By George Calver, Standard Correspondent
The Woodstock boys hockey team will face the No. 1 seeded U-32 Raiders in the quarter finals of the Lake Division state tournament after beating St. Johnsbury Academy, 2-0, at home March 2 in the first round of the playoffs.
Woodstock scored early on in the game (at 4:19) and settled into a tight checking mode that kept the Hilltoppers stymied in their half of the rink. On the rare occasion that the visitors broke through, Brady Stewart stood his ground to maintain the Wasps’ momentum. The first period ended 1-0, but it could easily have been 2-0 or more as Woodstock had several scoring chances, including a shot that deflected off the cross-bar.
With two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the second period, Ben Orr scored on a hard shot from the point. Less than a minute later he leveled a Hilltopper with a solid body check. The goal and the hit deflated the visitors who never recovered.
The Wasps played a sound positional game in the third stanza, back-checked a lot, and gave the opponents few scoring chances. When they came, Brady Stewart made the saves that preserved his shutout. With 2:20 left, the Hilltoppers pulled their goalie to add a sixth skater, but to no avail.
Braden McCarthy and Ben Orr scored a goal apiece for Woodstock and Brady Stewart had 12 saves.
The Wasps had played the Hilltoppers twice this season, winning at home 3-2 on Jan. 16 and losing 5-3 at St. Johnsbury earlier.
After the game, Coach Charlie Hancock commented that his team, playing with a short bench (only nine skaters), had worked very hard. Looking forward to the game against U-32, a team that beat them earlier in the season 6-0, he said, “They can play with anybody.”
The quarterfinals game against the U-32 Raiders is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. on March 5, at the Barre Ice Center.