Was there ever any doubt that it would come down to these two teams? It seemed predestined that when St. Patrick’s Day 2013 rolled around that the Falmouth and Duxbury High School girls’ ice hockey teams would gather at the TD Garden, again, to battle for the pot of gold that is the Division II state championship.
Before the season began, Duxbury was ranked No. 1 in the division. Falmouth was ranked No. 2. They swapped positions along the way, and then swapped them back. Falmouth beat Duxbury early, handing the Dragons their only loss. Duxbury scored a victory a few weeks later in the rematch, which is the only time that Falmouth has lost. On Sunday morning, at 11 AM, the rubber match will determine the state championship.
“They’re both great teams, which is how it should be in a championship game at the Garden,” FHS Head Coach Erin Hunt said. “We split, and our only losses have been to each other, so I’d say that it’s personal for both teams because you work hard on your record, and especially them being undefeated last year ... it’s hard to put together lots of wins and so I think its going to come down to who wants it more and who puts in that extra effort.”
They’re both great teams, which is how it should be in a championship game at the Garden.
Duxbury is the two-time defending state champs, and they’re looking to make it three in a row. The team has been playing superb defensive hockey over the last month as they have not allowed a goal against since February 16, during a 6-3 win over Walpole.
Since that time the Dragons have played six consecutive shutout games, with goalie Rachel Myette lowering her goals against average to a paltry 0.81, with a .957 save percentage. Myette (10 shutouts) has been aided by a defensive core that has helped her to face just 18 shots per game, many of which come from the perimeter.
Falmouth doesn’t allow a whole lot of goals either. Their keeper is just as good, if not better, than Duxbury’s. Choosing between the two is like choosing between a Mercedes and Lexus. Maddie Scavotto has posted an equally impressive .950 save percentage for the season, and she’s done that facing almost six more shots per game (23.7). Scavotto has eight shutouts, including one over Duxbury, and has a 1.23 goals against average for the season.
Duxbury certainly has star power on offense. Senior Hannah Murphy scored 20 goals and had 27 assists this year to lead the Dragons and is one of the most feared players in the state. She will enter the game looking to score her 100th career goal, as she has 99 in her career. FHS would like nothing more than to leave her stuck in double digits.
Jane Dudley (16 goals, 14 assists) and Marissa Fichter (12 goals, 16 assists) are also formidable players that can make things happen.
Falmouth’s offense is a little more balanced, with goals coming from all over. Alexa Scribner led the team in scoring, popping 21 goals with 15 assists this season, but she’s hardly the only one that can net goals for the maroon and white. Rachel Moore had 17 goals and 15 assists and both Kelly Ferreira and Maddi Haberl finished with 12 goals for Falmouth. Duxbury plays the game at a high speed, but so do the Clippers, who like to get up and down the ice.
Hunt said that she’s not worried about the game becoming an up-and-down contest, but that fits her team just fine. “We’re just as fast. I think it’s going to be a fast game. We need to take care of the defensive zone, take care of pucks,” she said. “We’re just as fast and just as strong as they are.”
There’s only one team in the state that can beat this team, it’s us. You’ve proven it, now you have to go out there and do it. We need everyone to go out there with their best game, and I think that they can do it.
Hunt said that the Dragons won’t enjoy the usual “intimidation factor” that they have over most teams when they play. Where other squads may wince at the sight of the Dragons on the other side, the Clippers look forward to the challenge of meeting their league rivals once again.
“I think for the girls, its huge knowing that they’ve beaten them, just for their confidence in preparing for the game. Knowing that it is possible is a big thing. As coaches, I think we’ve always known that it is possible, and I’m sure that there are other teams that could beat them, but Duxbury has this intimidation factor because they’ve been so good, for so long. You see them on the schedule and (you’re worried), but that’s how we want to be,” Hunt said.
And having played at the Garden, against Duxbury, once already is also a big factor. Fourteen of Falmouth’s players were on the roster last year, including their top six forwards and four of their five defensemen.
That experience, Hunt said, will be a boon. “I think it was exciting, it was the first time that we’d ever been there as a team. I think if we could take that first period back, it’d be different. I still think we played a great game, it was a phenomenal game. In the first period, we came out flat, because I think it was new, and what are you going to do, they were young. But now we know what it’s like, we’ve been there, it’s time to get it done.
"There’s only one team in the state that can beat this team, it’s us. You’ve proven it, now you have to go out there and do it. We need everyone to go out there with their best game, and I think that they can do it.”