What looked like Duxburyâ€™s sixth tie of the season turned out to be its third loss on Saturday night at The Bog, when St. Johnâ€™s of Shrewsbury rallied with 5:33 left in the game to break a 1-1 tie and go home with a 3-1 victory.
The win got the Pioneers over the .500 mark at 5-4 and dropped Duxburyâ€™s record to 2-3-5.
Senior goaltender Tim Matthews got the nod in net against St. Johnâ€™s and proved Coach John Blake made the right choice, as he faced 31 Pioneer shots and now stands with a 1.6 GAA.
The visitors wasted little time in testing Matthews, as the senior made a huge save less than two minutes in. It was the first of many saves on a night that only got worse when the Pioneers went on the power-play a minute later.
Peppered over the next 90 seconds, Matthews was up to the task, especially when forced to save a bouncing puck as the power play ended.
The Dragons would have a power play of their own in the final two minutes of the opening period and couldnâ€™t score, leading to the Pioneers first goal with 13 seconds remaining when senior forward Devin Smith knocked home a loose puck out of a scramble in front of Matthews.
Duxbury had its fair share of scoring chances in the second period when senior captain Bryan Barry had a chance at an open net at the 12:30 mark, and that was followed by three consecutive Duxbury power plays that included a three-minute penalty with 7:15 left in the middle period. The best chance on the final power-play came when captain Nick Buonvicino missed a goal at the side of the net.
Finally the Dragons were able to get on the board without the benefit of the power-play. With 3:47 remaining in the second period, junior Jeff Gaita relentlessly tried to stuff the puck past goalie Connor Burdick, who fell back into the net as the puck rolled over his head and down his back into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
After the Dragons killed a power play with just over nine minutes remaining, the game remained tied with both teams going up and down with several scoring chances. While both teams tried to keep fresh with quick line changes, a late change by the Dragons proved costly.
As Duxburyâ€™s forward line went to the bench, sophomore defenseman Pat Walsh saw an opening he couldnâ€™t refuse and jumped into the action up front, beating the retreating Duxbury forwards and slipping the game-winner behind Matthews with 5:33 showing on the clock.
An empty net goal by Jay Duquette with 2.5 second remaining accounted for the final score in a game where the Pioneers out-shot the Dragons by a 31-13 margin.
â€œWe were standing around in that first period,â€ said Coach John Blake. â€œItâ€™s disappointing, because one of the keys to our game was to come out and jump on them early because they had the long bus ride from Worcester. The first period was disappointing, but I think we played better in the second and third. But we are still having trouble trying to put the puck in the net.â€