March 4, 2010
By Mal Boright
It was the defending Division 1 champions against a team making its first trip to the crowning contest in 13 years.
Courtesy photo by David Yandell
Kyle Logan (20) of Champlain Valley Union High tries to maneuver the puck around the Spaulding High defense during the Division 1 championship on Tuesday.
Courtesy photo by David Yandell
Fans cheer for the Redhawks during Tuesday’s championship game.
In the end, it was a deep and talented Spaulding High of Barre team that bumped the Champlain Valley Union High 2009 titleholders from their position. The Crimson Tide put together a late-blooming 4-1 victory Tuesday night at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Despite Spaulding’s game-long nearly 2-1 edge in shots on goal, the two teams skated into the final 11 minutes locked in a 1-1 tie before Crimson Tide sophomore forward Colby Laperle put three pucks into the cage, including a late empty-netter to seal the deal for his team.
“Wow! A hat trick in the championship game,” an enthusiastic Laperle said after the game to television reporters.
“They (Spaulding) played a good game, they are a good team,” CVU coach Doug Hopper said outside a quiet CVU dressing room after the contest. “But our guys played well too.”
There were praises all around for the two goaltenders. CVU’s Mark Albertson stopped 30 shots, and the Tide’s Chris Pelkey made 18 saves. Both seniors were spectacular at times.
“Mark had one of his strongest games of the season,” said Hopper, who also credited Pelkey with, “A heck of a game.”
As they did in the 4-2 semifinal win over North Country Union, the Redhawks scored early in the championship test, Nate Lacroix knocking in the rebound of a Robbie Dobrowski shot just 27 seconds into the first period.
But where CVU was in the semifinal able to add two more goals in the opening flurry and take an early 3-0 command, there would be no more scoring on Pelkey. The Crimson Tide goalie was up to game-long point blank challenges from Dobrowski, Lacroix and Derek Goodwin in particular.
Spaulding took a wide edge in territorial play in the remainder of the first 15 minutes, but Albertson kept the Tide off the scoreboard with 10 saves.
The Tide knotted the score nine minutes into the second reel. With two CVU players in the penalty box and thus giving Spaulding a 5-3 advantage, the Tide’s Zach Dessureau fired a hard pass from right to left in front of the goalmouth. Josh Bell was perfectly positioned at the right side to zip the puck into the net past Albertson, who had no chance at a stop.
The Redhawks buzzed around Pelkey at the opening of the final stanza, with Goodwin and Kyle Logan getting some decent scoring chances. But 4:36 in, Laperle became the game changer.
The sophomore unleashed a hard riser from 10 feet out that Albertson got a pad on before the puck slipped into the net behind him. Some six minutes later, Laperle got his stick on a loose puck between three CVU defenders and whirled a shot past Albertson, who likely did not see it.
Laperle’s empty net score came with 39 seconds to play.
CVU wound up 13-9-2 and the division’s runner-up after a number of graduation losses from the 2009 champions. The Hawks were also the first number seven seed to make it to the title game. Spaulding finished 16-6-2 and is the first number four seed to win a division 1 crown.
The game’s three stars were Laperle (1), Dessureau (2) and Dobrowski, as determined by the UVM staff.