MANCHESTER -- With 8:38 left to go in the game, Burr and Burton Academy’s Nathaniel Eisenman took a pass in front of goal and fired it through the legs of Brattleboro goalie Greg DiSilva causing the hometown faithful to erupt in cheers.
The goal tied the game 4-4. About seven minutes later, Eisenman put the Bulldogs (4-14) ahead for good -- recording a hat-trick in the process.
"It felt really good," said Eisenman of the game winning goal. "I was fortunate enough for the puck to pop out, [and I] just skated hard down the Š ice and [I] thought I saw where he was weak and just put it in."
The victory puts the Bulldogs one win away from earning a playoff berth with just two games remaining in the season -- something that both Eisenman and junior forward Andy Ishu (1 goal, 2 assists) said would mean a lot to the team.
"Last year we had a real strong team. We made it all the way to the Gut (Gutterson Fieldhouse) and unfortunately we couldn’t make it," said Ishu. This year with a rebuilding year Š I think we’re starting to rally around now and hopefully we can make it back there." The Colonels (4-12-1) got the scoring started just :24 seconds into the first period when Declan Lonergan slipped a soft goal past BBA goalie Julian Woodrow (7 saves) into the side netting off the assist from Evan Perkins (2 assists).
The teams battled for possession of the puck for much of the first period until Eisenman equalized with a 1:27 left to go in the first.
Following a scramble in front of the net 30 seconds later, Thomas Grabher got the rebound and punched it into the back of the net to give the Bulldogs the 2-1 lead.
But the first period action wasn’t quite over. About :40 seconds later, Ishu weaved through two defenders, got Brattleboro goalie Greg DiSilva to move to his stick side and fired a shot into the side netting with :09 seconds left in the period to take the 3-1 lead.
BBA lost their momentum in the second period though as Brattleboro came out strong.
Just over six minutes into the period Lonergan took a pass in front of the goal and slipped it through the five hole to pull the Colonels within one. About four minutes later Brennen Zolnoski fired a shot past Woodrow stick side to tie the game 3-3 off an assist from defenseman Jon Curtis. Then with 2:38 remaining to go in the period the Colonels reclaimed the lead when Conor Hiner snuck one through Woodrow’s pads.
"They just outplayed us in the second period," said Burr and Burton Academy coach Joe Ferrara. "We let in a couple of soft ones there, but they Š worked us the second period."
Coming into the third period Brattleboro coach Eric Libardoni said there was one thing that he wanted his team to focus on.
"We wanted to just try to eliminate any turnovers and not give them any easy chances, but then we handed them two pretty easy goals," he said. "That was as bad as we’ve played in a while. I give Burr and Burton credit. They took advantage of a lot of opportunities."
Once the third started though it was Eisenman’s time to shine as he scored the remaining two goals and cemented the win for the Bulldogs.
There are wins and there are great wins," said Ferrara. "This is a great win for our program and our kids because of the way it happened. Š We’re fighting for a playoff spot. We’ve got to have one more win to qualify for [the] playoffs. So, this was big for us."
The Bulldogs will play their last home game of the regular season against St. Johnsbury on Wednesday beginning at 5:45 p.m. at Riley Rink.