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|Lady Dragons shutout Barnstable|
|Written by Mike Halloran, Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 08 February 2012 09:00|
(Freshman forward Meredith Wright leaves a Barnstable defender in her wake before scoring the final goal in the win over Barnstable for sole possession of first place.)
The Duxbury girls’ hockey team faced its biggest challenge of the regular season on Friday afternoon at The Bog and came away with a 4-0 shutout win over the once-beaten Barnstable Red Raiders.
The victory solidifies Duxbury’s position as the top girls’ hockey team south of Boston, as the Red Raiders suffered their second loss in a week (Hingham) and saw their record drop to 10-2. The Lady Dragons were pumped and ready to go from the opening face-off, outshooting the visitors 9-3 in the opening 15 minutes.
After killing off a penalty for too many men on the ice in the first minute of play, Duxbury struck quickly when Lily Connolly took a pass across the crease from junior classmate Hannah Murphy and slid her shot inside the left post past goaltender Jen O’Connell for what proved to be the game-winner.
Duxbury was never content to sit on its one-goal lead and stormed the Barnstable net relentlessly as Murphy found herself all alone in front of O’Connell a minute later and was robbed by a glove save.
The offense was coming from everywhere, and just over four minutes from the start, the lead climbed to 2-0 when sophomore defenseman Caroline Shaunessy unloaded one of her blasts from the left point that appeared to deflect off the stick of freshman Jane Dudley and hit the crossbar before settling behind O’Connell.
Both teams would have power-play opportunities over the second half of the period with Connolly having the best scoring chance, only to have a Barnstable defender go to the ice and block her shot as it was headed for the corner.
For all its dominance, Duxbury’s two-goal lead still wasn’t comfortable enough entering the middle period. But it took just 17 seconds for that comfort level to increase, as Murphy followed Connolly into the offensive zone and lifted her pass into the top left corner for what looked like an insurmountable three-goal lead.
The assist allowed Connolly to become the fourth 100-point scorer in the history of the girls’ hockey program at DHS.
Despite not scoring another goal in the period, Duxbury’s dominance continued as they out-shot the Red Raiders, 9-1, providing sophomore goaltender Rachel Myette with plenty of defensive support.
“Everyone played great tonight, and the way Rachel plays she gives our team so much confidence out there,” said Weiler. “We hit a couple of posts and had some direct shots on their goalie, but I continue to preach to them about finishing.”
It didn’t look like Barnstable had much going for it with 15 minutes remaining, but it went on the power-play less than a minute after the face-off. No sooner had the puck dropped when Myette sprawled to make a save, dashing Barnstable’s hopes for a quick comeback bid.
The Duxbury defense led by senior captain Martha Findley, Shaunessy, Ally Hammel and Carly Campbell kept the visitors off the board for a full eight minutes in the third period before a frustrated Barnstable squad went to the penalty box three times in the final seven minutes.
Freshman forward Meredith Wright would tally the final Duxbury score with 2:22 left in the game, picking up a loose puck on a face-off to O’Connell’s right and burying her shot in the top far corner for the final nail in the Barnstable coffin. “I was happy with the intensity we showed out there tonight,” said Coach Friend Weiler. “I was a little worried that the girls might be flat after having to wait to reschedule our first Barnstable game, but they came out flying tonight.”
The girls will get another shot at Barnstable on Wednesday night when they travel to the Cape for a 5 p.m. battle.
The girls were right back on the ice Saturday night at the Hobomock Arena for their rematch with Marshfield, who was soundly beaten by the Lady Dragons, 10-0, in their first meeting.
While another mismatch was anticipated, it certainly didn’t appear that it was going to happen, as the Rams stifled the Duxbury attack and kept them off the board for 14 minutes before Shaunessy saved the puck from being cleared at the blue line and fired it on net to beat goaltender Taylor Newcomb for a 1-0 lead with 50 seconds left in the period.
The Lady Dragons had much better luck in the second period, as it took less than two minutes to increase the lead to 2-0 when Murphy tipped in a Shaunessy blast that barely rolled over the line for an insurance goal that seemed to snap the girls out of their funk.
Four minutes later the defense continued to set up the forwards, when Findley laid a perfect pass on the stick of Connolly who beat Newcomb for a 3-0 lead.
The flood gates had now opened and Duxbury ended the period with a 4-0 lead when Murphy’s shot off a Connolly pass bounced off Newcomb’s chest and over her shoulder into the goal.
Coach Friend Weiler has always stated that his team has depth and can wear opponents down in the third period. Goals by Findley, Hammel, and freshman Charlotte Wahle over a five-minute span showed what he was talking about as the lead grew to 7-0 with 8:31 left in the game.
The third period assault gave Duxbury (13-0) a 35-9 shot advantage in the game and was a good warm-up for its rematch with Barnstable.