Assistant Sports Editor
MANCHESTER -- If it sounds familiar, that's probably because it is: Burr and Burton Academy (14-0-0) owns the No. 1 seed in the Division II playoffs for the seventh time since 2000.
The defending champions host No. 16 Fair Haven (1-11-2), a team they beat 8-0 on Oct. 11, today at 3 p.m., looking to extend their current winning streak to 19 games. Like last year's title team, the Bulldogs are built around a stingy defense that has yielded only five goals this season -- and only one in seven D-II contests. Meanwhile, sophomore Reid Conde (13 goals), Sean Paradis and Axel Sapera (eight goals each) have carried an attack that has not been shut out.
Should BBA advance to the quarters, it would see either No. 8 Springfield (6-7-1) or No. 9 U-32 (4-8-2).
Lurking on the opposite side of the bracket is second-seeded Montpelier, also 14-0-0. If the squads meet in the title game, it would be just the second time since 1980 that two teams reached the final with no losses or ties between them.
MAU heads to Chittenden County
BENNINGTON -- Young, relaxed and fresh off their first second-half comeback win of the season, No. 12 Mount Anthony (5-8-1) travels north to meet fifth-seeded Burlington (11-2-1) today at 3 p.m. in the Division I playdowns.
The Seahorses faced two common opponents -- Hartford and Brattleboro -- but saw reasonably close encounters from each, MAU coach Mike Molloy said.
"From what I've heard they're possession-oriented and try to control the tempo," Molloy said. "For us it's going to be about hitting them on a counter or a set piece or something like that.
MAU snapped a five-game losing skid with a 2-1 overtime win against Rutland on Sunday. Marcus LaFlamme leads the way with eight goals on the season while Andrew Slade and Ethan Anderson have scored three apiece.
Burlington, also the host of the D-I title game, won the teams' last two playoff encounters in 2004 and 2007. Today's winner faces either No. 4 Hartford or No. 13 South Burlington in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Arlington eyes upset vs. Chelsea
ARLINGTON -- In Division IV, Arlington (6-6) takes the No. 10 seed to seventh-seeded Chelsea (10-4) today for a 3 p.m. clash. After getting caught in some midseason doldrums, the Eagles enter the postseason on a three-game winning streak.
"Our approach is go in and keep playing like we have at the end of the season," coach Todd Wilkins said. "We started to peak at the right time."
A return to working the attack to the wide areas has paid off for the Eagles, who have only lost one game to a D-IV team this year -- and that team, Black River, the No. 5 seed, is also one they beat twice (5-2, 4-0). Fred Pickering leads the attack with 16 goals (including four hat tricks) and sweeper Alex Hawley's return to the lineup in the final week has helped solidify the back line.
Victory today would likely send Arlington to a quarterfinal date with rival Twin Valley (11-3), the No. 2 seed.
"They're a good side, but no team we would see [in D-IV] is as good as what we see in the John James [Tournament]," Wilkins said.