Tiger boys’ hockey beats Northfield, 6-2

MIDDLEBURY — The No. 4 Middlebury Union High School boys’ hockey team won its first-round Division II playoff game on Saturday night, 6-2, over visiting No. 13 Northfield.
The Tigers improved to 13-6-2 and will next host No. 5 U-32 (13-7-1) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in a quarterfinal. That game will be a rematch of a Feb. 11 contest hosted and won by the Raiders, 5-2. In another first-round game on Saturday, U-32 defeated visiting Brattleboro on Wednesday, 5-4, after falling behind by 3-0.
If the Tigers’ prevail this coming Wednesday, they will move onto a semifinal at a time and place to be determined, either at No. 1 Harwood (14-3-4) or at home against No. 9 St. Johnsbury (9-11-1). Those teams will also meet on Wednesday.
The D-II final will be played at the University of Vermont at 6 p.m. on March 9.
Against Northfield on this past Saturday, the Tigers scored four goals in a 5:05 span of the second period to snap a 2-2 tie. The Tigers took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Nathan Lalonde, from Tyler Crowningshield, and Andrew Gleason, from Lalonde.
Northfield’s Jackson Clayton scored twice in the second period, and his goal at 8:02 knotted the score at 2-2. But 32 seconds later, Tiger Seamus Eagan converted a Brett Viens assist to put MUHS back on top, and at 9:14 Justin Stone made it 4-2, from Crowningshield & Krystian Gombosi.
At 10:35, Jerry Niemo tallied, with a helper from Eagan, and at 13:39 Stone capped the decisive surge. Goalie Sawyer Ryan backstopped the win with 17 saves.
The Tigers had earned the No. 4 seed by winning at Northfield the previous Wednesday, 4-1, as Stone recorded a hat trick, all on feeds from Crowningshield, and Ryan stopped 15 shots. They leapfrogged defending champion Stowe in the standings when Stowe lost on Feb. 18 at the same time to Woodstock.

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