BRATTLEBORO — With the calendar flipping to December, teams from the Brattleboro Hockey Association (BHA) continued play in the Greater Springfield League.
On Dec. 5, the BHA's Mite level (ages 6-8) team faced off against the Springfield Capitals. These Mighty Mite Hawks played an outstanding, team-focused brand of hockey featuring jaw dropping pass combinations and aggressive net front presence. Their excellent puck movement led to goals by Andy Kay, Evan Anhert, Evan Wright, Gabe Alexander, Michela Heiden and Nico Conathan-Leach.
"The game was all about the passing," said Brattleboro coach Andy Dick
Anhert and Wright deserve kudos for a tremendous give and go play that led to a highlight reel finish. Wright moved the puck 30 feet from the front of his net to Anhert who was positioned on the right boards. Wright broke hard for the net and was met by a perfect tape to tape pass from Anhert. Wright blistered a one-time wrist shot past a helpless Springfield goalie.
Later in the game, Alexander Dick made a slick breakout pass from behind the net to Nick Fortier. From the left face-off dot Fortier connected with a streaking Nico Conathan-Leach. Conathan-Leach went in uncontested but whistled a shot just wide.
Coach Dick said, "Seeing three-player passing combinations in Mite hockey leaves you with little to say but 'What?' and 'Wow!'"
On the defensive end, Bella Fortier back-checked effectively, thwarting several Capital rushes and Reid Tucker held down the fort in his inaugural performance as goaltender. Tucker played square to the puck and scooped up at least a dozen shots with his glove.
Also on Dec. 5, the BHA's Squirts (ages 9-10) took on the Amherst Rangers at the Nelson Whithington arena in Brattleboro. Amherst took an early lead, scoring the first goal of the game in the first period. Emmett Smith's unassisted goal tied the game later in the period. Brattleboro took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Matthew Gordon-Macey, assisted by Smith. The second period was scoreless as Brattleboro goalie Nick Gerard and the Amherst goaltender both played very well. The Hawks were able to break the game open late in the third period, with four goals as Smith scored his second and third goals of the game to complete his hat trick. Rowan Lonergan and Leo Bodett assisted on these goals. Bodett also found the back of the net himself on a beautiful pass from William Hill. Brattleboro's Will Miskovich scored the final Brattleboro goal of the game, again assisted by William Hill. With the 6-2 victory, the Squirts' record improves to 9-0 on the season.
On Sunday, the first place Brattleboro Hawks Pee Wee squad (ages 11-12) had a tough road game against Amherst, Mass. The Hawks played the entire first period in the Amherst zone, but were unable to sneak one past the stellar Amherst goaltending. The second period was much of the same until Jack Pattison sent a sweet backhand dish to Will Taggard in front of the Amherst goal, where Taggard made no mistake and buried the puck in the back of the net. The strong Hawks defense of Lauren Carpenter, Ethan Young, Aden McMahon and Jack Rockefeller worked to keep Amherst at bay, with a couple timely saves by Darek Harvey when needed. Amherst started the third period with a quick strike that knotted the score at 1-1. The Hawks seemed in jeopardy of the first blemish on their record until late in the third when Nelly Tattersall intercepted an Amherst clearing attempt at the blue line and wired a shot toward goal that Pattison deflected over the glove of the Amherst goalie for the game winner. The Hawks snuck out of town with a 10-0 record on the season.
The BHA Bantams (ages 13-14) lost two contests over the weekend. On Saturday, the Hawks faced Holy Name Black of Springfield, Mass., at the Withington arena. As the puck dropped, the two teams were tied for fourth place among the GSL Bantams with eight points. For two periods the game was a tight, up-tempo contest. After Holy Name jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead, Brattleboro cut the lead in half with a score by Anthony Palomba, with assists going to Gabe Heiden and Nathan Powers. Holy Name began to pull away with a pair of goals late in the second period. Breakdowns proved costly in the third, as the visitors put a 9-1 hurting on the Hawks.
On Sunday, the Bantams traveled to Amelia Rink in Westfield, Mass., to take on the second place Westfield Bombers. In an intense, hard fought, physical game, the Hawks fell 4-3, with Westfield scoring the game winner with 16 seconds remaining. The Bombers broke out to a fast 2-0 lead on a pair of first period goals. Brattleboro did not yield: Tyler Higley potted the first of his two goals, banging it home with assists going to Alex Hudon and Jakob Curtiss. Gabe Heiden tied the game with an unassisted goal at 8:18 of the second. Later in the second, Higley put the Hawks up 3-2, scoring on a strong move to the net and working on a feed from Curtiss, who recorded his second assist of the game. Goaltender Forrest Wohnus played well, resisting a number of Westfield's threats in the second and third periods. At the 11 minute mark of the third, the Bombers tied the game, before collecting the game winner in the final minute of the game.