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Colonel girls struggle through a difficult hockey season

It’s been a tough year for the Brattleboro Colonels girls’ hockey team. With a new coach in Kraig LaPorte, and many new players, the learning curve has been steep.

That was certainly the case against Cathedral High School of Springfield, Mass., on Jan. 8. The Panthers also had a young team, with several eighth- and ninth-graders. However, Cathedral’s skill level was considerably higher than that of the Colonels.

That is why Brattleboro, now 1-7, suffered its most lopsided loss of the season, a 12-1 defeat, at Withington Rink.

“Cathedral is a fast team, and it’s a challenge for us to compete against teams with [more] hockey experience,” said LaPorte. “As long as the girls don’t get frustrated, and continue to learn, we’ll get better in time.”

Brattleboro held Cathedral scoreless for the first five minutes of the game before goals started piling up. It was 3-0 after one period and 5-1 after two periods. LaPorte gave starting goalie Alex Fellows a break and put in her backup, Grace Willingham, for the third period.

Despite giving up seven goals, LaPorte said he was happy to see Willingham get some playing time. “Alex is a senior, and this is Grace’s first year as a goalie,” he said. “We need to get her some experience.”

To Cathedral’s credit, they weren’t running up the score on Brattleboro; they just played hard and kept the puck in the Brattleboro end almost the entire game. Annemarie D’Amario scored four goals to lead the Panthers. Annie McKeown scored two, and MacKenzie Pelletier, Tess Bonavita, Kyra Ashe, Brenna Hoar, Amanda Rabideau, and Katelyn Joyal also scored.

Brattleboro’s only goal came midway through the second period: an unassisted strike from Sara LaPorte.

Girls’ basketball

• Megan Siggins and Meghan Powell scored nine points apiece, and Maddy Derosia had 12 rebounds and four steals as Brattleboro beat Drury, 44-30, on Jan. 7.

The Colonels then traveled to Burlington last Saturday afternoon and lost, 42-29. Foul trouble and an off day for the Colonels’ outside shooters pretty much doomed their chances of winning. Kayla Savage had eight points as the Colonels finished the week at 5-4.

• Twin Valley kept it interesting, but Proctor proved too much for the Wildcats in a 40-28 win. Jordan Mitchell and Abby McKearin led the Phantoms with 17 and 14 points, respectively.

Savannah Nesbitt and Sammy Cunningham-Darrah each had eight for the Wildcats, who got a combined 19 rebounds from Hannah Swanson and Christina Moore.

The Wildcats ended the week with a win and evened their season record to 4-4 with 57-17 demolition of Poultney on Jan. 9 in Wilmington.

Colton Butler had 14 points and seven rebounds to lead Twin Valley. Swanson finished with nine points, seven rebounds, and four assists, while Cunningham-Darrah and Moore (10 rebounds) each added eight points.

• Leland & Gray improved to 2-5 with a 42-33 win over Bellows Falls last Friday. Freshman guard Jessalyn Stockwell led the Rebels with 12 points and six steals; freshman forward Rachel Borgesen had seven points and 15 rebounds.

Emily Dufault and Chelsea Wilder scored 10 points each to lead Bellows Falls. The next night, the Terriers lost at West Rutland, 66-19.

Boys’ basketball

• Windsor pulled a wild 78-75 overtime win against Leland & Gray in Townshend on Jan. 9. The Rebels had a four-point lead with 30 seconds left in regulation, but Windsor rallied to tie it at 67-67 and force the extra session. Corey Nystrom scored 26 points to lead the 3-5 Rebels. Eric Clark and Ryan Borgesen followed with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

• Twin Valley stayed undefeated at 7-0 with two big home wins last week. On Jan. 7, they beat Leland & Gray, 63-45, and followed that up the next night with a 75-45 blowout of Bellows Falls.

Boys’ hockey

• On Jan. 8, the Colonels traveled to Hartford and got shut out, 5-0. John Borchert accounted for four of the Hartford goals. Goalie Mak Lyford needed only eight saves to earn the victory. Brattleboro’s Greg DiSilva made 37 saves in goal.

Brattleboro hosted Missisquoi last Saturday night and lost 6-2. Jake Hubbard scored four goals for the Thunderbirds, while Declan Lonergan and Jon Curtis each scored for the Colonels. With three straight losses in the new year, the Colonels are 3-7.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #237 (Wednesday, January 15, 2014). This story appeared on page D4.

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