Bulldogs clicking at the right time


MANCHESTER >> As a team you always want to be playing your best come playoff time and that's what the Burr and Burton Academy boys hockey team have been doing so far in the Division II playoff tournament.

In the first two rounds of the tournament, the No.8 seed Bulldogs have beaten No.9 seed Harwood and pulled off an upset against the No.1 seed in Woodstock, to advance to the semifinals.

"We're playing complete team hockey and that's what you need to do to win in the playoffs," said BBA coach Kevin Fleurie. "All year we have been trying to get to that point of playing well in all phases of the game at the same time all season and we have down that so far in the postseason."

In the regular season, the Bulldogs play was up and down.

Starting off the season 7-3, BBA was considered one of the best teams in Division II.

The Bulldogs were scoring goals in bunches, averaging five goals a game in their first 10 contest and looked like a championship contender.

Then things got a little rough for the Bulldogs.

BBA lost four of it's next five game and would go 4-6 down the stretch to finish at 11-9 on the season.

"We weren't playing smart hockey and sticking to our systems in spots during the second half of the season," Fleurie said. "We committed penalties that hurt us in a lot in games and I think going through that helped the team realize that to win in the playoffs that we had to get back to playing team hockey."

Going into their second round matchup against Woodstock, nobody figured BBA had chance of upsetting the Wasps because of their inconsistent play, but BBA knew with in themselves they were a better team then what people thought and shocked everybody but themselves in their 2-0 victory.

"We knew we could beat Woodstock, so it wasn't unexpected for us to pull of that upset," Fleurie said, "The kids knew we had the talent on our team to compete with anyone in our league and were confident going into the game that we could win. It's do or die as well in the playoffs and our kids seem come out on top through in those situation, which is great to see because it shows they have no quit in them."

With all the ups and downs the Bulldogs have went through in the regular season, they now find themselves just one win away from making to the finals.

Standing in the Bulldogs way in the No.4 seed Stowe, who finished the regular season at 15-5, with one of those losses coming in their only matchup against the Bulldogs this season.

Even with their win against them early on in the season, the Bulldogs know that in the playoffs anything can happen, especially when your playing a good team like Stowe that has the MVP of Division II Chad Haggerty on their squad.

"Stowe is solid team with the best player in league in Chad Haggerty leading the way for them, so we know were in for a battle," Fleurie said. "Our game plan is to shut him down and force to find other ways to beat. Besides that, we need to continue to play team hockey like we have been in the first two games of the playoffs. If we can do all that, we will have a good chance of winning and advancing to the finals."

The Bulldogs will travel up to Stowe for their semifinal matchup on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.


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