BRATTLEBORO -- Up until just a few days ago, the PeeWee Blues were having a somewhat mediocre season. They had taken their bumps early on, proved themselves against some pretty formidable squads, but were ranked seventh as their regular season drew to a close.
Now they’re No. 1 and are heading to the finals.
"The team has busted their butts to get here," said PeeWee Blues coach Jared Powers. "A lot of athletic development has brought them to this point. The boys battled hard this weekend and really earned those wins. It was impressive to watch a solid, well-rounded effort from everyone on the team."
After a ferocious four-game weekend, taking on teams from Middlebury and South Burlington, the Brattleboro youth hockey team has advanced to the Vermont State Championship in Middlebury, where they will face Northfield on Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m.
The team’s recent contests took them to Highgate, a Vermont town that borders Canada, where they came out on top in their respective division, after an 8-2 decision over South Burlington.
"Both teams were fatigued from playing earlier in the day," said Powers. "The thing that worked for us was to try and skate the puck end-to-end with clean passing. This kept the pressure on as we moved the puck around and outworked them."
Powers, who with his team will be traveling to the finals for the first time ever, said he thinks he will employ a similar strategy against Northfield.
Brattleboro netminder Austin "Woody" Wood helped his team to three shutouts before the weekend’s South Burlington matchup. Wood’s progress in goal has largely been due to the extra coaching attention he has received from BUHS varsity hockey coach Eric Libardoni, who has also spent time with some of the other Blue players.
"Libardoni’s a great coach," said Powers. "The kids really look up to him and his team."
As for coach Powers, just one more important game stands between his Blues and the PeeWee crown.
"They can totally do it this year," said Powers. "These kids have it in them."
Underdog Mites show their stuff, Squirts take two of three and the Withington Cup
BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Mites prevailed in a Sunday game against a heavily favored Holy Name team. All seven BHA skaters potted at least one goal while goalie Kyle Hamilton was stellar in net.
Scorers for BHA were: Evan Wright with four, William Hill with a hat trick, Nick Gerard and Sam Hall each netting a pair, and Rowan Lonergan, Marina Wilson and Ali Ibrahim all with one goal apiece. The Mites send a special thank you to Squirt player Alex Palomba, who generously lent his helmet to an under-equipped Mite.
The Brattleboro Squirts had a busy three-game weekend. On Saturday the Hawks hosted the Franklin County Warriors in a showdown between the second and third-ranked teams in the GSL. The Hawks played tough team defense throughout the game, led by Aden McMahon and Jenna Powers and backboned by goalie Darek Harvey. Gabe Heiden and Alex Palomba each lit the lamp for the Hawks, but the Warrior attack proved to be too much for the Hawks as the visitors potted a couple goals in the third to beat the Hawks, 4-2.
Sunday morning found the Hawks in West Springfield, Ma, to take on the PV Lightning. The Hawks came out flying in the first as they raced out to a 2-0 lead. Leo Bodett scored first after a nifty faceoff win by Heiden, followed by Emmett Smith making a nice pass to Palomba for the second Hawks goal. With a 2-0 lead the Beauty and the Beasts took charge of the game and rattled off four quick goals. Jack Pattison scored three straight for the hat trick off feeds from Will Taggard and Kami Meier. Taggard added another for that line to put the Hawks up 6-0. The 9-0 final was cemented after goals from Heiden, Lauren Carpenter and Cameron Fry.
Sunday afternoon the Hawks hosted the Keene Cobras for the Withington Cup. The Hawks were tough on defense, led by the goaltending of Darek Harvey and the shutdown D of Nelly Tattersall and Carpenter. Will Taggard had the hot stick, striking for four goals, aided by beautiful passing plays by linemates Pattison and Meier.
Late in the second period Elliot Davis jumped on a loose puck high in the Cobra end and exploded toward the goal before burying the biscuit through the Cobra goalie’s five hole for what proved to be the Cup-winning goal. Bodett added an insurance marker with 19 seconds left in the second and the Hawks hung on in the third for a 6-4 victory to keep the Cup in Brattleboro for another year.