Bo knows hat tricks: Vuckovic scores three times in rout of All-Stars
MANCHESTER -- With a big lead and two goals already under his belt, Vermont Voltage player-coach Bo Vuckovic wanted to show the hundreds of fans who came to Applejack Field why he's played at the sport's highest levels.
Vuckovic took a nice feed and one-timed it from 30 yards away and curled the ball past the goalie to rack up a hat trick in a 7-0 rout over the Southern Vermont All-Stars in a friendly on Wednesday.
"Thirty yards from the right side, bending into the corner, that's ex-major leaguer right there," Vuckovic said. "Everything fell into place tonight."
Vuckovic started the scoring just past 10 minutes in, getting through the defense and depositing a left-footed shot past the goaltender.
"It comes a little with experience; it was a good combo play from Lucas [Almeida] and myself," Vuckovic said.
Five minutes later, Chance Bukoski -- fresh off a two-goal, one-assist performance in the Voltage's last game at Applejack -- added a goal on an odd-man rush to make it 2-0.
The Voltage kept the power down, controlling the ball in the offensive zone. They added two more goals in less than two minutes, Almeida slipping one past the goalie to make it 3-0 and captain Liam Gilbert finishing off another odd-man rush for a 4-0 advantage.
"They played the ball to Chance, who had a nice cutback on the run," Gilbert said. "I got a nice cross from him, which opened the goal nicely."
"I was very happy with [the team's] performance, I knew it wasn't going to be easy," Vuckovic said. "Sometimes in a friendly, players can relax and underestimate their opponents, but my emphasis was for them not to do that."
It was much more of the same in the second half for the Voltage as the All-Stars were unable to get on track.
Seven minutes into the second half, a Voltage player was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty shot.
"I was adamant to take the penalty, I ran up from the back to take it," said Gilbert, who said he usually doesn't take penalty kicks.
Gilbert put the ball to the goalie's left, keeping it out of the reach of the keeper's arms for his second goal of the night.
"I love penalty shots and you shouldn't miss. The goal is so big and the keeper is so small," Gilbert said.
After a couple of chances fell short for the All-Stars, Vuckovic used a little trickery to score his second tally. After Southern Vermont was called for a foul and Vuckovic was awarded a free kick, the All-Stars tried to set up a wall. Before they could, Vuckovic took the advantage, curling the shot past the wall and into the net.
"That comes from experience," Vuckovic said. "The goal was setting up the wall, but I didn't ask for 10 yards, so you don't need to wait for the whistle."
Despite the rout, Southern Vermont All-Stars, many of whom played for Mount Anthony Union High School or Burr and Burton Academy, said the experience was an unforgettable one.
"It's a unique experience," said former Mount Anthony player Zak Harris, who will be a senior at New England College this fall. "They're fast, very good and to get the opportunity to step on the same pitch at them is a cool experience."
The Voltage will play two more games in Manchester -- August 10 and 24.
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