MANCHESTER — Burr and Burton boys hockey hosted its annual “pink the rink” game Wednesday night, a fundraising night aimed to help a local family in their fight against breast cancer. It was the second of a double header, with the BBA girls grabbing a win before the boys got underway.
“Anytime you can have a community event like this to raise awareness for a terrible disease, but also be able to talk about what it means to be a good community member with high school kids – it’s always a win for everyone involved,” said Burr and Burton coach Mark Slade.
On the ice, the Bulldogs welcomed the 10-1-0 Mount Mansfield Cougars to Riley Rink.
Facing one of the best teams in the state, BBA needed its strongest performance of the season in order to stay within striking distance.
They gave just that through a scoreless first period, but as the game began to get more and more physical in the beginning of the second, the Bulldogs suffered a costly mistake.
The Cougars pressured the BBA net, and a loose puck resulted in a scrum as players from both teams fought for position. A MMU player lost his balance and fell to the ice.
BBA defender Blake Bruce hit the Cougar in the head, drawing a 5-minute major penalty and ending Bruce’s night early with an ejection.
Beating a talented MMU team 5-on-5 has proven difficult enough this winter, but playing a man-down for a significant amount of time is nearly impossible. As good teams do, the Cougars took advantage of the opportunity, scoring two goals on the power play and adding a third shortly thereafter. MMU rode that momentum to a 4-0 win.
“Can’t go down on a five minute penalty against the best team in the league and expect that you’re going to walk out with a win,” Slade said. “We need to be better, making good decisions, the best decisions, for our team to win games.”
Alex Brown started the scoring just 20 seconds into the power play, giving the visitors a lead they would not relinquish.
The Cougars continued to pepper the BBA net, and Michael Hornby (19 saves) did all he could to halt the momentum, but Alec Spensley added another a couple minutes later.
Less than a minute after the penalty ended, MMU struck a third time, this time it was Caleb Murphy capitalizing on a rebound opportunity.
If you take away the five-minute power play, BBA played MMU even much of the night. While they were unable to get one past goalkeeper Declan Heney, they kept him busy all night. Heney made 10 stops through the first two periods, but it was the third where he shined. BBA fired 11 shots on the net, and Heney stopped every one of them.
The performance showed coach Slade there is a lot of potential for this young team that features just three seniors out of 26 players.
“I think our very young team can walk away knowing that they competed against the top team and that if they continue to do that and grow every day, we’re going to be just fine.”
BBA (4-8-1) returns to the ice Saturday at 5 p.m., hosting Lyndon.