Heading into Tuesday’s playoff showdown with Masconomet, the members of the Duxbury girls’ hockey team knew they would have to pepper Chieftains goalie Molly Elmore with shots in order to have a chance.
The Dragons hoped to jump out to an early lead, but they understood it was very possible the game could come down to one pivotal bounce.
They got that break when sophomore forward Grace Landolfi provided the go-ahead goal with 11:21 left in the third period, helping the 17th-seeded Dragons outlast the 16th-seeded Chieftains, 2-0, in the preliminary round of the Division 1 state tournament at Haverhill Valley Forum.
The Sacred Heart-bound Elmore — who will graduate with the most wins in net in program history — kept Masconomet in it, but the Dragons eventually capitalized on a favorable ricochet.
“That’s how you’re going to beat that goalie,” Duxbury coach Dan Najarian said. “We weren’t going to beat her clean. We had a ton of opportunities to beat her clean, and you could tell she was so technically sound and it was going to be tough to get one by her. We knew we were going to need a dirty one.”
Freshman defenseman McKenna Colella and junior defenseman Sarah Leonard provided the assists on Landolfi’s goal. Junior forward Ani Flaherty added an empty-netter with 48 seconds remaining, and sophomore goalie Ali McArdle posted a shutout in her first career playoff start. The Dragons earned a date with either top-seeded Haverhill/Pentucket/North Andover or 32nd-seeded Hingham in the first round. Those teams play Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Haverhill.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game based on both of our records,” Masconomet coach Ryan Sugar said. “We just couldn’t put anything together today.”
Division 1 State
Braintree 4, Westford/Littleton 1 — Senior Ally Decoste paced the Wamps (18-2-1) with two goals and an assist.
Division 2 State
Norwood 2, Wakefield 1 — Marissa Cataldo scored the winner in the second overtime to lift the 14th-seeded Mustangs (12-7-2) at Rodman Arena.
Winchester 5, Bishop Fenwick/Essex Tech 2 — Junior center Niki Micciche had two goals and an assist, and senior right wing Whitney Krayer had two goals for the 22nd-seeded Sachems (7-12-2). Winchester moves on to play Ursuline in the first round.
Division 2 North
Gloucester 5, Wakefield 1 — E.J. Field had two goals and two assists, and Jeremy Abreu also scored twice to lead the No. 7 seed Fishermen (13-5-3) past the No. 10 Warriors (11-7-3). Gloucester takes on second-seeded Lincoln-Sudbury in the quarterfinals.
Lincoln-Sudbury 5, Danvers 3 — Tim Duffy scored twice, and Brendan Quinn notched the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period as the No. 2 Warriors (16-3-1) rallied past the No. 15 Falcons.
Masconomet 2, Stoneham 0 — Paul Nichols had a goal and assist, and Richie Guarino added a goal to push the top-seeded Chieftains (17-3-1) past the No. 16 Spartans (7-12-2).
Tewksbury 4, North Reading 0 — Campbell Pierce had two goals, notching his 100th career point on the first, and added an assist to lead the No. 3 Redmen (15-3-3) past the No. 14 Hornets (9-9-3).
Wilmington 3, Marblehead 1 — Junior goaltender Sam Cedrone tallied 31 saves and chipped in a rare pair of assists as the 13th-seeded Wildcats (10-8-3) upset the No. 4 Headers.
Division 2 South
Medfield 3, Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk 0 — Mike Tyer scored a pair of goals and Kevin Lawson had the other to lead the No. 9 Warriors (12-5-4) past the No. 8 Falcons (14-6-1).
Medway 7, Apponequet/Bishop Connolly 0 — Declan McCarthy scored twice and Evan Monaghan made 14 saves as the sixth-seeded Mustangs (13-3-5) rolled past the No. 11 Lakers (10-6-4).
Westwood 3, Norwood 2 — Nick Horsfall scored 50 seconds into the 3-on-3 second overtime as the 14th-seeded Wolverines (10-8-2) stunned the No. 3 Mustangs. Danny Sullivan scored the tying goal for Westwood with 1:46 left in regulation.
Whitman-Hanson 8, Wareham/Carver 2 — Matt Solari’s two goals led a balanced scoring effort as the fourth-seeded Panthers (16-4-1) rolled past the No. 13 seed Vikings (11-9-1).