BURLINGTON — The North Country Union Falcons and the BFA-St. Albans Bobwhites earned VPA Boy’s Hockey State Championships with title game wins on Thursday night inside Gutterson Fieldhouse.
In the first game North Country built a 3-0 lead, saw it get away, and then rallied to beat the Harwood Highlanders 4-3 for the Division Two State Championship.
Harwood started the night dominating the game offensively, outshooting North Country in the first period 14-7, but the Falcons got superb goaltending from senior Dana Marsh and goals from Brady Perron and Dawson Cote and came away with a 2-0 lead after one. Perron then added his second goal of the night, this time a shorthanded marker at 7:28 of the second to up the margin to three.
But Harwood kept up the pressure and finally got on the board on an Eli Rivers goal in the final two minutes of the second to move within two at 3-1. The Highlanders came out flying in the third, Justin Cantwell scoring on a powerplay just 1:11 into the period and Rivers tying the game on his second of the night two minutes and ten seconds later.
But defenseman Mitchell Austin’s goal at 5:36 pushed the Falcons back on top 4-3 and Marsh held the fort from there, recording a D-2 Championship game record 45 saves as NCU (17-5) won their first state title since 2001.
In the nightcap BFA (18-2-3) won their second straight state title and 18th all time as Connor Wood broke a 1-1 third period tie and the second seeded Bobwhites edged top seed Spaulding 2-1. BFA took a 1-0 lead on a first period powerplay goal by Owen Hungerford and they made that stand up until the 6:25 mark of the third when Luke Krupa’s powerplay marker equalized for the Crimson Tide.
But the tie lasted for just under a minute and a half. Woods made three great moves as he worked his way down the slot and backhanded the winner into the net at 7:48. BFA freshman goaltender Dan Ellis and a tight checking Bobwhites defense made the margin hold up the rest of the way to nail down the win. The Bobwhites finished the season on a 14 game winning streak.