Tiger girls’ hockey nails down second seed

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Union High School girls’ team defeated two of its three main rivals for the Division I title last week as the regular season ended to finish at 15-4-1 and earn the No. 2 seed.
On Wednesday the Tigers knocked off first-place Essex, 3-1, and on Saturday the Tigers went to St. Albans and halted fourth-place BFA-St. Albans’ eight-game winning streak, also by 3-1.
The Tigers will host a quarterfinal this weekend. Their opponent will be the winner of a playdown game, probably between No. 7 Burlington-Colchester and No. 10 Burr & Burton.
The Vermont Principals’ Association was set to release official playoff pairings on Monday morning.
On this past Wednesday the Tigers outplayed first-place Essex (14-3-2). The Tigers jumped on top 2:18 into the game on a Tully Hescock goal. Andi Boe controlled in the right corner and fed Hescock cutting into the high slot, and she rifled home a 15-footer.
Essex forechecked effectively and created good chances in the first period, but Tiger goalie Katie Billings (12 saves) made several tough stops to preserve the lead.
   TIGER FRESHMAN KATHERINE Donahue defends against an Essex attack last Wednesday night in Middlebury.
The Tigers dominated the second period, outshooting the Hornets, 7-2, and getting a Boe goal 2:46 in to make it 2-0. Defender Abby Gleason sent the puck to Boe, and she beat a defender into the zone and snapped a shot from the left circle past Hornet goalie Lindsay Hollowell (18 saves).
Hornet Olivia Miller-Johnson cashed in a rare Tiger miscue 4:29 into the third, picking up a failed clear at the blue line and scoring on a similar shot to Boe’s.
But the Tigers answered 13 seconds later. Hescock and Boe won a battle for the puck behind the net. Boe pushed it out to Helen Anderson out front, and she spun and slid a forehand inside the left post. The Tiger penalty kill, strong all night, fended off a late power play to preserve the win.
On Saturday, the Tigers connected for two power-play goals and killed nine penalties at BFA (13-7). Monroe Cromis scored the game’s first goal on a wraparound 41 seconds in the second period, with Bartlett assisting.
The Comets knotted the score three minutes later after a Tiger blue-line miscue. Emma Hill converted after Lizzie Hill poked the puck past a fallen defender. The Tigers killed almost four minutes of a BFA five-on-three power play later in the period, with Billings (21 saves) making key stops.
The Tigers struck 42 seconds into the third period on a five-on-three power play. BFA goalie Maddie Hungerford (21 saves) stopped Hescock’s shot, but Kate Donahue netted the rebound. At 13:09 Bartlett created the 3-1 final by banging home the rebound of a Cromis shot from a scramble, also on a power play.

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