Tuesday January 22, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Asha Dimatteo-Lepape scored her first varsity goal, Maddie Rollins went on the attack in the second, and the Colonel girls ice hockey team nipped North Country, 2-1, on Martin Luther King Day at Nelson Withington rink.

Snapping a five-game skid, the Colonels employed a new game plan against the visitors, relying on the defense to command movement in the zone by using the glass and forwards to chase, instead of concentrating it out to the wing.

The result, according to the team’s coach Linda Burke, is a new and improved Brattleboro hockey team.

"We had a spectacular game, and when you beat a top-ranked team like North Counry, it’s a big deal," said Burke. "With respect to our forwards, Amber Bessette and Meyru Bhanti did outstanding today."

Bessette kept the pressure up front and was also impressive in the back with her steals and clears. Bhanti worked with Bessette to go deep into Falcon territory, and often flung herself into harm’s way to deflect hard shots coming from North Country.

With three minutes left in the first, Rollins swept across the front of the NC net for a quick shot. It bounced off the Falcon goalie and back onto the ice, then Dimatteo-Lepape hurried through with a follow up flick that gave the Colonels their first goal.

North Country came out in the second period with better defense, and Brattleboro struggled to keep the puck out of their end. When the Colonels did manage to work it to the other side, goalie Mikaella Doran was gloving too many of the Colonels’ shots, so Brattleboro decided to start shooting low. Rollins took charge again, weaving through traffic, to slide her shot past Doran with two minutes on the clock.

Down 2-0, the Falcons’ Taylor Morley and Anyas Morin began to iron out their team’s offensive strategy in the third, but were forced to take slap shots from the perimeter since Brattleboro positioned their defenders inside. When they did get in, Brattleboro goalie Alex Fellows used eagle-like vision to deflect the Falcons blasts.

Fellows made 23 saves between the pipes for the Colonels. Doran stopped 15.

"Fellows was phenomenal today," noted Burke, who said she was also pleased with the team’s other goalie, Lou Lou Terwilliger’s performance. The senior captain became a formidable forward against North Country, putting up big checks on defense, and completing clean passes on the attack.

The Falcons got their lone goal in the third period after Savannah Albergini Giroux pushed it to Whitney Bernier, who slid the puck in off the rebound.

The visitors did their best to knot it up, and sticks clashed as either team vied for possession during the third, but Fellows had plenty of steam left, and teammate Madison Doucette provided enough additional defensive coverage to keep the Falcons away. Fellows made another huge save with 20 seconds left in regulation, and the crowd roared as they knew the game was over.

The 2-6 Colonels will play at Cathedral today at 4 p.m.

David Aquino can be reached at daquino@reformer.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.