GROTON-Groton-Dunstable continues to prove that they are among the cream of the crop in their new Division-3 digs, and they haven't skipped a beat from last year's Div. 3-A state title run. The Crusaders downed Westborough inside the Frank O'Brien rink, 3-1. Groton-Dunstable improves to 7-0-1 overall with the Roy Conference win Wednesday; Crusaders' head coach Phil Rowley believes his team is handling the unblemished record with poise.
"I tell the guys to focus on the next game we have," said Rowley. "Don't think about the media or the wins and losses. Take it one game at a time. I try to downplay it as much as possible. If we do the little things right we'll be okay."
Groton-Dunstable scored all three of their goals in the second period, with two coming just 11 seconds apart. Junior forward, Justin Cole knocked home the eventual game-winner at 4:03 of the second period.The Crusaders came out in the first period and absolutely peppered Westborough goaltender, Anthony Cibelli (40 saves). Michael Keating unleashed a vicious slap shot from the blue line with 7:49, but Cibelli reached up and snared it.
Robert MacElhaney crashed in on net, and got a shot off in traffic, but Jack Neimoller dove and made the save at 9:20 of the first period. The Crusaders out shot Westborough in the period by wide margin of 15-2. In the second period, the Crusaders' offense was firing on all cylinders with crisp passing, and ample scoring opportunities. Groton-Dunstable knocked on the doorstep multiple times, but they wouldn't break through until senior defensemen Adam Kmetz beat Cibelli at 3:52.
Kmetz scooted the puck to the inside of the far post, off a blue line feed from junior defenseman, Connor Maguire. The Crusaders controlled the ensuing faceoff at neutral ice.
Josh Rabbitt stormed down across the blue line , and laced a streamlined pass to Cole, who buried a wrist shot from the top of the point, just under the glove of Cibelli to make the score 2-0 at 4:03 of the second period.
Westborough was able to cut the deficit to 2-1, following a breakaway goal by sophomore forward Stephen Falvey. Falvey glided in towards the right side of the net, and cranked a wrister over Jack Neimoller's (12 saves) head, top shelf at 10:47, off a nice feed from senior defenseman Mark McCauley.
It would not take Groton-Dunstable very long before they reclaimed a two goal lead. A minute following the goal by Falvey, Michael Keating knifed a wrist shot through the wickets of Cibelli from the face-off circle to the left of goal, with 3:13 remaining in the second. Cibelli came out to try and cut off Keating, but the puck somehow managed to matriculate its way across the goal line.
The Crusaders won the shots on goal battle by an astounding margin of 43-15. The Crusaders' identity all season long has been to put pucks on net, and score any way possible. It is no fluke two of the three Crusaders goals, came off the stick of a defensemen. Groton-Dunstable's defensemen have accounted for 39 percent of the Crusaders' 37 goals this season.
"When you throw the puck at the net good things are going to happen," said Rowley on Kmetz's off angle shot in the second period. "You never yell at somebody for chipping the puck in on net."