” he added. “Technique-wise he is really sharp.”

Shipman made several sprawling saves, and even made two big stops in the third period from the seat of his pants to keep the Panthers off the board.

I’ve learned what I can accomplish if I use the people around me,” said Shipman.