Burlington — The U-32 Raiders and the BFA St. Albans Bobwhites earned VPA State Championships on Thursday night with wins inside Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Raiders roared from behind with three goals in the third period to edge the Stowe Raiders 3-2 in the Division 2 Championship game, and the Bobwhites controlled the puck in a 2-0 win over the Essex Hornets for the Division 1 title.
In the first game Stowe broke a scoreless tie with second period goals from Jackson Felis and Jace Boerger to build a 2-0 lead against U-32 and carried a 16-8 shots on goal advantage into the third period. But that was where the Raiders took over. Colby Brochu’s goal 1:57 into the third got U-32 rolling, and they pressed from there, finally tying the game on Lucas Eldred’s goal with 2:50 remaining. And the comeback was not finished. After Stowe took a penalty 40 seconds later U-32 attacked again, with Matt Hynes netting the game winning powerplay goal with 1:26 left on the clock.
Connor Carbo backstopped the U-32 win with 20 saves, while Stowe goaltender Dylan Whitaker came up with sixteen stops.
U-32 earned its first state title since 2013, improving their record to 20-2-1. Stowe saw their streak of two straight titles snapped, ending their season at 18-6.
In the Division 1 game BFA jumped in front on senior captain Hunter Kirouac’s rebound goal at 11:17 of the first period. They then doubled their lead at 10:51 of the second when freshman Colby Brouillette picked up an Essex turnover at center ice, caaried it into the zone and then set up Kirouac for his second of the game. Those two goals proved to be enough because the Bobwhites dominated the puck in all three zones the rest of the way, holding Essex to just five shots in the third period. Goaltender Ben Thibault earned the shutout with 20 saves, while Essex’s Erik Short was strong in defeat with 27 stops.
BFA earned their 18th all time state championship, finishing the year at 19-2-2. Defending champion Essex settled for second at 15-5-2.