Duxbury, the three-time Division 2 girls’ hockey champion, will need some new tricks to beat the usual suspects — St. Mary’s, Arlington Catholic, Woburn, and Reading — and capture the Division 1 crown.
Duxbury (13-1-6) was riding a 35-game unbeaten streak until Feb. 16, when Falmouth ended its run. With that, the Clippers (13-2-4) are the favorite to win the Division 2 crown, assuming they can beat Wellesley (17-1-2), a team they tied at the end of the regular season, 2-2.
Duxbury’s loss was followed by ties to Reading and Arlington Catholic. dropping the squad to the fifth spot in the Division 1 seedings.
Defense is not a concern for the Green Dragons, who have one of the state’s best netminders in Rachel Myette, who posted an 0.82 goals-against average and eight shutouts this season.
Green Dragons coach Friend Weiler will need tournament returnees and team leading scorers Marissa Fichter, Jane Dudley, and Jacqui Nolan to anchor a more aggressive offensive attack if they plan on making their fourth consecutive trip to TD Garden.
Fichter has scored critical goals this season, including equalizers against Reading and Beverly/Danvers.
In the last four years, Duxbury has outscored opponents better than 4 to 1, while posting 38 shutouts. The Dragons’ resiliency should land them a semifinal spot in the tournament against either ninth-seeded Woburn (14-5-2) or No. 1 Acton-Boxboro (19-2).
Myette would be evenly matched against Woburn’s Courtney Davis (1.15 GAA), who notched her ninth regular-season shutout, a state record. The Tanners might meet Acton-Boxboro in the quarterfinals, the same team that shut them out, 4-0, to conclude the regular season.
Davis will need Erica and Emily Lissner and Ashley Moran, who combined for 101 of the team’s 148 points, to spark the offense. The Colonials’ only losses came to Hingham (9-7-6) and Reading (14-3-3) before a 12-game winning streak, which features a 4-1 win over St. Mary’s (10-6-6).
The opposite side of the bracket will feature a three-team race among the Spartans, Beverly/Danvers (17-2-2), and Reading.
The Spartans’ biggest challenge will be consistency and creating scoring opportunities. Beverly/Danvers features an explosive first line, headed by senior forward Nicole Woods (29 goals, 68 points).
Reading, the Middlesex League Liberty champion, is ripe with talent, starting with sophomore forward Ali O’Leary (20 goals, 39 points). The Rockets have undergone the most dramatic shift, improving from a three-win team two years ago.
Last but not least in the Division 1 mix is 2012 state champion Arlington Catholic (16-2-2), which has Globe All-Scholastic Adrieana Rossini powering the offense with 26 goals and 39 points.
If the Division 2 race comes down to scoring, then the favorite could be top seed Methuen/Tewksbury, which has the state’s leading goal scorer in Amanda Conway, the junior forward who scored her 60th goal of the season this week.