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GROTON — Groton-Dunstable had its work cut out, when it hosted perennial Central Mass. powerhouse Shrewsbury for a Midland Wachusett League crossover game. The Crusaders dropped the contest, 11-4, falling to 6-5 overall on the season.

The Crusaders drew first blood 1:19 into the game, but the jubilation was short-lived.

“Winning that first face-off is crucial, especially against a team like Shrewsbury,” Groton-Dunstable head coach Rick Arena said after the loss. “We really wanted to move that ball and possess it on offense, which I really thought we did a nice job of in the first quarter. And, then, we never saw the ball in our end.”

Zach Cotoni, Ryan Dodge, Ryan Heinser and Mitchell Townsend all tallied goals in the loss.

Cotoni’s goal got the ball rolling in the Crusaders’ favor, when he whipped the ball home off a feed from Jack O’Neill.

A little over two minutes later, the potent Shrewsbury offense equalized on a Brayden Carroll marker. Carroll made a quick whip from 15 yards out to tie the game at 1-1. The Crusader defense lost its edge late in the quarter.Matt Ward netted the second Colonial goal of the frame.

Colin Michael ripped home a goal with 26 seconds remaining in the first off a Groton-Dunstable turnover in the alley.

Dodge, corralled a Nick Irby pass from behind the cage and went to work with seconds remaining in the half. Dodge, shucked a pair of Shrewsbury defenders, leapt and slung his shot under the crosse of Shrewsbury goalie JT Rothera (11 saves).

“After we did finally see the ball, we were quick to lose it,” Arena said of the turnovers. “The Shrewsbury goalie played one heck of a game. I don’t know how many saves he had, but he kept us out of the game. We just couldn’t get it past him.”

Groton-Dunstable fell behind 8-2 at the half.

Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout:@EdNiser

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