When you have a young team without seniors, perhaps the best advantage a coach can have is to have five of your first six games of the season at home.
Playing at home helped the Brattleboro Colonels boys’ hockey team get off to a 3-1-1 record at Withington Rink. And, with each game they play, the Colonels are building up confidence in each other.
Exhibit A would be a 1-0 win over Milton that concluded the homestand on Jan. 2. Goalie Austin Wood stopped 12 shots for the Colonels to pick up his first shut out of the season.
Generating offense has been an issue for the Colonels, but they got the one goal they needed with 3:32 left in the second period.
With Brattleboro on a power play, junior forward Joe Koes came up with the puck during a scramble in the crease and banged it past Milton goalie Jackson Ehler. William Taggard and Jack Pattison were credited with assists.
Good forechecking and positioning on the ice and staying out of the penalty box were the keys to making that one goal stand up for the win, according to Colonels head coach Eric Libardoni.
“We can always generate more scoring chances, but that’s a matter of moving the puck faster,” Libardoni said. “I think we’re still learning, and now we have learn how to travel and be ready to play when we get off the bus.”
The Colonels had a bit of time to enjoy the Milton win, for staring them in the face were six straight road games over the next couple of weeks. They started out their road trip with a 4-1 loss at Harwood on Jan. 5.
Jack Pattison scored the only Brattleboro goal, assisted by Koes, and Wood stopped 24 shots in the loss, which dropped the Colonels down to 3-2-2, but ranked sixth in Division II.
• The Brattleboro varsity bowling team played host to Hartford, Windsor, and Fair Haven at Brattleboro Bowl on Jan. 5, the first home match of the season.
Coach Todd Bell says the popularity of bowling has “exploded” over the past couple of years. With 18 students on the team this season, Bell can have five starters and five alternates for varsity matches, and enough additional bowlers for a junior varsity team.
Windsor defeated Hartford and Fair Haven in the finals of the Jan. 5 match. Brattleboro didn’t qualify, and lost to Hartford in the consolation match.
Bell says he believes there is talent on this season’s Colonels squad, but it will take more consistent performances from every bowler to be competitive as the season goes on.
Ben Diamonstone (131, 126), Shane Cyr (122, 148), Lobe Mager (139, 158), Pablo Turner (108, 87), and Tyler Eisenmenger (118, 126) were the varsity scorers in the first round of the Jan. 5 match.
The alternates were Lauren Stockwell (100, 108), Meghan Forrett (75, 123), Katrina Tao (90, 83), Phife Miller (105, 110), and Kyle Simuro (95, 101).
The JV bowlers were Lucy Parks (78,72), Abby Browne (106, 71), Kassandra Smith (81, 91), Maxine Hlavity (109, 86), and Justin Wiegel (88, 98).
Brattleboro will be back in action against Hartford, South Burlington, and Randolph at Claremont N.H.’s Maple Lanes.
• Brattleboro picked up a big road win on Jan. 5 when the Colonels scored their final 14 points of the game at the free throw line for a 56-53 win over Otter Valley in Brandon.
Point guard Tyler Millerick made nine of 10 free throws and finished with 15 points to lead the 3-4 Colonels. Adam Newton added 13 points, Keegan Givens and Charlie Galanes chipped in 10 points each, and Hunter Beebe completed a balanced scoring attack with nine points.
Defensively, the Colonels blocked nine shots and led by as many as 10 points until the Otters mustered a comeback late in the game.
It was a good bounce-back win after a 59-39 road loss to St. Johnsbury on Jan. 3, as the Colonels finished the week at 3-4.
• Jack McHale had the hot hand as he scored 30 points to lead Twin Valley past Black River, 66-42, in Ludlow on Jan 5.
Dylan Howe contributed 11 points, 13 rebounds and Colin McHale added 10 points for the 2-3 Wildcats, who were playing their first game since a loss to Springfield on Dec. 20 in the Green Mountain tourney.
• Leland & Gray dropped its third game in a row with a 39-30 loss to Arlington in Townshend on Jan. 4. The Rebels finished the week at 1-4.
• Poultney crushed visiting Bellows Falls, 60-30, on Jan. 5, as the Terriers’ record dropped to 3-2.
• Brattleboro started the new year with a 68-30 loss to defending Division I champion St. Johnsbury on Jan. 2 at the BUHS gym.
Hailey Derosia led the Colonels with 12 points. Rachel Rooney added seven points as the Colonels fell to 3-4.
• Taylor Goodell scored 18 points and dished out 10 assists as visiting Bellows Falls improved to 7-0 with a 78-21 demolition of Poultney. Halle Dickerson added 13 points for the Terriers, who dominated the glass with a season-high 44 rebounds.
• Sadie Boyd had 13 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as Twin Valley fell to Arlington, 46-33, on Jan. 5. Jarrett Niles (11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Katelyn Longe (7 rebounds) also contributed for the 2-5 Wildcats.
• The Brattleboro boys’ and girls’ nordic ski teams got an early test of where they stand against the other top teams in the state, coming in third and fourth, respectively, in a 12-school meet at Bolton Valley in Richmond on Jan. 5.
The Colonel boys had four skiers in the top 20 finishers. Henry Thurber finished ninth in 19 minutes, 28 seconds, followed by Evan Koch in 11th, Nolan Holmes in 16th, and Galen Fletcher finishing 18th. U-32 was the team winner with 25 points.
Sarah Gallagher won the girls’ race in 21:30 — eight seconds ahead of runner-up Hattie Barker of Mount Mansfield — to lead the Colonel girls. Liz Morse was 20th, Bella Takacs came in 33rd, and Alina Secrest was 55th. Perennial power Champlain Valley Union won the team event with 48 points.
• Brattleboro picked up its first win of the season with a 5-2 road victory over Spaulding on Jan. 5. Ninth-grader Julianna Miskovich scored three goals, while Tobin Lonergan notched three assists.
Jenna Murrow and Lila Alexander also scored goals for the 1-6 Colonels. Juniper DiMatteo-LePape picked up a pair of assists and Eliya Petrie stopped 10 shots in goal.
Senior bowling roundup
• The fall season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl ended on Dec. 27 with Team 5 (61-24) finishing in first place. Team 2 (55-30) came in second place and Team 7 (52-33) was third. Team 4 and Team 11 (both 45-35) tied for fourth, followed by Team 3 (43-22), Team 10 (41-44), Team 1 (40-45), Team 8 (both 39-46), Team 9 (38-47), and Team 6 (35-50).
Doris LaFourtune had the women’s high handicap game (262), while Kay Wistrom had the high handicap series (685). Al Dascomb had the men’s high handicap game (273) and series (685). Team 5 had the high team handicap game (884) and Team 3 had the high team handicap series (2,490).
In scratch scoring, Warren Corriveau Sr. (610) was the lone bowler with a 600-plus series, while Josie Rigby (520) joined Robert Rigby (583), Gary Montgomery (527), and Jerry Dunham (511) in rolling a 500-plus series.
Dascomb and Robert Rigby (213), and Corriveau (296) were the male bowlers to top 200 for a single game, while Josie Rigby rolled a 187 to lead the women, and Carole Frizzell rolled a 170 game.
• The winter season of the Senior League began on Jan. 3 as Team 11, Team 4, and Team 7 (all 5-0) opened the season strong. Team 2 and Team 10 (both 4-1) were close behind, followed by Team 5 (3-2), Team 6 (2-3), Team 1 and Team 9 (both 1-4), and Team 3, Team 12, and Team 8 (all 0-5).
Rosalie Howe had the women’s high handicap game (263) and series (705), while John Peters had the men’s high handicap game (271) and Fred Ashworth had the high handicap series (697). Team 11 had the high team handicap game (930) and series (2,606).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby (682) was the lone male bowler with a 600-plus series, while Josie Rigby (603) joined her husband in the 600 club.
Wayne Randall (562), Gary Montgomery (561), and Peters (538) all rolled a 500-plus series.
Dascomb and Robert Rigby (213), and Corriveau (296) were the male bowlers to top 200 for a single game, while Josie Rigby rolled a 215 and a 199 to lead the women, and Debbie Kolpa and Nancy Dalzell each rolled a 191 game.