MANCHESTER — With 13 new skaters for the Burr and Burton Academy boys hockey team, Bulldogs coach Kevin Fleurie said it's going to take a little while for everyone to jell.
"We're playing two good periods for all [three] games we've had this season — we haven't put together a full game yet," Fleurie said. "We were tied with Rutland before they had three goals in the third and even in our [7-2] win against Brattleboro. We're close, we can play with teams like Rutland or U-32."
Senior Jack Ams leads a handful of returning players, including four seniors, from last year's 8-11-2 campaign, including sophomore Jay McCoy, junior Maxx Ingison and junior Tommy Grabher. One of the captains for the Bulldogs is junior Trey Lang, a part of the member-to-member agreement with Mount Anthony.
"The coaches pick captains and Trey is very deserving of the honor," Fleurie said. "He shows up for practice early in the morning and works hard for 90 minutes. He steps on the ice and leads by example and I think it's critical that the younger players see him and follow that."
Despite the number of new players wearing the Bulldog sweaters, most of them have a lot of experience in the junior leagues.
Sophomore Sam Cottrell, who already scored this season for the Bulldogs, played for the Clifton Park Dynamo in New York state. He'll be one of the main offensive weapons for Fleurie. Others include Mount Anthony sophomore Alex Carpenter, already skating on one of the top two lines, and Green Mountain sophomore Jeremy Fleming, who took over for Joey Citera, last year's net minder, in goal this season.
Fleming was part of a midget state crown last year against St. Albans.
"There's a lot of new skaters, but the kids are getting better," Fleurie said.
The schedule isn't friendly to the Bulldogs with four of the first six games are on the road, but then four of the last six are at Riley Rink.
On December 29 and 30, the Bulldogs will face Lake Placid, N.Y. and Northeastern Clinton (N.Y.) at the Middlebury holiday tournament and after the first of the year, nine of the 12 games are at home, including the final three against Milton, St. Johnsbury and Hartford for Senior Day.
"We have a lot of long rides early on and it's a tough schedule with good teams up front," Fleurie said. "We're looking forward to the challenge, we'll see what we have."