Boston High School: Tucker Kelly

Super 8: No. 3 Cathedral 4, No. 6 Duxbury 1

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
7:13
PM ET


BOSTON – Springfield Cathedral has had trouble getting over the hump in the first game the past few Super 8 tournaments, but the Panthers had no such problem this year.

The Panthers defeated Duxbury, 4-1, in the first game of the best-of-three series on Sunday afternoon at the TD Garden. It was a closer game than the final score would indicate with two late goals skewing the appearance.

“There are always so many nerves in game one of this tournament,” said Cathedral head coach Brian Foley. “We got a game one win and that’s something we’ve been searching for the last couple years. We’re happy with the result.”

“We played a great game as a team. We came out hard in the beginning,” said junior forward Zac Prattson.

Brotherly connection: Springfield Cathedral has three pairs of brothers on its team and one of those pairs came up with the first two Panthers goals.

Zac Prattson, the older of the two Prattson brothers, scored the game’s first goal on a shorthanded bid at the 2:36 mark of the opening period. Holy Cross commit Peter Crinella broke up a pass in the neutral zone and led Prattson who took a step inside the blue line before taking a slap shot on goal that found the five-hole.

“I was busting down the side and saw a shot opportunity. I just threw it on net and slipped it five-hole,” said Zac Prattson.

After Duxbury had tied the score in the second period, younger brother Riley helped Cathedral regain the lead for good. Just after a power play had expired, Riley Prattson found himself alone on the right side. UMass recruit John Leonard sauced the puck over a Duxbury defender’s stick to Prattson who took a step in before raising the puck past Duxbury goaltender Tucker Kelly.

“[Riley] always steps up to the challenge. He played really well today,” Zac Prattson said of his brother’s play.

“They’re great,” Foley said. “Zac got the first goal for us, which was huge. He’s a captain and a leader. He’s more of a lunch pale, blue-collar type guy where his brother Riley is more of a skill guy. I was happy to see them both score.”

The other two sets of brothers are Bryce and Cam Peritz and D.J. and Keith Petruzzelli.

Goaltending controversy: Springfield Cathedral has the luxury of having two very good goaltenders. Freshman and Quinnipiac commit Keith Petruzzelli got the nod in goal Sunday. He made several very nice stops, including a flurry in the second period where he stuck his toe out for a nice kick save.

“Keith was 5-0 as a starter coming into today,” said Foley of his freshman. “He’s now 6-0 on his young career. He stepped up today and played really well for us.”

“Game two is up in the air. I can’t tell you that one yet,” said Foley when asked who his game two starter would be. “[Senior] John Liquori is a great goalie and they both had a great week of practice. You talk about competition. To see how they competed this week was really good.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny [Liquori] takes game two,” added Foley.

Power forward: Crinella, a junior captain, might not be the fastest player on the ice, but his physical presence along with his heavy shot make him one of the most dangerous players with the puck in high school hockey.

His third period tally put the game out of reach when he once again used his body to fend off a Duxbury defender after having received a home run pass from defenseman Matt Cieboter.

He shot the puck high and wide on a power play attempt in the second period after he was left alone in the slot, but it was the type of play that shows his ability to make space and create havoc for the opposition.

Youth is served: Springfield Cathedral is without a doubt the youngest team in the tournament. Foley’s team dresses just one senior and he doesn’t play when Petruzzelli occupies the crease.

The starting lineup consisted of four freshmen and two juniors, and many more young players, including eighth grader Devon Tongue, see significant ice time.

“You never know how your kids are going to come out,” Foley said. “I thought we played a little nervous early on, but as the game moved along we had some good moments.

“We talked about being here before and not accomplishing our goal. That was a big thing before the game. We just wanted to play a solid hockey game and block out where we are.”

Dragons see some positives: Despite losing 4-1, Duxbury head coach John Blake felt there were several positives to take away from Sunday’s Super 8 opener.

“I think our guys have a sense of confidence that we can play with these guys going into Thursday now,” Blake said. “We were in the game late, but we’ll need to get it going right away.”

The Dragons might have needed a period to get their legs under them and let the magnitude of the game sink in, but a whole different team took the ice for the second stanza.

“I thought the first period, whether it was nerves a little bit, we were off as a team,” said Duxbury head coach John Blake.

Dragons senior forward Matt Saia scored his ninth goal of the season just 48 seconds into the second period on a nice individual effort. He stole the puck away from a Cathedral defender and beat him off the boards before roofing a shot over Petruzzelli’s blocker.

Duxbury will need to be focused right from the get-go and concentrate on some of the minor details of the game in order to be more successful in game two.

“I think it’s got to be a full 45-minute effort on Thursday. We’ve got to play mistake free hockey in order to beat Springfield. We made a few mistakes and they made us pay,” said Duxbury head coach John Blake.

The two teams will meet again in the second game of the best-of-three series on Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the Tsongas Center on the campus of UMass-Lowell.

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
2:06
AM ET
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at TD Garden.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. We’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series first-round, best-of-three series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 BC High (14-2-4) vs. No. 8 Xaverian (12-3-6)

Players to watch: BC High – F Steve DeForge, F Patrick Kramer, F Jake Lemanski, D Billy Roche, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham, D Trevor Davis, G Brandon Payzant; Xaverian – F Jon Beniers, F Andrew Durkin, F Antonio Marini, F Connor McCarthy, F Tim Sweeney, D Ricky Smith, G Aidan Murphy.

Previous meetings: 2-2 tie, Jan. 4; BC High, 5-1, Jan. 22.

The skinny: The top-seed Eagles take on their Catholic Conference rival Hawks, who endured a double-overtime classic against Archbishop Williams to slide in as the No. 8 seed. Xaverian will have to take a page from the playbook of Duxbury – which handed BC High a loss in its season finale at the Buddy Ferreira Classic – playing a tight-checking game through the neutral zone to stick with the Eagles’ slick transition game. Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign and the Hawks will have to rely on him and a big series from All-State hopeful Marini if they want to keep up with BC High.

X-factor: Payzant. The Eagles’ sophomore netminder has performed admirably in his first season taking the reigns from All-Stater Peter Cronin. But until a goaltender sees his first rubber in the playoffs, the book is still out.

Prediction: BC High in two.

Series: No. 2 Malden Catholic (16-4-0) vs. No. 7 Catholic Memorial (10-7-4)

Players to watch: MC – F Matt Filipe, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski, D John McLean, D Nick Rolli, G Alex Reissis; CM – F Aaron Clancy, F Anthony Panaggio, F Mike Stathopoulos, D Frank Cosolito, D Tim Weinstein, G Brandon Collett.

Previous meetings: CM, 3-2, Jan. 25; MC, 11-0, Feb. 14.

The skinny: Once again the Lancers went on a February run, going 7-1-0 in February, despite a loss to Cathedral in the teams’ season finale at the Panthers vacation week tournament. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Knights back their way into the tournament, having been blanked in the final month of the season, as CM didn’t win a game until Monday’s play-in game victory over Braintree in a one-goal game. However, as one-sided the matchup between Catholic Conference rivals might seem, CM does have the blueprint on how to take down MC, evidenced in the Knights’ 3-2 win in the teams’ first meeting at Walter Brown. In that game, CM was able to harass the Lancers breakout with an aggressive forecheck. In order to skate with MC, the Knights will have to repeat that performance or risk having their first-round series resemble more of the teams’ second meeting.

X-factor: Filipe. The Northeastern commit has provided a strong presence throughout the season on the Lancers’ second unit. While teams have a difficult enough time contending with MC’s vaunted top line, with Filipe and the second unit rolling, the Lancers’ attack is that much more difficult to match up with, defensively.

Prediction: MC in two.

Series: No. 3 Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) vs. No. 6 Duxbury (16-2-3)

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli, F Riley Prattson, D Dan Petrick, G John Liquori, G Keith Petruzzelli; Duxbury – F Nick Marrocco, F Matt Murphy, F Shayne O’Brien, F Trevor O’Brien, F Matt Saia, D Shawn Errasti, D Tyler Powers, G Tucker Kelly.

Previous meetings: N/A.

The skinny: In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round, the high-flying Panthers offensive juggernaut squares off against a sound, defensive-minded squad from Duxbury. Cathedral enters the tournament ranked among the statewide leaders in just about every statistical category and host two of the top scorers in the state in Crinella (28-26-54) and D.J. Petruzzelli (21-32-53). Meanwhile, the Dragons played their best hockey down the stretch, beating BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic final to punch their Super 8 ticket. John Blake’s group excels with countering the team’s speed through the neutral zone, so the Panthers could be in for some tough sledding.

X-factor: Crinella. A contender for the Mr. Hockey award this season, the Holy Cross commit is capable of taking games over – something to be said on a roster full of Division 1 commits. This could be his coming out party on a statewide scope.

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-4-4) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (16-3-3)

Players to watch: AP – F Bobo Carpenter, F Eric MacAdams, F Jake McKennelley, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; Central – F Zach Cote, F Richie Greenberg, F Lloyd Hayes, F Alex Lester, F Eric Robbins, F Corey Webber, D Conrad Jepson, D Cam Smith, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meetings: Central, 4-1, Jan. 1; AP, 3-2, Feb. 3.

The skinny: In a rarity with non-league opponents, the teams faced off twice during the regular season and, somewhat predictably, split the series. The teams are near carbon copies of each with a mix of top-flight offensive skill, depth and quality goaltending. AP, a Super 8 finalist last year, is a bit of an unknown commodity this season, as the Cougars lost multitudes of man games to injury through the year. In fact, AP didn’t even practice with its full fold of players until February, so we likely haven’t seen the Cougars’ attack at its fullest potential. Meanwhile, the Raiders can consistently roll three lines, with little drop off from the first to the third. So this one will be about as close as you can find.

X-factor: The goaltending. Both Harris and Soucy made names for themselves at last year’s Super 8. Regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the state, both offenses will be hard-pressed to find room to shoot.

Prediction: AP in three.

Recap: No. 17 Duxbury 5, No. 2 BC High 2

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
3:33
AM ET


FALMOUTH, Mass. – Earlier this season, Duxbury hockey head coach John Blake mused about when his team might get its due as the best public school in Massachusetts this year.

For those who might have doubted the Dragons previously, that certainly changed Thursday night.

Duxbury – hungry to earn a berth in the Super 8 tournament – dispatched No. 2 BC High, 5-2, with a concerted attention to team defense, playing the body and an MVP-worthy performance from senior forward Shayne O’Brien in the championship game at the Buddy Ferreira Classic.

“To beat a club like BC High, you almost have to have a perfect game,” Blake said. “I thought we were about as close to perfect as we could be.”

The Dragons (15-2-3) scored on three of their first six shots on goal and frustrated the Eagles’ slick-skating transition game through center ice throughout.

As important to Duxbury’s opportunistic nature in the attack zone, the Dragons were able to limit BC High’s scoring chances on other half of the ice sheet. Through two periods, the Eagles (14-2-4) could muster just four shots on Dragons netminder Tucker Kelly.

“We knew they’re defensive is active, they like to stay in control of the puck,” O’Brien said. “We knew we had to get on them right away on the forecheck and our first guy was always in there as fast as he could, banging in the corner, getting in there fast to pick up the puck.”

With Duxbury’s tight-checking style, the Dragons met and exceeded the Eagles’ physical play in the early going, setting a tone for a 45-minute battle.

As BC High was continually rebuffed attempting to gain Duxbury’s blue line, the Dragons’ momentum swelled as they broke through for a power-play goal at 12:02 of the first. Trevor O’Brien beat Brandon Payzant stick side with a wrist shot from the slot.

Duxbury struck again before the period was out, as Shayne O’Brien tallied his first of two goals on the game. Shayne O’Brien, who was named the tournament’s MVP, showed a nose for the goal with wraparound shot at 13:58, sending Duxbury to the room with a two-goal cushion.

Shayne O’Brien scored his fifth goal of the tournament at the 9-minute mark of the second, with an assist from defenseman Shawn Errasti.

However, the stage was set for the Eagles to climb back into the game at the start of the third. Two minor penalties were assessed to Duxbury at the 15-minute mark of the second – a roughing penalty and an unsportsmanlike penalty given to the Dragons’ bench.

BC High immediately capitalized on its minute and 30 seconds of 5-on-3 advantage. Chris LaLiberte directed in a cross-ice pass from Jake Lemanski 25 seconds into the third.

The power play factored again when Duxbury reestablished its 3-goal lead at 7:26. Defenseman Tyler Powers’ slap from the point clanged in off the post to beat Payzant on an extended power play off a 4-minute major checking-from-behind penalty.

The Eagles were still alive, however, striking for a short-handed tally off the ensuing faceoff. Eight seconds following Powers’ strike, Lemanski scored, the beneficiary of a Steve DeForge neutral-zone takeaway, making it 4-2.

BC High had its best chance to add another with less than three minutes remaining, as the Eagles unloaded five shots on Kelly during their sixth power play of the game. Much of the power play was played 6-on-4, as BC High head coach John Flaherty lifted Payzant for an extra attacker with a little more than two minutes remaining.

Kelly made nine of his 13 saves in the third period.

“The third period was probably his best period of the year,” Blake said of his junior goaltender. “He knows in big games that he has to make big saves for us. He’s a kid that’s gotten more and more confident all year long, he’s played in big games all year long. He’s battle-tested and, today, he rose to the occasion.”

While the Duxbury penalty kill (Eagles were 1-for-6 on the PP) held, Powers capped a strong game – offensively and defensively – with an empty-net goal, his second.

Tighten your chin strap: Duxbury entered the game looking to play the body early and often.

“We thought to have chance tonight, we’d have to be the more physical team,” Blake said.

But there was a flip side to that.

“We had to take some penalties by playing physical,” Blake added.

To the point that it put the Dragons at a greater disadvantage, as top-pairing blue-liner Shawn Errasti was lost for a portion of the third period, after taking his fourth minor penalty of the game.

Down one of its top penalty killers and a minutes leader among defensemen, Duxbury’s blue-line corps passed their test in gut-check time.

But, greater than that, the Dragons’ defensive brilliance was to a man, as the defenseman created a wall along their own blue line, with the forwards hustling back to slow down the transition game from BC High’s fleet-footed defensemen.

“They knew they have to control their gaps and play them as fast they could so [BC High] couldn’t get their speed going,” Shayne O’Brien said of Duxbury’s defensemen. “We knew they had to control their and our backcheckers bust [it] back.”

A bigger loss?: While BC High wasn’t fighting for its Super 8 life on Thursday, a greater concern to the Eagles’ greater chances developed in the first period of play.

Sophomore forward and Merrimack commit Patrick Kramer (12-21-33) left the game after a late-first period shift, following an awkward looking hip check in the corner and another spill in front of the Eagles bench. He did not return.

Striding to the finish line: No team in the state improved its Super 8 chances in the final week-plus of the regular season more than the Dragons.

Coming away with three wins on the Cape virtually assures that the tournament’s field will host at least one public, after the Dragons ran the table.

“We want to be playing our best hockey, so we just put it together in the end,” Shayne O’Brien said.

Meanwhile, the Eagles ended their regular season with a negative thud. Vying for the top overall seed in the Super 8 tournament, BC High had a chance to sew up No. 1, particularly after Malden Catholic lost to Springfield Cathedral on Thursday at the Panthers’ annual tournament in West Springfield.

While the Catholic Conference champions still have an inside track to claiming the top seed at Saturday’s selection meeting, the Eagles missed an opportunity to leave no shadow of a doubt.

One for the publics: Aside the playoff-like atmosphere and a huge boost to the Dragons’ Super 8 hopes, Blake reflected on his team’s accomplishment as the champions of Falmouth’s vacation week tournament, now named after the Clippers’ longtime and recently retired bench boss. It also was Duxbury's first championship win at the event, formerly known as the Cape Cod Classic.

As a revered figure in state hockey circles, Buddy Ferreira served as leading figure to many young coaches, including Blake.

“I think it’s fitting that the first year the tournament’s named after Buddy Ferreira that a public school wins this,” Blake said. “Buddy was a mentor of mine when I first started coaching in Duxbury, having him and [Hingham’s] Garrett Reagan, rest his soul, they kind of took me under their wings and taught me about coaching, a lot about kids, a lot about the game of hockey. We wanted to win this one for Buddy Ferreira, too.”

Recap: No. 17 Duxbury 2, No. 21 Hingham 1

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17
11:13
PM ET
FALMOUTH, Mass. – As Tyler Powers’ second-period slap shot trickled across the goal line, you could feel Hingham’s postseason chances slipping away.

The Harbormen needed to win their final three games of their regular season to qualify for the postseason, a tall task in itself when you take a glance at their remaining schedule. It started with Duxbury and includes an impending date with No. 7 Central Catholic.

But after their 2-1 loss at the hands of the Dragons in the Buddy Ferreira Classic semifinals, those hopes have vanished and, for the first time since 1998, the MIAA tournaments will be without the Harbormen.

As for Duxbury, the Dragons earn a date with BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic Championship game on Thursday at 7 p.m.

“We really wanted to get to that championship game down here,” Duxbury coach John Blake said. “We have 11 seniors that want to play in meaningful games in February and we were going to do everything on our end we had to do.”

At 11:26 of the second period, with the Dragons on the man-advantage, the puck found its way to Powers at the right point. He took a few steps in and unleashed a shot that deflected off the helmet of a Harborman and slowly trickled and painfully over the goal line for what would be the game winning goal.

“Something we were emphasizing all game was getting pucks to the net,” said Blake. We were just trying to get anything to the net we could and there it goes it bounces off a helmet and goes in. It certainly wasn’t pretty.”

The Harbormen started off the third period with 1:10 on the power play and as Duxbury was prepared to weather the storm that Hingham was about to throw at them.

But rather it was the Dragons that controlled the puck in the final stanza, outshooting the Harbormen, 10-7.

“I saw we had a lot of chances to get the puck out of the zone we didn’t really execute and had a little trouble with our wings along the board.” Hingham coach Tony Messina said. “We were just panicking a little bit.”

Hingham goalie Alex Bonn did everything he could to keep his squad in the postseason hunt, but was on the wrong end of a couple unlucky bounces.

Just 1:46 into the first period, Duxbury’s Kevin Corcoran got off a backhander in the slot through the legs of a defender and right through Bonn’s pads.

“I thought the first goal was painful,” said Messina. “It went through the goalies pad and I don’t even know if it reached the back of the net.”

Hingham responded well to the early deficit and outshot the Dragons 8-4 in the opening period. 8:09 into the period, Patrick Colpoys got the equalizer when his long wrister from the right boards beat Tucker Kelly and snuck inside the far post.

Rhythm-less offense: As expected when fighting for your playoff lives, emotions ran high in Monday afternoon’s game. Eleven minors were called in the game, seven alone in the second period to go along with two misconducts. It kept both offenses from establishing any consistency on offense.

“Absolutely disrupted the whole flow of the game I think on both sides not just for us,” said Blake. “I think Hingham had trouble too establishing any type of flow, we did too. It felt like a ping pong match.”

Ferriera finale: The Buddy Ferreira Classic features some of the best teams in the state year in and year out, which means the championship game features the best of the best. This year is no different as the Dragons square off with BC High, Thursday night.

It will be a tall task, but win or lose, the Dragons will get a dose of what their competition will be come tournament time.

“We saw them today, we have to figure out how to sow them down,” said Blake. “They look like a well-oiled machine. We are a heavy underdog going into Thursday night.“

Recap: No. 17 Duxbury 5, No. 9 AC 3

February, 16, 2014
Feb 16
3:30
AM ET
FALMOUTH, Mass. – In the words of Arlington Catholic head coach Dan Shine, the postseason started Saturday.

Every year, Falmouth hockey hosts its February vacation tournament – formerly known as the Cape Cod Classic and now known as the Buddy Ferreira Classic in honor of the Clippers’ recently retired head coach – and each year there are playoff implications.

That extended to the opening game of this year’s tournament, featuring a couple of Super 8 tournament hopefuls in No. 9 Arlington Catholic and No. 17 Duxbury.

Yet, in the early going, only one team answered the bell to start the prelude to the postseason, as the Dragons ran out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period. While AC woke up to mount a comeback at the midpoint, Duxbury endured with a 5-3 win.

With it, the Dragons – a Super 8 Watch List team – turned in a critical victory in enhancing their resume ahead of next Saturday’s selection meeting.

“One of the goals we set every year is to play meaningful games in February,” Dragons head coach John Blake said, “and there’s no better tournament than here to get you ready for the postseason than here. And I thought the guys came out today and played one of our best games of the year.”

Shayne O’Brien contributed to the Dragons’ fast start, as part of a three-point game (1 G, 2 A).

O’Brien had Duxbury (13-2-3) on the board at 3:27 with an unassisted goal, before adding an assist on Matt Murphy’s first of two goals on the day at 13:06 of the second.

Senior forward Scott Whear extended the Dragons’ lead to three at 2:10 of the second period. After an AC defensive zone turnover, Whear collected a loose puck at the top of the circles, walked in and finished through the 5-hole.

The Cougars (12-5-1) began their climb back at 4:45, when Ryan Tierney put back the rebound of his own shot. AC then closed the period with a modicum of momentum as Ryan Smith guided in a perfectly laid pass from the point by defenseman Brian Goggin at 13:27.

However, the Cougars’ swing in play didn’t carry over to the third.

“After being down 3-0, I was pleased we were able to get back in the game,” Shine said. “But when we got it to 3-2, we didn’t take it to the next level. But then we got bit by the bear. Giving up that goal 30 seconds into the third, that’s a killer – the air comes out of the tires.”

Just 32 seconds into the third, Dragons blue-liner Shawn Errasti pinched down low behind the AC net and placed a feed to the slot on the stick of Nick Marrocco, who buried the one-timer.

The Cougars kicked back once more a minute and 10 seconds later on an Aaron Cook goal.

But AC was never able to draw even against Dragons netminder Tucker Kelly (19 saves), as Duxbury added a last-minute, empty-net goal by Murphy.

“This tournament always answers a lot of questions, who’s on the bubble, who’s in, who’s out,” Blake said. “We just want to be playing our best hockey right now.”

Which is why Saturday was that much more frustrating for the Cougars.

“Everybody’s fighting for a spot somewhere,” Shine said. “Whether it’s a seed in the D1 tournament, or a bubble team trying to get into the 1A tournament, or the top six, wherever you are, every shift is critical.”

A game-changing stop: Duxbury advances to meet South Shore rival Hingham in a second-round game on Monday – and it should be another classic as the Harbormen need to win out to qualify for the Division 1 South tournament.

But Saturday’s win could have come down to one momentous stop from Duxbury’s senior netminder.

With AC threatening to even the score in the second period, Kelly shut the door on one of AC’s snipers in the final minute. Tierney raced in alone on Kelly, trying to stuff a back-hander short side. But Kelly got just enough of his pad on the shot to slow it short of the goal line.

It was one of his biggest saves of the year, which have increased as the season has progressed.

“He’s gotten better as the year’s gone along and he’s gotten more and more confident,” Blake said of Kelly.

Recap: No. 18 Duxbury 3, No. 11 Marshfield 2

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
12:55
AM ET


PEMBROKE, Mass. – With backyard rivals Duxbury and Marshfield duking it out in a Martin Luther King Day matinee, there was sure to be plenty of emotion. That was evidenced in the 23 penalties doled out to the teams in the course of 45 minutes.

But aside from the extracurriculars, the matchup between two of the top-ranked public high schools in the state was sure to be a heavy game. In that regard, the No. 18 Dragons bettered their 11th-ranked counterparts from Marshfield, while jumping out to a 3-0 third-period lead. Although the Rams made it a game with back-to-back power-play goals late in the third, Duxbury held on for a 3-2 win.

And they might just have gained something else in the process.

“Our guys wanted to go out there and earn some respect,” Dragons head coach John Blake said. “They were ranked ahead of us in all of the polls. They’re the top public school in a lot of polls. And we felt today we had a great opportunity to gain some respect and I think our guys really showed that they have some character.”

Duxbury (6-1-3) claimed a 1-0 lead 6:47 into the first on a Mike Boyle goal from Nick Marrocco.

Yet, it could have been worse for Marshfield (8-4-0), as the Rams were outshot 13-1 in the first frame.

Marshfield had difficulty breaking out of its own zone against the Dragons’ forecheck. The sledding wasn’t much easier in the neutral zone either, with Duxbury looking to take away open ice, in particular from the Rams’ potent top trio of JoJo Carbone, David Cataldo and Pat Shea.

The Rams improved their effort through the neutral zone, playing a more even period in the second, but the Dragons were still able to distance themselves. Shawn Errasti scored a power-play goal at 9:29 on Matt Saia’s dish across the faceoff dots.

“Our power play, we changed it up because it wasn’t really working,” Errasti said of the Dragons’ practices leading up to Monday’s action. “We were looking back door all day and it just worked.”

Duxbury netted its third goal at 8:15 of the third with Saia picking up his second helper of the game on Matt Murphy’s tally.

However, as the penalties continued to add up, the Dragons were burned on the Rams’ 5-on-3 power play chance with less than four minutes to play.

Marshfield called its timeout and the advice was heeded.

“It was a simple as we have to outwork them,” Rams head coach Dan Connolly said. “Every loose puck, we had to get three guys on it and then throw everything on net, I don’t care where it is, and have somebody out front. And it finally worked.”

Nevin Connors was finally able to solve Duxbury goaltender Tucker Kelly (16 saves) with 3:38 to play, putting back a puck through a scrum on the rebound of a shot from Jacob Maher. The Rams then went 2-for-2 on the sandwiched power plays, when Cataldo potted an unassisted goal just 17 seconds later.

Marshfield had a couple more point blank opportunities with goaltender Connor Lemieux (26 saves) pulled from his cage, but Kelly countered on each chance.

“You dig yourself a hole of three goals against a good team,” Connolly said, “it’s hard to come back.”

Mission accomplished: Entering Monday’s action, Blake paid extra attention to Marshfield’s top line, giving the primary responsibility of going toe-to-toe with the Rams’ top unit to his “shut-down” defensive pair of Tyler Powers and Errasti.

“We think that first line with Cataldo, Carbone and Shea is dynamite,” Blake said. “That’s the best first line we’ve played against all year long. We really wanted to try to limit their time and space, and then try to take the body as much as we could, and keep them on the perimeter.”

The plan worked, keeping the line scoreless until Cataldo’s power-play marker late in the third.

By limiting the trio’s speed coming through the neutral and then forcing the fleet-footed forwards to operate from the perimeter in the attack zone, the Dragons were largely able to mitigate the group’s impact.

“We knew they were coming out high, Coach [Blake] scouted them,” Errasti said. “They were coming from the week side and cutting across. We wanted [the third forward] high and our D would back up. We thought we could handle them defensively.”

On Errasti, who logged a boatload of minutes, Blake heaped praised on the blue-liner, citing him, and the work of his partner, Powers, as a key to Monday’s win.

“We have no problem putting him out there on the power play, PK or out against their top line because he keeps things simple out there and does the right thing,” Blake said of Errasti.

He added, “I thought they executed the game plan to a ‘T.’ We had them [Errasti and Powers] out against those guys for a specific reason – to shut them down – and I thought they did a great job.”

An added victory: Monday’s game was also played as part of a daylong fundraiser for the teams. The Fifth Annual “Green Cup” raised funds for the American Cancer Society.

The proceeds from t-shirts and knitted caps, along with raffle tickets will be donated.

Last year’s event raised more than $3,000.

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