The BFA-St. Albans girls hockey team showed why it is one of the best in the state Saturday night at Spartan Arena. After Rutland went toe-to-toe with the Comets for the first 29 minutes, BFA exploded for three goals in two minutes and 22 seconds to jump to a 3-0 lead, adding one more to take a 4-0 Division I win.
The Comets controlled a good portion of the play but the Raiders were very physical, got bodies in the shooting lanes and got an outstanding performance from freshman goaltender Kristen Pariseau.
Rutland looked to be heading into the second intermission deadlocked 0-0, but Peyton Dukas poked in a loose puck with 53 seconds to go to finally give BFA the lead.
“I thought their goalie played well, she was in the right spots,” BFA coach Luke Cioffi said. “Then when she gave up a rebound, we had some opportunities but we just couldn’t get a stick on it.”
The Comets came out with a vengeance in the third and scored two quick goals to take command. There were a couple of factors in the turnaround. At that point, the Raiders had spent 10 minutes shorthanded, including three times where their best penalty killers were in the box. In addition, the Comets rolled three lines and spotted a fourth, while Rutland ran two.
“That’s kind of been our thing this year; we’ve worn teams down,” Cioffi said. “We have more legs than most teams. It was a physical game so I think that wears down on you.
“The start of the third period, to come out flying, was critical for us and maybe Rutland was a little flat-footed, I don’t know.”
McKenna Remillard made it 2-0 just 18 seconds into the final stanza when she converted the rebound of a Sophie Zemianek shot from the center blue line. The third goal was gorgeous as Remillard won a faceoff and Lizzie Hill blew into the Rutland zone, giving Pariseau no chance.
Carolyn Perry added an unassisted goal at 7:26 to cap the scoring.
The Raiders had the first quality scoring chance as Alexis Patterson took the puck behind the net and fed Brianna Beauchamp in the slot, but Maddie Hungerford made the first of her 23 saves.
“We had very good discipline, position in the first period, aggressive one-on-one contact,” Rutland coach Dirk Steupert said. “We blocked a lot of shots and we had our chances.
“We survived that second period. They spent a lot of time in our zone, generated a lot more shots. We stayed with it and then in the third period, they caught us right off on the first shift.”
Pariseau finished the night with 45 stops for the 10-4-1 Raiders, who travel to Essex on Wednesday to meet another quality opponent. The Comets are now 13-1.