Colonels, T-Birds to collide on Wednesday
BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Union High School varsity boys ice hockey team has already won the seeding tiebreaker, which means it will host Wednesday's Division 2 playoff game against a foe with an identical record.
The Colonels are now focused on earning a postseason victory on the ice.
"Our guys are ready. They are excited. It's huge for us to host this game. It's good for the seniors and is huge for this program," said BUHS head coach Eric Libardoni, adding that his team is 6-3-1 this season at Memorial Park. "We just want to get this win and keep our season going."
No. 8 Brattleboro (7-12-1) will host ninth-ranked Missisquoi Valley (7-12-1) in Wednesday's playdown game at Nelson Withington arena at 7:15 p.m. The Colonels defeated the T-Birds 3-1 in their regular-season meeting.
"They are fast. They have good team speed. They are on the smaller side, but they have depth and they can put pressure on defenses," noted coach Libardoni.
Braylen Parent is the team's most dangerous weapon with 21 goals on the season.
"It's gonna be a battle. I'm expecting another close game with them," stated the Brattleboro bench boss.
The Colonels have more of a balanced attack. Anthony Palomba (9 goals, 13 assists) and Kam Pelkey (6 goals, 16 assists) lead the team in points, while Mason Powers (8 goals, 9 assists) and Gabe Heiden (8 goals, 7 assists) have also been solid offensively.
Pelkey and Palomba will continue to skate on the same forward line, but the purple and white will be without a key third member — the injured Jasper Reed.
"He is a big piece in terms of his speed and energy," Libardoni said of Reed.
Powers, who was named Second Team All League, leads Brattleboro's defense along with Miles Hiler. Freshman goalie Austin Wood will get the start between the pipes.
"For the most part, Austin has been solid in his starts. He got his first win when we played Missisquoi during the regular season. He has an 89 percent save percentage," noted the BUHS coach.
The Colonels are seeking their first playoff victory since 2013, when they defeated Mount Mansfield 3-1 at "the Lib Crib."
Brattleboro roster: Coaches — Eric Libardoni, Jamie Martell, Alec Goldschmid, Michael Antonucci, Greg Short. Managers — Laol Short, Alex Kendall. Players — Kam Pelkey, Miles Hiler, Forrest Wohnus, Durin Hoyer, Gavin Howard, Jasper Reed, Nathan Powers, Ryan Gerard, Ernesto Antonucci, Gabriel Heiden, Mason Powers, Mason Foard, Alejandro Cornman, Anthony Palomba, Joe Koes, Austin Wood.
Division 2 Seedings
1. Woodstock 19-0-1
2. Mount Mansfield 14-6-0
3. Lyndon 12-7-0
4. Harwood 11-7-2
5. Milton 10-8-1
6. Colchester 9-9-2
7. Northfield 7-11-2
8. Brattleboro 7-12-1
9. Missisquoi 7-12-1
10. Saint Johnsbury 7-12-1
11. Hartford 6-13-1
12. Burlington 5-14-0
13. North Country 3-15-1
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