N.H. stars smoke Vermont counterparts in boys hockey (7/2/09)

Sportsmanship award goes to CVU’s Soll

July 2, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The Vermont team in the 17th Make-A-Wish Boys All-Star Hockey Classic suffered an 8-0 licking at the hands of its New Hampshire counterparts Saturday evening at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse. But for the five graduated Champlain Valley Union High seniors on the Green Mountain team, the game was still a big plus.

And one of the CVU contingent, Ben Soll, earned his team’s sportsmanship award.

“This game was great fun,” Soll said after the postgame awards ceremony. “This may be the last time I play hockey at this level.”

Soll is planning to attend UVM this fall.

Soll started the game on defense, but coach Will MacKinnon had him take a couple of shifts at right wing during the contest, where he nearly broke loose a couple of times for rushes at the New Hampshire net.

Joining Soll from the 2009 CVU Division 1 championship team were forwards Tim Reichert and Brady DeHayes, along with defensemen Chris Howard and Owen Smith.

CVU co-coaches MacKinnon and Doug Hopper were at the all-star team’s helm.

The final score was deceiving in that the contest was highly competitive until the third period, when New Hampshire chalked up six scores.

“We thought in the third period they (N.H.) would tire because they had only two sets of D (defensemen),” said MacKinnon. “But it looks like we tired.”

Early in the game it was Vermont that appeared the stronger of the two teams.

The Green Mountain guys, eager to pick up the state’s first triumph in the series since 2004, outgunned the Granite Staters 8-4 in the initial period, just missing a goal in the game’s first minute when Vermont’s high school Mr. Hockey, Trevor Pollock of Burr and Burton, rattled a shot off the crossbar.

Ward Gleason of New Hampshire gave his team a 1-0 lead at 10:28 of the period.

Vermont was unable to take advantage of two late period power play opportunities, then found itself scrambling early in the second reel when the penalty box door opened for two of its players and New Hampshire dominated play for the first seven minutes, outshooting the locals 9-0 and scoring a power play goal at 9:40.

“We had a lot of opportunities the first two periods,” MacKinnon said. “We hit two posts. It was a completely different game.”

Vermont’s second best chance at a score came when Jordan Dufresne from Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans banged a hard shot off a pipe late in the second period.

New Hampshire outshot Vermont 12-3 in the period and kept up the onslaught in the third stanza, registering a 28-15 advantage in shots on goal for the contest.

MacKinnon praised the New Hampshire team for its offensive firepower.

“That was a good team with a lot of scorers,” the coach said.

The victory, the first shutout in the 17 games played, gave New Hampshire a 10-6-1 lead in the series.