Boston High School: Mike Donadio

10 (or so) hockey underclassmen to watch

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
3:44
PM ET
As we wrap up the season that was in MIAA hockey, we take look ahead to next season with 10 (or so) players to watch in the 2012-13 season.

This list is comprised of underclassmen players we saw this season who we thought warranted a little extra attention and who might not be known to all, but who all could steal the stage in the coming years.

1. Tom Besinger, Soph. F, BC High – For what the winger might lack in stature, he makes up for in speed and grit. Although he often gives up size to defensemen, Besinger is fearless in the corners. With a 14-goal, 18-assist output on the season, he could be in for bigger numbers in his junior year with the Eagles.

2. Ara Nazarian, Frosh. F, Malden Catholic – You could make that case that the Lancers’ first-year center was the most consistent player in the Super 8 tournament with five points and more than a couple timely goals. Nazarian figures to be the next in a line of Division 1 prospects to come through the Lancers’ pipeline with a blend of speed and crafty stickwork.

3. Casey Fitzgerald, Frosh. F, Malden Catholic – Speaking of the Lancers’ front-line talent, the first-year blue-liner might have been the best in the state as a freshman. Where his talent can carry him during the next three years is stunning to think. Already a terrific skater, the younger Fitzgerald only scratched the surface with his 2-15-17 totals in 2011-12.

4. Matt Brazel, Soph. F, Hingham – The Harbormen defied a lot of folks’ expectations this season, including us, making yet another Super 8 appearance as a top-six seed. This talented sophomore, along with Sam D’Antuono (9-19-28), will pack a punch for Hingham as long as they don the sweater. Plus, Brazel’s quickly turned himself into one of the top draw-men in the state, as evidenced during the Super 8 tournament.

5. John Carlson, Soph. D, Hingham – The Harbormen blue-liner plays a bit like his Washington Capitals’ namesake, as a rugged physical presence who’s also able to make tape-to-tape breakout passes consistently. Carlson put up 2-10-12 totals last season and was named to the MSHCA Sophomore/Junior all-star team.

6. Dan Eruzione, Soph. F, Winthrop – Eruzione was a driving force behind the Vikings’ Div. 2 North finals appearance and was part of one of the state’s most feared scoring duos along with Chris LeBlanc. He scored 15 goals with 24 assists for 39 points on the season.

7. Mike Donadio, Soph. G, Franklin – A big reason why the Panthers made a repeat appearance at the Garden in the Div. 2 state championship game. The netminder posted a 1.64 goals against average and an 89.9 save percentage in his first year as starter.

8. Adrieana Rossini, Frosh. F, Arlington Catholic – The freshman provided a nice scoring complement to senior Natalie Flynn, scoring eight goals along with 14 assists. Rossini loomed large in the Cougars’ Division 1 state championship run, with a goal in the final versus St. Mary’s of Lynn and potting the game-winner in overtime during the Cougars’ semi-final win over Braintree.

9. Marissa Fichter, Frosh. F, Duxbury – Fichter’s play throughout the Division 2 tournament might have been one of the biggest surprises of the postseason. She posted 13-13-26 totals on the season while skating along with fellow first-year players Jane Dudley and Meredith Wright, meaning the Dragons will be set offensively for years to come — not to mention that netminder Rachel Myette is just a sophomore as well.

10. The Falmouth Youth Movement – We couldn’t really pick just one over the others, but the point remains that the Lady Clippers, like the aforementioned Dragons who they met at the Garden, will stay strong. With first-year head coach Erin Blood leading the way, it starts in nets with freshman Maddie Scavotto (1.35 GAA). Freshmen Madison Haberl (12-12-24), Kelly Ferreira (14-10-24) and Rachel Moore (11-5-16), along with sophomore Alexa Scribner (8-4-12) will hold down the scoring while Hannah Ghelfi (1-6-7), Callan Small (0-4-4) and Kendall Stouffer (0-9-9) provide as good a young blue-line you will find in the state.

ESPN Boston's MIAA Boys' Hockey All-State Team

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
4:01
PM ET
First Team:
All-StateF – Brendan Collier, Sr., Malden Catholic
The two-time ESPN Boston All-Stater closed out his senior season with a second straight Super 8 title and claimed our Mr. Hockey Award. The Charlestown native and Boston University commit scored 26 goals with assists for 65 points, a figure which led all Division 1 scorers. Collier, who also plays golf and lacrosse at MC, plans on playing a year of juniors next year before joining the Terriers.

All-StateF – Ryan Fitzgerald, Jr., Malden Catholic
The Lancers’ top-line pivot makes his second All-State team appearance, his first on the First Team. The North Reading native and Boston College commit again eclipsed the 50-point plateau (31-21-52), despite missing the first couple weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, and helped the Lancers to their second straight Super 8 title.

All-StateF – Sam Kurker, Sr., St. John’s Prep
When looking up the term power forward, the Eagles senior winger and captain fit the mold. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound forward finished with 32 goals and 28 assists for 60 points. The Boston University commit has also seen time with U.S. National Team Development Program and skated with the U-18 select team at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament during the summer.

All-StateD – Colin MacGillivray, Jr., Malden Catholic
The Lancers blue-liner is made in the mold of an old school rugged defenseman. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Peabody native played on MC’s top pairing through the season while posting three goals and 10 assists for 10 points for the repeat Super 8 champions.

All-StateD – Nikko Markham, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
The Catholic Central Conference Most Valuable Player and Spartans captain finished a sound career by leading St. Mary’s to a No. 2 seed in the Super 8. The Salem native was among the top point-scoring blue-liners in the state with six goals and 12 assists for 18 points.

All-StateG – Peter Cronin, Jr., BC High
For the second straight season, the Eagles went as their netminder went, and Cronin led BC High to its first Super 8 finals appearance since 2007. Playing in each of the Eagles’ 25 games, the Norwell resident posted a 2.00 goals against average and a 91.7 save percentage.

2nd Team:
All-StateF – Kevin Emmerling, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Perhaps the most skilled skater in the state, the Pioneers’ center provided a dynamic offensive punch to their Super 8 run. The Whitinsville native finished third in Division 1 scoring with 26 goals and 30 assists for 56 points. Emmerling is exploring his options for next year and hopes to play college hockey.

All-StateF – Conal Lynch, Sr., Boston Latin
Lynch also showed that Charlestown is again a hotbed of hockey, carrying the Wolfpack to a DCL/MVC Div. 2 championship. Lynch finished second in Division 2 in scoring with 35 goals and 18 assists for 53 points. The Wolfpack captain is weighing his options in pursuing prep or junior hockey next year.

All-StateF – Matt Sullivan, Sr., BC High
The senior captain was a true two-way center with a high hockey IQ. The Duxbury resident anchored the Eagles’ top line, scoring 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points and lifting BC High to its first Super 8 final appearance since 2007. He is pursuing prep and junior hockey opportunities for next season.

All-StateD – Casey Fitzgerald, Fr., Malden Catholic
The younger brother of Ryan, Casey catapulted himself onto the scene in his first year, filling the role of a puck-moving defenseman previously held by former All-Stater Conor Evangelista. The North Reading resident and Boston College commit tallied two goals and 15 assists for 17 points in his first year.

D – Peter Sikalis, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
The Colonials’ captain was the impetus behind their run to the D1 North semifinals. Sikalis had eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points while eating up boatloads of ice time for head coach Bob Lavin. The imposing 6-foot-3 defenseman is exploring his hockey options for next year.

All-StateG – David Letarte, Sr., St. John’s Prep
The captain has been the Eagles’ backbone during the last three seasons, leading Prep back to the Super 8 once again. Letarte had a 2.08 goals against average and a 91.3 save percentage in 18 games played. He is currently mulling over college and junior hockey offers for next year.

“Best of the Rest”
Nick Bertoni, F, Franklin
Tom Besinger, F, BC High
Tommy Bishop, F, Chelmsford
Matt Brazel, F, Hingham
Trevor Cimino, F, Burlington
Frank Crinella, F, Springfield Cathedral
Paul Curran, F, Milton
Vin D’Amato, F, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Jarrod Fitzpatrick, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
James Gordon, F, Hingham
Danny Holland, F, Woburn
Mike Iovanna, F, Malden Catholic
Connor Irving, F, Beverly
Mike Kelleher, F, Central Catholic
Chris Leblanc, F, Winthrop
Bobby Mullins, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Ara Nazarian, F, Malden Catholic
Andrew Newis, F, Natick
Jack O’Hear, F, Catholic Memorial
Cam O’Neill, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Jake O'Rourke, F, Medway
Cam Owens, F, Wilmington
Brian Pinho, F, St. John’s Prep
Dalton Rolli, F, Wilmington
Joe Strangie, F, Danvers
D.J. Walsh, F, Needham
Bryan Carter, D, Hudson
Connor Fenton, D, Braintree
Brian Furey, D, BC High
Pat Houghton, D, Westford Academy
Steve Mattos, D, Burlington
Nick Pandalena, D, St. John’s Prep
Jake Secatore, D, Woburn
Brendan White, D, Malden Catholic
Joe Cerulo, G, Wakefield
Jordan Davis, G, Norwood
Mike Donadio, G, Franklin
Bailey MacBurnie, G, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Connor Murray, G, Needham
Connor Roddy, G, Medfield
Shane Starrett, G, Catholic Memorial
Steven Waites, G, Winthrop
Kyle Williams, G, Central Catholic

Coach of the Year
Chris Spillane, Franklin
Losing 15 seniors off of 2011's Division 2 state finalist team posed no problem to Spillane in guiding his team back to the Garden again. The 13-year Panthers bench boss is regarded as one of the finest in the state, but no season might have been more impressive for Spillane than getting this team back to the finals.

Finalists:
Karl Infanger, Natick
Mark Lee, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
John McLean, Malden Catholic

D2 boys' final: Wilmington 3, Franklin 2

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
2:44
AM ET


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.”

MIAA hockey championships primer, picks

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
7:24
PM ET
All eyes will be on the TD Garden Sunday as championships will be decided in six divisions of MIAA hockey title games.

We'll have you covered all day long, but until then, we provide to you a breakdown of each of the game and our prediction:

GIRLS’ FINALS Division 2
No. 1 Duxbury (21-0-1) vs. No. 7 Falmouth (16-4-1), 11 a.m., TD Garden
The Breakdown: If the Dragons win this game, they make a strong argument that they were the strongest girls’ hockey team in the state, regardless of division, with the potential for an undefeated season. As any strong hockey squad goes, the Dragons are built from goal out with sophomore goaltender Rachel Myette (0.91 GAA) looks for her second state title in as many seasons as starter. Duxbury’s blue line corps is regarded as the deepest in the state, led by ESPN Boston Ms. Hockey contender Martha Findley (4-19-23). Of course, Duxbury has plenty of offensive firepower to go along with their strong defensive play with junior forwards Hannah Murphy (18-27-45) and Lily Connolly (18-20-38) as leading scorers. Falmouth has been one of the stories of the tournament, making a run behind first-year head coach Erin Blood. The Clippers have also received strong play from a young goaltender in freshman Maddie Scavotto (1.26 GAA). Falmouth is also deep and experienced on the blue line with senior captain Brenna Callahan and junior Alexx Good. The Clippers have received scoring punch from a pair of freshman forwards in Kelly Ferreira (13-9-22) and Madison Haberl (11-12-23).

The Pick: The defending Division 2 champion Dragons spent half the season as the No. 1 team in our poll. We’re not about to go against them now. Duxbury, 4-1.

Division 1 No. 3 St. Mary’s (Lynn) (21-3-1) vs. No. 4 Arlington Catholic (20-3-1), 9 a.m.
The Breakdown: If two regular season meetings between these Central Catholic powers weren’t enough, we get a rubber match for all the marbles on Sunday. The Lady Spartans came away with two wins in the teams’ regular season series, including a defining 5-2 decision by St. Mary’s on Feb. 1 after they’d been upset by crosstown rival Winthrop/Lynn. Can’t underscore the coaching in this game enough, as Frank Pagliuca has turned in perhaps his finest performance behind the bench and Maggie Taverna has vaulted the Cougars back onto the state’s biggest stage in Year One. Taverna has been helped by one of the state’s most dynamic scorers in senior Natalie Flynn (19-15-34). Adrieana Rossini (8-14-22) has also come up with some huge postseason goals. On the blue line, AC has one of the state’s best in senior Rebecca Zappala. First-year transfers Kaleigh Finigan (30-goal season) and Brittani Lanzilli (25-28-53) have not disappointed while Alison Butler (team-leading 61 points) has taken a huge step forward. The Spartans blue line is airtight with preseason All-Stater Rachel Donahoe leading the group. Lauren Skinnion (7 SO) has been strong as a first-year starter in nets.

The Pick: Third time’s a charm? Not so. Spartans are too strong. St. Mary’s, 4-2.

BOYS’ FINALS Division 3
Medway (19-6-1) vs. Hudson (21-1-1), 1:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: This marks the return of one of the state’s great public hockey programs to its biggest stage in Hudson (seriously, look it up), with the Hawks making their first state finals appearance since 1978, when they took the Div. 1 title from Burlington. The Central sectional champions are strong up front with a trio of 30-point scorers in seniors Tyler Kirby, Tim Murphy and Blake Seymour. The Mustangs are paced by one of the state’s top snipers in Jake O’Rourke (43-13-56). This matchup will also feature two of most dominant D3 goalies in the state with Hudson junior Shane Barry and Medway junior Mike Narducci facing off with sub-2.00 goals against averages.

The Pick: We’re going with the storyline and perhaps the most consistent D3 team throughout the season. Hudson, 3-2.

Division 2 Wilmington (15-4-5) vs. No. 1 Franklin (19-2-3), 3:30 p.m.
The Breakdown: This might be the most intriguing matchup of the day. Both of these teams were among four Division 2 teams on the Mass. Hockey Coaches Association’s initial Super 8 Watch list a month ago and haven’t disappointed in the tournament. Franklin was here a year ago, when they had their hearts broken by Tewksbury in an overtime stunner. Many observers, including us, had last season pegged as the Panthers’ opportunity to break a nearly three-decade long drought, but Chris Spillane has showed why he’s one of the state’s premier coaches. It also hasn’t hurt that Franklin has received tremendous senior seasons from Adam Hall (17-25-42) and Nick Bertoni (25-15-40). Sophomore netminder Mike Donadio (1.64 GAA) has been a revelation. The Wildcats offense has taken off since Cam Owens’ (14-19-33) return to the lineup, while senior captain Dalton Rolli (9-16-25) is an underrated two-way presence. Junior forward Jake Rogers (12-6-20) has come up with some timely goals in the postseason. Sophomore netminder Drew Foley (1.69 GAA) has played his best when it’s counted most, carrying a three-plus game shutout streak into the Wildcats’ North sectional final with Winthrop.

The Pick: The last time the Panthers hoisted the trophy Coach Spillane skated. Unfortunately for the hockey hotbed, this isn’t the year either. Wilmington, 2-1 (OT).



Division 1 Burlington (17-2-6) vs. Milton (19-3-3), 8:15 p.m.
The Breakdown: The Red Devils pulled off a tough feat, bouncing back from a Super 8 play-in game loss (and a very competitive one at that) to pull themselves into the D1 championship. The Middlesex League champions have plenty of speed to burn, and senior assistant captain Trevor Cimino (17-22-39) is about as good a two-way forward as you’ll find. Along with Joe Berardi (22-13-35), Brett Romkey (17-3-20) and C.J. Grinnell (6-14-20), Burlington can score in piles. We’ve also come away impressed by their defensive corps led by Steve Mattos, in addition to Cody Crocker, Adam Crowley and Brien Diffley. The Wildcats ran the Bay State League gauntlet in the South sectional tournament to get to the Garden. Paul Curran (26-33-59) is one of the best pure scorers in the state, and along with top-liners Brian Higgins (23-29-52) and Terrance Walsh (16-33-49), Milton provides matchup problems. Blue-liner John Murtagh is a rock, logging boatloads of ice time, and senior netminder Jay Hankard is peaking at the right time

The Pick: Red Devils are simply too potent, but they’re the pick mostly because of the way they’re playing defensively right now in front of Derek DeCastro. Burlington, 6-3.

Division 1A No. 5 BC High (13-6-5) vs. No. 1 Malden Catholic (19-1-4), 6 p.m.
The Breakdown: After beating another Catholic Conference rival, St. John’s Prep, to advance to the final, Eagles head coach John Flaherty said he’s had a special feeling about this group. That feeling might have developed after BC High skated to a 2-2 tie with MC on Jan. 25, a game in which the Eagles in some regards out-played the Lancers. This will be the fourth meeting between these teams, with MC taking two wins, including a 3-1 win in the Super 8’s round robin last week. The crucible for BC High is which of their defensive units shows up: The out-of-sorts group that surrendered a 7-spot earlier this season to MC, or the cohesive group that bounced Prep and its top line? Of course, that all starts with junior goaltender Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA), who has turned in another solid tournament. Brian Furey leads a much improved blue-line group. The Eagles are also disciplined in their own zone, with Matt Sullivan (12-16-28) providing as much defensively as he does offensively. Everyone knows of the Lancers top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna, but freshman center Ara Nazarian has been the breakout star of the tournament, filling the scoresheet in every game and tallying five goals. It’s not just offense with MC, however, as you’d be hard pressed to find a deeper, more dynamic top three than Casey Fitzgerald, Colin MacGillivray and Brendan White. If netminder Connor Maloney plays as he did against Central Catholic in the crossover round, that’s game, set, and match.

The Pick: Doin’ it for CS5. MC, 5-3.

D2 South final: Franklin 5, Mansfield 2

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
4:19
AM ET
BOURNE, Mass. -- There aren’t a lot of second chances in life, but the Franklin boys’ ice hockey team assured themselves of a big one.

After losing in the Division 2 state championship game a year ago at the TD Garden, the Panthers assured themselves of another shot at the title with a 5-2 win over Mansfield Sunday at Gallo Ice Arena.

The top-seeded Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then held back a late Hornets charge, popping a pair of empty netters in the final seconds. Franklin is now 19-2-3 for the season and can’t wait to try to secure their 20th victory next Sunday.

“I think that the kids that were there last year understood what it took to get here, and hopefully they now they understand what it takes to win that hockey game,” said a pleased Franklin head coach Chris Spillane following his team’s second straight Division 2 south title. “You don’t want to end your season on a losing note. You want to be the team that wins the last hockey game.”

A big reason that the Panthers were the last winning team in the south was that they were able to catch lightning in a bottle right out of the gate. Franklin scored twice in the first 5:53 of the game as they assaulted the Mansfield net with vigor.

Nick Bertoni opened the scoring with a pretty individual effort, wrapping one around from behind the goal and beating Rich Shipman to the far side post just 2:44 into the game. Three minutes later Franklin struck again. Ryan Garland used the defense as a screen and whistled an arrow past the keeper’s right ear to give the Panthers a 2-0 advantage at 5:53.

“We got the first two goals and set the tone right there,” Spillane said. “If we didn’t get those first two goals I don’t know where this game would have went because we were tired at the end.”

Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos, whose team rallied back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period in the semifinals to beat North Quincy, said that the first period has been a bugaboo for the Hornets all season.

“You can’t make mistakes. We turned the puck over, they scored. You just can’t make mistakes against a good team like Franklin.”

Each team popped one in the second period to keep it a 2-goal game going to the third. Franklin opened up a 3-0 lead at 5:44 on a pretty play by Adam Hall, who got a pass up the left wing from Nick Bertoni and put on burst of speed. He lifted a wrister from 8-feet out to the upper far corner.

Things were unraveling for the Hornets, but a good job of selling a penalty by Erik Foley led to a power play for Mansfield at 6:53. Four seconds later the Hornets were finally on the scoreboard as Brendan Murphy got the puck off the draw, slid from the left hashes to the slot and sneaked a wrister behind Mike Danadio.

Mansfield made it really interesting in the third, pulling to within one just 58 seconds into the third period. Foley, a very talented freshman, scored a goal-scorer’s goal to cut the deficit to one as he flew up the right wing and sniped one inside the nearside corner on the top shelf.

The Hornets continued to get after for the rest of the period, but Franklin goalie Mike Donadio was up to the task. The sophomore made a number of big saves in the third. With 8 minutes remaining he got piece of a chip by Steve Folan from the doorstep. With just under three minutes to go Donadio gobbled up a backdoor tip by Cam Neary, who was set up brilliantly by Kevin Flynn from the left wing wall, to preserve the lead.

“I thought we might have a little magic left, it was close,” Anastos said.

Mansfield pulled Shipman for the extra attacker with 80 seconds remaining. Franklin cleared the zone and could finally breathe a sigh of relief when Hall chipped one from the red line into the vacant goal to make it 4-2. With seven seconds left, Farnklin got another empty-net goal from Aidan Isberg, who hit the post and then buried his own rebound to make it 5-2.

Despite his team ending the night on the wrong end of the scoreboard, Anastos was quite upbeat about his club, one that featured 7 freshman playing roles on it. “I couldn’t be any prouder of the way these kids played and battled,” he said. “They did a great job. I mean, they’re playing Franklin and Franklin is such a great team.”

Recap: No. 24 Franklin 4, Mansfield 2

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
12:07
AM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Foxboro Sports Center parking lot was full and the streets out front were lined with cars stretching half a mile on both sides of the road prior to Wednesday showdown between Hockomock League Kelley-Rex Division unbeatens Franklin and Mansfield.

The packed got its money's worth, as it often has when these two squads hook up, but it was No. 24 Franklin who cashed in on several turnovers and claimed a 4-2 triumph over the Hornets.

Sophomore goalie Mike Donadio made 16 saves for the Panthers (8-0-0, overall 4-0-0 Hockomock) while Cam Curley scored twice and Mike Patjane added a goal an assist.

"Coach was talking all week in practice leading up this about our forecheck and how we need to pressure those defensemen and get on the puck and make the most of the turnovers," Curley said. "That's proabbly a big reason why we got the W tonight."

Four big reasons, actually, as each of the Panthers tallies were the result of Mansfield miscues. Just 37 seconds into the game, Patjane intercepted a lazy clearing attempt at the Hornets blue line and got off a backhanded shot that was steered aside by Mansfield goalie Rich Shipman (21 saves). The rebound went right to Matt Teehan, however, and the senior sniped it right back into the net.

Mansfield (7-1-0, 3-1-0) responded on a power play when talented freshman Erik Foley pushed through the rebound of a Dylan Burns shot at 6:34.

Less than a minute later, Franklin capitalized on another Mansfield turnover as Patjane picked off another pass at the Hornets blue line and beat Shipman with a snap shot from the low slot to the goalie's left.

Not to be outdone, the Hornets came out blazing in the second and kept Donadio busy and ultimately got one past the sophomore as Foley cycled the puck behind the net to Steve Folan, who got a shot off from the goal line that went off Donadio's pads and right to Mike Blackman for a backhander with 3:31 to go in the second period.

As the final minute ticked away and it appeared to be heading into the final frame tied at 2-2, Curley forced another Mansfield mistake that led to his first goal of the night. The Hornets appeared to be trying to just kill off the final seconds behind its own net, but Curley's pressure forced the puck out and he was the first one to it, slipping it through with just :00.3 seconds showing on the game clock.

"Coach made the last second call to put us out there, to send [Justin] Miller's line up. And I talked to Miller and I told him to winm it wforward, just in case we had a shot to put it in the net," Curley explained. "I saw the defense go D to D so I just pressured him thinking don't let him get a breakaway pass or something. he just didn't get anything on it behind the net and I came around and couldn't believe the goalie wasn't even looking and I just tapped it in off him."

Added Panthers head coach Chris Spillane, "Just hard work. Everybody thought the period was done. Their kid just sort of chipped it behind the net, our kid didn't give up on it. He went, picked it up and caught the goalie sleeping. Cam Curley did a great job. Play to the whistle, that's what you always preach. Play to the whistle, play to the horn."

Curley tacked on another goal in the third with the Panthers shorthanded, as the Hornets failed to maintain control in the Franklin zone. Curley chipped a loose puck off the side wall, zipped past a defenseman and walked on alone, beating Shipman between the pads for a big insurance goal at 2:31.

"I think that last goal with point-three seconds was a big one," Spillane said. "That sort of turned the tide because they sort of took it us the second period. Getting a goal in with a second left to put us up by a goal was huge, and then the same kid scores a shorthanded goal to ice it and put us up 4-2. I just think that we were a little bit more conditioned than them in the third period. they had trouble keeping up the pace and it was a great effort."

THE HARD HAT


After each game, the Panthers have been presenting the most valuable player with a white construction helmet dubbed the 'Hard Hat.' It's signed by previous honorees and is delivered with a speech from the last game's owner.

Donadio has made tremendous strides in just his sophomore year, and his effort included several clutch stops as the Hornets applied pressure, earning him the hard hat on this night.

"The hard hat went to our goaltender. He made some great saves," Spillane praised. "When we needed him to he made the saves. I think their first goal was a power play and the second was sort of a not a good defensive zone coverage in our end. it was sort of in there for a while and they caught us guard. But he made some great saves when we needed him to."

Added Donadio, "Number 6, that freshman [Foley], was all over the net, he was pretty tough. Every time there was a rebound he was all over it. He's a pretty good player. They pressured us pretty well in the first two periods and then we started playing well.

And of his postgame award?

"It means a lot for me to have it. It goes basically to a team MVP. The person who gets the hard hat the game prior says a speech and gives it out and it means a lot to have it tonight."

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