Duxbury defense leads the way over Billerica
Buonagurio backbones aggressive D in 5-4 Victory
DUXBURY – Because of the talent the Duxbury defense knows it has, there is no question that playing an aggressive style is the way to go because if that leads to penalties, the Dragons are confident in their ability to kill them off.
Such was the case Wednesday night as the Dragons took nine penalties in all but surrendered just three extra-man goals while holding on late to edge Billerica, 5-4.
Henry Buonagurio also did his part in the cage, making seven difficult saves, including a pair while Duxbury had two players in the penalty box. Paul Hellar paced the offense with three goals, including a pair in the fourth quarter.
“I think everyone is confident with the way we can play six-on-six defense, as well as our man-down unit, because we practice so hard every day to get better,” said senior long pole Matt O’Keefe. “We know we’re going to run into some good teams and Billerica’s a heck of a team. We’ve been playing those guys for a couple years and every time we play them they come out hard. It’s just a lot of fun to play them.”
Duxbury (4-1) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first quarter with goals by Hellar and Chris Williams, the latter coming on a fantastic move in which Williams forced himself through a pair of Indians defenders and got off a rocket of a shot to hit the cage.
Billerica (4-2) came in the second to tie it with scores by Peter Walters and Dan Trainor. Trainor’s goal rivaled that for Williams for top honors on the highlight reel as he collected a nice feed from Ben Melaugh and let loose with a spinning jump shot.
Adam Fitzgerald put Duxbury back on top 1:54 before halftime, but Walters buried a hard shot while man-up to tie things again at 3-3. Meanwhile, the Dragons man-down unit went to work, killing off five straight penalties with O’Keefe producing several key turnovers.
At the other end, Billerica goalie D.J. Smith was making life miserable for the Dragons attack. The UMass-bound Smith stopped nine shots in all in an effort that prompted coach Craig Flynn to say, “He looks like he’s the hottest goalie in the state. We’re glad he’s on our team. He made a lot of big saves.”
In the fourth, Hellar ripped home a rifle shot at 6:46 to put the Dragons back in front, 4-3, and O’Keefe came up with one of his forced turnovers as Duxbury was killing off another penalty. The man-up unit did its part in limited opportunities, with Hellar notching his third tally with the extra man and just 3:11 remaining.
Walters completed his hat trick with a man-up goal of his own with 1:28 left to play, but Duxbury was able to hang onto the ball from there and kill off the remaining time.
“Billerica came to play tonight and hats off to them,” said Duxbury coach Chris Sweet. “They did a great job. They played with intensity and they played with a lot of heart. I thought our guys too but I thought our guys were looking a little bit ahead maybe.”