Boys hockey comeback: they don’t puck

by Aliana C

Early December in the varsity team’s first two scrimmages the team definitely did not win. Duxbury High School senior Nick S (#11, defense,) recalled the first scrimmage as “very rough, with only six returning varsity players.” With a total of eight seniors that graduated and five underclassmen switching schools, the team was left short staffed. 

It became apparent that there were a lot of nerves to get out of the way. Being a part of the team for four years Nick S describes the team as another family to him. The team received a lot of doubt in the beginning of the season, “everyone has been calling it a down year in Duxbury” said Nick S. This motivated the team of twenty eight to only show their commitment and determination.

Junior Michael H (#5, forward) said, “the team is very energetic and we owe a lot of that to our pre-game rituals.”

It is easy to tell that the team has lively and competitive energy they carry around with them. They support each other and celebrate everyone’s win as a team. 

This year was the new head coach’s first year at Duxbury. And he blended right in, “Flaherty is very experienced and such a good coach that he fits in with everyone and gets along with all of us well” said Nick S.

It has become apparent to any Duxbury hockey fan that the knowledge head coach Mike Flaherty has for hockey can only be gained over years of experience, failures, and triumph. Flaherty also believed that confidence played a major part at the beginning of the season. 

“I think our improvement from the start of the season to now has been that we have a lot of guys playing with confidence. About 75% of our team had not played varsity until this year and I think it showed early on this season” Flaherty said. 

As the season has continued each player has grown to become more confident and comfortable on the ice. 

On Saturday March 5th, the boys had their first playoff game against Auburn. By the end of the game, they scored 6 goals with Auburn having zero. This is widely attributed to junior Sam M (#29), the varsity goalie. Nick S claims one of the biggest reasons Duxbury has been doing so well is “Sam being Sam.”

In their game against Plymouth North, they won 9-0 with Sam M having 21 saves, making him a nominee for Patriot Ledger athlete of the week. They are off to a strong start in the playoffs and have built themselves into a resilient team. 

Only a few days later, Duxbury had their second game of the playoffs versus Dartmouth. Michael H said “if they play dirty, it is going to be a tough game.” 

The final score was 5-1, and it was an aggressive game with a lot of passion from both teams. 

Their third game of the playoffs was against Masco with the score being 3-2 until the last forty-five seconds of the third period where Masco scored, tying the game. The game went into overtime and Aiden Harrington made the game winning goal for Duxbury, making Duxbury a part of the final four. 

On Monday, March 14th, Duxbury played against Tewksbury to fight for the spot to play at TD Garden. A repeat of the prior game happened, but with Duxbury scoring within the last forty-five seconds to tie up the game. The two teams went into double overtime and with a minute left, Tewksbury scored. 

With that came the end of a long season for Duxbury, and the end of their high school hockey careers for the seven seniors. The Dragons love a comeback and that is exactly what the varsity team had done throughout their season.

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