The Vermont Principals’ Association has released the dates for all state championship events for high school winter sports.
One big change is that the Barre Auditorium will be the site this year for all teams competing in state championship basketball games, including Division I.
Previously, only the Division II, III, and IV boys’ and girls’ semifinals and finals were held at “The Aud,” while Division I teams played at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium. This year’s title games will be played on March 27 and 28.
Nordic skiers will have their championship meets at Craftsbury Outdoor Center, with the boys’ meet on March 8 and the girls’ meet on March 10.
The boys’ and girls’ Snowboard Championships will be held at Jay Peak on March 17.
Boys’ and girls’ ice hockey will have their championships on March 23 and 24 at a site to be determined, while bowlers will have a virtual championship match on March 27.
• Hockey is a game of numbers, and if your team does not have a deep roster, your opponent can grind you down with their depth.
The Brattleboro Colonels girls’ hockey team does not have a big roster this year, and coach Eugene Frost said that other teams with more skaters have “just tired us out.” That was reflected in the team’s losing its first three games.
Against Stowe at Withington Rink on Feb. 24, the Colonels faced a team with a comparably-sized roster and put together their best effort of the season with an 8-1 win over the Marauders. It was their first win of the season.
Despite missing a good chunk of the game with a banged-up knee after a hard hit midway through the second period, senior forward Rosie Carignan put on a gritty performance with two goals before she got hurt, and two goals in the third period when she came back onto the ice.
The Colonels took control early when Willow Romo put a slapshot past Stowe goaltender Iris Cloutier just 69 seconds into the game. Juliana Miskovich got the first of her four assists on that goal.
Carignan got her first goal with 2:25 to play in the first period, after Miskovich won a face-off and slipped the puck to her teammate.
In the second period, Alex Gregory opened the scoring for Brattleboro with a goal set up by Brianna Paul and Abby Squiers with 13:19 to play. The Colonels then survived a 5-on-3 power play for 96 seconds after Marina Wilson and Miskovich drew back-to-back penalties.
Carignan got an unassisted goal with 7:48 to play in the period, then got slammed hard into the boards a few seconds later by Stowe’s Isabel Donza, who drew a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for the offense. Carignan left the game and didn’t return until the third period.
Stowe got its only goal against Colonels goaltender Angela Tobin when Skylar Graves scored with 2:28 to play in the second period. It was the only blemish on a great game in goal by Jobin, who finished with 20 saves.
Carignan shook off the effects of the hard hit in a big way when she got back on the ice for the third period. She got her third goal, set up by her younger sister Lily Carignan, with 12:47 left in the game, and scored again with 6:59 to play. Miskovich and Squiers were credited with assists.
The Colonels capped off a strong finish with a power-play goal from Brianna Paul, set up by Wilson, with 4:19 remaining, and an even-strength goal from Sophia Mikijaniec, set up by Miskovich, with 2:30 to play.
Despite using just 12 skaters against Stowe, Frost said his players put in a solid efforts at both ends of the ice. “I thought the girls looked good,” he said. “They passed the puck well and spread out. The defenders are rotating and working really well together and we are taking great shots and crashing the net.”
Against Spaulding on Feb. 27, the Colonels lost 7-1. Lilly Tewksbury led the Tide with two goals and two assists, and goaltender Rayna Long made five saves to get the win. Miskovich scored Brattleboro’s only goal and Jobin made 25 saves in goal. The Colonels finished the week at 1-4.
• After a pair of lopsided wins to start the season, the Colonel boys had their toughest tests of the season last week.
Against Hartford at Withington Rink on Feb. 24, the Colonels overcame a slow start to pull out a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes.
The teams played to a 1-1 tie after one period, as Hartford outshot the Colonels, 11-6. Gavin Howard scored first for Brattleboro, assisted by Jack Pattison, with four minutes to play in the period. Hartford tied the game in the last minute of the period with a goal from Jacob Dwinell.
After a scoreless second period, Pattison broke the tie with a goal set up by Howard in the first minute of play. Hartford again tied the game with 9:23 to play with a power play goal.
Mason Foard then saved the day when he scored the game-winner with a power-play goal with 3:42 left in regulation. Will Taggard and Howard were credited with assists. Brattleboro goaltender Darek Harvey stopped 27 shots to nail down the win.
The going was even tougher on Feb. 27, when the Colonels hosted undefeated Harwood, the defending Division II state champions. Brattleboro gave up three goals in the second period, but rallied late in the final period, only to fall short in a 6-4 loss.
Jacob Green scored a power play goal with 10:13 left in the first period for Harwood’s first goal. Taggard got the equalizer three minutes later, set up by Pattison. Harwood then took back the lead with a goal from Jonathan O’Brien with 4:54 left in the first.
Harwood took control of the game in the second period. Skylar Pratt scored with 12:44 remaining, but the Colonels answered with a Ryan Gerard goal set up by Foard with 9:43 left. Harwood closed out the period with goals from Finn O’Hara with 5:40 left and Tanner Woodward with 1:48 remaining for a 5-2 lead.
Wood, the Colonels’ goaltender for the first two periods, was lifted for Derek Henry in the third, but it was a series of Harwood penalties in the final four minutes that opened the door for a chance at an improbable comeback.
Harwood’s Gavin Thomson was sent off for hooking with 4:07 left, and Gerard scored on the power play just six seconds later to cut the lead to 5-3. Foard and Taggard assisted on that goal. Howard then scored an unassisted goal with 2:33 to play to make it 5-4 game.
Pratt was then sent to the penalty box for holding with 44.7 seconds left to give the Colonels a chance at forcing overtime. They sent Henry to the bench for an extra attacker, but the 6-on-4 advantage was spoiled when O’Hara got a empty net goal with 33.6 seconds left to clinch the victory. It was the first loss of the season for the 3-1 Colonels.
• Twin Valley got its first win of the season on Feb. 23 with a 53-37 victory over the visiting Leland & Gray Rebels. Aiden Joyce led the Wildcats with 19 points, while Colin McHale scored 16 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the second half.
Liam Towle led the Rebels with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Jeremy Graves had nine points and 10 rebounds and Matt Emerson had seven points and five assists.
• Bellows Falls got by Windsor, 90-85, at Holland Gymnasium on Feb. 22 in a wide-open, high scoring game that rarely is seen in Vermont high school basketball. BF’s Jameson Nystrom led all scorers with 27 points, while teammate Jon Terry had 23.
• Brattleboro split a pair of road games last week, beating Springfield, 46-41, on Feb. 22 and losing to Hartford, 77-56, on Feb. 26 to fall to 2-3 on the season.
• Brattleboro got out to an early lead and never looked back in a 57-26 road win over Springfield on Feb. 23.
The Colonels led by 11 after one quarter and were up by 16 points at the half. Cadance Gilbert led Brattleboro with 14 points, while Natalie Norcia and Diamond Bedward added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Haley Streeter led the Cosmos with eight points.
On Feb. 27, the Colonels lost at Hartford, 54-45, to finish the week at 2-3.
• Katelyn Longe scored 17 points and Jayden Crawford had seven steals as Twin Valley beat the visiting Leland & Gray Rebels, 40-13, on Feb. 23. A 19-0 run in the first half by the Wildcats put the game out of reach early for the Rebels.
• On Feb. 27, the winless Rebels lost to Rivendell, 46-25. Adele Tilden led the Raptors with 14 points, while Samantha Morse was Leland & Gray’s top scorer with eight points.
• The Mount Anthony boys’ and girls teams won the Southern Vermont League championship, with both Brattleboro teams finishing second.
The first part of the competition, a classic race, was held at Wild Wings in Peru on Feb. 24. Both Mount Anthony teams finished, and both Brattleboro teams took second on a warm day with tricky snow conditions on the race course.
In the girls’ meet, Mount Anthony took four of the top five spots to finish with 12 points. The Colonels were second with 26 points and Burr & Burton was third with 53 points.
The MAU boys placed four skiers in the top 10 to win with 15 points. Brattleboro was second with 24, followed by Rutland with 47 and Burr & Burton with 66.
MAU senior Maggie Payne won the 5K girls’ race in 18 minutes, 28 seconds, while freshman Eden White was second in 18:52. Sadie Korzec was fourth in 20:21, and Chloe Stitcher was fifth in 20:37.
Brattleboro’s Katherine Normandeau was the only other skier to break into the top five. She finished third in 20:05, one of five Colonels to place in the top 10. She was joined by teammates Ava Whitney in sixth, Sylvie Normandeau in seventh, Hazel Wagner in eighth and CC Allembert in 10th.
Twin Valley’s Luke Rizio, racing as an independent, won the 5K boys’ race in 15:32. Two MAU freshmen, Riley Thurber and Finn Payne, were second (15:47) and third (16:06), respectively.
Brattleboro’s Nolan Holmes was fourth overall in 16:07, with teammate Tenzin Mathes in sixth in 16:40. Sam Freitas-Eagan was eighth and Magnus vonKrusenstiern finished 10th.
The second half of the SVL Championships, a 5K skate race, was held on March 1 at Prospect Mountain in Woodford.
The MAU girls finished a close second behind Brattleboro in Monday’s race. The Colonels had 18 points to MAU’s 20 to win the skate event, but the Patriots built up a large enough lead after last week’s classic race to give MAU a 32-46 advantage in the combined score for the two events to secure the league title.
White and Payne again finished first and second for MAU with times of 17:46 and 18:13, respectively. Brattleboro’s Katherine Normandeau was third in 19:18 as the Colonels took spots 3 through 7 in the top 10 to win the skate event.
In the boys’ skate race, MAU (13 points) defeated Brattleboro (23 points) as the Patriots won the boys’ title by a cumulative core of 28 points to the Colonels’ 47.
Twin Valley’s Rizio again was the individual winner, with a time of 14:11. Thurber led MAU with a second place finish in 14:52, while Holmes led Brattleboro with a third place performance in 15:08.
• Virtual meets seem to be agreeing with the Brattleboro bowlers, as they found themselves in second place, just one point behind Hartford, in the overall state standings after the first two weeks of play.
In a meet on Feb. 20 against Burlington and Essex, the Colonels finished first in individual play and second in team scoring. Thomas Bell rolled a 231 game to lead the Colonels, with Cobe Mager not far behind with a 212 game. Elliana Galdamez bowled a 194 game, and Kelton Mager had a 191 game.