BRATTLEBORO—Heading into this season, there was doubt about whether Brattleboro Union High School would have a varsity girls’ hockey team.
Coach Linda Burke barely had enough players to field a competitive team last season and, after losing half of that team to graduation, she wasn’t sure whether she would have enough players this season.
“Give the juniors and seniors credit,” Burke said Saturday night after her team lost the season opener, 4-0, to the Burr & Burton Bulldogs at Withington Rink. “They came out, and they saved our program.”
Fourteen of her 23 players on this season’s roster are new to the team, she said, and most of them are new to hockey.
“There were eight girls playing in their first varsity game tonight, and we had five players who playing in their first hockey game ever,” said Burke.
Even more frightening for the newbies was that they were facing the defending Division II state champions.
Given the lack of experience and the strength of their opponent, a blowout would not have been a surprise. Instead, the Colonels’ captains — seniors Maddie Rollins, Rebecca Potter, and Lou Lou Terwilliger — helped out by carrying their younger teammates through the Burr & Burton onslaught.
And a returning junior, goalie Alex Fellows, kept her cool and made 18 saves to keep the game competitive. Her only major lapse came in the first period, when the Bulldogs scored two goals in seven seconds. Lucy Bisselle scored an unassisted goal with 4:51 left in the period, and Erin Thompson followed that up with an unassisted goal with 4:44 left.
“Alex was huge in the net for us,” said Burke. “It would’ve been a 10-0 game without her.”
Rollins tried to generate some offense for the Colonels, particularly in the second period, but the Bulldog defense frustrated her at every opportunity.
Sophomore Hannah Dingley and freshman Aggie Bisselle got the Bulldogs’ other two goals in the second period. Sophomore Jennifer Dorr, a last-minute fill-in for the Bulldogs, had nine saves in goal.
Despite the opening night loss, Burke was upbeat.
“We need more work,” she said, “but I think we’re the type of team that will keep getting better as the season progresses.”
Running for a cause
Before they played their season opener, the BUHS girls’ hockey team and their coaches ran in the ninth annual Hot Chocolate 5k Run in Northampton, Mass. on Dec. 2.
The coaches organized the participation in this event for team building and to help support Safe Passage, a Hampshire County-based organization which works to help families affected by domestic violence.
Running as a team, the Colonel girls covered the course through downtown Northampton in 48 minutes.
More than 5,500 runners participated in the event, which raised more than $225,000 for Safe Passage.
2013 Harris Hill date is set
The Harris Hill Ski Jump, the only Olympic-sized, 90-meter ski jumping hill in New England, will play host to its annual two-day ski jumping event in Brattleboro on Feb. 16 and 17, 2013.
This event will be the only domestic stop in a nine-event International Skiing Federation (FIS) competition schedule, and will also serve as a stop on the United States American Ski Jumping (USASJ) series.
Founded in 1922, the annual jumping competition held on Harris Hill attracts several thousand spectators each year not only to watch local jumpers reach great heights but also to view world renowned jumpers soar in the sport of ski jumping. In 2009, the jump was completely rebuilt in accordance with FIS specifications.
The two major competitions, merged in with the annual Pepsi Challenge and Fred Harris Memorial Tournament, will draw the best male and female ski jumpers from across the globe to Brattleboro, including those fighting to earn a spot on their respective 2014 Winter Olympic teams.
Competition each day will start at noon and will conclude by 4 p.m. A family event, the weekend includes opening ceremonies, appearances by Jumper the mascot, food and drink vendors, a bonfire, and more.
Tickets for the event will go on sale in January. For details on the event, visit www.HarrisHillSkiJump.com.
Inside Rebels basketball
You may have noticed during the fall season a new name on this page: Leland & Gray student Robbie Litchfield. He has been sitting in with us as an apprentice through our Media Mentoring Project.
Litchfield, who is a senior from Jamaica and a pretty good baseball player, is covering Leland & Gray athletics for The Commons, as well as for Leland & Gray’s newspaper, The Burrower (although he will have to recuse himself once varsity baseball season starts in the spring). He is also blogging on the upcoming girls’ and boys’ basketball seasons at lgbasketball.blogspot.com.
He is working toward a career as a sports reporter, and we’re happy to help him achieve that goal.