Harbormen Top Duxbury With Help From Unlikely Sources

Sophomore Thomas Whitmore made his first start of the season and held the Dragons to just one goal to capture his first career win.

January 30, 2024 – Story and photos by Joshua Ross

Back to back games are unusual for high school hockey, but they do happen.  After a tough 6-4 loss to Franklin in the first round of the Ed Burns Tournament on Sunday afternoon, the boys were back on the ice a little more than 24 hours later Monday night to take rival Duxbuy.  The quick turnaround gave sophomore goaltender James Whitmore a chance to make his first start of the season and career.

Whitmore had a solid first period and both teams were scoreless after the first period. ¬†Minutes into the second, the Dragon’s took advantage of a costly turnover in Hingham’s end striking first giving them the 1-0 lead. ¬†It stayed that way for most of the second period, largely due to a couple of big saves by Whitmore on Duxbury breakaways. ¬†With just under five minutes to play, sophomore Aiden Rotondo took the puck through the neutral zone, ripped a shot from just inside the left side circle, and tied the game at 1-1. ¬†It was Rotondo’s second goal of the season and second one in as many days. ¬†He opened the scoring vs. Franklin the day before. ¬†Minutes later, senior captain Paul Dzavik blew one by the goalie to give Hingham the 2-1 on his team leading 13th goal of the season.

Sophomore Aiden Rotondo fires a shot over the goalies shoulder to even up the game 1-1 late in the second period.

Sophomore Cam McKenna added an insurance goal in the third while Whitmore and the defense shutdown Duxbury for the rest of the game.  Hingham skated away with a much needed 3-1 to get their spirits up after a disappointing weekend.

“We spent the whole day trying to get their minds straight,” explained coach Tony Messina. “They were kind of questioning themselves a little and we wanted them to be positive going out there. ¬†It took us a while to get a goal. ¬†They’re really happy in there. ¬†Normally just beating Duxbury makes them happy, but more so they feel good about their effort and the win.”

Starting the year with two sophomore goaltenders left Messina with a little uncertainity at the beginning of the year, but so far has been pleased with both Whitmore and Michael Karo’s performances.

“It’s been great,” Messina said about the tandem in net. “I wasn’t sure what to expect. ¬†These guys have been really good. ¬†We haven’t faulted them for many goals all year long. James deserved the start. ¬†It was a good one for him and he obviously proved he could handle himself. ¬†I’m very happy for him.”

Senior Wilson Fox centers the Harbormen’s gritty fourth line that’s been impacting games all year.

Even though Whitmore had a few days to prepare and get ready mentally, he admits to being a little nervous making his debut in front of the home crowd.

“We had midweek meetings where coach told me and Karo what were doing this week,” Whitmore described. “I was a little nervous at first not knowing what to expect, but I started getting in a groove and feeling good. I’d like to thank the ‘D,’ they helped me out a lot.”

With the depth of this year’s team, and the return of senior captain Travis Rugg a few weeks ago, Hingham has the luxury of rolling out four lines most games. ¬†The fourth line, consisting of Rotondo, senior Wilson Fox and junior Matt McLellan, has been making an impact all season and Messina rewarded them by throwing them out to start the game.

Sophomore Cam McKenna scores his fifth goal of the year and puts the game away late in the third.

“That whole line has been great for us all year, very physical. ¬†They always turn the ice. ¬†Always in the offensive zone. ¬†Good energy for the team. It’s great to see Roto score the goals, but to have the line feel good about themselves because they’re doing such a great job. ¬†We’re still waiting for Foxy to get one.”

This is Rotondo’s second season on the team and is starting to find his stride midway through this season. ¬†Being one of the smaller players on the ice has made some opposing players underestimate him. ¬†In the past few weeks, he has noticeably become more aggressive initiated contact rather than being the target throughout the game. ¬†It’s paid off with his first two career goals the past two games.

Senior captains Travis Rugg and Paul Dzavik check in with goaltender Thomas Whitmore before the start of the second period.

“I’m feeling great,” Rotondo said after the game. “I feel like our team momentum is great and we’re just buzzing so far. It really building our confindence going into the Pope game this weekend. ¬†I might be 5’4″, but I can really knock some people around.”

They will have a few days off before another big match up vs a top team in the state Pope Francis at home on Saturday at noon.


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