The Brattleboro Colonels’ boys hockey team opened its season at Nelson Withington Rink on Saturday with a 5-1 loss to the Rutland Raiders.
Rutland forward Taylor Booth scored three goals as the Raiders dominated on offense. Rutland outshot Brattleboro, 34-14, while the Colonels struggled with their offensive attack.
Defensively, Brattleboro looked solid in the first period. Freshman goalie Greg DiSilva made nine saves, but Rutland’s Nico Roy deflected a slap shot from the left side by Cameron Kennedy with just 19 seconds left to spoil a great effort by the Colonels.
“That first goal absolutely killed us,” said Colonels coach Eric Libardoni.
Booth put the game away in the second period with a pair of goals. With 7:43 left, he buried a crossing pass from Stephen Hamilton. With 5:16 remaining, he scored on a 3-on-1 breakaway. Roy and Dan Eugair got the assists.
The second period could’ve been even worse, as Rutland outshot the Colonels, 15-4 and had a two-man power play advantage to end the period. However, the Colonels successfully killed off the penalties and kept a glimmer of hope going into the final period.
The final 15 minutes were marked by 12 penalties and lots of hard hits by both teams. Backup goalie Hunter Nielson took over for the Colonels and gave up a goal to Hamilton just 51 seconds into the period.
Brattleboro broke up the shutout with 6:51 left on a power play goal from Adam Griffin, with Andy Harris and Nik Rancourt assisting.
Booth then completed his hat trick with a goal with 1:56 remaining from Matt Mazzariello and Sam Major.
“This was one of the top three teams we’ll see all season,” said Libardoni. “We faced a very physical team, and made three defensive mistakes and all three ended up as goals.”
The Colonels are a young team, with only one senior and not much experience. ” said Libardoni. “Scoring is definitely going to be hard to come by. We’ll have to create our opportunities this season. It won’t be pretty hockey.”
The 0-1 Colonels host Burr & Burton on Saturday.
Deer harvest is down
According to preliminary figures from the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, the buck harvest is down for the second straight year.
As of the end of the November rifle season, 3,290 bucks had been brought to checking stations around the state. That’s a 23 percent decline compared to the average kill during the same period over the last three years.
The muzzleloader season, and the second bow & arrow season, ended on Dec. 12, so we should know by the end of this month what the final tally is. Vermont is one of the few states in the country that gathers detailed statistics on the annual deer harvest.
Hunters who want to weigh in on planned changes in the management of the deer herd in 2011 will get their chance at a series of hearings in January. Visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com for details.
Shine coaches selected
Chris Childs from Lebanon High School and Jim Provost from Champlain Valley Union will be the respective New Hampshire and Vermont coaches for the 2011 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.
Childs coached the Lebanon Raiders to an undefeated season and a state championship in New Hampshire’s Division IV this year. He played in the 1995 Shrine game.
This is the second time Provost is coaching the Vermont team; his first time was 1990. The CVU Redhawks were runners-up for the Division II state title in 2009 and reached the semifinals this year.
More than 200 players from Vermont and New Hampshire have been nominated for the 2011 squads. Childs and Provost will lead the screening committees that will select the 36 players that will represent each state. The two teams will be announced in late January.
BF footballers make All-State team
The Burlington Free Press selected its All-State Football teams on Sunday, and three Bellows Falls players got a shout out.
Ryan Hayward made the first-team on defense as a kick returner, with 1,136 yards this season for the Division III state champs. He definitely merited consideration for the All-State offensive team, since he was a monster as the Terriers’ primary running back with 1,460 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
Hayward, a senior, ended his high school football career as the second-leading rusher in BF history. It’s a safe bet he will be playing in the Shrine game in August.
BF offensive lineman Jake Stratton was selected to the second team on offense, while defensive lineman Randy Rutkowski received honorable mention on defense.
Collegiate ski jumping makes a comeback
Ski jumping in the United States recently got a major boost when the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association unanimously voted to reintroduce ski jumping and Nordic combined events for the 2010-11 winter season.
College ski jumping hasn’t been sanctioned since 1980, when the ski rules committee of the NCAA voted to eliminate ski jumping, citing expenses, liability, and a lack of qualified athletes as the reasons why. That decision wiped out a generation of U.S. jumpers, and put a serious crimp in the sport in New England.
The Boston Globe reported last week that the USCSSA isn’t as strict as the NCAA when it comes insisting that sports teams be funded through athletic departments, so club-level teams and non-varsity teams from smaller schools, as well as non-NCAA-affiliated schools can participate. This opens the door for 4,500 college athletes from 180 institutions to compete in ski and snowboard events nationwide.
Right now, New Hampshire is the only state with high school ski jumping. Perhaps the USCSSA’s decision might mean a return of high school ski jumping teams in Vermont. And, with one of the finest ski jumping hills in the Northeast, Harris Hill, right here in Brattleboro, we may be about to see a renaissance in the sport in the United States. Even better, maybe we’ll see a national collegiate jumping championship held on Harris Hill.