- Essex Junction — The Essex Girls and Boys Hockey Hornets advanced to VPA Division 1 state championship games with semi-final victories on Wednesday night inside the Essex Rink.
In game one the top seeded Essex Girls shutout the Rutland Raiders 2-0. Essex took a 1-0 lead when freshman Molly Bruyns put away a feed from behind the net by sophomore Kaitlyn Butkus at the 7:55 mark of the first period. And that was where the score stayed until freshman Madeline Young buried a 150 foot shot dead center into an empty Rutland net with 44 seconds to play. Essex senior goaltender Mary Simons backstopped the win with 21 saves for the shutout win. Kelsey Eddy played strong in the Rutland nets, making 29 saves in the loss. Essex will take a 17-4-1 record into the championship game next Wednesday night at the Gutterson Fieldhouse. Rutland ends their season at 15-5-1.
In the nightcap the second seeded Essex boys regrouped after giving up a late game tying goal, and edged the CVU Redhawks 2-1 in overtime. Essex took the lead at the 13:20 mark of the first period on a goal by senior Sean Vanzo. Like the girls they made that lead standup into the final minute of regulation, but skating down a man after a late penalty and with CVU having pulled their goaltender for another extra attacker the Redhawks squared things on a shot from the middle point by sophomore defenseman Richard Hall with 26 seconds remaining. That sent things into overtime and that would where sophomore Maverick King would net the winner, snapping a wrister into the CVU net 4:17 into the extra session. Erik Short was superb in nets for the Hornets, the senior making 26 saves, Freshman Blaine Moore was strong as well, making 22 saves for the Redhawks. The defending champion Hornets go into next Thursday’s title game at 15-4-2. CVU ends their season at 9-8-5.