Dragons rally, but can

Written by Dave Palana
 | Sunday, 03 February 2008 14:46
Two first-period goals would be all Xaverian would need as the Dragon’s scoring woes continued Saturday in a 2-0 loss to the Hawks at the Bog.

Two first-period goals would be all Xaverian would need as the Dragon’s scoring woes continued Saturday in a 2-0 loss to the Hawks at the Bog.

Dan Sangster and Phil Sciretta react as Xaverian goes up 1-0 in the first period.


Duxbury penalties put Xaverian on the power play three times in the first period and it would come back to haunt them. With 6:15 left in the period and Duxbury trying to kill a penalty, Mark McDonald broke through the Dragon defense and found John Sperzel wide open on the left side of the net for a 1-0 Xaverian lead.

With the teams back at even strength, Xaverian continued their assault on the Duxbury net. With 3:41 to go in the period, Sperzel skated uncontested across the front of the net and slid the puck through the 5-hole of Dan Sangster for his second goal of the game.

The Dragons continued to have trouble getting the puck out from behind their blue line and managed to get only two shots on net in the first period.

“We watched them for the first 15 minutes,” said head coach John Blake after the game. “When you are playing a quality team like Xaverian, you have to win every shift, every puck, every battle and I thought we did that for 30 minutes and not 45.”

Duxbury came out of the break looking to turn around the tempo of the game in the second period. The Dragons were more aggressive on the backcheck and were able to move the puck out of their end when Xaverian went on the attack. In the offensive zone, the Dragons were able to get some consistent offense for the first time in the game, putting up 12 shots in the period to Xaverian’s nine. {sidebar id=4}

“That was probably our best period of the year,” Blake said. “We took the body, we moved our feet and generated some offense. It was great.”

Unfortunately for Duxbury, their problem scoring that has dogged them almost all season reared it’s ugly head. Though the Dragons were able to generated second and third chances off shots, they couldn’t find the back of the net.

“It’s been that kind of year,” Blake said about his team’s scoring troubles. “Stuff just isn’t going in and we’ve just got to keep working at it.”

The Dragons tried to keep their momentum going in the third, but three more penalties but them on the defensive and allowed Xaverian to regain control of the game’s pace. Duxbury was able to muster some offense when they got back to even strength, but the Hawks continued to pound the puck in on Sangster and keep Duxbury on the defensive for most of the final period. Sangster’s play in net, 24 saves on 26 attempts, was one of the bright spots in the loss according to Blake.{sidebar id=1}

“Danny played great,” he said of his goalie. “He’s only a sophomore, but he’s developed into a great goalie and we’re probably going to ride him the rest of the season.”

With the loss, Duxbury falls back below .500 (5-6-4) with seven games left on their schedule. Four wins will guarantee the Dragons a spot in the MIAA tournament because it will put the over the .500 mark for the season.

Blake is still confident that the team can make the push deep into postseason as long as they take heart of what went wrong against Xaverian.

“You can’t take a period off, you can’t even take a shift off against these teams.” “It’s going to be a grind and it’s going to be an uphill climb, but we’ll get there.”