Bulldogs clinch playoff berth
MANCHESTER — Things have turned around 180 degrees over the past few weeks for the Burr and Burton Academy girls hockey team.
After starting the season a dismal 1-8, the Bulldogs have gone 2-1-2 in its last five games and had a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win against Harwood on Saturday night.
BBA did just that on their home ice at Riley Rink, defeating Harwood, 3-1.
The Bulldogs were on the offensive attack from the start of the game, controlling the puck in the Highlanders' zone for most of the game.
BBA though couldn't get any of their shots in the net for the first 10 minutes of the game as Harwood goalie Alison Yandow, who had 15 saves in the first period, was standing on her head.
Yandow overall had 38 saves in the game.
BBA would finally though get one past Yandow, as senior captain Aggie Bisselle skated through the zone and slapped into the net to give the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead.
"I was finally able to get one in," Bisselle said. "Their goalie is really good and she was doing good saving everything we threw at her early, but thankfully I was able to move her around a bit and got one past her."
Leading 1-0 in the second period, Bisselle assisted BBA add to its lead, this time creating an opportunity for her teammate Chloe MacDonald.
Bisselle fed a sweet pass to MacDonald in front of the net and the freshman banked it in to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
"Aggie did a great job stepping me up for that goal," MacDonald said. "She saw me cutting across the crease and she gave me a great pass that I was able to get a great shot on net."
BBA looked to increase their lead again minutes after MacDonald's goal when Bisselle again scored, but the goal was called off due to interference by a BBA player in the crease.
The interference call would be a huge break for Harwood as they went into the third period only down 2-0.
Late in the third period, Harwood finally broke though when Lilianna Ziedins slipped one past the outstretched glove of BBA goalie Molly Dingley to cut the Bulldogs lead to 2-1.
Suddenly a one-goal game with three minutes to go, BBA saw their a potential victory fading away, but the Bulldogs caught a break.
With a minute to go, BBA got a power play after Harwood was called for a hooking penalty and seconds after the face-off, Bisselle drove around a pair of defenders and knocked right over Yandow's pads into the net for her second goal.
"It felt really good to get that goal to clinch the win for us," Bisselle said. "It got a little scary for us there when they scored to make it 2-1, but we brought up our intensity and were able to hold on for the win."
Bisselle finished with three points on the night, with her two goals and assist. She now has 29 goals on the season.
Besides giving up that one goal in the third period, Dingley finished with a solid 11 saves on the night. She has not allowed more then two goals a game in the past six games.
The win also marked the first time MacDonald has scored a goal in back to back games this season as well.
"Great win for us. I'm really happy for the girls that they were able to keep working hard after the tough start to the season to now make the playoffs," said BBA coach Ed Lewicki. "We beat a great goaltender tonight, which is a big plus for us going forward into the playoffs and I'm happy to see that were getting better as the season goes on."
With the win, BBA improves to 4-9-2 on the season and are now on a season-high three-game winning streak.
BBA will try to make it four in a row when they travel to play Hartford on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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