BROCKTON - For the second time this season, the Norton High hockey team, an independent program in its second full-fledged varsity season, secured a point against a Hockomock League rival, the Lancers skating away from the Asiaf Arena Monday with a 1-1 tie with Stoughton in the non-league game.
Moreover, the point puts Norton (7-5-4) within two points of qualifying for the MIAA Tournament for a second straight season too. The Lancers have four chances to do so, playing their second game in as many days today (6:30 p.m.) in Foxboro against Durfee.
"We have an NHL schedule," said Norton coach Kyle Heagney as the Lancers will play five games over a six-day span - after the Hilltoppers tonight, visiting Dover-Sherborn on Wednesday, visiting Wareham on Thursday morning (9 a.m.), traveling to Fall River Friday morning (9 a.m.) for a game with Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk and then close out the regular season next Sunday against O'Bryant.
The Lancers were less than six minutes away from earning two points against the Black Knights, but Stoughton scored a power play goal, the tying tally with 5:41 left.
Norton had taken the lead during the first period when senior captain Troy Parker scored at 7:19 with Bobby Trudeau and eighth grader Brenan Heayden assisting.
The Lancers, which had also tied Foxboro earlier in the season, received a 22-save performance in goal from Tony Cerce, who made an incredible post-to-post save to protect the tie in the waning minutes. Sophomore left wing Jake Palin was instrumental in the Lancers generating 19 shots, Norton not having a power play in the entire game.
"We have a lot of hockey left," added Heagney of the quick turn-around with the schedule before the MIAA Tournament Committee makes seedings and pairings Feb. 23.
Bishop Feehan 2, Smithfield, R.I. 2
TAUNTON - The Shamrocks secured the point that they needed to qualify for the MIAA Tournament, securing a tie on a breakaway goal by Matt Jesser with 2:51 remaining in the non-league game at the Aleixo Arena - the continuation of a game started Jan. 21, but suspended with Smithfield leading 2-1 due to a shattered pane of glass.
"They (Smithfield) out-played us a bit, but (goalie Mike) Capprini kept us in it," said Feehan coach Phil Hulbig as the Shamrocks (9-6-2) then survived a scare when Bishop Feehan defenseman Josh Fortier cleared a loose puck in the crease with the game deadlocked and less than two minutes remaining.
The Shamrocks had taken the lead on a goal by Jack Callahan at 6:49 of the first period, but Smithfield netted the equalizer in the second period and took the lead early in the third period.
"We're playing good hockey now," added Hulbig of the favorable results at both ends of the ice.
Capprini proved to be an offensive catalyst as well for the point taken, collecting a point too with an assist - taking the puck in the Shamrock zone, sending it along to Mike Geraghty, who set up Jesser's game-tying breakaway goal at 12:09.
The Shamrocks are scheduled to play Martha's Vineyard this afternoon at 2:30 in Taunton in an EAC game.
North Attleboro 6, Taunton 1
FOXBORO - Firing 46 shots on goal in the Hockomock League contest, the Red Rocketeers were bound to cross the goal line a few times. Andrew Casson and Sean Young each scored a pair of goals, the latter player also adding two assists. Zach McGowan and Erik Clements added solo tallies.
The Tigers scored in the second period to briefly reduce the North Attleboro (11-7) lead to one, but the Rocketeers' four unanswered goals erased any doubt as to the outcome. Brady Grunwald stopped 32 shots in net for the Red Rocketeers, which survived a pair of 5-on-3 Taunton power plays in the third period.
North Attleboro also recognized its eight seniors during the team's Senior Night. The team is back on the ice Wednesday against King Philip.
Franklin 10, Attleboro 0
FRANKLIN - The Bombardiers kept the Kelley-Rex Division-leading Panthers off of the scoreboard for the first seven-plus minutes of the Hockomock League game and then surrendered four goals to Franklin over the remaining minutes of that first session.
"We did a good job of creating traffic in front of the net," said AHS coach Mike Cripps of the Bombardiers (7-11-1) trying to support goalie Tim Gile (35 saves). The Bombardiers mustered merely 10 shots in the contest. AHS returns to the ice in Taunton Wednesday for a 2 p.m. faceoff with Stoughton.