BRATTLEBORO -- First-year Brattleboro Union High School girls ice hockey coach Kraig Laporte is feeling pretty good with netminder Alex Fellows between the pipes.
He just wants to make sure that the senior co-captain doesn’t have to be under constant pressure.
"We have strengthened our team at the defensive position first. We continue to build individual skills in an effort to strengthen the team as a whole," said LaPorte. "We will need to reduce the shots on goal -- for and against."
The Colonels, who averaged 19.8 shots per game last season and allowed 28.7, will open up at Rutland on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The host Raiders will have to figure out a way to get the puck past the talented veteran.
"She is amongst the best in the Lake Division and will be tested again this year," said LaPorte of his goalie. Fellows played in the majority of Brattleboro’s games last season, finishing with a 3.47 Goals Against Average and a .889 save percentage.
Led by Maddie Rollins, who was a scoring machine, the Colonels went 5-14 a year ago and earned the No. 8 seed in the state tournament before losing to U-32, 3-2 in a playdown game.
"Our strength is our defense. Two young additions to our defensive core will initiate our transition to offense. The girls are working extremely hard. We are looking to see who our goal scorers will be," added the new coach.
Madison Doucette, a senior tri-captain, is the only fourth-year varsity player on the team. She is the leading returning scorer with five goals and three assists, and is expected to anchor the defense.
Meyru Bhanti is the team’s third captain. The great leader played in every game as a junior and will be counted on to attack often.
The Colonels will play their home opener on Saturday, Dec. 14, versus Middlebury, at 4:45 p.m., at Memorial Park.
BUHS Girls Hockey roster: Head coach -- Kraig LaPorte. Assistant coach -- Mike Fellows. Players -- Keagan Jameson, Ankita Bhanot, Hannah Curtiss, Michaela Shea-Gander, Katie Gouin, Cassidy Stebbins, Grace LaPorte, Dorothy Kinney-Landis, Tanmatra Bhanti, Meyru Bhanti, Madison Doucette, Ashley Maguire, Emily Martyn, Louisa Strothman, Sarah LaPorte, Sofie Hansen, Emma Rueter, Grace Willingham, Alex Fellows.
Note: Kraig LaPorte, formerly of Boston, has been involved in hockey his whole life. He played youth hockey and later coached/reffed, with this being his first head coaching job at the varsity level.