Middlebury sports center to host New England hockey tourney

MIDDLEBURY — The Girls 19-and-under Tier I Regional Hockey Tournament will be held at the Memorial Sports Center in Middlebury this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The tournament is sponsored by the Vermont State Amateur Hockey Association (VSAHA), in conjunction with the New England District (NED) of USA Hockey (USAH).
The home state Rice Prep Knights, the New Hampshire Northern Cyclones, the Mid Fairfield Connecticut Stars and the Connecticut Junior Eagles will tangle for the regional slot at the national championships in Michigan next month. The Middlebury Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA), the Friends of Middlebury Hockey (FOMH) and the town of Middlebury serve as this year’s hosts.
USAH is the national governing body for organized amateur ice hockey, and the NED is one of its 12 districts. Tier I represents the top level of play at the youth level, and many of these athletes will continue to play their sport at the intercollegiate level after high school. This weekend’s tournament will showcase some of the best high school aged female hockey players from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The Rice Knights enter the tournament with a record of 15-24-4, ending the season on a positive run of 7-1-0, including a strong 3-1-0 record at the North American Prep Hockey Association league championships. The neighboring Northern Cyclones bring a 34-23-5 record, and were recently crowned New England Women’s Junior Hockey League champions for the third year in a row.
The Mid Fairfield Connecticut Stars carry a 25-7-2 record to the tournament, and enter as their state’s top seed after defeating three other Tier I competitors to win the Connecticut Hockey Conference championship. The Connecticut Junior Eagles round out the bracket, boasting a 12-12-2 record in their inaugural season, securing a berth in the regional by knocking off the pre-tournament No. 1 seed in the same championship before falling to the Connecticut Stars.
All four teams have the bona fides to represent New England well at the national championships.
Game schedule for Friday, March 17:
Game 1 (6 p.m.) — Vt. Rice Knights vs. N.H. Northern Cyclones
Game 2 (7:30 p.m.) — Mid Fairfield Conn. Stars vs. Conn. Junior Eagles
Game schedule for Saturday, March 18:
Game 3 (9:30 a.m.) — Vt. Rice Knights vs. Mid Fairfield Conn. Stars
Game 4 (11 a.m.) — N.H. Northern Cyclones vs. Conn. Junior Eagles
Game 5 (4:30 p.m.) — N.H. Northern Cyclones vs. Mid Fairfield Conn. Stars
Game 6 (6 p.m.) — Conn. Junior Eagles vs. Vt. Rice Knights
Game schedule for Sunday, March 19:
Championship (8 a.m.) — TBA

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