Coach John Blake knew his team would be young and inexperienced after losing three players from last year’s squad who decided to take their talents elsewhere.
Even without those experienced players, Duxbury’s 2011 team has shown plenty of effort in its first six games. Unfortunately, the Dragons have yet to find a dependable goal-scorer. That has cost them dearly, as evidenced this past week when they dropped 2-1 decisions to Marshfield and Weymouth, two of the more highly ranked public school programs in the state. “Our kids are playing hard and we’re getting the puck to the net, but they’re just not bouncing our way right now,” said Blake. “We have to be the best 1-4 team in the state.”
Last Wednesday night, the Dragons took on Marshfield in the consolation round of the Taylor Tournament held in Hingham: Duxbury having been beaten by Weymouth in first-round action, while the Rams took it on the chin against Hingham.
It didn’t take long for the Rams to show why they are favored to be one of the top public high school teams in the state, as it took them just over a minute to put the Dragons behind the eight ball when junior forward Mike Carbone cut through the crease in front of Duxbury goaltender Conor Charland, slipping it under the senior netminder.
Just over a minute later Duxbury had a great chance to tie it up when Tucker Hannon was at the top of the crease in front of goaltender Kyle Moran, who stuffed the junior forward to keep his shutout intact.
Both teams would have numerous chances as the period went on, but it was Duxbury’s Nick Marrocco who scored next, taking a pass from junior defenseman Zack Snelling and poking it through a crowd of Marshfield defenders in front to tie the game at 1-1 with 5:03 left in the period.
The second period started much like the first, as Carbone was standing alone in the slot just 30 seconds in, but was robbed by Charland at point-blank range. The pressure continued for the next four minutes, as the Rams kept the puck in the Duxbury end, forcing Charland to bail out his teammates repeatedly.
Midway through the period the Rams went on the power-play and it didn’t last long, as Carbone came out of the right corner at the 8:25 mark to beat Charland for what proved to be the game-winner.
Charland was on his game once again when he stopped a 2-on-1 break-in by the Rams less than a minute later, and had the help of his defense when Marshfield was short-handed at the 5:42 mark and almost scored on a Carbone break-in.
Needing to start the third period with offense on their minds after squandering a period-ending power-play, the Dragons responded with several excellent scoring chances in the first five minutes. But has been the case all season long, none of them could find the back of the net.
A Marshfield power-play looked as if it could be the kiss of death if the Rams could score with seven minutes to go, but Charland held the fort, keeping his team within striking distance.
Duxbury’s futility continued with 3:47 left in the game when they broke into the offensive zone on a 3-on-1, but couldn’t connect, failing to get a serious shot on net for their best opportunity of the game.
Charland would keep their hopes alive with a sprawling save with 1:20 left on the clock, but time ran out as did Duxbury’s chance at ending its three-game losing streak.
“I think our kids were happy with the way they played tonight,” said Blake. “This is supposed to be one of the best public high school teams in the state and we showed we can go neck and neck with them. We can play with anybody. We just have to pop in a few.”