BOURNE, Mass. -- At least one team will be wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day on the ice at the TD Garden, and they won’t be there because they got lucky. The top-seeded Duxbury Dragons earned their third consecutive trip to the Division 2 state championship game, where they will be looking to capture their third pot of gold in a row, after pounding upstart Tewksbury/Methuen, 8-0, at Gallo Ice Arena Saturday.
Duxbury’s game plan was to get out fast and quick, and never let up. They did that quite effectively.
“We wanted to stay aggressive, just really attack, attack. I felt that our depth was really going to carry the day and the girls came out with high energy,” Duxbury head coach Friend Weiler said.
It was evident early on that the Dragons (21-1-2) were simply on a higher plane than the Red Rangers and that depth that Weiler spoke of was on display from the outset. Payton Donato, Jacqui Nolan and Liz Collins each scored twice for the Dragons, and Hannah Murphy assisted on three scores, giving her 50 points (27 goals, 23 assists) for the year.
Duxbury scored four times in the first period and cruised from there, adding a pair of goals in the subsequent frames. Duxbury’s first came at 5:22 of the first on a goal by Nolan, who tipped in a slapper by Donato for an early power play goal. Three minutes later, at 8:54, Donato got her first of the day when she unloaded from the left point and it hit a stick on the way, averting the pads of Taylor Lirakis.
The Gallo PA man hadn’t finished announcing Duxbury’s second goal before the third one was hung on the scoreboard. Marissa Fichter put home a nice feed from Murphy to the far post. Closing out the lopsided first period was Collins’ first of two, a blast from the perimeter that hit Lirakis’ shoulder, went high into the air and landed behind her, in the net.
From that point, it was just a matter of getting to the final whistle for the Dragons. Duxbury outshot the Red Rangers, 48-11, in the game and bottled up the Red Rangers’ top weapon, Amanda Conway. The state’s top goal-scorer, who had 52 markers coming into the night, was held to just three shots on goal in the game, and had no serious scoring bids against Duxbury’s Rachel Myette.
Myette kept the Dragons’ run of shut-out hockey going. Duxbury has not been scored upon in the state tournament, and last gave up a goal on Feb. 16. Myette had a rather easy go of it as she earned her eighth shutout of the season, and fifth straight.
“It’s about trying to take away the middle, and that’s what we want to continue to do,” Weiler said. “My defensive core has played really tough all throughout the season and they’ve gotten better as we’ve gone along. It’s just hard work, and focus, and puck protection, that’s the key. The girls were ready to go today, they had high energy, and that’s what you’re looking for, to be peaking at the right time.”
In the second period, Duxbury added goals Nos. 5 and 6. They came off the sticks of Donato and Nolan, during the middle of the frame. In the third, the Dragons’ Collins and Meredith Wright rounded out the shellacking.