Bulldogs look to continue success from last season

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MANCHESTER — One game. That's how close the Burr and Burton boys ice hockey team was to playing for a state championship last season.The Bulldogs had a great playoff run last season, which included knocking off top-seeded Woodstock to advance to the semifinals where they eventually lost to Stowe.This season, BBA is again well equipped to make a similar run in playoffs and be one of the top teams in Division II with a well experienced group returning."We have a lot of guys from last year's team returning for us this season," said BBA boys hockey coach Mark Slade. "We a lot of talent and speed across the board both on offense and defense. I think we can have a very successful season this year."The only big change for the Bulldogs this year is Slade himself, who stepped into the role of head coach after being an assistant on the team past couple of seasons.So far, Slade has said the transition to head coach has been an interesting one for him and an easier one for the players since he has been on the coaching staff the past few seasons."I think when players have someone that has coached them consistently in the past and knows what kind player they are, it makes them feel more comfortable," Slade said. "They understand how I coach. I know each player's strength and weaknesses and understand how to help to them become a better player. There is no starting over here like there is with other coaching changes in sports."Joining Slade on his coaching staff this season is BBA alum Eddie Lewicki, whose father Ed is currently the Bulldogs girls ice hockey coach.On offense, the Bulldogs return a couple of their top goal scorers from last season in senior Maxx Ingison and junior Sam Cottrell.Ingison will be one of the team's captains this season and is expected again to be someone the Bulldogs will lean on to make plays to lead the offense this season.Cottrell will look to continue off his hot postseason play from last season, where he was the team's leading scorer in their run to the semifinals.Mount Anthony students Trey Lang and Alex Carpenter return for the Bulldogs and will again be key factors in the offense.Lang will serve as a team captain for the second year in a row, something Slade said he has never heard of before with a student from another school be a captain for a BBA sports team in consecutive seasons.Slade is very happy to have both players back in the fold and said both players set a great standard for the underclassman on the team.Junior Jay McCoy is another player that will play a key role on both offense and defense for BBA this season.McCoy scored the game-winning goal in the Bulldogs' win over Woodstock in the quarterfinals last season and is one of the most athletic players on the team again this season"Jay is a solid player," Slade said. "He is a natural born leader. He is going to be someone that will play a lot of minutes for us on the ice this season."Defense will be one of the biggest strengths for the Bulldogs this season.A veteran group of defenseman, led by seniors James Doherty and Nathan Severance will lead a very solid defensive unit that Slade believes can compete against any offense in the state."Our defense is a very strong unit and plays well consistently," Slade said. "We have six players that I feel I can put up against any line a team in the state has."In net for the Bulldogs this season will be senior goaltender Kevin Souls.This will be Souls' first year as the starting goalie, after seeing some playing time in net last season.Slade believes Souls will up for the task of being the starter this year and has look great during the preseason.Backing Souls up in net will be freshman Ethan Simonds, who Slade expects will see some time in net during the season.The Bulldogs will open up the season on Saturday at home against non other then Woodstock.After what transpired between the two teams last year in postseason, Slade said it will be fun to see how the game plays out on Saturday."We're starting things off with facing a good team and our guys understand that they need to come out and play hard all game," Slade said. "We have gotten off to a good start to the season and I think we can execute the things we been practicing, that it will give us a good feeling going forward into the season. Will see if we can come out with a win on Saturday."Reach sports editor Steven Bassin at 802-447-7567 ext 112 or @SBassin_Banner


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