Burlington — The Mt. Mansfield Union High School Cougars and the Essex High Hornets secured VPA State Championships with wins on Wednesday night inside Gutterson Fieldhouse. Mt. Mansfield won their first ever Division 2 title with a 5-2 win over U-32. Essex took their third straight championship with a 2-0 victory over BFA-St. Albans.
In the Division 2 game U-32 scored first, with defenseman Nell Peterson floating in a shot from the right point just 1:28 into the game. But MMU responded quickly with Lydia Maitland burying the tying goal at 3:47. The Cougars pressed from there, outshooting U-32 12-4 in the period, but Raiders goaltender Chloe Sairs held the fort. It was 6:17 into the second period before the Cougars finally broke through, and it was Jackie Ryan who led the charge. Ryan messmerized the Raiders with several dippzy do moves before firing home the lead goal at 6:17. Then just over five minutes later she worked her magic again, this time dishing the puck to linemate Laura Hanley for a 3-1 lead at 11:20. MMU then padded their lead early in the third, with Audrey Scott scoring at 1:53 and Ryan adding her second of the night at 3:01. Cricket Basa’s goal for U-32 finished out the scoring.
Fiona Dulude recored 16 saves in the win for the Cougars. Sairs made a D-2 title game record 33 stops in the loss. MMU ends the season 16-6-1. U-32 finishes 17-5.
In the nightcap Essex scored a pair of second period goals and survived a rash of third period penalties to top the BFA St.Albans Comets 2-0. After a scoreless first period in which BFA outshot Essex 8-4, the Hornets took charge in the second. Sydney LaPlant set up Piper DeSorcie for their first goal at 5:15, and then with Essex on the powerplay Avery McGillvray fed Sarah Tobey for their second score at 10:53.
BFA had their chances to get back into things in the third. Essex was called for four penalties including a five minute major for boarding, giving the Comets long runs of powerplay time including a lengthy two player advantage. But Essex’s defense and senior goaltender Mary Simons held strong, and Essex wrapped up their third straight title. Simons recorded 23 saves including 13 in the penalty filled third period. BFA freshman keeper Jessica Giroux ffinished with 19 stops. The top seeded Hornets end the year at 17-4-1. BFA ends the season 12-10-1.