Eisenman's winner propels BBA to Lake semifinals

MANCHESTER -- With a slim one-goal lead and seconds remaining, Burr and Burton Academy senior goalie Zach Stewart knew the task that lay ahead.

"Got to make the next save. It was literally just make the next save," he said. "I wasn't sure if they were going to shoot a lot of the time. They're a very good passing team and it just happened. Lucky, skill, whatever you want to call it."

Stewart made three saves in the final 30 seconds to lead No. 3 BBA to a 4-3 win over No. 6 Hartford in the quarterfinals of the Lake Division boys hockey tournament to advance to the semifinals against Brattleboro on Friday.

The Hurricanes kept Stewart busy in the final period where he tallied 11 of his 25 saves. Hartford attacked the net relentlessly only to have their efforts rebuffed each time by Stewart, who made spectacular save after spectacular save to preserve the lead in the waning moments.

The senior's performance kept sophomore forward Nate Eisenman's goal with 9:27 left in the third period as the eventual game-winner.

"[Eisenman] was Johnny on the spot," said BBA coach Cory Herrington. "He [scored] the biggest goal of the season for us and I think that just speaks to kids working hard."

The game -- which took place on senior night before a huge crowd -- started off looking like a blowout, but turned into a nail-biter when the Hurricanes (12-9) tied the game 3:26 into the third period.

Burr and Burton (16-3-1) took a 3-0 lead early in the second period when BBA senior defenseman Bennett Timmerman fired one past Hartford's freshman goalie Teaghan Meeker's glove side on the power play.

The momentum shifted though with 7:07 left to play in the second period when Meeker blocked a penalty shot by BBA senior forward Sean Paradis.

"There was a lot of critical moments in the game and the one that really sticks out in my mind was the penalty shot that Paradis had," said Hartford coach Todd Bebeau. "If they score that goal, it's game over. My freshman goalie came up with a great save and they lost their opportunity to put us away.

"Once we got that first one, you could just feel the energy change. You could feel the surge start to turn the other way."

Herrington also said he felt the penalty shot was a game changer as well.

"Their goalie's save on Sean's penalty shot changed momentum a little bit. Hartford's a good team. They came right at us. This was a nail-biter to the end," he said. "Obviously Sean would like to get that back, but such is hockey."

The Hurricanes came storming back with 4:10 left in the second period when forward Andrew Atkinson slipped one past Stewart off an assist from Jeremy McGlone. Eighteen seconds later Atkinson found the back of the net again, generating a thunderous applause from the Hartford faithful.

With the game behind them the team now looks toward the semi-finals, something Stewart said he is looking forward to.

"I got a really sour taste from last year," Stewart said. "I've been working hard all year for this moment. We've made it here and I know that my team, when we go to wherever it is, will be going full speed."

Andy Ishu scored the game's first goal with 4:46 remaining in the period. About three minutes later Pollard put BBA up two nothing off a one timer from just inside Hartford's blue line Pollard had two assists while Ishu, Henry Buckley, Nolan Johnson and Paradis each had one.


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