Thursday March 19, 2015
"Our team as a whole represents South Burlington High School and the South Burlington community in a way that exemplifies the best in student-athletes.”
While nothing takes the sting out of a championship loss, last Monday’s matchup between South Burlington and Essex, which ultimately fell to the Hornets 3-2, will go down as one of the great hockey finals in the history of the Green Mountain State. While it might sound cliché to say that the Rebels left it all on the ice, South Burlington battled their opponent through three full periods of regulation and not one, not two, but three full periods of overtime. It is the only championship hockey game in state history to go such a distance, lasting a full seventy-nine minutes and forty five seconds before Essex freshman Alex Giummo converted a pass from teammate Nick McGovern into the deciding goal of the contest.
The March 9 game got off to a slow offensive start, with neither team finding the net in the first period. A flurry of action in the second period saw Essex take a quick 2-0 lead, with goals by the Hornet’s McGovern and Brendan Gleason. South Burlington bounced back with a surge of their own in the period, capitalizing on a pair of costly Essex penalties. Down 2-0, but controlling a 5-3 advantage on the ice, Peter Camardo found teammate Kyle McDonald with a pass at the top left circle and McDonald buried the shot past Essex goalie Erik Short. Brandon Gay provided the equalizer for South Burlington, battling through traffic around the crease to find the net as Essex labored through a 5-minute major penalty. Fundamental defense carried both teams through the end of regulation and into overtime, with the goalies for both teams making save after save to hold the game in balance. South Burlington’s Ben Greenstein made 34 saves in the game, including one particularly epic stop that Greenstein shut down with his facemask. Essex’ Short set a championship-game record with the 48 saves he racked up in the contest, as South Burlington continued to create shooting opportunities to pepper the Hornet’s goal.
Though the outcome was disappointing for South Burlington, head coach Sean Jones was the first to congratulate his team and the incredible effort and work ethic put forth on the ice Monday and throughout the 2014-15 season. “I think, if you ask anyone associated with our team, they’ll tell you our season was a success.” said Jones “Throughout the season, we fought through adversity, celebrated success, and came together as a unit. This was never more apparent than in our championship game loss. In our locker room after the game, it was apparent we had become a family. Our players held their heads high and were picking each other up after the game. I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s maturity, or the manner in which they handled the defeat.”
But defeat is not the take away for South Burlington from this season. Rather, it’s the camaraderie that the Rebels shared with their teammates and coaches and the incredible degree of success that they did find, both on and off the ice. One example of this success includes the Rebels spearheading community service projects that raised $500 for the Vermont Veterans Association and the Travis Roy Foundation. Another victory on the season was the team’s title as unofficial “Cairns champions” or the team with the highest winning percentage this season at South Burlington’s home facility, Cairns Arena. The Rebels were also victorious in the Bob Beech Memorial Championship tournament, the Karen Weiss Memorial Championship tournament, and, for the fifth consecutive season, captured the CSB cup. Individual accomplishments of note include Kyle MacDonald being voted a 1st Team Metro selection, and a Senior Rotary All-Star, Brendan Lahue voted a 2nd Team Metro selection, teammates Peter Camardo and Ben Greenstein voted 3rd Team Metro selections and Senior Rotary All-Stars, and Ryan Leonard taking Senior Rotary All-Star honors. The Rebels wrapped up their season with a 15-6-2 record and the team is savoring the lessons they’ve taken away from this year while already finding ways to improve for next season. “We will return players with skill, but more importantly, players with outstanding character.” said Jones “Our team as a whole represents South Burlington High School and the South Burlington community in a way that exemplifies the best in student-athletes.”