As the Duxbury girls’ hockey team pursued its first state championship in nine years, the players relied on three driving sources of inspiration.
The Dragons played for late Duxbury resident Lane Ladd, who died at age 6 in December after a brief and sudden illness. They played for senior captain Lily Sparrow, a three-sport star who tore her anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus during soccer season and remained with the team as a de facto assistant coach. They played for their elementary school selves, who watched in awe as the program ripped off four straight state titles from 2011-2014.
Now, after outlasting Canton, 5-2, in the Division 2 final Sunday morning at TD Garden, the Dragons can say they made all three proud.
“We couldn’t have gotten here without Laney,” senior captain Beth Yucius said. “She was with us every single game. She was always in our prayers.”
Girls hockey final: Duxbury 5, Canton 2— Trevor Hass (@TrevorHass) March 19, 2023
The Dragons are Division 2 state champions. Incredible team effort.
First state title for the program since 2014. Duxbury caps the dream season in style. What a performance @GlobeSchools @DUXGIRLSHOCK @Dannynudge @DuxHSAthletics pic.twitter.com/Tv1E2bxEze
Sophomore standout Maddie Greenwood scored twice for the No. 2 Dragons (24-1-2), and McKenna Colella, freshman Addyson Harrington, and Parker Metzler also delivered. Tori Carr and Audrey Koen converted for the No. 4 Bulldogs (19-3-4), who kept it much tighter than the score indicates.
Greenwood and Colella helped the Dragons take a 2-0 lead through one, then Carr sliced the deficit in half with 8:40 left in the second period. Canton had several chances to tie it on an ensuing power play, but Duxbury goalie Anna McGinty calmly fended off every attempt.
Maddie Greenwood gives Duxbury a 1-0 lead over Canton on a power-play goal with 7:57 left in the first.— Trevor Hass (@TrevorHass) March 19, 2023
Great patience by McKenna Colella and a heck of a shot from Greenwood. She’s had a stellar season, so it’s fitting she scored here @GlobeSchools @DUXGIRLSHOCK @Dannynudge pic.twitter.com/7KrEipekPA
The Dragons extended the margin to 3-1 through two, as Greenwood swiftly redirected a Colella shot into the net with 1:06 left in the period. Koen made it 3-2 on the power play with 5:19 remaining, then Harrington and Metzler scored in the final three minutes to seal it.
“It feels like a pressure has been lifted, honestly,” said Colella, a senior captain. “All four years of hard work has really paid off.”
The Dragons outscored their opponents, 22-8, in a dominant run to glory.
The triumph was, of course, sweet in itself, but the opponent made it even more gratifying. Canton bounced top-seeded Duxbury in the quarterfinals last year and has handed the Dragons two of their four losses in the past two seasons.
“I’ve been joking all season long that Canton has been our kryptonite,” Duxbury coach Dan Najarian said. “We couldn’t climb that hill. To me, it was almost apropos to have them be our opponent here at the Garden and have these girls get over the hurdle.”
For the Bulldogs, who lost in the state final last year, it was another tough loss to end a terrific season. They shined under first-year coach Nikki Petrich before running into a buzz saw Sunday morning.
“Although it’s not what we want, and it stings a little bit, it’s an experience that looking back on, it’s awesome,” Canton senior goalie Carolyn Durand said. “How many people can say they’ve gotten to play at the Garden? My team has done it twice.”
Duxbury 5, Canton 2
at TD Garden, Boston
Canton (19-3-4) 0 1 1 — 2
Duxbury (24-1-2) 2 1 2 — 5
1, D, Maddie Greenwood (McKenna Colella) 7:57 (pp). 2, D, McKenna Colella 1:43. 3, C, Tori Carr (Ellie Bohane, Audrey Koen) 8:40. 4, D, Maddie Greenwood (McKenna Colella) 1:06. 5, C, Audrey Koen (Maya Battista) 5:19. 6, D, Addyson Harrington (Megan Carney, Zoey Madigan) 2:30. 7, D, Parker Metzler (Maddie Greenwood) 1:28.
Saves: C, Carolyn Durand, 8; D, Anna McGinty, 10.
Lenny Rowe contributed to this story.
Trevor Hass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.