Schmitt notches hat trick in BBA win

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MANCHESTER — For most of the season, the Schmitt brothers — Egan and Steven — have been the driving force offensively for the Burr and Burton boys hockey team.

Saturday night against Rutland was no different, with Egan recording four points and a hat trick, while Steven added three points in a 6-3 victory over the Raiders at Riley Rink.

"Egan's play is much like the first line has played for us all season," said BBA coach Mark Slade. "We've counted on them time and again. He's one of the guys that helps set the tempo of the game and picks us up when we're faltering."

The junior forward notched a goal in each period to pace the Bulldogs.

Burr and Burton wasted little time taking control. With less than eight minutes left in the first, BBA struck for two goals in less than a minute. One was an unassisted tally from Alex Carpenter — another big scorer for the Bulldogs this season — and the other came from Egan Schmitt, with an assist from his brother.

Ben Simpson would get one of those goals back for the Raiders late in the first, but it was the Bulldogs' pair of goals that put them in the driver's seat.

"It's always nice to jump out early. It felt like we have started slow in the first period for the majority of the season," Slade said. "It's always nice to come out and put a couple on the board first thing and get back to business."

It seemed as whenever the Raiders scored, BBA would answer back with one of its own, keeping the Raiders just out of reach of taking control of the game at any given time.

After Simpson's goal for Rutland, Egan Schmitt added his second goal of the contest halfway through the second period. The assist on the play once again was Steven Schmitt. The Raiders would answer back with an Eren Cetin goal, but the Bulldogs expanded the lead back to two with a goal late in the second by freshman forward Ethan Paligo, assisted by Phoenix Heleba.

This seemed to be the story of the game, with Rutland unable to stop BBA's attack in big moments.

Slade was happy his guys were able to put the Raiders' goals behind them and go out and attack the same way they would regardless of score.

"Hockey is not only a physical game, it's a mental game," Slade said. "We've been trying to condition ourselves through the first part of the season to work through those adversities and really just keep pushing. Keep striving for our goal, for a W and then on to the next."

In the third period, Steven Schmitt got into the scoring action in the opening minute to make the lead three, 5-2, and put the pressure back on the Raiders. This time Egan was on the assist. Rutland's Dillon Moore would pull the Raiders within two, but it was too little too late as the final hat trick goal by Egan Schmitt iced the game.

Throughout Saturday's contest, it seemed as though the Bulldogs were controlling the puck and putting pressure on Rutland goaltender Glen Mandel.

BBA forced Mandel to make 38 saves, while Bulldogs goaltender Ethan Simonds only had to stop 19 Raider shots.

"Anytime you can get 38 plus shots on the other team, is always nice to see," Slade said. "That means we're getting the opportunities, putting the puck where it needs to go and the score showed it tonight."

BBA also did a better job avoiding penalties. The Bulldogs had just four penalties, compared to Rutland's seven, and that paid off for BBA.

BBA improves to 8-3 on the season. The Bulldogs are back in action Wednesday against Rice on the road.

***

The BBA girls hockey team played before the boys did Saturday night, taking on Missisquoi. The Bulldogs couldn't muster anything on the offensive end and fell to the Thunderbirds, 4-0.

BBA falls to 2-8-2 and are back in action Wednesday against Brattleboro on the road.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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