The Player Perspective: FHS Hockey Ready for Scrappy Playoff Matchup


Juniors Lucas Sheehan (#22) and Ben Jarosz (C, #19) pregame at home. The two were key in Franklin’s 13-8 season (with permission from Sheehan)

Ryan Martin, Writer

The boys are ready, skates are sharpened, and the mullets are definitely fresh. The early March air smells like playoff hockey for the FHS Boys Varsity team. Coming off a successful 13-8 season, a team comprised mainly of players new to the varsity level (tasked with following up a class of 16 graduating seniors) has looked experienced this year. With a +24 goal differential over their last 7 games, Franklin has clicked at just the right time: the Panthers have relied on passing and defense as they enter the MIAA D1 Tournament as the #19 seed.


However, the most recent of that 7 game stretch came exactly two weeks ago – could such a long break between games hurt Franklin’s momentum? To get a feel for what the team is thinking as playoffs approach, I caught up with Jr. Captain/Forward Ben Jarosz and Jr. Defenceman Lucas Sheehan:


Ryan Martin: You guys finished 13-8 in the regular season, good enough for the 19th seed in this year’s D1 Tourney and yet another season as Kelley-Rex Champions. 2021-22 marks the 30th season in which the Panthers have won the Hock. As players, why do you think this team has been so consistent year after year?

Ben Jarosz: I think the reason we’ve been so consistent over the years is because of the bonds we make on and off the ice; all the hard work this program was founded on has stayed the course.

Lucas Sheehan: Franklin is a big hockey town and we’re fortunate enough to have a strong youth hockey program where most of us started playing. Also, the majority of us on the team have played with each other in years past which creates a bond between us. Lastly, like other Franklin High School teams, we play at a high competitive level and strive to be the best.


RM: Franklin ended the regular season with a loss against a really tough opponent, hosting St. John’s Prep and losing 4-3 in Mid-February. St. John’s, who finished 17-3 and are the tournament’s #1 seed, has been one of the best teams in the state. But you guys held your own against them, only losing by a goal and tying the game in the 3rd Period. What did this team take away from that loss that makes Franklin a more complete hockey team in time for playoffs? How important is it for this team’s confidence to know they can compete with a team like St. John’s?

Junior Captain Ben Jarosz (#19) weaves with the puck against King Philip (via Sammy Patel Photography)

BJ: I think the biggest thing we took away from that game was just how important it is to stay locked in throughout those games against the top-ranked competition. After the game, we knew we could play with anyone in the state so we have that confidence going into playoffs; we’re willing to play anyone, anywhere.

LS: After that loss, we proved to ourselves that we can play and hang with any team in the state. This, although it was a loss, was a big confidence boost for the team. With a performance like that, we know that if we work together as a team we can be successful and go far into these playoffs.


RM: After a couple of schedule changes, Franklin has their First Round playoff date set: at #11 Seed Wellesley this Saturday, March 5th. By the time game day rolls around, there will have been 17 days between that matchup and the St. John’s game, by far the longest stretch between meaningful games this season. Especially at this point in the season, how important has this recovery time been, making sure you’re as close to 100% as you can be for Saturday?

BJ: I think having this time off was good for our team just to regroup and get back our style of hockey. We will be 100% going into the playoffs no doubt.

Junior D-Man Lucas Sheehan (#22) takes a pass in against Attleboro (via Sammy Patel Photography)

LS: 17 days is a long time, Coach (Anthony) Sarno and the other coaches have done a great job keeping practice upbeat and scheduling time for scrimmages with Medway. Also, earlier this week, Coach Sarno scheduled a scrimmage with Belmont which was up-tempo and good preparation for the upcoming game on Saturday.


RM: Previewing your first-round opponent, Wellesley has been a really good team this season: The #11 seed, they haven’t lost in their last 6 games with that loss being in the Burns Tournament semifinals to Hingham (#3 seed in MIAA Tournament and a team Franklin beat in January). What have you guys been focusing on in practice that you’ll look to have near-perfect to beat Wellesley?

BJ: Wellesley is a familiar opponent: they play a lot like us. It’s kind of like looking in a mirror – we have been really focusing on Power Plays and Penalty Kills, just working on our craft and creating goal-scoring abilities. Wellesley is a big team so we are being physical in practice to prepare ourselves for a scrappy game.

LS: All season long the coaches have told us to utilize our speed and our skill. It helped us win the Hock, beat some top 10 teams, and be competitive against others. If we follow the coaches’ game plan, we’re confident we will come out on top.

As indicated, #19 Franklin will play visitors to #11 seed Wellesely this Saturday at 7pm. With a win, the Panthers (mullets and all) will advance to the tournament’s Round of 16 to take on the winner of #30 St. John’s High at #3 seed Hingham.