Local roundup: Raiders girls hockey suffers early exit

  • Mackenzie Ray

Staff Reports
Published: 3/2/2022 8:29:24 AM
Modified: 3/2/2022 5:08:40 PM

WEST LEBANON — The Lebanon-Stevens-Kearsarge girls hockey team exited the NHIAA playoffs in the first round Tuesday, falling 4-2, to Pinkerton at Campion Rink.

The eighth-seeded Raiders didn’t lack for effort, but finishing flaws combined with what the hosts viewed as inconsistent officiating allowed the ninth-seeded Astros to escape.

LSK led, 2-1, with nine minutes remaining in the second period when Greta Barber received a five-minute major for driving an opponent face-first into the corner boards. Pinkerton took a 3-2 lead on the ensuing power play, but the Astros’ Molly Fahey was soon penalized for knocking the Raiders’ Mackenzie Ray into the wall.

The fouls appeared similar, but Fahey was issued a two-minute minor. LSK coach Mike Sheehan said the officials’ explanation was that Barber’s foul was potentially more dangerous, a distinction he disputed given that Ray limped off the ice and never returned to the game.

“The penalty they called hurt us, and the penalty they didn’t call hurt us,” said Sheehan, whose team finished 9-9 and played without concussed defender Olivia Pollard during the season’s final two weeks. “Then we had scoring chances in the third period, and we couldn’t put them in.”

The Raiders fell, 6-0, at Pinkerton during the teams’ regular-season finale but battled the Astros at every turn Tuesday. The hosts opened the scoring with two minutes remaining in the first period when Phoebe Ballard’s pass from the right corner deflected off a defender’s skate and into the net.

Pinkerton (10-9) pulled even three minutes into the second period when a shot from the right circle struck kneeling goaltender Paige Hoegler before trickling through her legs and across the line.

LSK took a 2-1 lead after Barber skated up the right wing, collected the rebound of her own shot and curled behind the net, emerging on the opposite side. Her pass found Ray unmarked in front and with goaltender Maddie Moore out of position. Ray, a freshman who missed much of the winter season after a field hockey injury in the fall, scored into the waiting twine.

Pinkerton notched its first power-play goal on Madison Gibeault’s wicked snap shot over Hoegler’s shoulder and its second when the netminder kicked her right leg out at a shot that would have sailed wide. Instead, the puck caught the curve of her pad just above the foot and deflected through her legs and into the net at a sharp angle.

“I’m sure that’s one she’d like back,” said Sheehan, whose team played every game with at least one significant player out because of illness or injury. “We made a couple of mistakes that bit us, but we hung with them, and there were stretches of the game we were the better team.”

Pinkerton scored its final goal with 16 seconds remaining. LSK has won nine or more games three times during the past four seasons and is 57-66-2 during its last seven campaigns. The Raiders will lose Hoegler, Lilly Gogan and Emma Leute to graduation.

— Tris Wykes

Hartford 3, Missisquoi 1

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Less than a minute after the Thunderbirds equalized late in the second period, the Hurricanes (18-3-0) went back in front and advanced to the VPA Division II semifinals.

Freshman sensation Madison Barwood gave No. 2 seed Hartford a lead it would not relinquish, and senior Grace Bazin added an insurance tally in the third. The scoreline could have looked much worse for No. 7 seed Missisquoi, which was outshot, 47-19.

Junior Sophie Trombley scored the Hurricanes’ first goal in the opening period, with Bazin and her younger sister, freshman Emma Bazin, providing assists. Trombley and Emma Bazin assisted on Barwood’s goal.

“I’m glad (the Missisquoi goal) lit a fire under us,” Hartford coach Kylie Ammel Young said. “Definitely the most challenging mental game we’ve had all season.”

The Canes will host No. 3 seed U-32, who they defeated twice during the regular season, in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Boys Hockey Hartford 4, Middlebury 2

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — After two periods, the undefeated, top-seeded Hurricanes, in head coach Todd Bebeau’s words, had “one foot in the grave.”

Hartford had given up two power-play goals to the No. 9 seed Tigers in the second and found itself trailing by one at second intermission. But the Canes (21-0-0) figured it out in time, digging deep to advance to the VPA Division II semifinals.

The top line of junior forwards Blaine Gour, James McReynolds and Ozzie DeFelice produced the tying and go-ahead goals. DeFelice scored the equalizer just 80 seconds into the third period, with Gour assisting, and McReynolds’s unassisted goal gave Hartford the lead. Sophomore Ezra Mock’s second goal of the game, an empty-netter, provided the final margin.

“I just told them to put 15 minutes together,” Bebeau said. “Sometimes in the tournament, you have to survive and advance. That’s playoff hockey. Our kids just did not want our season to end.”

The Canes host No. 4 seed Mt. Mansfield in the semifinals at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Hartford defeated the Cougars, 7-2, on Feb. 9.

Mt. Mansfield 2, Woodstock 1

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. — The Wasps saw their season come to a close with a hard-fought loss to the Cougars in the VPA Division II quarterfinals.

Woodstock (11-9-2) graduates captain Evan Kurash, Ryan Runstein, Riley Ward, Cameron Harriman, Keaton Piconi and Chase Conway.

Boys Basketball Mid Vermont Christian 44, Poultney 32

QUECHEE — The Eagles used a second-half charge to race past Poultney in a tight first round matchup to open the VPA Division IV postseason.

The visitors led, 18-15, at halftime before MVCS found another offensive gear after the break. The Eagles scored 17 points in the third quarter to take the lead for good.

“Poultney played with lots of patience and came out with a tough man-to-man defense that slowed us down,” MVCS coach Erva Barnes said. “We changed things up defensively and started to move the ball better on offense (in the third quarter). We’re a young and playoff-inexperienced team, but I was proud of our smart decision-making and not letting the close game rattle us.”

The Eagles (14-6) were mistake-free for most of the night, committing only seven turnovers. Joel Roberts had a team-high 15 points. Roman Goeppner had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Abel Goodwin had 13 points, five boards and five steals. Carson Meloon added six points.

The win was the Eagles’ first in the playoffs since 201e. Up next for MVCS is a visit to White River Valley on Friday for the quarterfinals.

White River Valley 76, Twin Valley 22

SOUTH ROYALTON — The No. 3 seed Wildcats left little doubt to open the VPA Division IV playoffs, dispatching Twin Valley with a true team effort.

“All the kids played well,” WRV coach Mike Gaudette said. “I was pleased with all the kids supporting each other, whether it was our starters or the kids on the bench cheering on their teammates.”

The Wildcats built a 40-7 lead at halftime and had eight players score five or more points. Dominic Craven led the way with 19 points, including three three-pointers. Austin Tracy had 12 of his 14 points during the first half. Donovan Craven added 10 points. Arliss Spaulding and Brayden Russ each chipped in eight points.

WRV (15-4) will host Mid Vermont Christian in the quarterfinals on Friday at 7 p.m in the first matchup of the two local schools this season.

Windsor 51, Northfield 45

NORTHFIELD, Vt. — The No. 10 seed Yellowjackets went on the road and took down No. 7 Northfield in the opening round of the VPA Division III playoffs.

The win sets up retiring coach Harry Ladue and the Yellowjackets (9-11) with a quarterfinal berth on Friday night at No. 2 seed Hazen (16-4). The two did not face off during the regular season.

Vergennes 60, Thetford 43

VERGENNES, Vt. — The Commodores held off an upset attempt by the No. 13 seed Panthers in the first round of the VPA Division III playoffs.

Thetford (4-16) will graduate Mack Briglin, Ethan Marshia, Alex Kim and Logan Protzman.

Blue Mountain 71, Sharon 29

WELLS RIVER, Vt. — The No. 13 seed Phoenix were no match for the No. 4 seed Bucks in the VPA Division IV first round.

Sharon (4-17) graduates Riley Eastman, Daniel Henderson, Jaxon Nichols and Jack Brandon.

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