No. 3 Billerica opens up on No. 18 Lexington
By Scott Barboza
BILLERICA, Mass. — The scoreboard mimicked the style of Lexington’s possession-oriented offense during the first half of Tuesday’s game at No. 3 Billerica. Scoring chances were few and far between, but the Indians were still able to grab a 3-1 halftime lead.
During the second half, things opened up. And, with that, Billerica returned to its high octane offensive style while coasting to a 14-3 win over the 18th-ranked Minutemen.
Sophomore goaltender D.J. Smith (12 saves) and the Indians defense carried the first half, giving way to a splendid offensive display in the second, which was highlighted by a dazzling 7-goal performance from UMass-bound attack Grant Whiteway.
“They like to possess the ball and they were doing a good job of being patient within their offense,” Billerica head coach Craig Flynn said of Lexington’s play in the first half. “Our defense played solid team D and D.J. did a great job in net for us today.”
So what was the change in the second half?
“We told our defense to stay patient as long as they were throwing the ball around like that,” Flynn added. “We knew it was only a matter of time before we got the ball on offense and start to make things happen. In the first half, we had a few bad turnovers where we just threw the ball away and we weren’t giving ourselves a chance to score.”
Billerica (9-2) got five unanswered goals from Whiteway to start the third quarter. Along with Whiteway, fellow Indian attackmen Ben Melaugh (2 goals, 3 assists) and Cam Slatton (1 G, 2A) put on a clinic of ball movement with flawless execution from set up to strike.
Not to be overlooked were the efforts of Smith in the cage along with his defenders. Smith turned away several high quality Minutemen chances in the second quarter to keep the Indians in the lead.
“The defense did a really great job in the first half, only giving them outside shots and nothing really in close,” Smith said. “That helped a lot.”
Billerica came out of the break recharged, winning a lion’s share of faceoffs in the third while flying to ground balls.
All that was left was to sit back and enjoy the show.
“Practice is really where we do all the coaching,” Flynn said, “so when I comes to game day, sometimes it’s fun to sit back and watch with how well they move the ball with each other between our attacks. That can be a lot of fun.”