For the first time since becoming a joint program, the Burlington/Colchester girls’ ice hockey team was victorious over the Essex High squad as the SeaLakers topped the Hornets 2-1 on Jan. 8.
Neither side could find the back of the cage in the opening period, but Essex changed the scoreboard early into the second with the first goal of the night. The SeaLakers’ defense and goaltending would play well for the rest of the evening, however, to give their team a chance.
Midway through the frame, the Hornets would get called for a penalty and allow Burlington/Colchester to go on the power play. While the visitors were technically unable to score with a player in the box, they did so as she was stepping back onto the ice. Seconds after the power play ended, the SeaLakers were able to sneak one into the left side of the goal to tie it up with 6:32 to play in the period.
The tie wouldn’t last long as Burlington/Colchester got another to go just 36 seconds later. While shorthanded, and 22 seconds into the Essex power play, the SeaLakers gained control, connected a few passes, and sent home a shot from the right side of the ice for the 2-1 upper hand.
Burlington/Colchester limited the Hornets’ chances in the onset of the third period as the SeaLakers kept it locked into the Essex half of the ice through most of the opening 5 minutes. The hosts had a good-looking attempt to tie with 2 minutes to go, but their shot from the left circle would be kicked away by Burlington/Colchester senior goalie Courtney Rocheleau.
Tempers started to flare as time waned--leading to a SeaLaker taking a penalty for roughing after the whistle with just 1:48 to go. The Hornets would eventually pull their goalie with 37 seconds left, but Rocheleau and her teammates kept Essex out of the net to celebrate their triumph upon the final horn.
Essex head coach John Maddalena had a lot of praise for the SeaLakers afterwards, saying, “I knew they were going to be one of the best teams in the state. This year, they’ve got two really good lines. Offensively, they score a lot of goals. They only scored two against us… but we look at the number of goals that they’ve been putting up against other teams, and they’re in a power offense, so I’m pleased that we can compete with them.”
The last time Colchester girls beat Essex was Dec. 18, 2010 when Colchester was its own team; that game was also a 2-1 decision on the Hornets’ own ice and needed overtime for a winner to emerge. Essex High and Burlington/Colchester will square up once again this season on Feb. 8.