Feb. 25, 2010
By Mal Boright
Going for their seventh Division 1 girls ice hockey crown in the last nine years, the Green and Gold of Bellows Free Academy team from St. Albans proved unflappable Monday night at Kreitzberg Arena at Norwich University in Northfield.
The Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks, in only their second ever semifinal appearance, gave the seasoned BFA unit some serious challenges — but the Comets had answers, and took charge in the final minutes of the game for a 6-3 victory.
Now 14-4-4, third-seeded BFA moves on to Friday night’s title test against top-seeded Spaulding High of Barre, which won 5-2 over Essex High in Monday night’s second semifinal contest.
CVU coach Tom Ryan told the news media after the game that his team “did a great job this season,” reminding all that the Redhawks went 1-19 just three seasons ago.
One of several CVU players who had BFA coaches reaching for the ulcer medicine was sophomore blazer Sophia Steinhoff, who authored a three-goal hat trick that kept the Redhawks in contention until the final five minutes.
The deftly skating Steinhoff opened the scoring with almost six minutes gone in the first period, taking the puck at mid-rink, escaping a trap along the left boards and cutting in on the net from a sharp angle before firing it past BFA net minder Shanley Howrigan.
Less than two minutes later, BFA tied it with a rebound shot from out of a crowd in front of CVU goalie Nicole Sisk.
The Comets were in front 2-1 when Steinhoff struck again, knocking in a rebound at 10:57 of the second period, assists going to KK Logan and Kate Ford.
But the unfazed Comets came right back just 17 seconds later to take the lead on an Allie Berno tally.
After BFA went up 4-2 on a power play goal 44 seconds into the final period, Steinhoff, assisted by Ford, got the Redhawks back to within a single score at 9:21.
But BFA second team Metro All-Star Katelynn Morneau, a speedy forward, knocked in goals at 8:14 and 5:19 to reassert Comet control.
Trailing by two with 7:13 left, CVU had a golden opportunity with two BFA players off for penalties, but the five-three advantage did not result in a score and was lost a minute later on a CVU penalty. Morneau’s second goal came on a shorthanded breakaway at 5:19.
CVU had a slight 22-19 edge in shots on goal.
Junior Molly Howard, who scored her 100th point with a goal and assist in CVU’s solid 3-2 quarterfinal win over South Burlington High on Saturday at Cairns Arena, had some solid chances Monday but narrowly missed corners on breathtaking breakaway opportunities.
Steinhoff and defender extraordinaire Alyx Rivard also racked up goals for CVU in the victory over the Rebels.
HONORS FOR HOCKEY PLAYERS, COACH
Four members of the Champlain Valley Union High girls semifinal hockey team have been named to the 2010 metro Division All-Star team as chosen by the coaches.
In addition, head coach Tom Ryan was named coach of the year after guiding the Redhawks to a 16-5-1 record and second seed in the Division 1 playoffs.
All-Metro second team selections went to junior forward Molly Howard and junior defender Alyx Rivard.
Sophomore Sophia Steinhoff, a forward, was named to the third team, while senior forward KK Logan earned an honorable mention.
— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent