KINGSTON, Mass. -- Since last spring, the Falmouth girls’ hockey team spent a lot of time thinking about Duxbury, and none of those thoughts were very pleasant.
Just 10 months ago the Dragons upended the Clippers, 3-1, at the TD Garden to earn the Division 2 state championship, finishing off an undefeated season with the trophy and photographs on the Bruins’ home ice. Since that day, the Clippers have thought about avenging that loss countless times.
On Saturday night, Falmouth got that opportunity, and they made the most of it.
Behind a 28-save effort by sophomore goalie Maddie Scavotto, the Clippers blanked the top-ranked team in the state by a 1-0 score at The Bog. The sixth-ranked Clippers improved to 6-0-0 on the year with the win while the No. 1 Dragons fall to 5-1-0.
“We could tell before the game, when we went into the huddle, that they just had their game faces on,” Falmouth head coach Erin Hunt said. “They wanted this one. To be at their rink, and to get a win, is a big accomplishment…we all had it in the back of our minds what happened last year, and that they were undefeated.”
The loss ended a run of excellence by Duxbury that was quite remarkable. The Dragons had not lost a regular season game since Feb. 24, 2011, a game that they dropped to Rhode Island’s St. Mary Academy – Bay View. Since that game, Duxbury had gone 33 straight contests without tasting defeat, with just a single tie in the mix last year.
Duxbury head coach Friend Weiler said that his team will move forward as they look to begin another run of dominance.
“I’d rather have it end during the regular season, than the postseason,” he said. “All the credit to Falmouth, they were pumped up for this game and I’m sure that they had this game circled on their calendar since the end of last season.
“They worked hard, they outworked us, and they came out flying and we were a little flat and we didn’t play at our pique. But we learned a lot of lessons tonight. You don’t want to get too high after a win, or too low after a loss.”
Falmouth sophomore Maggie MacDonald’s unassisted goal late in the first period was the only score by either team. The speedy winger gained control of the puck in the neutral zone and flew off the right wing wall towards Dragons goaltender Rachel Myette (19 saves).
MacDonald said that the move she put on the goalie was something a little different. She showed great patience, and got Myette to commit to the far side, and then raked a backhander inside the near side post, over the keeper’s glove.
“The coaches told me before the game to shoot low, and that [lately] when I shoot the forehand, I miss the net,” MacDonald said. “I didn’t even know it was going to go in. I just kind of went to my backhand, and I never do that. We wanted it so bad, and after it went in, it was kind of like a relief for us and now we can get the game started … we got our intensity up.”
Falmouth’s intensity was certainly as high as it’s been all season, but the opponent’s skill level was certainly higher than anything they’ve faced as well. The Dragons, led by sniper Hannah Murphy, had chances throughout the game.
But the state’s top team had to deal with Scavotto.
Scavotto was brilliant in the net or the Clippers. The sophomore goalie stopped all 28 Duxbury shots she faced, including several big ones late by the Dragons that were great chances to knot the score. Duxbury had a dozen shots on the cage in the second period, and another 10 in the third, but they could not solve Scavotto as she turned away everything.
Marissa Fichter had the last quality bid for the Dragons, with just 38 seconds left to play as she let one rip from the left wing circle, up high, that Scavotto got a shoulder on. The Dragons crashed the net, but Scavotto found the puck in front of her and covered it up to end the danger.
CLIPPING DOWN THE PP
Falmouth’s penalty killing was the big difference-maker in the game.
The PK unit, led by Amy Wilson and Alexx Good, had to stave off five Dragons advantages in the contest, and did not falter. Duxbury had just four shots on goal with an extra skater, and none on their first three tries. The last one came with 6:41 left in the game, and Fichter nearly tied it as she exploded out of the corner and put one on that Scavotto turned away.
“We worked a lot [killing penalties] in practice this week, so we knew how they run their power play, and how to defend it,” Scavotto said. “It was just a matter of their players, like Hannah Murphy, they can do anything with the puck pretty much. So basically, stay close to those players, cross your fingers almost, but we knew what we were doing and I had confidence in my players in front of me.”
Weiler added: “[Scavotto] made the difference tonight. We hit her with a lot of shots, but she came up big when she needed to. We had our opportunities, and we couldn’t convert. They did a great job of taking away the middle of the ice.”
Scavotto said that she had a better frame of mind than the last time her team faced Duxbury at the Garden.
“The last time we played them, I was so nervous that it affected my play. I knew it wasn’t the time to be nervous, it was just the time to play.”