The DHS girls’ hockey team seems to have picked up where it left off last year, mowing down its first three opponents while preparing to defend its Division II State hockey title and going for a three-peat.
Victories over Newton North (5-0) and perennial powerhouse St. Mary’s of Lynn (4-1) on the road proved the Lady Dragons haven’t lost their touch, while showing that Coach Friend Weiler’s program is now one of the state’s best and could remain that way for years to come.
Led by senior captain Hannah Murphy and junior captain Rachel Myette, the Duxbury roster features just two seniors on its 26-man roster and is bolstered by an influx of 11 freshmen.
Playing before a packed house in its home opener on Saturday afternoon at The Bog, the Lady Dragons faced off against Barnstable, who had been Duxbury’s biggest challenge in the south during the formative years of the program.
Saturday’s game proved that the tide has turned, as the Lady Dragons exploded for four second period goals in a 5-1 win over the Red Raiders, as Meredith Wright gave Duxbury a 1-0 lead at the 9:07 mark of the first period that held up during the first 15 minutes.
It was a whole different story in the middle stanza when sophomore Jane Dudley wasted little time in putting Duxbury ahead 2-0, as she broke in alone on Barnstable goaltender Carly Spalt and fired her shot into the top right hand corner of the net.
It looked like Duxbury was on its way to another easy win. But less than two minutes later the Red Raiders cut the deficit to 2-1 when Sara Gould cut in front of Myette and slid one past the junior goalie.
A Barnstable penalty would put its comeback effort in jeopardy and Murphy made the Red Raiders pay for their indiscretion when she came out from behind the net to Spalt’s right and fired a shot between the goalie’s legs for a 3-1 lead with 10 minutes to go in the period.
Murphy’s goal seemed to energize her teammates, as the Nolan sisters added to Duxbury’s lead with junior forward Jacqui Nolan scoring 33 seconds after Murphy to make it 4-1, and freshman sibling Julia picking up a rebound of a Spalt save and hitting the back of the net for the Lady Dragons’ final score of the afternoon.
“The energy and effort was there for the first two games,” said Weiler. “But coming off Wednesday’s big win they just weren’t as fired up for this one in the first period. I’m sure they had a little bit of the jitters being opening night. But they buckled down and did what they had to do to win.”
The girls will now have a week off before their next game this Saturday afternoon at The Bog versus the Canton Bulldogs.