Comets knock off Essex for trip back to finals

The BFA-St. Albans girls’ hockey team is heading back to a familiar spot after a big win over top-seeded Essex during the Div. I semifinals on Monday.

The fourth-seeded Comets scored a shorthanded goal in the second period, which was the deciding factor in a 1-0 victory to get back to the championship game for the second straight year and fourth time in five years.

“I feel the difference tonight was our ability to play three lines all night long,” said BFA coach Luke Cioffi. “The unselfishness of all 21 players on the team was important. Without each player take a role and executing their jobs, we are not successful.”

Emma Hill’s shorthanded tally late in the second period was the only puck to find the back of the net during Monday’s contest between two of the most storied girls hockey programs in the state of Vermont and the sixth straight year they have faced each other in the postseason.

It was a huge goal after the team struggled a bit on the powerplay.

“Getting the shorthanded goal from Emma after we didn’t convert on the powerplay was a huge momentum shift,” said Cioffi.

Maddy Hungerford continued to be stellar in net for the Comets, as she posted her second shutout of the season against Essex.

“Maddy saw the puck very well tonight,” said Cioffi. “She was calm, consistent and very well supported by the entire defense.”

Wednesday’s title game will be the Comets’ 13th in program history. They have gone 9-3 in championship games.

The Comets will face off against No. 3 Rutland, who came away with a 1-0 win in their own semifinal against No. 2 Middlebury.

Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Gutterson Fieldhouse on the University of Vermont campus.

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