Sam Feeley

May 242015

The Groton-Dunstable Regional High School girls track and field team won the Mid-Wach B League Championship on Wednesday, May 20, coach Colleen Naboicheck reported. She wrote in an email that “The girls scored 129 points to defeat the runner up Nashoba with 123.50 points. The girls were undefeated and District B champions leading up to the League Meet and accomplished their season goal winning the League Meet as well.”

1st Place:

Emily Willson- 2Mile – 12:00.48 and 2nd Place 1 Mile 5:41.28
Sarah Morenz- Discus- 94-10
4X100 Meter Relay- Natalie Nguyen, Emily Gath, Mae Kovacs, Annie Gold- 52.68

2nd Place:

Taylor White- Javelin 109-1 and Shot Put 32-4.5
Emma Rasmussen-High Jump- 4-10
Mae Kovacs- Long Jump-16-0
Emily Gath-100M- 12.98
4×800 Meter Relay- Sammie Ferraro, Alyssa Towle, Emma Fournier, Ein
Svanborg- 10:36
4×400 Meter Relay- Sammie Ferraro, Brianna Fischer, Erin Scanlon, Olivia
Dunsmoor- 4:26.81

3rd Place:

Sylvia Thomas- Discus 86-8
Annie Gold- 100M- 13.04

4th Place:

Kira McKinley-100MHurdles- 17.18
Olivia Dunsmoor- 200M – 27.44
Bethany Fordham-1 Mile- 5:54

5th Place:

Katie Wogan- Javelin- 86-4.5
Lexie Ferraro- 100M-13.41
Auste Subacuite- 400M Hurdles- 1:13.64

6th Place:

Briana Bozkurt- Triple Jump- 31-5.25
Emily McAuliffe- 2 Mil3- 13:08
Alexander Sinnery- 400M-1:07.9
Erin Scanlon- 400M Hurdles- 1:14.41
Bethany Fordham- 800M- 2:38.84

Mar 102015

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girl’s basketball team took off hot in its first post-season game last week, but got knocked out of MIAA Division 2 play this weekend, falling to the Medfield Warriors.

Crusaders Win a Classic Against Notre Dame

WORCESTER — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders erased a 10-point third quarter deficit and defeated the Notre Dame Rebels, 59-57, in an MIAA Division 2 Central girls’ basketball semifinal game March 1 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

After being held to just seven points in the first three quarters, Crusaders senior guard Lindsay Werner came alive with eight in the final session, including a layup with 2:30 to go that gave the Crusaders a 56-55 lead they would not relinquish, and their first lead since 2-0 in the first quarter.

In a last-ditch effort, Rebels center Allie Smiley (24 points, eight rebounds) managed to get to the line with 2.6 seconds left, but she missed both free throws, part of an 0-for-5 dry spell in the fourth quarter. Werner owned the rebound and then got fouled, leading to a quick celebration by her and her teammates.

But it was not over yet. Werner still had to go to the line for a 1-and-1. She missed the front end, and the Rebels got the rebound, but they hesitated … Time expired before they could get any kind of look at the basket.

“It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a coach, without question,” Crusaders head coach Mark Hennelly said. “It’s just about the growth of the team. I can’t even put into words how different this team looks from three weeks ago when we went up to Oakmont and got our butts kicked. We played with no passion and no energy. It was a turning point for us. We came back, and they turned the corner. I was all over them, and they could have shut me out, but they responded in a big way.”

The Crusaders put themselves in position to make the comeback at the end of the third quarter, when Nikki Eggiman (10 points, two steals) stole an inbounds pass with 1.6 left and hit a layup as time expired to cut the deficit to five points.

“You can’t put a price on that,” Hennelly said. “Nikki gave every ounce of energy she had … her effort was something special.”
As the Crusaders marched toward victory, Hennelly, a man who shows the same energy and desire to win as his players, urged his girls to keep up the effort.

“He just said, ‘Keep fighting, keep fighting,’” Werner said. “Even if we’re up, keep fighting, because we know they’re a good team that could possibly come back, but we held our own.”

“There was no point in the game where they had a look on their face like ‘We’re done,’” Hennelly said. “There was always fight left in them. Ten points in a girls’ basketball game? You never know.”

Sophomore forward Hannah Van Pelt had another double-double for the Crusaders (15 points, 12 rebounds), despite fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Freshman Ellie Eisenklam had nine points, eight rebounds, two steals, and two assists in her first career start. Jenna Plausse added four points and eight rebounds.

Throughout the first half, the Crusaders were settling for contested threes and getting themselves into foul trouble. Werner picked up three fouls in the first half and was walking the tightrope for much of the second half after being called for her fourth foul midway through the third quarter.

“I know I was [settling for threes],” Werner said. “We were taking a lot of jump shots in general. When we were hitting threes, it was because we were going inside, then outside.”

“We never thought we were out of it,” Van Pelt said. “We never lost energy.”

Smiley wasn’t the only Rebels player to have a tremendous game. Molly Terry, whom Hennelly lauded as one of the best guards in Central Massachusetts, had 23 points, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals.

Medfield Routs G-D In Sectional Final

WORCESTER — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders saw their tournament run come to a disheartening end, as the Medfield Warriors cruised to a 64-33 victory in the MIAA Division 2 Central sectional final on Saturday, March 7. Medfield was a tough draw for the Crusaders — The number 4 Medfield Warriors stunned top seed and previously unbeaten Nashoba 60-34 in the other semifinal.

The Crusaders got off to a great start, leading 7-2 early on, before Medfield responded with a 9-2 run to end the first quarter. Trailing 11-9 at the end of the opening frame, the Crusaders still had a shot to pull another upset.

Then the second quarter started, and the Warriors stepped on the gas.

Led by Payton Ouimette (20 points, 18 rebounds), Maggie McCarthy (20 points, four rebounds), and Lauren Casieri (12 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) Warriors began the quarter on a 17-0 run, and went into halftime with a 32-17 lead. Having trailed Notre Dame by as many as 10 points in the second half of the sectional semifinal, the Crusaders may have felt they could make it a game again.

“I think [Ouimette] wore us down,” Crusaders head coach Mark Hennelly said. “We came out and we played her really hard … when she gets going, everybody else feeds off her. She’s the engine that makes that whole squad roll.”

All those hopes were erased in the third quarter, as the Crusaders got high-quality looks at the basket, but the shots simply would not fall. One-and-done was the theme of the Crusaders’ offense, as the Warriors out-rebounded the Crusaders 43-27.

“We ran into a buzz saw,” Hennelly said. “The reality of the situation is that to be in that game down to the wire, we would have had to play close to flawlessly, and we didn’t. We couldn’t get our shots to go in, we had difficulty penetrating their zone early, and we allowed too many rebounds.”

Lindsay Werner was the only Crusader to score in double digits, with 13 points, two assists, and two rebounds in her final game. Melyssa Langell, the other senior starter, had six points and two rebounds. As the outcome became apparent in the fourth quarter, Hennelly let the rest of his seniors, Alex Pray, Ariana Lacombe, and Nicole Georges, get some playing time, which the sizable Crusader student section appreciated, applauding throughout much of the final minutes of the game.

“I’m proud of the effort,” Hennelly lauded. “I have nothing negative to say. A few weeks ago, I don’t think many people would have said we would be standing here. I’ll take the great parts of the season with me, then the loss will settle in eventually, and then we’ll move forward. The girls have a lot to hold their heads high about and some great memories.”

The Crusaders finished the season at 16-7, and have plenty to look forward to next season, with three starters — Ellie Eisenklam, Hanna Van Pelt, and Jenna Plausse — returning to hopefully spark another deep tournament run.

Feb 282015

AUBURN – As far as Lindsay Werner is concerned, the theme of the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders’ tournament run this year is “revenge” – for missing out on the tournament the past two years, and for being eliminated in the first round in their last appearance in 2012.

The no. 3 seed Auburn Rockets were the first team to feel the no. 6 Crusaders’ wrath, as G-D pulled off a 63-46 upset at Auburn High School Wednesday night, February 25 in an MIAA Division 2 Central quarterfinal matchup.

Werner, the only Crusaders player who was on the team for their last tournament appearance, unleashed some pent-up frustration with 25 points, five rebounds, four assists, and four steals.. She unleashed some jaw-dropping plays along the way, with two no-look assists and a fadeaway jumper with two Auburn defenders draped all over her.

“We’re all really hungry to come back to the playoffs,” Werner said. “For the other seniors, this is their first time. I was only in it once, and we got knocked out in the first round. We’re ready to bring it.”

“Lindsay’s special,” Crusaders head coach Mark Hennelly said. “She’s the best offensive player I’ve ever had as far as an ability to create her own shot and just make things happen. It doesn’t come out of nowhere. Nobody works harder than her in the offseason.”

The Crusaders came out of the gates on fire, scoring the first eight points of the game and leading 12-2 midway through the first quarter. But the Rockets came storming back, going on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to one, forcing a timeout from Hennelly.

“I think we lost a little bit of energy,” Crusaders forward Hanna Van Pelt said. “We reflected, and we came back out and pushed it again.”

The timeout reeled the Crusaders in, as Brielle LeClerc (six points) hit a three-pointer from the top of the circle as time expired to get the lead back to four points. The Crusaders never looked back from there. They extended their advantage to 11 at halftime, led by as much as 20 in the fourth quarter, and went wire-to-wire without trailing or being tied.
Van Pelt scored 10 points in the second half en route to a double-double (12 points, 13 rebounds). Jenna Plausse had seven points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Wynn made her presence felt in the second quarter, coming off the bench and hauling in seven of her eight rebounds in that quarter alone, allowing G-D to keep their offense going and stretch their lead.

“As a freshman, I’ve never seen anyone play with more composure (than Jordan),” Hennelly lauded. “She’s one of the hardest-working kids, and one of the smartest – one of the highest basketball IQs I’ve ever been around.”
Wednesday’s performance is indicative of the renewed purpose the Crusaders have found after a letdown in the penultimate game of the regular season at Oakmont.

“We had a very disappointing loss two weeks ago against Oakmont,” Hennelly said. “It was disappointing not because Oakmont isn’t a good team, but because we came out with absolutely no heart, and it was one of the more disappointing performances in my coaching career. The team recommitted. The practices and intensity have gone up about a hundred times. They were phenomenal against North Middlesex last Thursday. If we play with this kind of energy, we’re always going to be in the game. I couldn’t be more proud of the turnaround the last two weeks.”

“We had a four year run of getting to the district finals, and an eight or nine year run of getting to the tournament, so it almost felt like a birth right,” Hennelly added. “So when you [miss the tournament] two years in a row, and you get back to it, you’re reminded of how truly special the atmosphere is and how much fun it is.”

The Crusaders will face no. 2 seed Notre Dame-Worcester Sunday at 5 p.m. at WPI. Hennelly knows that will be a huge test.
“(Notre Dame point guard) Molly Terry is one of the best players in the area,” Hennelly lauded. “(Notre Dame forward) Allie Smiley’s improvement in the post from last year to this year is dramatic. We’ve got our hands full.”

Feb 172015

WESTON – Passing, defense, rebounding – the Lawrence Academy girl’s varsity Spartans struggled with key playmaking skills and came up short in a 74-42 loss to the Rivers Red Wings Saturday at Benson Gymnasium.

It was the second time the Spartans had given up 70 points in a game, and both instances resulted in losses (the other was a 73-59 decision against Noble & Greenough). They committed 11 turnovers and were outrebounded 47-23.

The Red Wings never trailed nor found themselves tied with the Spartans They got off to a quick start, leading 9-2 in the first 3:10 before Spartans head coach Donna Mastrangelo called a timeout. That didn’t to stop the bleeding, though, and the lead ballooned to 16-5 before Mastrangelo called another timeout.

Trailing 37-16 at halftime, the Spartans tried to make a game of it early in the second half. They nearly doubled their first-half scoring output in the first five minutes of the second, cutting the lead to as little as 15, but a 7-0 run by Rivers extended the lead to 22, and it would continue to expand from there.

“We missed some easy buckets early, then we came back down to the other end of the court and just imploded,” Mastrangelo said. “The second half was a different game… we’ve got to show up right from the start.”

Red Wings Freshman sensation Tess Sussman achieved a double-double in the first half on her way to 16 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists. She completed her game by getting an uncontested rebound off her own missed free throw and laying it back in before taking a rest with five minutes to go. Kaitlyn Foley, who had struggled all year from beyond the three-point arc, scored a game-high 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting from long range. McDonald’s All-American nominee Kristen Daley had seven points, 13 rebounds, and three steals. Julia Thissell had 11 points and six rebounds.

“They’re a phenomenal team,” Mastrangelo said of the Red Wings. “They’ve got a lot of Division 1 athletes, one going to Penn and one going to Yale. They’re all great shooters too.”

Emily Pratt (17 points, three rebounds) and Erin Antosh (15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, two assists) led the Spartans effort. Gabrielle Reuter, who normally plays a big part in the Spartans’ offense, was called for three fouls in the first eight minutes of the first half, forcing her to sit for an extended period of time and thus limiting her to six points, five rebounds, and two steals.

The Spartans (16-2, 8-2 ISL) will travel to Brookline for a game against Southfield Wednesday at 3:15 p.m.

Feb 112015

Lopsided doesn’t even begin to describe the Lawrence Academy Spartans’ 67-15 victory over the Middlesex Zebras Friday night at the Stone Athletic Center. To sum it up in a few statistics:

  • Middlesex had more fouls (19) than points.
  • Gabrielle Reuter outscored Middlesex by herself (18 points, nine rebounds, four blocks, three steals two assists), and
  • Erin Antosh came close to doing that as well, with 13 points, four rebounds, and three steals.
  • Six Lawrence players outscored Middlesex’s leading scorer, Lydia Paddock (four points, seven rebounds, two steals), and a seventh, Kristen Parry, who played just eight minutes, had just as many points.
  • It was the second time the Spartans held an opponent to 15 points in a game, and the fourth time they held an opponent to less than 20.
  • The Spartans have beaten their opponents by an average margin of 21 points and have held their opponents to an average of 33.8 points per game.

It didn’t look like it was going to be that lopsided from the outset, as the Spartans fell behind 5-2 in the early stages, and head coach Donna Mastrangelo had to call two timeouts to get her girls back on track.

“I had to reel them in,” Mastrangelo said. “They’ve got to perform out there to the best of their ability at all times. We’ve had a great season so far, and we have to make sure they’re pumped up for every game.”

To say the timeouts worked would be an understatement, as the Spartans finished the first half on a 33-2 run, including 29 unanswered at one point, and last trailed at 5-4.

“We’ve been nervous because of all these snow days,” Mastrangelo said. “We were a little slow on Wednesday at Thayer … the kids did a much better job this time. The help defense was much better.”

It won’t be this easy for the Spartans down the stretch, because even though they now stand at 14-1 (6-1 ISL), they play six of their final nine games on the road. They have back-to-back games on Friday against Milton (whom Mastrangelo said they had not beaten in a long time) and on Saturday at Rivers. Earlier in the season, Rivers defeated Noble & amp; Greenough, the only team to beat the Spartans thus far.

“We were hanging in there,” Mastrangelo said about the Nobles game. “We’ve been annihilated by that team in the past, so for us to be in that game was big.”

Feb 092015

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girl’s basketball team clinched their first postseason berth since 2012 with a 57-50 victory over the Quabbin Panthers on Senior Night last Tuesday at G-DRHS.

The Crusaders came out of a tight, high-scoring first quarter which a 20-17 lead, and G-D continued to accelerate in the second quarter and the first part of the third quarter. They outscored the Panthers 30-20 to lead 50-37 entering the final frame. Three Crusaders scored in double digits: Lindsay Werner (17 points, five rebounds, four steals, four assists), Hanna Van Pelt (11 points, 10 rebounds), and Alex Pray (10 points, five rebounds).

“Alex was phenomenal tonight,” Hennelly lauded. “She had an outstanding game. I could not be happier for her. Alex is a do-whatever-you-ask-her-to type of kid, and she works hard all the time. It’s great that she had such a great night on Senior Night.”

However, G-D’s shooting cooled off in the late third and early fourth quarters, and Quabbin came roaring back to life. In the fourth quarter alone, Quabbin center Mary Beth Parslow scored nine of her 23 points, including going 5-of-6 at the free throw line, and snagged seven of her 14 rebounds, to fuel an 11-2 run that cut the G-D lead to 52-48 with four minutes to go. But the Crusaders settled down, got their defense together, and extended the lead back to seven by the time the final buzzer sounded.

“Our offense is definitely prone to inconsistency,” Hennelly said. “What I was more concerned with in that stretch was defensive lapses. We had three or four trips down the floor where people didn’t know who they had, and you just can’t do that. That’s what’s going to allow them to get close.”
The Crusaders stand at 12-5 after defeating St. Bernard’s and Westborough this week on the road. They have three more road games to close out the season this week: North Middlesex on Monday, Hudson on Thursday, and Oakmont on Friday. Hennelly said he expects his team to finish 15-5 and get a home game in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 Central tournament in the process.

“I was happy for the seniors,” G-D head coach Mark Hennelly said. “It’s nice to get that last win (to qualify for the tournament), but we have a goal of getting back here for one more game.”

Jan 262015

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders “ran out of gas,” according to head coach Phil Rowley, as a five-goal third period by the Wachusett Mountaineers let Wachusett skate away with a 7-4 victory at the Groton School rink Wednesday evening.

After trailing 3-2 for two periods, the Mountaineers took the lead for good with two goals in fifteen seconds about four minutes in. First, Joe Rinaldo fanned on an initial shot, but recovered and beat Crusader goalie Nevin Tardiff stick side. Then Brian Boulette, who registered a hat trick, took the puck from a faceoff win in his own zone and sprinted up ice to deliver a slap shot for the go-ahead goal.

The Mountaineers would extend their lead to 5-3 before the Crusaders made a last-ditch effort with the goalie pulled. Patrick Keating let loose a wrist shot from the right side circle after the entire offense set up on the right side of the dot for an offensive zone faceoff. But Boulette sealed his hat trick at 13:14 as Tardiff was forced to stay in his net, and was caught out of position off a rebound. Rinaldo got his second goal on an empty-netter with 24 seconds left, and that was that.

The Crusaders had a legitimate reason for running on empty — flu-like symptoms caused two defensemen to miss the game entirely and another to head back to the locker room partway through the game. By the end of the game, they were down to three healthy defensemen.

“I’m not making any excuses,” Rowley said, though he did point out that “the effort was great” given the circumstances. “Hopefully we’ll get some rest and come back healthier for Saturday’s game … they tried hard, and I was proud of them for that.”

The Crusaders started out well enough — after a slow start offensively by both teams in the first period, they started to get more shots on goal and eventually broke the ice at 7:57 when Harry Perrault put in a backhand from an impossible angle, straddling the goal line and with his back almost completely turned to the net. Just over two minutes later, they scored again when Ben Strauss rifled home a rebound that bounced far out into the slot.

The Mountaineers came back to tie it with back-to-back goals in the second period. First, Andrew Iacaboni stripped Kam Strong of the puck as he was setting up at the offensive blue line, then took it all the way uncontested. Then Boulette got his first goal of the game when Iacaboni fed him through the crease after collecting a rebound off a shot from Rinaldo.

The Mountaineers nearly took the lead in the final minute of the third period when a shot appeared to go into the net, but the officials signaled to play on. While the Wachusett fans and bench protested, the action went to the other end, and eventually Michael Cole stuffed in a loose puck with 2.2 seconds left.

The Crusaders fell to 3-6-1 and will travel to the Chelmsford Forum in North Billerica for a matchup with Lowell Catholic Saturday at 8 p.m.

Jan 222015

The Lawrence Academy Spartans boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took part in the 2015 Hoop Mountain Mass Arc Holiday Challenge at TD Garden Monday and came away with one win and a loss.

The Lawrence Academy Spartans boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took part in the 2015 Hoop Mountain Mass Arc Holiday Challenge at TD Garden Monday and came away with one win and a loss. LA Photo by Jon Chase.

BOSTON – The Lawrence Academy Spartans boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took part in the 2015 Hoop Mountain Mass Arc Holiday Challenge at TD Garden Monday and came away with one win and a loss. The Challenge is a prep school basketball day with 11 Massachusetts schools competing. Funds raised by the competition go to The Arc of Massachusetts, an 18-chapter organization that represents nearly 200,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The LA girls defeated the Thayer Tigers in a no-doubter, 50-19, to remain undefeated on the season at 11-0.

Erin Antosh (18 points, four rebounds, four steals) and Gabrielle Reuter (11 points, five rebounds, three blocks) paced the effort for the Spartans. Jalianette Marquez, the shortest player on the court for Lawrence, stood tall with six points and five rebounds.

While it wasn’t the cleanest effort for Lawrence, it was clear that Thayer, who lost their eighth in a row to fall to 1-8, was outmatched. They scored only six points in the first half, five of them by Abigael Osmanski. They committed four shot clock violations, and on three of those occasions, they didn’t even come close to taking a shot. They gave up eight steals to the Spartans, and airballed several desperation shots in the second half. To top it all off, they were outrebounded 28-18.

During warmups, it came to the attention of the officials that both teams had come to the Garden wearing their white uniforms, and neither team brought their road uniforms, despite the fact that Lawrence was supposed to be the visiting team. After a lengthy fashion discussion delay, the officials ruled that Lawrence had to wear blue shirts underneath their jerseys in order to differentiate themselves.

The LA boys fell to the Cheshire Fighting Cats 86-81, in a wild, back-and-forth, fast-paced contest. The lead exchanged hands multiple times in the first half and early in the second before Cheshire (8-7) pulled away thanks to stellar performances by Austin Nehls (27 points, nine rebounds, four steals, two assists), Josh Ajayi (22 points, nine rebounds, 10-for-14 on free throws), Tyler Hamilton (13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals), and Ricky Leonard (13 points off the bench). Lawrence’s Timothy Preston had a Herculean performance to keep the game close, scoring a game-high 29 points (including five three-pointers) to go along with three assists. Nick Lynch chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds; Sherron Dailey-Harris added nine points, six rebounds, and three steals; and Martin Mann had nine points, four rebounds, and two assists.
The Spartans fell to 3-10.

In the second half, the game clock started at 18 minutes instead of the regulation 16, and the issue was never fixed. However, given that Cheshire was leading with two minutes left and Lawrence never took the lead after that point, the time question became moot.

To listen to the on-demand audio broadcasts of these games:'_basketball,_1-19-2015.mp3) for the girls’ game and here
('_basketball,_1-19-2015.mp3) for the boys’ game.

Jan 162015

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girl’s basketball team defeated the Westborough Rangers handily, 59-46, Tuesday night, but despite the double-digit margin, there were some anxious moments.

The Crusaders’ best plays came in the second quarter, when they outscored the Rangers 21-4 and didn’t allow a point until there was 1:15 left. They made four threes and exhibited great ball movement leading to plenty of wide-open looks. It could have been even more lopsided, given that they forced 10 Westborough turnovers in that period alone, but they were inconsistent in converting those opportunities into points at the other end.

“Those things are going to come and go, but I liked the energy,” G-D head coach Mark Hennelly said. “The effort and the ball movement were good, and I’ll live with that.”

The Rangers made it interesting in the fourth quarter. Down by 20 entering the final frame, they went on a 10-0 run in the first four minutes. Eventually the Crusaders, after scoring their first points of the quarter with four minutes left, would come back with a 7-0 run to put the game out of reach, and Hennelly brought in his second-stringers.

“Mentally, we were in a place where we were all set,” Hennelly said. “We thought we had won, we thought the game was over, we shut down, and [Westborough] decided that they wanted to play the fourth quarter.”

Rebounding was an issue for the Crusaders in the second half, as Westborough came back strong and evened the rebounding totals at 33 per side by game’s end.

“I’m not thrilled with the overall effort,” Hennelly added. “I’m thrilled with certain aspects of it. We played a great second quarter, but I’m not pleased with our defensive rebounding in the second half. We’ve got to be better.”

Three Crusaders scored in double digits: Jenna Plausse (14 points, five rebounds), Lindsay Werner (13 points, six assists, four steals, four rebounds), and Melyssa Langell (11 points, three rebounds). Hanna Van Pelt also had a nice game with nine points and seven rebounds.

The Rangers, who have no seniors on their roster, were led by forwards Melissa Mitrovich (15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks) and Kaylie Doherty (six points, 10 rebounds).

“They’re bigger players, which we just have to deal with,” Hennelly said. “We’re always going to be the smaller team, so we’ve got to box out, and we’ve got to maintain intensity. We don’t have the size to just relax and hope that balls are going to fall in our hands.”

The Crusaders improved to 6-4, 3-1 in Mid-Wach B play.

Jan 122015

WESTBOROUGH — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders have slowly been getting their legs underneath them as the 2014-15 hockey season has progressed, and last Monday night at North Star Youth Forum, they finally broke through with a 4-2 victory over the Westborough Rangers.

Harry Perrault got the scoring started at 14:03 into the first period. The Rangers committed a turnover in their own zone, which led to an easy top-shelf wrist shot for Perrault past Westborough goalie Jared Ward. The Crusaders extended their lead with two goals in 47 seconds in the second period. After an initial save by Ward, Michael Cole collected the rebound and wrapped around the goal to find Nathan Rabbitt, who put it in the wide-open net. Then Westborough’s Evan Leva fanned on a pass at his own blue line, leading to a breakaway and easy goal for Ryan Dodge.

The Rangers finally got on the board at 6:50 of the third period. G-D’s Eric Niemoller fanned on a shot from the blue line, allowing Jacob Uhlman to chase down the puck and head for the goal. Despite two Crusaders draped all over him, he still wriggled free and scored.

The Crusaders eventually put it away with 1:43 to go in the game, as Robert Hoare batted in a rebound out of midair with six players representing both teams scrambling in front of the net.

“We played Algonquin exactly the same way,” G-D head coach Phil Rowley said. “We outshot them and outplayed them, we just didn’t finish. But we had some nice finishes today, and we had some nice goals. We moved the puck well, and we had a lot of good shots.”

Westborough’s Dylan Kehoe got the last goal of the game 28 seconds later by scoring from a tough angle on his own rebound, but it was too little too late.

Eight different Crusaders had a point, and two had multi-point games: Perrault (goal, assist) and Bradley Garside (two assists).

In the games leading up to this win, the Crusaders have finally found their identity: pepper the opposing goalie with shots. And they lived up to that mantra by outshooting the Rangers 45-17, including margins of 14-3 in the first period and 17-4 in the second.

“That’s what we need,” Rowley said. “We don’t have any pure scorers, so we need to throw a lot of shots on net … It’s a work in progress. We’re trying to get them to feel good about themselves and do things with muscle memory instead of overthinking.

The Crusaders (1-4) have killed penalties at a 94% rate this season, and only built on that mark by killing all three penalties called against them. In fact, they ended up with more short-handed shots (three) than Westborough had power play shots (two).

“The penalty kill has been really good for us this year,” Rowley lauded. “We got some good power play looks today which we haven’t gotten in the past.”