Bulldogs break skid in reaching semifinal

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WOODSTOCK — The Burr and Burton boys hockey team broke a couple of streaks on Wednesday night.

With its 3-2 win over two-time defending Division II champion Woodstock, there will be a new ruler of D-II this season. Also, it was the first win over the Wasps since 2016 — since this group of seniors were mere freshmen.

Joey McCoy scored a power-play goal with 1:41 left to propel the No. 7 Bulldogs past the No. 2 Wasps in front of a packed house at Union Arena.

Having failed to tally a goal in more than 95 minutes of play in their two meetings of this regular season, the Bulldogs were hungrier than ever for a win against the Wasps. That hunger was satisfied as the Bulldogs worked hard and came from behind twice to topple the two-time defending Division II champions.

They were led by the seniors, as all three goals were scored by 12th graders, two from McCoy and one from Johnny Miceli. Goalie Ethan Simonds came up with 26 saves, the biggest ones late in the third as Woodstock looked for the go-ahead score.

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Head coach Mark Slade stressed the importance of their leadership in the night's win.

"Every team has a few players they need to rely on. And today we were able to rely on our captains," Slade said.

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Despite struggling to control the puck, the Bulldogs kept the Wasps at bay for most of the first period. But with Simonds screened, a shot by Evan Kurash from the blue line slipped past to put Woodstock up 1-0.

The equalizer came short-handed in the second period when McCoy's pressure during a penalty kill popped the puck out of the zone, giving him a clear path to put it above the left shoulder of Woodstock goalie Henry Greene.

A slew of Bulldog penalties gave the Wasps ample opportunity to score, but the penalty kill was solid, and the score was tied after two.

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"Special teams and [the] penalty kill has been a strength of ours this season, and we've come to rely on those guys in critical moments of the game. And today they came up big, they did their jobs well," Slade said.

Woodstock took the lead again early in the third, but BBA responded on their next possession when Nicky Miceli backhanded the puck to set up brother Johnny Miceli for a one-timer from the front of the net.

As the third period wound down, Wasps penalties put the Bulldogs on a 5-on-3 advantage, and McCoy — off an assist from Nicky Miceli — sent the Bulldogs to its first semifinal since 2017.

Burr & Burton improves to 13-8-1 and will face No. 3 Milton (15-4-2) in a semi-final match up on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Highgate Arena. Milton edged Brattleboro 2-1 in the other quarterfinal on Wednesday. BBA and Milton did face off this season with the Yellowjackets coming out on top, 3-1.


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