Healthy CVU boys hockey team set for playoff opener2/19/09

Feb. 19, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The Redhawks are no longer the Blue Cross brigade.

On Tuesday, Coach Doug Hopper declared his ice combine in great health as it prepares for Saturday’s Division 1 quarterfinal playdown against seventh seeded (10-10) Burlington High. The puck drops at 12:20 p.m. on home ice at Cairns Arena in South Burlington.

CVU (11-6-3), which stormed to solid wins in its final two regular season games, was seeded second. A victory Saturday will boost the Redhawks, last year’s championship runners-up, into a semifinal match at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Field House Feb. 25.

“Burlington is a tough team,” Hopper said of the Seahorses, with whom the Redhawks divided a pair of regular season fixtures.

CVU won 4-2 in December at Cairns, but then fell 5-3 in late January at BHS’ Leddy Arena.

Essex High, which nipped CVU in last year’s title game, finished 12-6-2 and claimed the top seed. If records prevail as seeded, the two would meet again for the crown.

But not so fast, Hopper warned.

“This is going to be one tough, tough tournament,” he forecast. “This league is very close this year.”

Aiding the outlook for CVU is that the team is healthy for the first time since the first period of opening night back in the first week of December. As many as six players have missed ice time due to an unusual series of injuries.

But on Saturday, in the final regular season game against a strong Spaulding High team in Barre, Hopper said he was able to fill out the lineup sheet with all names for the first time since that opening contest.

Facing a Crimson Tide team that scored a 2-1 victory over them a month ago at Cairns, the Redhawks got flying early in the second period and soared to a 5-0 victory.

A Robbie Dobrowski to Nate Lacroix feed set up the first CVU goal early in the second period. The Hawks took over from there, with Derek Goodwin, Wes O’Brien, Dobrowski and Tim Reichert adding tallies. Reichert also had three assists, according to Hopper.

The coach also praised the penalty killing efforts of J.P. Benoit and Andrew Childs, who helped nullify four CVU excursions to the cooler. Goalie Mark Albertson had 21 saves in racking up his third shutout.