Against an explosive team like Acton-Boxboro, Duxbury coach Friend Weiler knew defense would be the key to victory.
“We knew we had to keep them outside and force them at the blue line to stagnate their speed,” said Weiler after the Green Dragons earned a 3-0 victory over Acton-Boxboro in the Division 1 semifinals Sunday at Stoneham Arena.
Duxbury’s Rachel Myette stopped 19 shots against a Colonials squad littered with offensive talent. Three players for Acton-Boxboro (21-3-0) — Megan Barrett, Kaitlin Hoang, and Leah Cardarelli — recorded their 100th career point this season.
In the postseason, the Dragons (16-1-6) have collected three shutouts and outscored opponents, 9-0.
“I purposely made a really difficult schedule because I wanted to make sure we played the iron of D1 and it’s helped us learn a lot. It’s shown the girls we’re going to have to play for 45 minutes and we can’t take shifts off,” said Weiler.
After a tussle at the front of the net, junior forward Jane Dudley powered one home for a 1-0 lead 9:53 into the first period. Senior forward Zoe Griffin and sophomore forward Julia Nolan were credited with assists.
Two minutes later, Duxbury increased the lead to 2-0. Dudley sent a shot towards the net and sophomore defenseman Payton Donato chipped in the rebound. Junior forward Marissa Fichter was also credited with an assist.
Junior forward Meredith Wright added an empty-netter with 49.6 seconds left in the game to cap the scoring.
Duxbury will make its fourth straight appearance at TD Garden, squaring off against Arlington Catholic on Sunday. The Green Dragons are playing for their first Division 1 championship after winning the last three Division 2 titles.
“When they came to me at the beginning of the season asking to move to Division 1, I said ‘let’s do it.’ They’ve proven themselves,” said Weiler.
Arlington Catholic 2, Austin Prep 1 — Trailing in the third period in the Division 1 semifinals at Stoneham Arena, Arlington Catholic finally cracked the code.
Arlington Catholic senior Duggan Delano collected the puck on the right side, weaved through multiple Austin Prep defenders, and flicked the equalizer over the right shoulder of Caty Flagg with just over six minutes remaining.
The game went into overtime where Arlington Catholic forward Adrieanna Rossini played the hero.
The junior collected a pass on the left side and rifled a shot top shelf for the winning goal 1:30 into the extra period, sending Arlington Catholic (19-2-2) to the win.
Arlington Catholic will face Duxbury in the Division 1 final.
“It’s something that we always have been able to accomplish,” Arlington Catholic coach Maggie Taverna said of her team’s comeback effort. “When we’re losing or we’re tied, we pull out a win somehow.”
Arlington Catholic had trouble finding the back of the net despite outshooting Austin Prep, 37-13.
Flagg was impeccable for Austin Prep, stopping multiple opportunities during four power plays and the waning minutes of regulation.
“She is unbelievable that kid,” Taverna said of Flagg, who finished with 35 saves. “How much can a wall take before it breaks?”
Junior center Maddy Ricci scored just over three minutes into the third period for Austin Prep (15-6-3) .Globe correspondent Joseph Saade contributed to this report.