On Jan. 8, after nearly a month off due to COVID-19 and holiday game cancellations, the Stowe Girls U10 team hosted a deep and tough South Burlington team, ultimately losing 14-4. Rust played a big part in the loss, but the Stowe side showed grit and determination until the final horn.
In the first, Stowe looked sharp, keeping the puck primarily in the South Burlington zone. Thanks to stout forechecking by Reese Henderson, Bridgette St.Pierre, Berkely Heffner and Natalie Kubalova, South Burlington broke free though after about three minutes of Stowe pressure, only to be denied by Stowe goalie Madison Shaw, stuffing the attacker at the last moment.
Shots by Stowe from St.Pierre and Olivia Challenger scooted just wide, while strong defense by Molly Schultze did not go unnoticed by either team. With about three minutes left in the period, South Burlington unleashed a vicious attack, rattling off three goals in quick succession from Clare Hamilton, Ryann Pellon-Kora and Charley Brandon.
Down three to zero and entering the second, Stowe looked to bounce back, but South Burlington scored another three goals in the first two minutes by Allison Rumsey, and two more by Ryann Pellon-Kora.
All these goals were virtually unstoppable, finished with class and poise by the talented South Burlington offense. Stowe had had enough at that point. Addison Kneale, Kubalova, and Annabelle St.Pierre turned defense into offense, feeding Challenger on the break to get Stowe onto the scoresheet.
Not a minute later, Challenger took the outlet pass from Kneale, besting South Burlington goalie Meadow Fisk on the backhand, narrowing the gap to two to six. It didn't take long for South Burlington to respond, with Pellon-Kora netting her fourth of the game just 20 seconds later.
Stowe kept the pressure on for the next four minutes. Kneale and Challenger earned open shots on net that were thwarted by Fisk. With only 23 seconds left in the second, Challenger benefited from Henderson’s strong defense, netting Stowe’s third goal of the game.
In the third, the high motors of the St.Pierre twins, Kneale and Henderson kept the pressure on, with Kneale getting barely caught from behind by the speedy South Burlington defense. Fisk racked up saves while Stowe continued to pound shots on the opposition’s net.
Challenger, Henderson and St.Pierre all had legitimate chances only to be denied by stout netminding. South Burlington’s final goal was a power play, following a questionable hooking penalty on Henderson.
Back to even strength, Stowe continued fighting. The hustle paid off for Stowe late in the third, with Annabelle St.Pierre keeping the puck in the South Burlington zone for Kneale to pick it up and skate hard to the net.
As she was tripped on the way to the goal, Heffner picked up the loose puck and slammed it between the pipes for Stowe’s fourth and final goal.
Later Saturday, the Stowe girls team was featured at the University of Vermont’s women’s game, scrimmaging on Gutterson Field House ice in between the second and third periods.
Stowe is set for a home Friday night matchup versus Essex and away at Rutland on Sunday.
— Bob St.Pierre