Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons
Brattleboro's Axis Baisley (14) had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over Burr & Burton last Saturday night at Withington Rink. At left is her linemate, Olivia Romo.
Originally published in The Commons issue #387 (Wednesday, December 14, 2016). This story appeared on page D1.
Two games may be too small of a sample size to take the measure of the Brattleboro Colonels girls’ hockey team.
But after an impressive 4-2 win in the home opener against the Burr & Burton Bulldogs last Saturday night, Colonels coach Linda Burke said “I think we might have something here.”
That something is a tough, resilient team that appears solid in every phase of the game.
While the Colonels started the season Dec. 7 with a 3-0 loss at Woodstock, Burke said the team regrouped with a couple of good practices and were ready for Burr & Burton.
The Bulldogs have had the Colonels’ number in recent years, and another loss would not have been surprising. Instead, the Colonels controlled the game and never let Burr & Burton get a lead.
Brattleboro scored first with 8:03 left in the opening period with an unassisted goal from Edie Cay. Burke said that was Cay’s first varsity goal.
Burr & Burton tied the game with a soft shot by forward Chloe McDonald that floated past Colonels goalie Keagan Jameson and found the upper corner of the goal with 4:28 remaining in the first.
But Brattleboro came right back with a wobbler of a shot by Sarah LaPorte off a pass from Axis Baisley. Bulldogs goalie Molly Dingley never saw LaPorte’s shot, which landed in the cage with 34.6 seconds left for a 2-1 lead.
That proved to be a huge score for the Colonels, who kept up the attack in the second period.
LaPorte made it 3-1 with 12:36 left. She dashed in from center ice, drove to the net, and slipped the puck past Dingley.
Things took an ominous turn with 13.5 seconds left in the second, when Baisley got slammed into the boards hard by McDonald. Baisley was down on the ice for several minutes before she was able to stand up and be helped off by the trainer and a teammate.
McDonald was assessed a 5-minute major penalty for boarding, and was ejected from the game. Baisley was able to return to the ice for the third period.
Brattleboro couldn’t score on the lengthy power play that started the third period, but Burr & Burton defenseman Julia Martin made it a 3-2 game when she got a power play goal with 5:43 left.
But once again, the Colonels didn’t panic and Baisley got the goal back with a looping shot from the wing that caught Dingley out of position with 4:41 remaining.
The Colonels will soon find out if they build on this solid effort when they travel to Rutland on Dec. 14.
• Brattleboro opened the season last Saturday in Great Barrington, Mass., with a satisfying 66-46 win over Monument Mountain.
All 11 players in the lineup scored for the Colonels. The team went 22-for-28 at the free throw line and had 15 assists.
Both the passing and the free throw shooting were the keys to the win. Brattleboro led 29-21 at the end of the first half, but cranked up the intensity in the second half as the Colonels worked the ball inside and drew fouls from the Monument defenders.
Center Gabby Carpenter led the way with 14 points and 9 rebounds. She got plenty of help from Shenise Taliaferro (12 points and 7 rebounds), Devin Millerick (10 points and 4 assists), and Lauren McKenney (10 rebounds).
• Eli Lombardi scored 41 points and pulled down 17 rebounds as Brattleboro rallied from a 45-30 deficit to beat Pope Francis, 85-79, last Saturday in the Pioneer Valley Tip-Off Tournament at the Curry Hicks Cage at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
The Colonels outscored Pope Francis, the Western Massachusetts high school recently created by the merger of Holyoke Catholic and Cathedral, 23-7 in the third quarter, and then hung on the rest of the way to force overtime. Brattleboro outscored Pope Francis, 12-6, in the extra period to get the win.
Lombardi went 11-for-13 from the free throw line in a career-day for the Colonel center. Ian Fulton-Black added 16 points and Taylor Patno chipped in 13.
• Brett Swanson scored 15 points, and Logan Park added 12 as Twin Valley rolled to a 52-34 win over Rivendell in the season opener in Orford, N.H., last Saturday.
Ethan Fox also pulled down 9 rebounds as the Wildcats raced out to a 28-12 halftime lead.
• Brattleboro and Bellows Falls are staying put, but several other high school football teams will be changing divisions after the Vermont Interscholastic Football League (VIFL) and the Vermont Principals’ Association finalized a realignment plan on Dec. 6 in Montpelier.
Here’s which three divisions that Vermont’s 32 teams will be assigned to for the 2017 and 2018 seasons:
Division I: Brattleboro, Middlebury, Rutland, Essex, Champlain Valley, BFA-St. Albans, Hartford, St. Johnsbury, Colchester, Burlington, South Burlington, Mount Mansfield, and Rice Memorial.
Division II: Bellows Falls, Burr and Burton, Mount Anthony, Spaulding, U-32, Lyndon, North Country, Mount Abraham, Otter Valley, Milton, and Fair Haven.
Division III: Missisquoi, Woodstock, Mill River, Springfield, Windsor, Poultney-Mount St. Joseph, BFA-Fairfax, and Oxbow.
Burlington and Mount Mansfield wanted to stay in Division II, but both schools’ request were denied and they were moved to Division I. Burlington has been in the Division II playoffs for the last two seasons, while Mount Mansfield just missed a playoff spot this year.
Mount Anthony, which went winless in 2016, drops to Division II. Rice was slated to return to Division II, but their petition to stay in Division I was approved. Rice, which won Division II titles in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014, moved up to Division I in 2015 and went 3-5, but made it to the quarterfinals in 2016.
Spaulding, U-32, and Otter Valley are moving up from Division III to Division II. Otter Valley has been in the Division III title game three years in a row, while U-32 has made the playoffs four years running and was a finalist in 2015.
It was also decided that realignment will remain on a two-year schedule.
So, what does all this mean? There will be 13 teams in Division I, with an eight-team playoff. With 11 teams now in Division II, they will also have an eight-team playoff. With only eight teams in Division III, they will have just four teams in the postseason.
And how were these assignments arrived at? The VIFL and VPA used three criteria — total male enrollment, number of players out for football, and the overall success of a school’s program over a four-year period.
Bellows Falls is in the right spot for its size, and has made the Division II finals three of the last five seasons, winning it all in 2016.
The same could be said for Brattleboro, which has gone 4-5 in the past two seasons and made the Division I playoffs in 2015.
With Mount Anthony’s departure from Division I, the Colonels are now the only Division I football school south of Route 4 in Vermont. Rutland and Hartford are the closest schools, with every other opponent a three-hour (or more) bus ride away.
• Living Memorial Park Snow Sports Inc., (LMPSS) the volunteer group that runs the ski hill at the park in Brattleboro, is gearing up for another winter season of fun.
Last season was a tough one for winter sports lovers, but thanks to LMPSS’s three snow guns and the hard work of their snowmaking crew, the hill at Living Memorial Park was open for 35 days of skiing and riding between Jan. 8 and March 6 of this year, and instructors from Mount Snow were also able to hold three of their four scheduled free Thursday night ski lessons.
LMPSS was also able to pay off the cost of the snow groomer they acquired in 2015, and donate the old one to a newly-formed nonprofit called Ascutney Outdoors, a community group based in West Windsor that maintains a network of hiking, biking, and ski trails on the site of the now-defunct Ascutney Mountain Resort.
In its 18 years of operation, LMPSS has relied on the generosity of its donors and the muscle and enthusiasm of its volunteers to keep the hill open and provide safe, affordable skiing and snowboarding for the community.
Once again, day lift tickets will be $5 for adults, free for children under 5. A 12-ticket punch card is $50, an individual season pass is $75, and a family season pass is $200. The T-bar lift will be in operation, weather permitting, on Thursday and Fridays from 3 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., with additional hours during holidays and Winter Carnival week.
LMPSS is reaching out to the community for both donors and volunteers. They need a minimum of 14 adults and seven students to cover the weekly schedule, plus additional help for the holidays and Winter Carnival. If you can help, call Milt Gilmore at 802-254-4074 or Jake Dixon at 802-254-9541.
Lift tickets pay for half the cost of running the hill. The rest comes from donors. If you would like to help keep a winter tradition alive in Brattleboro, send your tax-deductible donation to Living Memorial Snow Sports Inc., P.O. Box 1945, Brattleboro, VT 05302, or go to www.vtsnowsports.org to make an online donation.
• With three weeks left in the fall season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League, Team 5 (50-25) remains in first place, but Team 3 (46-29) took sole possession of second place, while Team 4 (44-31) held on to third. Team 1 (43-32) dropped to fourth, followed by Team 6 (42-33), Team 9 (37-38) is fifth, followed by Team 7 (35-40), Team 10 (30-45), Team 8 (27-48), and Team 2 (21-54).
Team 3 had the team high handicap game (870), while Team 4 (2,479) had the high handicap series. Lois Pease had the women’s high handicap game (254) and series (689), while Gordon Evans (255) had the men’s high handicap game and David McElroy (648) had the high handicap series.
Seven men had 500-plus series — Charles Marchant (555), Fred Bump (505), Fred Ashworth (568), Wayne Randall (524), Marty Adams (502), Warren Corriveau Sr. (530), and Jerry Dunham (544).
Ashworth (208, 201) had two 200-plus games. He was joined by Marchant (225), Corriveau (206), and Tom Johnson (206).
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