I do talk a lot about COVID-19 in this space, but it has been an unavoidable topic this season for local high school sports. Some teams have gotten through the season so far mostly unscathed, while others have had to struggle with outbreaks that have disrupted their schedules.
The Brattleboro Colonels girls’ hockey team was an early casualty of the pandemic, and coach Eugene Frost tried to keep his team together and focused in the face of a three-week layoff. They went from Dec. 28 to Jan. 22 without playing a game, and went nearly two weeks during that time without a practice.
“It was like starting the season all over again,” Frost said. “Between COVID, and a lot of injuries, it’s been tough trying to get back in the swing of things.”
The Colonels entered last week with a 2-9 record and had a chance to pick up a couple of wins against the Stowe Raiders, who entered last week with a 1-12 record. The Raiders dashed those hopes by sweeping a home-and-home series from Brattleboro, with a 5-4 win on Feb. 7 in Stowe and a 6-4 win at Withington Rink on Feb. 9.
In the Feb. 7 game, the Raiders trailed 3-1 with eight minutes to play before rallying with four unanswered goals. Sophomore Isabel Donza scored two of three goals in the period to give Stowe a 4-3 lead with four minutes to go. Falon Forrest added an insurance goal before Brattleboro senior captain Juliana Miskovich scored the last of her four goals in the game as time ran down.
Senior center Marina Wilson and junior defenseman Willow Romo each had two assists for the Colonels, and starting goaltender Angela Jobin made 11 saves. Stowe goal Iris Cloutier made 30 saves to get the win.
Two nights later at Withington Rink, Stowe struck first when eighth-grader Iris Stacy scored, with an assist from junior Orly Bryan, with 8:51 remaining in the first period. It was Stacy’s first varsity goal. Brattleboro tied it up when Miskovich scored the first of her three goals with 6:03 left in the period. Lily Carignan was credited with the assist.
Things then fell apart for the Colonels when Stowe scored three unanswered goals to close out the opening period. Lydia Wilson started the barrage with a soft shot that trickled past Colonels starting goaltender Lakota Offenburger with 5:24 left in the period. Stacy was credited with the assist.
Eighth-grader Zoe James then got an unassisted goal, another trickler that got past Offenburger with 2:42 remaining. Offenburger, a ninth-grader, was replaced after that goal by senior Britany Wright, but she also struggled as sophomore Kate Tilgner scored on another soft shot that slid into the left corner of the net with 1:05 to play. Donza got the assist.
Stowe then got two more goals in the second period. Donza scored a power play goal from Tilgner with 11:20 left. Stacy picked up her second goal, this time from Forrest, with 6:38 remaining for a 6-1 lead.
Brattleboro was in a deep hole, but they gave a good effort to finish the game with three unanswered goals. Miskovich got her second goal from Romo with 4:53 left in the second period, then completed her hat trick in the first minute of the third period, set up by Wilson.
Senior defenseman Grace Szpila got an unassisted goal with 12:00 left in the game, and suddenly the Colonels were back in it. Unfortunately, they had to expend energy killing off a pair of penalties and weren’t able to complete a comeback. Offenburger, Wright, and Jobin — who finished up the game — combined for 25 saves in goal for the Colonels. Cloutier made 30 saves for the Raiders for the victory.
“We came out flat in the first period, and we just couldn’t make up for it,” Frost said after the game. “We did start moving the puck better in the third period, and we outshot them, 15-6. We looked really good in that period.”
While the Colonels couldn’t finish a comeback against Stowe, they pulled it off against the Missisquoi Valley Thunderbirds on Feb. 12 at Withington Rink. Trailing 4-1, the Colonels tied the game at 4-4 to force overtime, and Miskovich got the game-winning goal just nine seconds into the extra period for a 5-4 victory. The Colonels ended their busy week with a 3-11 record.
• Brattleboro started its week with a 3-2 win over the Woodstock Wasps on Feb. 7 at Withington Rink.
Sophomore defenseman Will Miskovich had a goal and two assists. The Colonels rallied back from a 2-1 deficit, with Miskovich setting up Will Taggard’s game-winning goal with 10 minutes left in the game. Alexander Dick also got a goal in the first period for the Colonels, and goaltender Darek Harvey made some big saves in the third period to preserve the win.
Two nights later, the Colonels made the long trip north to St. Johnsbury, and got a milestone performance from Taggard in a 4-3 win over the Hilltoppers. Taggard reached the 100-goal mark for his varsity career with a three-goal night.
Taggard also got an assist on an Evan Wright goal to finish out his big evening. Ryan Lonergan assisted on two of Taggard’s goals and Darek Harvey made 20 saves to earn the win for the Colonels.
The Colonel boys ended the week with a 7-1 loss to Milton on Feb. 12 at Withington Rink. Evan Wright scored the lone goal as Brattleboro finished the week with a 5-9-1 record. Brandon Mitchell had three goals and an assist to lead Milton.
• Brattleboro pummeled Springfield, 68-36, at the BUHS gym on Feb. 7, but that was just the warm-up for what was the Colonels’ best game of the season against Northampton, Mass., two nights later.
The Northampton Blue Devils came to the BUHS gym and gave the Colonels all they could handle as Brattleboro hung on for a 56-53 win in overtime.
There wasn’t much daylight between the two teams as Brattleboro led 12-8 after one period and 26-24 at the half. Ben Sledzieski scored a game-high 19 points for the visitors, while Jacob Cancel and Nate Kelleher-Mochak each added 11 points.
Brattleboro had an equally balanced attack as Tate Chamberlin scored 13 points, Sam Mattocks and Cameron Frost had 12 points each and Calvin Gould scored nine points off the bench.
The Colonels ended the week with a trip to Great Barrington, Mass., to play the Monument Mountain Spartans on Feb. 12. The result was a 69-45 loss for Brattleboro.
Monument Mountain snapped a 12-12 tie after the first quarter to pull away with a 24-10 burst in the second quarter to lead 36-22 at halftime. Mattocks scored 16 points, including a pair of three-pointers, to lead the 6-7 Colonels. Frost added 14 points, including a pair of threes. Caden Gidarakos led the Spartans with 18 points, including four three-pointers.
• Springfield had little time to recover from the rout in Brattleboro for, two nights later, the Cosmos lost by roughly the same margin to Bellows Falls in a 64-39 victory for the Terriers at Holland Gymnasium.
Jonathan Terry had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Terriers. Jamison Nystrom scored 12 points, Owen LaRoss pulled down 15 rebounds and Jack Cravinho finished with eight assists. Springfield is 1-13, but in their defense, they have been hit hard by injuries this season.
BF got another big game from Terry with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in a 56-52 win over White River Valley on Feb. 10. Jackson Goodell led a balanced Terriers attack with 13 points, and LaRoss and Nystrom added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
With an 83-36 win over Poultney on Feb. 12, it was the fifth straight win for Bellows Falls, ending their week at 12-3. Patrick Barbour had 13 points to lead BF, which had seven players scoring seven points or more. LaRoss and Nystrom had 12 points each, Jaxson Clark added nine, and Terry, Colby Dearborn, and Jake Moore all scored seven points.
• Twin Valley has had more than its share of blowout losses this season, such as the 99-37 beating they got from Bellows Falls on Feb. 5. On Feb. 10, however, against visiting Mill River, the Wildcats put up a good fight in a 51-44 loss.
The Minutemen led by as many as 18 points in the first half before Twin Valley battled back. Noah Dornburgh had 16 points for Twin Valley, while Ryan Smith led the Minutemen with 19 points. After a 71-30 loss to White River Valley on Feb. 12, the Wildcats ended the week at 2-14.
• Leland & Gray is starting to get it together as they rolled to a 42-20 win over Bellows Falls on Feb. 9. Sophomore Maggie Parker again led the way for the Rebels with 18 points, while Abby Towle added six points. Eryn Ross scored seven points and Delaney Lockerby added six points for the Terriers.
Parker was even better against visiting Green Mountain on Feb. 11. She scored all of her 14 points in the first half as the Rebels cruised to a 41-29 win in the annual “Hoops for Hope” fundraiser, where all proceeds from the game went toward scholarships named in memory of community members Ann Chapman, Lexy Giallella, and Arthur E. Monette.
Mary Sanderson added 10 points as the Rebels improved to 7-6 heading into this week, where they have five games on the docket due to COVID and weather postponements.
• St. Johnsbury defeated Brattleboro, 52-25, on Feb. 12 at the BUHS gym as the Colonels fell to 5-12 on the season.
• Brattleboro went into their Feb. 12 match against Randolph and Hartford at Randolph’s Valley Bowl ranked third in the state, just behind Burlington and Fair Haven, with two Brattleboro bowlers ranked in the top 10 in scoring average. Lucas Forthofer is third at 197 and Thomas Bell is fifth at 190.
The Colonels won the Feb. 12 match in Randolph, and will close out the regular season on Feb. 19 against Hartford and Fair Haven at Maple Lanes in Claremont, N.H.
• Mount Anthony swept the first leg of the Southern Vermont League championships on Feb. 9 at Wild Wings in Peru.
The MAU boys won the classic portion of the SVL meet with 16 points. Brattleboro was a distant second with 56 points, followed by Rutland (58), Woodstock (60), and Burr & Burton (76). Twin Valley’s Luke Rizio was the boys individual winner with a time of 14 minutes, 22 seconds. Brattleboro’s Tenzin Mathes came in ninth.
In the girls’ race, MAU won with 22 points, followed by Woodstock (30), Brattleboro (35), and Burr & Burton (77). Woodstock’s Victoria Bassette was the individual winner in 18:42. MAU’s Eden White was second and Brattleboro’s Ava Whitney came in third. Katherine and Sylvie Normandeau finished sixth and ninth, respectively, for the Colonels.
At press time, the second leg of the SVL Championship, a skate race, was set for Feb. 15 at Mountain Top Resort in Chittenden. The final leg, a team relay race, is scheduled to take place on Feb. 17 in Woodstock.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 6 of the winter/spring 2022 season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Feb. 10 saw Trash-O-Matic and Stayin’ Alive (both 22-8) move into a tie for first place after both teams had 5-0 weeks. Bowling Stones (18-12) went 0-5 to drop into second place, followed by A Rose/Tulips (17-13), the 844s (15-15), The Anythings (13-17), Slow Movers (11-19), and Good Times (1-29).
Shirley Aiken had the women’s high handicap game (237), while Brenda Gilbert had the high handicap series (638). Stan Kolpa had the high handicap game (263) and series (700). The Anythings had the high team handicap game (880) and series (2,496).
In scratch scoring, Warren Corriveau Sr. had the high men’s game (233), and his 635 series, which also featured games of 204 and 198, led the men. Chuck Adams had a 589 series, with games of 217 and 204. Fred Bump had a 514 series with a 192 game, Stan Kolpa had a 502 series with a 197 game, and Charlie Marchant rolled a 500 series.
Carol Gloski had the high scratch series (504), while Aiken had the high scratch game (185) to lead the women. Gloski had a 179 game.