Girls hockey tourney begins Friday night

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Hockey Association's U-14 Girls started 2017 off right with an 8-2 victory over their cross-river rivals, the Keene Cobras. Despite the absence of some key players due to holiday travel and illness, the Hawks who were in the house were able to step up and secure the win as they prepare for the Green Mountain Girls Hockey Tournament, which will be played in Brattleboro at the Nelson Withington Rink from tonight until Sunday.

The U-14 Hawks struck first against Keene, when Lauren Carpenter scored a beautiful unassisted goal. Playing defense, Carpenter picked up a loose puck and sent a powerful blast into the top corner of the net. With the Hawks up by one, Juliana Miskovich caught fire and scored the next four Brattleboro goals, with assists going to Rosie Carignan and Rei Kimura. Miskovich's hat trick plus one included some dazzling stick-handling that left the Cobra defenders flat-footed. Willow Romo also registered a multi-goal game, scoring a pair with her sniping shot — assists going to Miskovich and Katie Inman. In the third period, Carpenter closed out the Hawks' scoring with her second goal of the game.

After the game, U-14 Girls coach Elizabeth McLarney was quick to point out that offense is only part of the game and that like most hockey games, this one was won by defense. Coach McLarney praised her defensive corps of Allyssa Leonard, Abby Squires and Carpenter.

"Allyssa was the quarterback along the blue line, playing stay at home defense and setting up her forwards. Abby, who is a first-year player, anchored the defense, with a strong stick, without backing down. Lauren's skating and stick-handling showed up on the scoreboard, but it also helped move the puck out of the defensive zone," she said.

Coach McLarney also had high praise for U-14 Hawks goaltender Angela Jobin.

"Angela literally answered our call for a goalie and has stood tall in the nets for us this season," noted the coach.

Jobin shut out the Cobras in the first and third periods, but was at her best as Keene attempted to put together a second-period comeback. After two straight Keene goals, Jobin made a number of stellar saves, including a sliding butterfly pad save that changed the game's momentum.

"This was a team win," explained McLarney. "The team's positional play has improved so much as the season has progressed, especially our wings, Bailey Houle and Rei Kimura."

The coach also cited the aggressive forechecking of Katie Inman, Avery Hiner, and Hannah Perlberg, along with the passing by Carignan, Miskovich, and Romo.

The U-14 team's strong play couldn't be happening at a better time, as the Hawks will be hosting the 25th annual Green Mountain Girls Hockey Tournament this weekend. From Jan. 6-8, 18 teams will face off over the course of 28 games before the championship is decided. The 325 female youth hockey players and their families that will pass through Memorial Park this weekend are a tribute to the Green Mountain Tournament's quarter century of growth and success. The excitement starts tonight, with an opening round of qualifying games at the Withington Rink between 5 and 8:30pm. Qualifying round action continues all day Saturday (7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.) and lasts until Sunday afternoon, when the tournament's semifinal contests and championship game are scheduled. As usual, chuck-a-puck competitions, prize raffles, homemade baked goods and savory treats will add fun and flavor to this Brattleboro winter sports tradition.

Brattleboro's team roster: Jade Bruneau, Rosalena Carignan, Katie Inman, Rei Kimura, Madison Ladzinski, Alyssa Leonard, Abigail Squires, Liliana Carignan, Lauren Carpenter, Talia Engel, Alex Gregory, Michaela Heiden, Avery Hiner, Baylie Houle, Angela Jobin, Camden Ladzinski, Juliana Miskovich, Hannah Perlberg, Willow Romo, Cadence Sanches-Wozniak, Grace Szpila, Carmen Whitney.

Brattleboro schedule: Today — host Simsbury, 6:15 p.m. Saturday — host Ridgefield, 8:15 a.m.


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