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BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Colonels had the goal of getting to the state championship from the beginning of the season.
But in early December, Brattleboro coach Eric Libardoni’s team knew it was easier said than done.
On Friday night, the No.2 Colonels dropped a nail-biter, falling to No. 3 Burr and Burton Academy, 2-1, in the Lake Division semifinal.
With 4:59 remaining in the second period, Elijah Brown proved to have the game winner from the point, eventually sending the Bulldogs (17-3-1) to the Vermont state championship for the first time since 2009.
With traffic in his face, Brattleboro (18-4) goalie Greg DiSilva had almost no chance to detect the puck and missed it glove side.
The defensive breakdowns in front of DiSilva carried from game to game this season and that trend would come to haunt the Colonels in their most important game to date, with each Bulldogs goal resulting from traffic upfront and screens.
Just 22 seconds into the game, they gave up a slap shot goal to put Brattleboro into an early 1-0 hole.
But the Colonels didn’t give up easy and at the end of the first period, senior Jimmy Podlaski tied it with a wrist shot past BBA senior goalie Zack Stewart.
"I thought we played really well. That’s a good team, and well coached. They’ve got some good players. Their goaltender was excellent, and that was the difference. We couldn’t get anything by him," Libardoni said. "[DiSilva] played well too, but they had two screen goals, and we couldn’t get one to go by [Stewart]. He played great. Give him all the credit."
BBA will face U-32, a 6-2 winner over Northfield in the other Lake Division semifinal, on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse on the campus at UVM.