BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro boys ice hockey team entered Friday night’s big game hoping to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss to Burr and Burton. And the Colonels did just that, with a 5-2 victory over Milton at Memorial Park.
"We worked really hard on Thursday," noted BUHS coach Eric Libardoni on the team’s preparation. "We skated a lot. Our effort on Wednesday was poor. We were challenged to bounce back, but these guys are resilient like that. We might have needed Wednesday night."
With 11 minutes to play in the first, the Colonels were tested on the penalty kill. As the Jackets looked great on the power play, junior goalie Greg DiSilva looked solid and didn’t give Milton the early edge. The positive penalty kill led to the Colonels having better chances offensively. Then, with five minutes remaining in the period, Milton had a tripping penalty. Brattleboro’s great offensive play carried over into the power play and helped the Colonels get on the board first. With 3:09 left, sophomore defensemen Cooper Turner-Renaud took a laser slap shot that deflected off freshman forward Evan Perkins for the goal. With two minutes left, the Jackets had a two-man advantage, and the Colonels were tested again to keep the lead. DiSilva and company killed the penalties to keep it at 1-0. Brattleboro went into the locker room with the lead after a great first period, and two equally skilled teams going at it.
The Colonels started the second period on the power play after a Milton penalty with 40 seconds left in the first. Brattleboro created good chances on the man advantage with help from senior forward Andy Harris being the leader. Harris’s play helped the Colonels get their second goal of the night, when senior forward Adam Griffin scored on a tip-in up front on Milton goaltender Brandon Rhoades. BUHS had a 2-0 lead just a few minutes in. But the Yellow Jackets answered the Griffin goal with one of their own, with Brandon Cardinal pushing the puck in on DiSilva. The score was 2-1, and Milton was coming right back into the game.
With eight minutes left in the second period, the Colonels started to attack the net more. The chances led to a great goal by Harris, who scored off his own rebound to make it 3-1 Colonels. Just as the Jackets began to generate good chances, they gave up a roughing penalty with five minutes to go in the period. On the power play, senior captain Philip Perkins took a slap shot from the point that was rebounded to Harris, who buried the puck and give him his second goal of the night. Brattleboro went into the second intermission with 4-1 lead.
The Colonels started the third period on the power play and a three-goal lead. Both teams shared hard checks and became more physical. But the Colonels were a little too physical, giving up a roughing penalty to Milton. With 8:26 left in the game, senior forward Seth Amstein scored with a wrist shot while DiSilva was screened. The score was 4-2, and the Jackets had life late in the period.
Then with 4:32 left to play, Harris finished the hat trick with a wrist shot to the right of Rhoades.
"We played a lot harder," noted Libardoni. "We played with a lot more effort and we were smarter. That’s a good team we just beat, and I thought we did it convincingly."
BUHS (11-3) will next play at Burlington on Wednesday.