It is rare when a team clicks immediately. More often than not, it takes some time for the pieces to fit together.
For the Brattleboro Colonels girls’ hockey team, they lost four of their first five games. Since then, the Colonels have won three straight games and improved to 4-4 in Division III.
On Jan. 2, the Colonels played a nearly flawless game in shutting out the South Burlington Wolves, 3-0, at Withington Rink.
For Colonels head coach Eugene Frost, that victory came through tight forechecking on defense and patience on offense.
“It’s really starting to come together,” Frost said. “Everything was working tonight. We controlled play and didn’t let up.”
After a scoreless first period, Sophia Mikijaniec got the game’s first goal as she scored off a pass from Tobin Lonergan with 12:32 left in the second period.
Colonels goaltender Eliya Petrie did not face a shot on goal in the first two periods, but South Burlington stepped up their attack in the third period and put six shots on goal, which were all turned aside by Petrie.
Meanwhile, her teammates gave her two big insurance goals. Liv Romo scored off a feed from Lila Alexander just 2:51 into the third period. Juliana Miskovich then put the exclamation point on the Colonels’ big effort with a goal set up by Lonergan with 3:26 to play.
South Burlington goaltender Lyssa Tan stopped 10 shots and kept the Wolves in the game as long as she could. Brattleboro finished with 22 shots on goal.
The Colonels followed up that game with an equally great effort, beating Burr & Burton, 4-0, on Jan. 4 in Manchester. Romo and Miskovich each scored two goals and Juniper Dimatteo-Lapape, Lonergan and Rosie Carignan each had one assist.
Petrie picked up her third shutout of the season, aided by excellent penalty killing by her teammates. The Colonels had a 31-23 advantage in shots.
The Colonels will be back in action on Jan. 8, when they will host Champlain Valley Union for a 7:15 p.m. game.
• Not much went right for Brattleboro in a frustrating 46-23 loss to the St. Johnsbury Hilltoppers at the BUHS gym on Jan. 3. The Colonels fell behind 12-2 after the first eight minutes of play and never caught up.
The Hilltoppers built up a 26-13 lead by halftime, thanks to six three-pointers in the first half. Four of them came from Josie Choiniere, who led all scorers in this game with a total of 18 points.
The third quarter was even more frustrating for the Colonels as the Hilltoppers went into a slowdown game, methodically passing the ball around the perimeter for as long as was needed to set up a clear look at the basket.
Maron Nitsche had a pair of threes as St. Johnsbury outscored the Colonels 12-2 in the third and had a 38-15 lead heading into the final quarter. Nitsche finished with 16 points, all but two of them coming in the second half.
Rachel Rooney and Jessica Tatro each scored six points for the 2-3 Colonels. Alyssa Scherlin added four.
• West Rutland rolled to a 52-19 win over Twin Valley on Jan. 4. The visitors had a 10-6 lead after the first quarter, then held the Wildcats to just 13 points the rest of the way.
Twin Valley was hurt by 27 turnovers as they fell to 1-3 on the season.
• Leland & Gray lost to Proctor, 51-11, in a Jan. 3 road game. The Rebels are now 3-4.
• A pair of free throws by Rutland’s Maddox Traynor in the final minute gave the Raiders a 47-46 win over visiting Brattleboro on Jan. 3.
Traynor finished with a game-high 14 points in a hard-fought game that was close throughout.
Brattleboro led 9-6 after one quarter and led by one point at halftime. The Rutland defense contained the Colonels in the third quarter, but Brattleboro took advantage of several Raider turnovers to go on an 8-0 run in the fourth.
Rutland then settled down and eventually pulled out the win in the Southern Vermont League opener for both teams. Brattleboro is now 2-3.
• Bellows Falls rallied from a six-point deficit to beat Arlington, 50-45, on Jan. 4 at Holland Gymnasium. Trailing 18-12 at the end of the first quarter, Bellows Falls came back and had a 26-22 lead at the half.
Ryan Kelly led the 3-2 Terriers with 18 points, while Dylan Clark contributed eight points and nine rebounds. Griffin Waryas added nine points and Jon Terry had seven points and seven rebounds.
• Poultney started out slow, but finished fast as the Blue Devils beat Leland & Gray, 52-34, on Jan. 3 in Townshend.
The Rebels had a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Poultney responded with a 17-3 run in the second quarter to a 23-13 lead at the half.
Heith Mason led the Blue Devils with 16 points, Levi Allen added 14 and Silas Haviland had 11. Matt Dunn led the 0-6 Rebels with 14.
• Twin Valley’s Izaak Park went 5-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc in the first half and finished with 25 points as the visiting Wildcats ripped West Rutland, 65-39, on Jan. 3.
The Wildcats made 12 of their 25 three-point attempts as they led 33-14 at the half and 45-18 after three quarters. Jack McHale had four three-pointers and finished with 21 points. Twin Valley is now 5-0 and ended the week in a three-way tie for first atop the Division IV standings.
• Brattleboro got back to its league schedule on Jan. 4, and lost a road game to Woodstock, 3-1.
The 3-2 Colonels will be back on the road on Jan. 8, when they face U-32.
• Brattleboro had its first home match of the season on Jan. 4, when the Colonels hosted Windsor and White River Valley at Brattleboro Bowl.
The Colonels had a team score of 1,303 in the first two qualifying games. In the first game Cobe Mager led the Colonels with a 153, including three straight strikes in the final frame. Katrina Tao rolled a 116, Shane Cyr had a 113, Lauren Stockwell had a 105, and Lucy Parks had an 83 for a team total of 570.
Kelton Mager substituted for Parks in the second game and rolled a 125. Big brother Cobe had a 156, Cyr was close behind with a 152, and Stockwell had a 134. Tao led everyone with a 166, including four strikes and four spares, for a team total of 733.
The quintet of the Magers, Cyr, Tao, and Stockwell qualified for the Baker portion of the match, where five bowlers each roll two frames of a game in a best-of-three game format.
White River Valley beat Brattleboro, 123-107 and 122-97, to advance to the final against Windsor, which had the high team score of the day and awaited the winner of the White River Valley-Brattleboro contest.
Windsor lost the first game of the final, 132-119, but rallied to beat White River Valley, 147-101 and 192-158, and win the match.
The three schools, plus Springfield, will be at Maple Lanes in Claremont, N.H., with Windsor serving as the host team, on Jan. 11 at 10 a.m.
Senior bowling roundup
• The winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl began on Jan. 2 with Keglers (5-0) in first place and a four-way tie for second between Bowling Stones, Magic in Motion, Pin Droppers and Stayin’ Alive (all 4-1).
There’s a three-way tie for third between Pin Strikers, Ageless Wonders, No Names, and 4 D’s (all 1-4), and Trash-O-Matic (0-5) all alone in the league basement.
Sally Perry and Beth Armington both had the women’s high handicap game (234), while Perry had the high handicap series (671). Charlie Marchant had the men’s high handicap game (240), and Bruce Thielen had the high handicap series (611). Magic in Motion had the high team handicap game (830), and Whatevers had the high handicap series (2,345).
In scratch scoring, Warren Corriveau Sr. rolled a 199 on the way to a 505 series, the only bowler to have a 500-plus series in Week 1. Marchant had a 190 game.
Carole Frizzell led the women with the high scratch game (170), while Doris Lake and Nancy Dalzell both had the high scratch series (434).