Last Saturday was the Brattleboro Colonels girls’ hockey program’s annual “Pink at the Rink” game, where the team dons pink jerseys and all game proceeds go toward Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s Comprehensive Breast Care Program.
Despite have some stiff competition for fans’ attention — the AFC Divisional Playoff game between New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs was taking place at the same time as the hockey game — there was a strong turnout at the rink.
The team raised $746, nearly $200 more than last year, which will go toward gas cards to help breast cancer patients in need to cover the costs of traveling to their chemotherapy sessions.
The Colonels’ opponent, the Burr & Burton Bulldogs, also aided the cause. They took up a collection and presented Colonels head coach Linda Burke with a donation of $168 before the game.
It was a tremendously classy gesture by the Bulldogs, but once the puck dropped, the two teams were all business and eventually played to a 2-2 tie.
After a scoreless first period, Axis Balsley-Petraska put the Colonels on the board with an unassisted goal with 12:50 left in the second period. Bulldogs forward Aggie Bissette then tied the game with 1:25 left in the second.
Balsley-Petraska broke the tie when she got her second goal of the game, again unassisted, with 10:19 left in the third period.
Brattleboro killed off two power plays in the first period, but when the Bulldogs got a third power play chance late in the third, Bissette capitalized on it with her second goal with 4:01 left in regulation.
The overtime period was filled with action. Brattleboro pressed hard to get the game-winner, especially when they got their only power play of the game in the final minute, but could not come up with the game-winner.
Nonetheless, Burke was very happy with the effort.
“They beat us 8-4 the last time we played them (on Dec. 2), so this was a much better effort all around,” Burke said after the game. “We put a lot of shots on net and [goalie] Keegan [Jameson] was great in goal.”
Brattleboro outshot Burr & Burton, 28-22, and Jameson had 20 saves. And even with the extra hoopla of the Pink game, Burke said her team stayed focused.
“We’ve been working all season to keep the distractions down,” she said. “Tonight, they were ready to skate. For the fans, it was a fun game to watch.”
The Colonels are now 3-8-2 on the season.
• It’s been a tough season for the Brattleboro girls, with a succession of losses against northern powerhouses such as Burlington, Rice, South Burlington, and St. Johnsbury.
So when the Colonels played host to the undefeated Champlain Valley Redhawks last Saturday, coach Paul Freed knew what to expect. He said before the game that the goal was to keep his players from being too discouraged and not let the final result undo some of the positive strides that the team has made of late.
That’s because CVU was taller, faster, more skilled, had a deeper bench, and was entering the game possessing a 78-game winning streak. The result was a 79-35 win for the Redhawks.
To the Colonels’ credit, they did stay with CVU for the first six minutes of the game as both teams traded baskets. But the Redhawks ultimately took a 22-15 lead after one quarter and went on a 10-3 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter to put the game out of reach. It was 39-18 CVU at the half, and 57-29 at the end of the third quarter.
“The first quarter was the most fun first quarter I’ve seen all season,” said Freed after the game. “We moved the ball well and got open shots at the basket.”
But Freed said things fell apart in the second quarter due to a combination of Jaida Henry and Gabrielle Carpenter getting into foul trouble, and the superior depth of CVU.
“They come at you with numbers, and are relentless,” he said. “We started getting tired and lost our patience.”
CVU finished with four players in double-figures — Sadie Otley and Laura Jaunich each scored 14 points, while Annabella Pugliese and Madison Randall each scored 10. Devin Millerick led the Colonels with seven points. Morgan Derosia and Henry each added six.
Earlier in the week, on Jan. 12, the Colonels pulled out a dramatic 51-47 win over Monument Mountain at the BUHS gym. The Colonels broke a 47-all tie when Hailey Derosia scored on a layup and Morgan Derosia hit two free throws in the final 30 seconds.
The visitors led 35-29 going into the fourth quarter, but the Colonels came on strong with 22 points in the final eight minutes to win. Carpenter had 16 points and 16 rebounds for Brattleboro, while Millerick had 15 points and five steals and Kelsea McAuliffe had 11 points and two steals.
The effort in that game, and not the loss to CVU, was what Freed said he hoped his 2-9 team would take away from the week.
• Caroline Tietz scored 23 points as Leland & Gray edged Bellows Falls, 40-37, on Jan. 12 in Townshend.
This was a game decided at the free throw line, as the Rebels went 9-for-13 while the Terriers were 3-for-6 from the line.
The Terriers got nine points from Molly Kelly, while Emma Lawrence and Hannah Kelly finished with eight points and 10 rebounds each. BF is now 3-6 on the season, while Leland & Gray improved to 4-6.
• Poultney was bigger, but Bellows Falls was quicker, and the result was a 71-42 win for the Terriers at Holland Gymnasium on Jan. 13.
Despite being shorthanded, BF used good ball movement to build up a 17-7 lead after one period, and pulled away from there. Shane Clark had 24 points to lead the Terriers, while Cam Joy added 15 points and Anthony Mueller scored 12.
Windsor had a similar size advantage over BF but, unlike Poultney, they put it to use in a 56-19 beatdown of the Terriers at Holland Gymnasium on Jan. 15. The Yellowjackets swept the season series with the Terriers, who fell to 5-5 with the loss.
• Twin Valley lost a close one to Proctor, 59-57, at home on Jan. 13. Brett Swanson led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Kyle Murdoch added 15 and DJ Lazelle chipped in 11.
The next night, Twin Valley play host to Leland & Gray, and cruised to a 59-33 win. The Wildcats are now 7-5, while Leland & Gray lost its fourth game in a row to fall to 2-9.
• It was a tough week for Brattleboro with three straight losses. Against St. Johnsbury at home on Jan. 11, the Colonels fell 59-50. Three nights later in Rutland, the Raiders rolled to a 66-53 win over the Colonels. The week ended with a 56-46 loss at Taconic last Saturday to drop the Colonels to 5-6 on the season.
• Brattleboro lost to Rutland, 5-3, on Jan. 13 at Withington Rink, but bounced back from that loss with a 6-1 win at Harwood last Saturday night.
Daniel McMahon scored three goals and Declan Lonergan added two more. Bradley Fellows also scored for the Colonels. Braxton Lynn and Fellows each ended up with a pair of assists.
Lonergan (11 goals, 8 assists) and McMahon (9 goals, 7 assists) are the top two scorers for the Colonels, while Lynn leads the team with 10 assists.
Brattleboro was in control all the way, leading 2-0 after one period. Goaltender Nick Perusse had one of his best games of the season, stopping 27 shots.
The Colonels finished the week at 4-8.