Essex, VT – Neutral Zone was in attendance for a showdown between the top seeds of Division 2. The Mount Mansfield Union Cougars (1 seed) was the home team against a red hot U-32 Raiders (2 seed) squad. In this one, it would be the Cougars who would take advantage of most of their scoring opportunities. MMU had a balanced attack and was able to roll their lines in a commanding win. U-32 had a few close chances but wasn’t able to get the biscuit past MMU senior goalie Declan Heney #31.
The first period saw the Cougars take a two goal lead in the first five and a half minutes of play. After some zone time, sophomore defenseman Caleb Murphy #2 fired a quick shot from the point that beat the U-32 goalie who had a tough time tracking it through some traffic. Senior forward Alec Spensley #8 would add yet another goal to add to his season total on a feed from freshman Alexandre Romanko #27 to make the game 2-0. Spensley was able to slip the puck through the five hole from right in front of the crease. U-32 killed off a five on three after this to keep the game 2-0 after one.
U-32 would apply some sustained pressure in the second, but MMU would go up 3-0 on a goal from senior Ray Chamberland #3. U-32 was able to create some chances with the help of River Sciarotta #2 and Max Scribner #14 moving it up ice from the back end, as well as Lance Starr #7, Brendan Tedeschi #13, Maddox Heise #20, and Hazen Stoufer #21. This game featured notable play from some underclassman from both teams, including Garret Carter #19 and Owen Labor #11 of MMU.
In the third period, junior Owen Jones #17 would find the 4th goal on a somewhat damaged and broken play. MMU was also driven by exceptionally strong play from senior Alex Brown #13. Brown gathers the puck and turns on his jets with a quick burst in his first few steps. He is agile with the puck and had many creative opportunities in this game. Junior Gavin Cowan #14 is also a defenseman to keep an eye on for the rest of the year.
We will see if these teams cross paths in the Playoffs. Thus far, the Cougars have proven they are a bonafide top team in Vermont High School Hockey while the Raiders remain strong contenders.
Stars of the Game:
1st: Declan Heney #31, G, MMU (~20+ saves)
2nd: Caleb Murphy #2, D, MMU (1G)
3rd: Alec Spensley #8, F, MMU (1G)