Aaron Lepikko

Stowe’s Aaron Lepikko scored three goals in early January games against Hartford and Burr & Burton Academy.

Much like last year, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing athletic contests to get canceled all over the state, particularly when it comes to basketball games, and fans aren’t allowed at home games for a couple of weeks as the Omicron variant spreads quickly through the schools.

The combined PA/Stowe boys’ hockey team managed to skate through the past week unscathed, though. Here’s how the team fared.

Jan. 8

Hartford 5, PA/Stowe 2

A scoreless first period may have seemed like a harbinger of a defensive battle on the Stowe Arena ice down, but the nets beckoned.

Hartford scored three times in the second period and added a couple of late-game insurance goals to beat the Raiders at home.

Blaine Gour scored two for Hartford and lent an assist on another, while three other players scored and three others notched assists in a balanced scoring effort.

Stowe’s goals came from Adrian Bryan (assisted by Aaron Lepikko) midway through the second period and Ashton Tibbits 13 seconds into the third, with help from Woody Reichelt and Bo Graves.

The five Hartford points were relative diminished, as Stowe’s goalie Conor Dunne saved 41 other shots. Hartford’s goalie, Sean Kelliher saved 19.

“It was a close matchup in the first period with both teams trading chances. We weren't able to capitalize, unfortunately,” Stowe coach Jon Grace said. “I am very happy with the effort we put forth against a very good Hartford team.”

Jan. 5

PA/Stowe 5, Burr & Burton 2

In a similarly structured game with a more favorable outcome for the Raiders, played down south at Riley Arena in Manchester Center, all the scoring came in the last two-thirds of the contest.

Both teams scored twice in the second frame, but Stowe blanked Burr & Burton in the third for the win. Goalie Conor Dunne bookended the game with shutouts in the first and last period, stopping 25 shots along the way.

“I am really proud of our team coming off an unexpected break from playing,” coach Grace said. “We executed our plan flawlessly following a long journey to Manchester. We had a great game from Conor who kept us in the game early. It could have easily gotten away from us. Burr & Burton is a great team, and this game really could have gone either way.”

Stowe’s leading scorers was Aaron Lepikko, who scored both of his two goals in the third and helped Eames Eiden pour some gravy on the win with a minute and a half left in the game. Adrian Bryan and Nathan Nolan scored the other Stowe goals — it was Nolan’s first career goal.

Hayden Tibbits and Derek Baxter each registered two assists.

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