A hard-fought Championship Weekend at Gordon H. Paquette Ice Arena saw 13 youth hockey teams crowned as state champions--two of them being Essex squads.
The two-day event, Feb. 29 and March 1, had seven of its Vermont State Amateur Hockey Association title contests decided by just one goal with four of those going into overtime. Four Essex Youth Hockey (EYH) teams made to the finals--both the 14U T2 and T4 Sting crews hoisting their respective division’s trophy on Sunday.
The EYH 14U T4 team, led by head coach Rick Villamil and assisted by Tyson Monaghan, Kathryn Sleeman, and Mike Smith, topped BAHA Youth (Burlington) by a 3-2 margin in overtime. After the Sting went up 1-0 in the first period, BAHA came back to go on top with two goals in the second period. Essex was able to tie it up in the third, however, before netting the game winner in the first extra session to celebrate its state championship.
Later in the day, Essex was once again an overtime victor as the Sting capped the weekend with another trophy. The 14U T2 squad, led by head coach Daniel Forcier and assisted by Sean Haggerty, Sean Jones, Matt King, and John Michaelides, went down 1-0 to Chittenden South Burlington (CSB) in the opening period.
The Sting tied it in the second, however, and there would then be no more goals scored in regulation--despite CSB getting a power play opportunity late in the third. Shortly into the extra 10 minutes, a scrum ensued in front of the CSB net before an Essex player flicked it home for the jubilant triumph.
On Saturday, the EYH 10U T3 and Girls T4 squads also laced up for championship bouts, but they both fell in overtime.
Going into the third frame down 2-1, Essex 10U T3 conceded a goal but scored two of its own to send the game into an extra stanza. Lyndon would put one past the goalie first, however, to take the title.
Shortly after, a high-scoring affair saw BAHA go up 3-1 on the EYH Girls 10U T4 team by the end of the first period. Essex outscored its opponent 2-1 in the second before tying the game at 4-4 with a lone goal in the third. Neither side could find the back of the cage through the first two overtime periods, but BAHA eventually got the game winner to go in the third additional frame.