Bulldogs end 24-game winless streak

BENNINGTON — As the overtime period ticked away, the Burr and Burton girls hockey team was on the verge of doing something they hadn't since March 2016 — earn index points.

So despite the fact that BBA played to a 4-4 draw with Hartford for the Bulldogs' first non-loss in more than a year and a half, any celebration in the accomplishment was muted.

BBA coach Ed Lewicki was proud of his team's battle in breaking a 24-game losing skid.

"We all know about what happened last year," said Lewicki, talking about his undermanned team going 0-20 in Division I. "They kept their spirits up through all of that. In the past, if we got down late, we would throw the towel in. Today we didn't do that."

The Bulldogs and Hurricanes were tied at 3-3, each team looking to score its first victory of the year. Hartford had a couple of chances at the Burr and Burton net early in the third that goalie Lola Herzog turned away.

Hartford took the lead a few minutes later with Caitlin Gaudet's third goal of the night. Gaudet snagged a turnover in their offensive end and went 1-on-1 with Herzog, who couldn't make the stop, for a 4-3 advantage.

Three minutes later, the Bulldogs stormed back with a goal, using a nice odd man rush to tie it. On the play, freshman Penelope Francomb ended up on the receiving end of a pass from Hannah Hedberg for Francomb's second goal of the game and of her varsity career.

"It seemed to energize us late in the game," Lewicki said.

With 2:56 left, BBA was called for a penalty, giving Hartford a power play and put the Bulldogs into their most important penalty kill of the year. The Hurricanes peppered Herzog with a handful of shots in the final minutes, but the freshman was up to the task, turning them all away and helping to kill the penalty.

"I thought it could have gone either way, but that's hockey," Lewicki said. "The kids did a great job killing off the penalty and Lola came up with some great saves."

In overtime, both teams had some chances but both goalies — Herzog and Hartford's Jacqueline Gour — made nice stops to keep it tied and to give BBA its first index points this season.

Herzog made 21 stops for BBA, while Gour had 17 for the Hurricanes.

"I can't say enough good things about Lola, for someone who hadn't been on the ice until the first practice, how far she's come in a short time," Lewicki said.

"We didn't have a goalie a week before the season, so I was nervous, but [Lola's] been incredible in net," added Grabher. "She's been a key player and we can rely on her back there. She's grown so much from day 1."

The teams went back and forth throughout the first 30 minutes.

Hartford lit the lamp first, Ceci Spaulding got on a breakaway and fired past Herzog for a 1-0 lead. Moments later, Jessica Grabher slipped it past Gour to tie the game. It stayed like that through a Hartford power play and was tied at 1-1 going to the first intermission.

In the second period, Francomb scored her first varsity goal off the faceoff. Grabher won the draw and got it to Francomb, who backhanded it in for a 2-1 lead. Twenty seconds later, Hartford leveled, the first of Gaudet's three tallies.

BBA re-took the lead with 5:53 to go on a deflection — Kerri Ann Campbell fired a shot on goal that went off Annalise Bartlett's stick and past Gour — her first varsity goal.

But with 65 seconds left in the second, Hartford tied it yet again. Gaudet's shot deflected off a BBA stick and past Herzog to go into the dressing room tied at 3-3 with 15 minutes to go.

"It was a well-rounded effort today," Lewicki said. We started slow, but as far as team play, it was probably the best game we had all year."

"It's a point and what it does for the kids, it validates some of the things we've been teaching," Lewicki said. "We don't have the best skill in the world, but the kids are seeing if they work really hard, they can see results."

Grabher said the tie is only the start for the Bulldogs.

"We've had a lot of close games so far, last year was tough," Grabher said. 'To finally get a tie, it's encouraging and we know if we bring the effort, we can win this year."


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