The Duxbury girls’ hockey team turned what could have easily been an agonizing and frustrating year of what-ifs into a scintillating season the players and coaches will cherish forever.
The Dragons masterfully navigated both the COVID-19 pandemic and their Patriot League schedule to win the regular-season title and the Patriot Cup championship. Their 3-0 victory over Pembroke at Gallo Ice Arena in the final Friday night cemented one of the best runs in school history.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Duxbury coach Dan Najarian said. “We made it all the way through. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Senior Alannah Akins scored on a shot from just inside the blue line less than two minutes into the game to give the Dragons (14-1-1) a 1-0 edge through one period.
Senior Mae Pittenger provided a goal of her own with 8:20 left in the second, and sophomore sensation Ayla Abban added another with 2:28 left in the second to help seal the win over the Titans (13-2).
Freshman goalie Anna McGinty was unblemished throughout the Patriot Cup, as the Dragons outscored their opponents 9-0 in three smooth victories. She finishes the year with 10 shutouts in 16 games and has already established herself as one of the elite goalies in the state.
“I don’t think I’ve allowed it to sink in yet, but it will,” McGinty said of the championship.
The moment was a perfect full-circle ending for captains Pittenger, Akins, Sarah Leonard, and Ani Flaherty, and they celebrated with both their teammates and the Patriot Cup on and off the ice.
Though they didn’t get a shot at a state title this season, they firmly established themselves as the best in the Patriot League and went out with a win. In a year like this, that’s all they can ask.
“This season really tested our character as a team,” Pittenger said. “It feels great to end it off on a good note like this.”
Pembroke lost its first and last games of the season to Duxbury. In between, the youthful Titans rattled off 13 straight wins and established a strong foundation for a promising future.
Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake 5, Marshfield 4 — Senior Ellie Grady scored twice for Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake (3-5-2) in the Patriot League contest at Hobomock Ice Arena. Fellow seniors Caleigh Tompkins, Emily McDonald and Molly Duff each scored in the win.
Hingham 3, Marshfield 0 — Playing this season as a guest in the Patriot League, the Harbormen made themselves right at home. Hingham capped off its stay with a win over Marshfield in the Patriot Cup final at Gallo Arena in Bourne, finishing its abbreviated season at 14-1.
For a program that usually plays an independent schedule and has soared as high as a Super 8 title under coach Tony Messina, settling for just a league championship didn’t seem to lessen the glow of the accomplishment.
“The only thing we were missing were the extra people in the crowd,” said Messina, who’s been a part of five state titles overall as a coach in Hingham. “Playing for a championship, it doesn’t matter what level ... you don’t get many opportunities to play for a championship, regardless of where it is.”
Senior Theo Jacobs turned aside all 25 shots he faced from the Rams (9-4-2), coming up particularly large as the Harbormen killed off a 5-on-3 late in the second period.
Ahead 1-0 after a laser from junior Bobby Falvey from the point at 11:09 of the first, Hingham went down two men for a total of 1:14. Thanks to some timely saves from Jacobs, the Harbormen survived the kill and maintained their edge heading into the third period.
“I thought that changed momentum,” senior captain Ronan Mulkerrin said. “There were a lot of blocked shots, the boys were buzzing. After we killed it off the energy on the bench came back.”
Hingham received an insurance goal from sophomore Chase McKenna on the power play at 8:38 of the third period before senior captain Lars Osterberg iced the victory with an empty net goal at 14:39.
“At the beginning of the year we were definitely disappointed we were going to miss some of that stuff,” Osterberg said in reference to the Super 8. “As the year went on, we realized it’s about doing what’s in front of us and controlling what we can control.
“It was a really special year ... hats off, great season for the boys, I was really proud of us.”
Catholic Memorial 3, St. John’s Prep 1 — The Knights (7-4-1) broke open a scoreless tie with three second-half goals and advanced to the Catholic Conference championship game by icing the Eagles (3-3-4) at Essex Sports Center.
Dylan LaMonica put CM ahead to stay 4:21 into the second half, and Brendan McNeill made it 2-0 with 8:02 to play.
“It was a really defensive game by both teams, and we just found that opening,” said CM coach Larry Rooney.
Glen Considine’s empty-net goal with 39.9 seconds left capped the scoring for the Knights, who were outshot 27-17 for the game but rode 26 saves from junior goalie Dom Walecka. Prep’s Jake DiNapoli spoiled Walecka’s shutout bid with 15 seconds to play.
CM will play top-seeded Xaverian, a 3-1 winner over Malden Catholic, for the conference championship Saturday at the Canton Ice House (3:05 p.m.).
With a 4-0-1 record in their last five games, the Knights feel good about their title hopes as long as they play their brand of hockey.
“Focus on our D-zone, the defensive side of the puck, and playing good, supportive hockey,” Rooney said. “And then in the offensive zone, we’ve got to continue to get shots on net and try to get some dirty goals.”
Xaverian 3, Malden Catholic 1 — Riding the wave of winning the program’s first regular-season league title since 1968, the Hawks did not waste any time getting started in the Catholic Conference semifinal.
Joe DiMartino made a poke check and kicked the puck to junior Braden O’Hara, who drew Malden Catholic goalie Brady Roux out. O’Hara then slid a return pass to DiMartino, and the sophomore from Mansfield connected just 24 seconds in at the Canton Ice House.
MC (3-7-2) answered three minutes later on a shot from the point by sophomore defenseman Owen Keefe. But Xaverian (6-3-2) was back on top for good two minutes later, when O’Hara came out of the corner and flicked a backhand over Roux’s shoulder, with Max Lockwood assisting. DiMartino pushed the margin to 3-1 with six minutes left in the first half on a shot from the mid-slot from Lockwood.
“We were able to roll four lines and play six defensemen tonight, and to do that with speed and tempo is a key for us,” said Xaverian coach David Spinale.
“Our senior class is really close and wanted to play until the last day of the season,” added Spinale, whose son Shane is a senior co-captain and defenseman. “Now we’re there and we’ll just have to execute.”
Newburyport 3, Triton 2 — Senior Ryan Archer netted the winner with 2:01 remaining in regulation for the Clippers (10-1-1), who overcame a one-goal first-period deficit in their Cape Ann League championship game victory at Henry Graf Skating Rink.
“Owen Spence made a great pass on a set play to find Ryan and he read it well and went in and scored,” said Newburyport coach Paul Yameen.
Sophomore Zach McHugh set the stage for Archer’s late-game heroics with two second-period goals.
“When we were down we didn’t want to change anything, I thought we were playing well and getting our chances,” said Yameen, in his 18th season as Clippers coach.
The championship marked the fourth time this season that the Clippers faced off against Triton (9-2-1). Newburyport won twice with one tie.
“These teams know each other well, so it was just about going out and playing hockey,” Yameen said. “This was our state tournament tonight. We had seniors who contributed for four years and it’s good they got to go out with a win against their rival.”
Abington 10, East Bridgewater 2 — Dave McArthur and Mikey Pineau each had a hat trick and assist to spark the Green Wave (5-2-3) in the South Shore League game at Bridgewater Ice Arena.
Danvers 4, Marblehead 1 — With coach Steve Baldassare behind the bench for the first time this season, senior Tyler Robinson netted a hat trick and classmate Adam Bridgeo (28 saves) was stellar in goal as the Falcons (4-7) earned the Northeastern Conference victory at Connery Rink.
Reading 4, Watertown 1 — Senior captain Landyn Greatorex netted a goal and classmate Collin Fogarty added his first career goal as the visiting Rockets (5-2-2) skated to the Middlesex League win in their season finale at Ryan Arena.
Middlesex League — Saturday’s championship game between Belmont (7-3-2) and Winchester (7-2-2), scheduled for a 12:30 faceoff at O’Brien Rink on Woburn, was canceled Friday night because of a COVID issue with one of the teams.
Sandwich 1, Dennis-Yarmouth 0 — Sophomore Olivia O’Brien’s third-period goal was the difference for the Blue Knights (8-2-2) in their Cape & Islands League matchup at Tony Kent Arena.
Bridgewater-Raynham/West Bridgewater 140.1, Notre Dame (Hingham) 136.7 — Katie McCormack won the all-around (36.0) to finish the season undefeated, but NDA (5-1) was dealt its first loss of the season. McCormack won the vault (9.35) and tied teammate Emily Lembo for first on the bars (8.5).
Colin Bannen, Jim Clark, Ethan Fuller, Craig Larson, and Jake Levin contributed to this report. To report scores, call 617-929-2860/3235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.