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|Written by Dave Palana|
|Wednesday, 29 January 2014 11:24|
Coming off an emotional win against the Marshfield Rams, on Jan. 20 the Duxbury boys’ hockey team seemed poised for a letdown on Saturday when it hosted the struggling Pembroke Titans at The Bog. The Dragons did slow down against the Titans, but not until they had jumped out to a 2-0 lead on route to a 3-0 win that extended their winning streak to seven games.
The Dragons had more shots in the first minute and a half of the first period than Pembroke did in the entire frame, but they weren’t able to find the chink in the armor of Titan goalie Jackson Wainwright until the 7:29 mark. Duxbury captain Trevor O’Brien was robbed by the crossbar on the first shot of the game from the Dragons and hit both posts later in the period, however the officials ruled that his shot cross the plane of the net and awarded him the goal to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead.
Senior defender Max Goldner got the assist on O’Brien’s goal after a workmanlike effort to keep the puck inside the Pembroke blue line that allowed the Dragons to keep attacking long enough for O’Brien to find space to get off his shot.
“That’s Max’s M.O.,” head coach John Blake said. “He works his tail off for us and he’s solid as a rock out there. He holds the blue line well and makes smart decisions.”
The Dragons continued besiege Wainwright and broke through again two minutes later when Matt Saia scored off the rebound of Matt Murphy’s shot. The onslaught slowed when Duxbury was forced to kill a five-on-three penalty for nearly a minute at the end of the period and the Titans came out more aggressive to start the second. Duxbury had more strong penalty kills in the second and third periods to keep Pembroke from gaining any ground.
“We feel like guys like Trevor O’Brien, Mike Doyle, Nick Marrocco, Shayne O’Brien and Matt Murphy can all kill penalties,” Blake said. “We don’t want to have to kill that many penalties - we’d like to be a bit more disciplined and stay out of the box.”
Duxbury came up empty despite eight shots on goal in the second period and had trouble solving Wainright again in the third despite a string of quality opportunities before Scott Whear ended the drought with just less than four minutes left in the game. Junior forward Jack Griffin controlled the puck as it squirted out of a scrum along the boards and fed Whear at the corner of the net for a one-timer before Wainwright could react.
Despite adding the late goal, Blake said the Dragons played to the Titans’ level over the final two periods rather than putting them out of the game and said playing that way will hurt them against better teams unless they make adjustments.
“I thought we played a great first period, but I thought we really slowed down. I didn’t think we moved the puck very well,” Blake said. “I didn’t think there was any urgency in our game. I thought it got a little bit better in the third, but our team identity is that we are trying to play fast hard hockey for 45 minutes, and today, we let Pembroke hang around.”
Blake also said he anticipated a letdown with the game against the floundering Titans sandwiched between rivalry games with the Rams and Hingham Harbormen. The 3-2 win over the Rams was also emotionally draining as Marshfield was ranked ahead of Duxbury in most state polls.
“It was a very good test for us,” Blake said. “A couple of the polls had them as the top public school [in the state] and I thought we showed a lot of character.”
After Hingham, they will play a home-and-away series with the Whitman-Hanson Panthers Monday and Saturday before hitting the road again on Monday to play the Braintree Wamps.