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Sports Editor

GROTON — The Groton-Dunstable hockey team learned an important lesson on Wednesday night against Westborough – that the price of being lethargic is costly.

Westborough took it to the Crusaders in a big way, exploding to a 5-0 first period lead, en route to a 9-1 thrashing.

The tone was set in the decisive first period when the Crusaders allowed the Rangers to operate. That translated into a 23-8 edge in shots on goal, including five that found the back of the net in the first 15 minutes.

The Rangers drew first blood at 3:04 when Scott Brady fired a low slap shot inside the right post.

The Crusaders nearly tied it up a minute later when Mike Flewelling broke in alone, but Westborough netminder Brenton Croteau made the save.

The Rangers doubled the lead at 5:06 when Justin Strohsnitter snapped a low wrist shot inside the left post, Nicholas Cibelli assisting.

After Phil Mendes scored to make it 3-0 at 7:14, the Rangers blew the game wide open with a pair of goals within 47 seconds that extended the lead to 5-0.

At 11:43, Brady netted his second of the game, persisting after having his initial shot stopped before slipping a backhander inside the right post.

At 12:30, Nicholas Ostrander scored, assisted by Jared Bein.

The Crusaders played better in the second period as team netted one goal.

At 11:51, Mendes slipped past a Groton-Dunstable defender and sent a perfect pass to the left post, where Austin Scaplen tapped it into the net.

The Crusaders got on the board at 13:17 when Shane Penney poked a loose puck into the net from short range, Kirk Bingham earning an assist.

Westborough finished off the game with three unanswered goals in the final period.

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