By Ed Flaherty
It took nearly eight periods of hockey, but Colchester (Vt.) High School stunned previously unbeaten Essex in the Vermont Division 1 boys semifinals on Wednesday.
Colchester’s Ryan Francis scored the game-winning goal for the Lakers early in the fifth overtime for the 5-4 victory.
No. 5 Colchester (15-7-1) advances to the Division 1 championship game, where it will face third-seeded BFA-St. Albans on March 13 at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse.
No. 1 Essex (20-1-1) hadn’t suffered a loss since the Division 1 title game last season.
Francis’ game-winning goal was scored just 44 seconds into the fifth overtime and gave him a hat trick on the night. Jacob St. Pierre and Avery Steele also scored for Colchester, with goaltender Matt McBride making 57 saves in goal.
For Essex, Taylor Lovely, Jack Cabanaw, Luc Leblanc and Pat Abbott scored. Pat Campbell had 62 saves in net.
The game is one of the longest in Vermont hockey history. According to the Burlington Free Press, a 2002 Division 2 quarterfinal game between Colchester and Hartford had 10 overtime periods and a 1972 Division 1 quarterfinal between Missiquoi and Northfield was decided in a fifth overtime period.
The other Division 1 semifinal also went to overtime, with BFA-St. Albans holding off No. 7 North Country, 3-2, in double overtime.
Matt Palmer’s goal in the second OT period sent BFA-St. Albans to the title game.
Palmer had two goals for BFA-St. Albans. Mike Schreiner also scored for the Bobwhites and Andrew Morin made 18 saves in goal.
The lone upset in the boys Division 1 tournament’s opening round was turned in by No. 10 South Windsor, which turned in a 3-1 win over No. 7 Xavier.
South Windsor’s win was sparked by goaltender Christian Marchi, who made 30 saves for the Bobcats.
The Division 2 bracket saw each of the top eight seeds advance, with No. 4 Milford needing overtime to avoid an upset against No. 11 Newtown.
In Division 3, the first round saw No. 9 Rockville-Manchester-Stafford and No. 7 Masuk win to advance to the quarterfinals.
Hall-Conard won its first girls state title with a 3-2 overtime win against New Canaan.
Emily Corrales’ game-winning goal in OT gave Hall-Conard the win and ended top-seeded New Canaan’s bid for a third straight state title.
Maine’s Class A and Class B state championships will be decided on Saturday at Lewiston’s Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
In Class A, St. Dominic Academy held off Lewiston for a 1-0 victory to claim the Eastern Maine title. Kyle Holtet scored the game’s only goal with a short-handed tally in the second period. Grant Carrier had 22 saves to post the shutout win.
St. Dominic will face defending champion Thornton Academy, which won the Western Maine title with an 8-4 win over Falmouth. C.J. Maksut, Robert Downing, Bryan Dallaire and Andrew Carrignan scored two goals apiece for Thornton Academy.
In Class B, Messalonskee won its first Eastern Maine title with a 5-3 win over Brewer. Sam Dexter had two goals to lead Messalonskee, while Nate DelGuidice had 35 saves.
Greely claimed the Western Maine Class B title with a 5-1 win over York. Pete Stauber, Jordan Tabox, Kenny Richards, Zac Doucette and Ted Hart scored for Greely.
The father of a Winthrop High School girls hockey team player accused of aiming a laser pointer into the eyes of an opponent’s goaltender is now facing criminal charges.
Joseph Cordes, 42, will face disturbing the peace charges.
Authorities say Cordes pointed the laser pointer at a Medway/Ashland goalie during a Feb. 29 tournament game in Winthrop.
Winthrop won the game, 3-1, and Cordes’ actions prompted Medway/Ashland parents to request that the game be replayed. The appeal was denied.
The girls Division 1 semifinals will be played March 10 at Stoneham Arena, with No. 3 St. Mary’s of Lynn meeting No. 10 Hingham – the defending state champion – in one semifinal and No. 4 Arlington Catholic taking on No. 9 Braintree in the other.
The Division 2 girls semifinals, to be held in Bourne on March 10, will feature No. 1 Duxbury vs. No. 5 Belmont in one contest and No. 7 Falmouth and No. 6 Westwood in the other.
The girls state championship games will be played March 18 at TD Garden.
Manchester’s Verizon Wireless Arena will feature four state championship games on Saturday as the Granite State season comes to a conclusion.
Saturday’s hockeyfest begins at 10 a.m. with the girls title game, featuring two-time defending champion Hanover (No. 2) against top-seeded Lebanon.
Up next is the Division 3 boys championship contest, with the division’s top teams – No. 1 Kennett and No. 2 Alvirne – squaring off for the hardware at 12:15 p.m.
The boys Division 2 title tilt will see top-seeded Bedford trying to dethrone defending champion and third-seeded Dover at 2:30 p.m.
The title game festivities will conclude with the Division 1 heavyweight bout featuring top-seeded Pinkerton Academy and No. 2 Manchester Memorial. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
La Salle Academy shocked Mount St. Charles to claim the girls’ state championship, beating the Mounties 2-0 in the third game of their best-of-three series.
La Salle’s two wins in the championship series were the first-ever for the program against Mount St. Charles. Goaltender Holly Scott turned in stellar performances in both outings, earning a 4-0 shutout in Game 1 and a 2-0 shutout in the title-clinching victory.
Mount St. Charles, which was seeking a third straight state title, won Game 2 of the series, 2-1.
The boys state championship series will have a familiar feel to it as Mount St. Charles and Bishop Hendricken will square off for the title for the 19th time in the last 32 years.
Mount St. Charles defeated La Salle in double overtime in Game 3 of their best-of-three series to advance, while Bishop Hendricken swept Burrillville in two straight games to move on.
Mount St. Charles is seeking its fifth straight state championship.
The championship game pairings for Division 2 boys, Division 1 girls and Division 2 girls have been set in the Green Mountain State.
For the Division 2 boys, top-seeded Northfield will take on No. 3 U-32. Northfield advanced with a 5-0 win over Peoples Academy, as Billy Whaley had a hat trick. U-32 topped Burr and Burton, 5-3, with Wyatt Peterson and Isaac Beaupre scoring two goals apiece.
The Division 1 girls title game will feature Essex and South Burlington. Essex defeated defending champion BFA-St. Albans, 3-0, with Kathleen Young scoring twice and Victoria Gibson earning the shutout with 22 saves. South Burlington handled Spaulding, 5-4, as Molly Higgins and Julia Hudson had two goals apiece.
Both Division 2 girls semifinal contests went into triple overtime. Stowe advanced with a 2-1 win over Harwood. Maria Barthlomew scored both Stowe goals in the win. Stowe will take on top-seeded Burr and Burton, which topped Rutland, 3-2. Erin Thompson had the game-winner for Burr and Burton, with Abby Marmer and Megan Miskovsky also scoring in the win.
Game of the Week
The opening game of Rhode Island’s best-of-three state championship series between longtime rivals Mount St. Charles and Bishop Hendricken will be played Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Providence College’s Schneider Arena.
The teams split their four meetings this season.
Game 2 of the state championship series will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Schneider Arena, with a third and deciding game – if necessary – scheduled for Monday, also at Schneider Arena.
Ed Flaherty can be reached at email@example.com.