Schmitt scores three as BBA, Wolves tie

MANCHESTER — With only three games left in the regular season, the Burr and Burton boys hockey team is in a fight for a top-four spot in the Division I playoffs.

So any index points from here on out are important.

The Bulldogs' Egan Schmitt scored the tying goal with 7:14 left in regulation, his third of the night, as BBA and South Burlington tied 3-3 at Riley Rink on Saturday night.

"It's important at the end of the year to pull points out of every game," said BBA coach Mark Slade. "Three [index points] would have been nice, but we'll take two. There's a lot of good teams behind us, we need to get as many points as possible."

The game was physical and the referees were busy, calling a combined 13 penalties. That slowed the play but also paid off as both teams scored goals in special teams situations.

South Burlington took the lead in the first period. Schmitt was given two minutes for slashing with 5:14 left in the first and Rees Baker took advantage, firing a shot past BBA goalie Ethan Simonds.

"Ethan has been rock-solid all year long," said Egan Schmitt. "I don't think we'd be as good as we are with a different goalie. We're really confident with Ethan back there."     

In the second, BBA tied the game down a man. Alex Carpenter was called for interference, but 20 seconds later, Steven Schmitt threaded a beautiful pass to his brother, who flipped the puck past Logan Riddle for the short-handed goal to tie the game at 1-1.

"It feels great to score goals, but it takes a lot of teamwork too," said Egan Schmitt. "Having my teammates makes life so much easier."

Moments later, South Burlington regained the lead. With it 4-on-4, Baker gave the Wolves a 2-1 advantage with three minutes left in the second.

John Thibeault and Cam Hudson had the assists.

BBA's penalty kill was good at the end of the second, as they killed a 5-on-3 for 30 seconds and a 4-on-3 for the final 25 seconds of the period.

The Bulldogs nearly took the lead in the first minutes of the third as they had a 3-on-2 counterattack that Riddle stopped at point-blank range.

Two more penalties, one by both teams within 12 seconds of each other, made it 4-on-4 again and Isaac Toupin gave South Burlington a 3-2 lead.

Eighty-eight seconds later, Egan Schmitt, after fixing his stick that was broken in the second period, got 1-on-1 with Riddle and won the battle to tie it yet again, off another assist from Steven Schmitt.

"We've been working on having the mental toughness to push past these [close] situations, it's nice to see our first line and defense go out and produce results," Slade said.

In the final minutes of regulation, South Burlington had a chance to win it, but Simonds, who made 26 stops on 29 shots, kept it even.

In sudden victory, Simonds was forced to make another terrific save, sticking out a pad for a save with 1:40 left.

"It's helpful to have a goalie that is consistently making 25 to 30 saves every game, he keeps us in games," Slade said. "I would put Ethan in the conversation as one of the best goalies in the state, he's been solid all year."

Burr and Burton is 12-4-1, while South Burlington's record moves to 4-11-2. The tie broke a 5-game losing skid for the Wolves.

"It was a well played game on both sides, it's hard to play a good hockey game with this many penalties," Slade said. "South Burlington did a great job, worked hard and their record doesn't indicate the talent they have. I'm proud of my boys for sticking through it."


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