MUHS boys' hockey team wins in double OT

MIDDLEBURY — The third-seeded Middlebury Union High School boys’ hockey team got the game-winning goal from sophomore Tyler Giorgio in double overtime on Wednesday night to turn back visiting No. 6 Hartford, 3-2, in a Division II quarterfinal.

The 16-4-2 Tigers, who stretched their unbeaten streak to nine games, earned a semifinal date with No. 2 U-32. They will visit the 18-2-1 Raiders at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Barre Ice Rink. U-32 won the winter’s only meeting between the two teams, also in Barre, 2-1, with the shots even at 20 apiece.

Because No. 8 Burr & Burton upset No. 1 Woodstock on Wednesday, the Tigers and Raiders are the top seeds remaining in the tournament. No. 4. Stowe (16-5) and No. 5 Milton (14-7) will meet on Thursday night in the last remaining quarterfinal, and the winner of that game will face Burr & Burton next week.

Vs. Hartford (14-8), the Tigers needed freshman Henry Hodde’s second goal of the game with just less than three minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime.

That play, which occurred shortly after the Tigers successfully killed a five-minute major penalty, was set up by senior Tyler Crowningshield. Crowningshield picked up the puck in the right circle after a Hurricane miscue and fired on Hartford goalie Richie Morrill (26 saves). The puck bounced off his chest back toward the circle, and Hodde whipped it home over his shoulder.

With two minutes to go in regulation, Tiger goalie Sawyer Ryan made his biggest of his 19 saves, denying a breakaway after the Tigers mishandled the puck on their own blue line.

The Tigers had the better chances in the first eight-minute overtime, with Morrill stopping Crowningshield and Brett Viens from the slot.

With a clean sheet of ice for the second scheduled 15-minute overtime, the Tigers wasted little time. Junior defenseman Andrew Gleason, to whom the Hurricanes had paid special attention all game, skated into the zone down the right side and found space below the circle.

He fired across the goalmouth, and Giorgio, crashing the net, deflected the puck off Morrill and into the far corner to trigger a celebration on the ice and in the standing-room-only crowd.

Earlier, Hodde had given the Tigers the lead in the game’s first minute, one-timing the puck home from the slot, with Viens getting the assist. The Tigers controlled the period, but with about 10 minutes gone Hartford cashed in on one of just three shots. Kyle Weeks broke up a clear on the right boards and skated in to beat Ryan with a close-range wrister.

In the first minute of the second period, another session otherwise largely controlled by the Tigers, Hartford took the lead when Nate Lemieux one-timed in a Weeks feed from the left side.

A more detailed story with photos and quotes will appear in the Independent’s Feb. 29 edition.

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