The Duxbury girls’ hockey team couldn’t hold their lead in their first meeting of the season with the Falmouth Clippers, and they couldn’t come back in their second meeting.
Duxbury fell into a 3-0 hole with less than 13 minutes to play, and couldn’t battle back in time to save their 32- game winning streak in a 4-2 loss to the Clippers at the Falmouth Ice Arena on Sunday.
Falmouth’s Alexa Scribner scored with .4 seconds left in the second period, and Kelly Ferreira and Maggie MacDonald scored within a minute of each in the third period to the top-ranked Dragons on the ropes. After Duxbury battled back with a pair of goals, Scribner delivered the knockout blow with an empty-net goal in the final minute to add another chapter to one of the most intense girls’ hockey rivalries in the state.
With the Dragons moving to Division I this season, there will be no rematch between the two teams in the MIAA tournament. It has been nearly four seasons since Duxbury lost to a team other than the Clippers, and head coach Friend Weiler said it will be hard to wait until next year for a chance to avenge this loss.
“There’s not a lot of love- loss between these two teams,” Weiler said. “We’ve probably played 10 times in four years. They got this one and it’s too bad we’re not going to play again. I wish them all the luck in the tournament and hopefully they’ll win the big one this year... Every game is a battle [between these two teams] and we’ve been able to come out on top the last couple of time, but tonight we just started too late.”
The Clippers were the more aggressive team from the drop of the puck while Duxbury struggled with its communication early. A double minor on Scribner in the first swung momentum the Dragons’ way as they turned in a dominant power play, but Falmouth goalie Madison Scovatto kept Duxbury off the board in the first period with eight saves.
The Clippers had the Dragons on their heels again in the second period, but Dux- bury captain Rachel Myette held the fort with seven saves, including a blocker stop on a breakaway by Ferreira with 53 seconds left in the period. Unfortunately for the Dragons, they couldn’t keep Falmouth of their end as time wound down, and Scribner’s wrister bounced off the palm of My- ette’s glove and into the back of the net in the final second to send the Dragons to the locker room hanging their heads.
“It’s always tough to give up a goal with less than a minute left in a period,” Weiler said. “That really shifted momentum.”
The Dragons came out with more energy to start the third period, but their momentum came to a screeching halt when Ferreira’s wrist shot from the right face-off circle caromed off the post and past Myette to give the Clippers a 2-0 lead. Myette then stopped a breakaway bid by Madison Haberl seconds later only to see the rebound bounce right to MacDonald, who buried it in the net for Falmouth’s third goal.
Duxbury seemed like a different team after the two quick goals in the third by Falmouth, and also finally got some puck luck of their own when captain Jacqui Nolan scooped a bounc- ing puck over the shoulder of Scovatto to give the Dragons some life with 8:45 to play. The Dragons continued to claw back into the game and cut the Clippers’ lead to one two-and-a-half minutes later when junior Marissa Fichter outskated the Falmouth defense off a pass from Jane Dudley and powered a shot under Scavotto’s arm.
“We’ve had a couple of comeback this year, but we just didn’t start it early enough tonight,” Weiler said. “The girls worked hard, they hard their heads down for about 30 sec- onds before they reenergized and got back in it.”
The Dragons looked poised to tie the game when Clipper defenseman Kendall Stouffer for tripping Zoe Griffin with 2:19 left in the game, but Scovatto saved the Clippers by
stopping shots from Dudley, Julia Nolan and Ally Hammel after Brooke Bowman turned got her stick on a wrister by Fichter to deflect the Dragons’ best scoring chance of the power play.
“Maddie Scovatto played phenomenally all game long,” Weiler said. “She kept it even and then she kept them ahead.”
The Dragons pulled Myette for an extra skater in the final minute, but couldn’t get the puck to the net. Falmouth added the final nail in the coffin with an empty-netter with 2.8 seconds left.
The loss ends the Dragons’ most recent unbeaten streak at 32 games dating back to their regular-season loss in the first meeting with Falmouth last year. While Duxbury’s chances of repeating their 2011/2012 undefeated championship season are now over, Weiler said the taste of the loss should give his team a renewed edge as the tournament looms next week.
“I just told them ‘This is what it feels like, so let’s start another 32-game win streak,’” he said. “These types of games get you playoff ready. They get you battle-tested and you find out what you’re all about.”