Fifth-seeded girls hockey team opens playoffs Saturday2/19/09

Feb. 19, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With their 10-8-2 record good for fifth seed in the upcoming Division 1 hockey playoffs, the Champlain Valley Union High girls hockey team will travel north Saturday to St. Albans. The Redhawks have a 6:30 p.m. matchup with fourth-seeded Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans at Collins-Perley Arena.

The Comets finished 12-6-2 to earn fourth seed and the quarterfinal home ice advantage. Winner of the contest will head to the semifinals on Feb. 23 at Norwich University’s Kreitzberg Arena.

CVU will need to think December and not February when it takes to the ice Saturday. On Dec. 20, the Redhawks motored to the one-time Railroad City and came away with a 3-3 tie. But two weeks ago, the Comets came to the Hawks’ home ice at Cairns Arena and administered a 5-0 licking, CVU’s biggest ouch of the season.

But since that loss, the Redhawks recovered nicely in the final three games, all on the road. Coach Tom Ryan’s skaters whacked Middlebury 10-4, zipped past Stowe High 3-0 and then bowed to top-seeded Spaulding High 2-1 last Saturday in Barre. It was CVU’s second 2-1 loss to the 15-2-2 Tide.

Second seed went to 15-4-1 South Burlington High. The Redhawks have a tie and early 4-2 loss to the Rebels.

Essex High, 15-4-1, captured the third seed.

In giving the top seed-to-be some on ice grief Saturday, the Redhawks fell behind 2-0 midway through the third period before pulling to within a point on Amanda Armell’s 14th goal of the season, on a power play.

The Hawks were then unable to put home a tying goal, despite out-shooting the Tide, 21-19. Nicole Bonneau came up with 17 stops in the CVU cage.