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Tiger girls’ hockey works hard to pick up key win over Raiders

MIDDLEBURY — Junior Helen Anderson’s overtime goal, on a rebound of junior Satchel McLaughlin’s wraparound bid, gave the Middlebury Union High School girls’ hockey team a pivotal, 2-1 victory over visiting Rutland on Saturday.
The result leapfrogged the 10-3-1 Tigers over the 11-3-1 Raiders and into second place in Division I, according to the Vermont Principals’ Association website.
The teams trail five-time defending champion Essex (12-1) in the standings, but each also has another crack at the Hornets after competitive earlier games. Saturday’s result also gives MUHS the inside track on home ice for a potential semifinal vs. the Raiders.
Co-Coach Matt Brush said Saturday’s game, in which the Tigers outshot the Raiders, 32-23, and got 22 saves from senior goalie Rowan Hendy, should give the Tigers a lift after three recent losses — one to Essex, and two to Beekmantown, N.Y., the team that defeated Essex.
“First half of the season we were strong. We hadn’t been defeated. And we lost three games in seven days, one to Essex and two to Beekmantown, two really good teams, but any time you lose three games in seven days you wonder where your confidence is, whether you can respond,” Brush said. “And I’m really happy with the way the girls responded tonight.”
On Saturday, the Tigers, who pitted their edge in speed against the Raiders’ advantage in size and strength that helped them win battles along the boards, also had to respond to an early deficit: The Raiders scored 4:47 into the game.
Emma Mazzariello chipped the puck into the right corner and won the race to it. She circled the net and found Caitlin Laird steaming through the left circle. Laird slapped the puck just inside the far post to give Rutland the lead.
The Tigers answered with sustained forechecking: Forwards Anderson, Julia Carone, Andi Boe, Polly Heminway, Monroe Cromis and Tulley Hescock all disrupted the Raiders.
The work paid off at 9:59. Defender Raven Payne kept the puck in the zone, and Carone got it and found Boe in the right circle. Boe shot for the far side, and the puck deflected off a defender and past Rutland goalie Carolyn Laird (30 saves) into the near corner.
Late in the period Hendy sprawled to deny Angelina’s one-timer from the slot. Early in the second period, Laird stopped Anderson from the right circle and Carone on the rebound at the far post, and Hendy gloved Meghan Hamilton’s close-range backhander.
Brush noted the work of both Hendy and Laird, who made 13 saves in the second period as the Tigers controlled most of the play, including Boe from the slot on the power play. On the same power play Hendy denied Hamilton’s close-range shorthanded bid.
 “Our goalie got the game puck for us because she played wonderfully. I thought Carolyn at the other end played just as strong,” Brush said.
Defenders also deserve credit: McLaughlin, Abby Gleason, Kate Donahue, Molly Wetmore and Payne for MUHS, and sisters Lily and Maggie Schillinger in particular for the Raiders.
“Rutland did a great job trying to control the speed and effectiveness of our forwards,” Brush said. “For the most part our defense played Meghan (Hamilton) and Mazzie (Mazzariello) really strongly and didn’t give them too many open looks.”
The Tigers couldn’t keep the momentum going in the third period, however, as they were whistled for four penalties, one with a second to go that carried into overtime. But Brush was not unhappy with the Tigers: He wanted them to match the Raiders’ physical, but clean, play, and saw the calls as a byproduct.
“If you play physical sometimes you run the risk of finding the penalty box,” Brush said. “We found ourselves on the wrong end of that a couple times, but I think it led to better play overall by the team.”
The Tigers allowed no shots on the first two penalties, and Hendy made a routine save on the third. Boe, Carone, Anderson, Gleason, McLaughlin and Cromis helped kill the penalties effectively.
In the late going Anderson just missed wide on one rush, and McLaughlin broke up Laird after she stole the puck.
But with a second left, McLaughlin was assessed two minutes for an inadvertent high stick. Hendy opened overtime by stopping Caitlin Laird and Mazzariello bids, and Donahue also made a defensive play on the final Raider power play.
Then Tiger lightning struck. MUHS cleared the puck just as McLaughlin exited the box. She and Anderson broke in two-on-two, with McLaughlin on the left. McLaughlin curled clockwise around the net and forced Carolyn Laird to slide over to make the save. The puck popped toward the open far side of the net. Anderson had won position, and slid in the game-winner 2:13 into overtime.
On Wednesday the Tigers defeated winless host Burr and Burton, 6-2. Hescock scored twice, Boe had a goal and two assists, Anderson notched a goal and an assist, and Carone also scored. Tiger goalie Katie Billings made nine saves, while BBA goalie Molly Dingley stopped 42 shots.
But Saturday’s game was the one that really mattered, Brush said.
“We know each other really well. We had a tight game earlier in the season, 2-2,” he said. “I thought down in Rutland early in the season their physicality got the best of us. But I thought we responded pretty well today with some pretty good physical play ourselves.”

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