They may have broken Duxbury’s 99-game winning streak, and prevented them from winning their seventh straight Division I state title in 2010. But that was last year, and St John’s Prep got an inkling of how hard it will be for the Eagles to repeat when they faced the Dragons on Saturday afternoon in Duxbury and fell 10-6.
Hoping to improve on its somewhat surprising 4-4 record, the Prep was handicapped right away by the loss of star attackman Colin Blackwell, who couldn’t make the starting lineup as a late scratch due to an injury.
The Dragons were certainly up for their rematch, and showed it right away, after Henry Narlee took the opening faceoff and put his teammates on the offensive only to have a stingy Eagle defense keep Duxbury off the board in the first two minutes. But senior Bryan Barry kept plugging away and never stopped moving, taking a pass from Chris Williams and beating Prep netminder Blair Friedensohn for a 1-0 lead.
What was expected to be a high-scoring affair suddenly went silent, as neither team could score until the 3:52 mark when senior midfielder Mark MacDonald bullied his way through the Duxbury defense and bounced a shot into the top left corner past Henry Buonagurio to tie the game at 1-1.
The score seemed to open things up, as junior Andrew Buron copied MacDonald’s tally with one of his own, bouncing a shot up and over Friedensohn to put Duxbury ahead for good at 2-1.
At the 3:11 mark the Dragons had a man-up situation and took advantage, as junior Sam Sweet took a pass from junior attack Will Siefert and rattled a shot off the crossbar to make it 3-1.
The action was about to come fast and furious from both ends, as senior midfielder Jimmy O’Connell performed a series of dodges out in front of Buonagurio before pivoting to his right and blowing his shot past the Dragon netminder to cut the deficit to one.
Friedensohn made a spectacular save on Seamus Connelly 13 seconds later, sending the ball up field where the Eagles earned a man-up situation. Unfortunately it turned into a disadvantage, as Barry beat his man one-on-one and made it 4-2 with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.
While it looked like the quarter would end with Duxbury up by two, junior defenseman Jay McDermott started a transition break deep in the Duxbury end, sending a pass through midfield that started a 3-on-2 break resulting in a Paul Hellar feed to Sweet, who beat Friedensohn with nine seconds on the clock for a 5-2 lead.
The Prep picked up its defense in the second quarter after falling behind 6-2 on a spectacular Siefert goal, and a pair of goals by O’Connell made it 6-4 at halftime.
Kane Haffey would give the Dragons a 7-4 lead at the 10:45 mark of the third quarter, while Barry and Siefert would make it 9-4 with five minutes left in the game. Great goaltending by Friedensohn kept the Eagles within striking distance, but the Dragons seemed to match every Prep goal at key points in the game.
“Freidensohn made it difficult for us to score,” said Duxbury coach Chris Sweet. “But I thought our guys did a good job keeping their feet moving through the shot. Today was all about effort. We did well in all phases of our game and I think we are playing with a lot more confidence.”
Next up for the Dragons will be a Patriot League battle at Scituate on Tuesday at 4 p.m.