PEMBROKE — The Marshfield High boys’ hockey team was just seconds away from securing a home victory against Plymouth South on Saturday when senior forward Michael Carbone fired the puck toward the Panthers’ empty net.
His bid bounced hard off the boards, so Carbone gathered the loose puck and tucked it in for a wraparound goal and a 4-2 lead for the Rams with 6.6 seconds to play at Hobomock Ice Arena in Pembroke.
He got on one knee to sweep the ice in celebration — now becoming routine with his team-high 15 goals this season — before being mobbed by teammates.
The goal, his second of the game, in effect clinched the Atlantic Coast League title for the 13-4 Rams (10-1 ACL), their third in the last four seasons.
But the feel this time is much different, at least for Carbone.
This season, the senior captain is sharing the team’s achievements with his younger brother, JoJo , a freshman winger who has earned a spot on the varsity.
“That’s really why I just wanted to make the team,” JoJo said of playing alongside his only brother. “It’s his last year, and my only year getting to play with him. . . . It’s been awesome.”
Separated by three years, the Carbones have never played together on the same team, save for the long winter afternoons on the rink that their father, Mike, constructed each year in the family’s backyard.
Still, they have managed to develop an on-ice chemistry this season.
Marshfield coach Dan Connelly has altered the makeup of his lines a few times this season, with injuries forcing his hand. But the Carbones were back together on the same line Saturday and it paid dividends.
Michael’s two goals plus an assist against Plymouth South raised his point total to 27 (15 goals, 12 assists) this season.
JoJo’s stat line (2 goals, 10 assists) is not nearly as impressive, until put into perspective with his freshman status.
“I had one point,” Michael recalled of his first season on the varsity, shaking his head with a bit of a smile. “I didn’t play half as much as he did.”
Point differential aside, the Carbones are by all accounts extremely similar players.
Michael, a 5-foot-7, 160-pound left wing, and JoJo, an inch shorter carrying the same weight, are short in stature but strong. They both can grind in the corners or finish a scoring chance from the slot. They both have good vision, and though this season Michael is handling the point on the power play — he’s not afraid to rip a slap shot from the blue line — that role will likely come in due time for JoJo.
“They’re both tough as nails,” Connelly said. “They’re not the biggest kids height-wise but they’re strong in their skates, they’re sturdy, they have great, quick releases, and they play with a great energy level and always compete. They’re not going to get beat.”
Oh, and they both love to land the big hit. They are rarely the biggest kids on the ice, but they don’t let that stop them, each crushing a few Panthers Saturday,
“I go out there and everyone thinks I’m small,” said JoJo, with a giddy smile breaking across his face and steam still rising from his shoulders after the game. “I like to hit right away just to make sure they know I play the body. I like to play the body.”
They are so similar that neither brother could think of a difference.
But their coach could, after pondering for a few seconds.
“JoJo’s a righty, Mikey’s a lefty,” Connelly said. “That’s pretty much it.”
When the siblings do play on the same line, it’s usually flanking sophomore center Pat Shea (5 goals, 15 assists), as was the case on Saturday against Plymouth South.
“It’s fun,” Shea said. “They’re good linemates. Mike’s a good goal scorer and Jo can work hard. And if there’s ever a scrum I know they have my back.”
As Marshfield marches toward the end of the regular season and into the Division 1 South sectional tournament, the Carbones will continue to balance their multiple relationships with each other: brother-brother, left wing-right wing, captain-freshman.
Not that that last one has ever been a problem.
“Playing with him, it’s a lot more pressure because he’s the captain. But off the ice it’s not different,” JoJo said. “He’s always been a captain to me.”
Norwell girls make postseason
When Steve Casagrande took the helm of the new girls’ varsity program at Norwell High before last season, he didn’t know exactly what to expect.
This winter, the Clippers (8-2-4) have exceeded the expectations of the former Rockland boys’ assistant coach. With a dominating 6-2 win over the Bourne/Mashpee/Wareham co-op squad Saturday, Norwell clinched a spot in the Division 2 state tournament in just its second year of existence.
“It’s kinda tough when you don’t know what teams you’re facing,” Casagrande said. “To have this much success early, I guess I am surprised by it.”
Saturday’s win was a familiar sight for the Clippers, but the game remained scoreless longer than they would have liked.
But then senior captain Tori Dinger (17 goals, 8 assists) took over, scoring two of her four goals within 30 seconds of each other.
“It’s typical Tori,” Casagrande said. “Any time we need to get going she seems to grab the puck and skate through the whole team. She just kind of grabbed the puck and said ‘enough is enough.’ ”
With Dinger, sophomore Lilly Cleary (13 goals, 16 assists), and freshman Caroline Nichols (8 goals, 18 assists) riding high, Norwell is well positioned to grab at least a share of the SEMGHL East title. The Clippers, 7-1-4 in league play, own a two-point lead over second-place Scituate with two conference contests remaining.
Here and there
At 12-4, the Archbishop Williams girls’ team is putting together a stellar season. Although they are just 1-4 in Catholic Central Large play, the Archies have the advantage of wrapping up their regular season with four straight home games. They will host Oliver Ames/Mansfield, Austin Prep, Fontbonne, and Dover-Sherborn in an 11-day span. . . .
Weymouth native Charlie Coyle was called up to the Minnesota Wild and made his NHL debut Monday night. The former Boston University forward split time between Weymouth High and Thayer Academy in high school.Tim Healey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.