CVU boys and girls hockey teams look to replace last year’s firepower

Dec. 8, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


Ben Psaros takes over as the Champlain Valley Union girls hockey head coach. His squad opens the season at Colchester on Saturday. (Observer photos by Shane Bufano)

Last winter, the Champlain Valley Union High boys’ hockey team skated to the Division I state championship, its second in three winters. The girls reached the semifinal round.

Both now head into 2011-12 season-openers this weekend, seeking to replace talented veteran front line snipers that were taken away by graduation.

Gone from Mike Murray’s boys is a trio of leading point producers, including last year’s Vermont Mr. Hockey Robbie Dobrowski — who is suited up this year in Middlebury College blue.

The girls have lost prolific scorer Mollie Howard while last year’s Miss Hockey, Sophia Steinhoff, is not back for her senior season.

Murray is building his squad from the back with veteran goalie Jason O’Brien, a solid start, aided by defense stalwarts Will Yandell, Quinn Kropf and Griffin Brady.

Junior Max Hopper is a key returnee up front. Murray said freshman Cam Rivard has been looking good along with sophomore Patrick Patterson.

Freshman defender Caleb Gadbout has also made his presence felt.

After last week’s jamboree in which the Redhawks downed Colchester but got nipped by South Burlington, Murray believed his team showed depth through four lines and was “pretty quick” with good feet movement.

A final scrimmage was set for Tuesday against Beekmantown, N.Y. at Cairns Arena, with the season lid lifter Friday night against North Country Union High (8:10 p.m.) in the annual Burchard Tournament at Burlington’s Leddy Arena.

Ben Psaros has taken the helm of the girls’ team after a few terms as assistant for the boys.

The CVU boys hockey team scrimmaged on Dec. 3. The ‘Hawks open the regular season Friday against North Country.

He is currently working with a roster of 20 skaters, which includes four from Burlington High School via a member-member agreement. Burlington dropped the sport last year due to a lack of players.

“(This) adds some nice depth of talent and allows BHS girls to continue their hockey careers,” Psaros said, adding that the former Seahorses are working in well.

Like the boys, the girls have a veteran netminder, Nicole Sisk, taking up the post between the pipes.

Veterans Molly Dunphy and Hannah Owens will be key attackers while sophomore Abby Smith has looked solid at a center position, and freshman Rachel Pitcher has been impressive on defense.

Psaros said the team played well Saturday (Dec. 3) in a scrimmage at Division II Woodstock.

Its campaign officially opens Saturday when the Redhawks visit Colchester (2:40 p.m.) at Leddy Arena.