It was a tough time for the top seed to take its first loss of the year as penalties proved problematic Wednesday night.
The Essex High School (EHS) boys’ ice hockey team, the No. 1 seed in the 2021 Vermont D1 state championship tournament, fell 3-2 to the defending champs and No. 2 seed, BFA St. Albans, at Leddy Park’s Gordon Paquette Arena in Burlington.
Game at a glance
It was just a blink of an eye after the opening faceoff that the Hornets would be playing a man down. A penalty was called on EHS 11 seconds into the game, and the Bobwhites took advantage 13 seconds later with a shot placed right under the crossbar for the 1-0 upper hand.
As both sides appeared to try and set a physical tone in the early going, another Essex player went to the box about five minutes into the game. Again, BFA capitalized and doubled its lead halfway through the power play.
That 2-0 edge lasted until there was under five minutes to go in the second period when the Hornets trimmed the deficit immediately following a power play of their own. Just seconds after the penalized Bobwhite left the box, a bouncing puck made its way in front of an open net for sophomore forward Andrew Forcier to punch it home and get his team on the board.
Essex had some quality looks to tie things in the third period including a shot that rang off the crossbar with under 10 minutes left to go. The Bobwhites would get the next score for a little breathing room, however, with 4:31 on the clock. But they weren’t out of the woods just yet.
Following an EHS timeout under the two minute mark, the Hornets found the back of the cage with 23 seconds left. Essex pulled its goalie for the ensuing faceoff and was able to have one final push as time ticked down, but BFA’s defense prevented a shot from reaching the net by the time the horn sounded for the Bobwhites to celebrate their second-straight title.
- Essex senior Max Line got the assist on Forcier’s goal, and he then notched the team’s second tally off an assist from classmate Tobias Martin.
- EHS finished the night with 22 shots on goal.
- Both teams were assessed three penalties during the game.
- Wednesday was the 20th time in history the Hornets and Bobwhites have matched up in the playoffs; EHS is now 12-8 in the all-time postseason series while BFA evened the finals record between the two squads at 4-4.