Thursday January 31, 2013

AUSTIN DANFORTH

Assistant Sports Editor

MANCHESTER -- Eight games into its current winning tear, the Burr and Burton Academy boys hockey team had yet to truly assert itself, establish an edge, from the first puck-drop.

That is not something the Bulldogs can say after winning No. 9, however.

A pair of goals in each of the bookend periods and a high-octane opening stanza did the trick for BBA in a 4-1 win over Brattleboro on Wednesday night in a clash of top Lake Division sides at Riley Rink.

"The first period was our best period all year -- it hasn't been our strength, let's put it that way," BBA coach Cory Herrington said. "That first period was something special and if we're going to be successful with a difficult stretch of games now we've got to play at that level.

"We were moving our feet. We were getting back on the backcheck and we were controlling the gaps well," Herrington said. "It was a complete period of getting our sticks in the passing lanes."

Brock Pollard and Sean Paradis each recorded a goal and an assist to lift the Bulldogs (10-3) to their ninth consecutive win since a three-game skid early in the season.

Ranked second in the division before the game, the Colonels (10-3) presented the Bulldogs' biggest test to date.

"We're riding a wave right now. We've got keep riding it, keep going," Pollard said.


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"We got really up for this game and it definitely showed."

An early power play gave Burr and Burton its first chance to pounce. A little over a minute into the man-advantage, Pollard teed up Bennett Timmerman for a slap shot at the left point that found its way in on the blocker side.

Thirty-one seconds later, Paradis, after forcing a turnover, found Henry Buckley between the circles to blast home for a 2-0 lead with 10 minutes 54 seconds left in the first period.

"We handed the puck over a lot in the neutral zone. We've gotten away with it against some teams but they made us pay tonight," said Brattleboro coach Eric Libardoni. "They worked harder than we did, that's for sure."

The Colonels got one back on a power play with 4:46 remaining in the second period as Jimmy Podlaski, on the left boards, picked out Nik Rancourt in front for a deflected goal past BBA goaltender Zack Stewart (26 saves).

But Burr and Burton bounced back less than a minute into the final frame. Paradis picked up the puck near center ice, sliced through the circles, slipped left around a defender and sent the puck across the Brattleboro goalie Greg DiSilva (22 saves) into the roof of the net.

"I saw my opportunity and I just wanted to capitalize, get us a good cushion," Paradis said.

Pollard then sewed up the result with 9:02 to go, failing to connect with a one-timer look from Andy Ishu but circling back and sniping an even longer shot top shelf.

The Bulldogs head to St. Johnsbury on Saturday before hosting division-leader U-32 (12-1) next Wednesday. BBA is the only team to beat the Raiders yet this season, doing so in a wild, 6-4 season-opener.

"That will be a battle," Herrington said.