By Mal Boright
In the critical part of its schedule, the youthful Champlain Valley Union High boys’ hockey team heads for St. Albans Saturday (7:30 p.m.) for a clash with a formidable Bellows Free Academy six.
This contest follows the Redhawks’ home outing Wednesday (Observer press time) at Cairns Arena against Rutland High.
CVU bowed 4-1 at home to BFA early in the season and now has a chance to pull even in the two-game regular season series.
Coach Mike Murray’s Redhawks got some hockey learning Saturday evening as they nipped visiting Spaulding High 1-0 at Cairns Arena in a game in which they carried a huge advantage in territorial play.
But the 9-3-2 Crimson Tide, out shot 32-19 by the storming Hawks, nevertheless mounted serious threats, including gaining a man advantage thanks to a CVU penalty with one minute and 49 seconds left in regulation. With its goalie pulled for an added attacker, the Tide swarmed, but was held off the score sheet as CVU netminder Greg Talbert made a full frontal save just as the final buzzer sounded.
Talbert, one of but six seniors, notched 19 stops in garnering the Redhawks’ seventh zip job of the campaign and second of the week. CVU blanked Colchester 4-0 a week ago Wednesday at Leddy Park.
The game’s lone goal came midway through the second period. Senior forward Cam (The Human Lightning Strike) Rivard rocketed down the right side of the rink, passed to freshman Tyler Brooks and senior Elliott Mitchell in front of Tide goalie Justin Laperle.
Mitchell slammed the puck past Laperle, who otherwise was unbeatable. Brooks also drew an assist.
Rivard was a scampering force all game long with swift rushes into the Spaulding end that helped keep the Tide back on its defensive heels.
CVU had to kill a total of three penalties in the final reel. Among the effective short-handed workers was sophomore Owen McCuin, who trapped a Spaulding player behind his own net and tied him up for at least six of seven valuable seconds while the penalty expired.
It was the Redhawks second 1-0 victory over the Crimson Tide.