BFA-St. Albans goalie Erin Jackson tracks the puck during a game against Rutland earlier this season. Jackson made 16 saves for her second shutout of the season on Monday. (Anthony Labor Jr. Photo)

Jackson, Zemianek Help Comets Cruise by Rutland

Gratton Adds 4 Points as BFA-St. Albans Scores Four Times in Third Period

County Courier

ST. ALBANS – Despite the final score, the first two periods of Tuesday’s Div. I girls hockey contest between BFA-St. Albans and Rutland was a battle.

The score was tied 1-1 late in the second before the Comets scored twice in the final minute and a half of the period and went on to score four more in the third on their way to a decisive 7-1 victory.

“Things might have fell apart for them at the end, but I thought Rutland played a heck of a game out there.,” said BFA-St. Albans coach Jeff Rouleau. “They gave us all we could handle through at least the first two periods.”

It was the second time this season the Comets have scored four or more goals in the third period of a game. They scored six in the final frame in the opening win against Hingham, Mass.

“It took us a little while to get adjusted to the speed of their play,” said Rouleau. “Once we got adjusted and recognized that we needed to keep the play simple, we started moving the puck a little more and things opened up for us. They made us work really hard using that speed out there.”

Freshman goalie Erin Jackson made her second consecutive start in net and picked up her second win. She ended the game with 20 saves, but made some big saves throughout the first two periods to keep Rutland from getting ahead in the game.

Rutland skated well throughout the first two periods and used its speed to create a number of breakaways or partial breakaways and Jackson shut them down. She came up with a huge save late in the second period when the puck was loose in front of her net and a Rutland defender slapped at the puck and Jackson kicked out her pad for the save.

“Erin had a very solid game out there for us today,” said Rouleau. “She didn’t see a ton of shots in her first game, so I would say this was her first big test and saw plenty of shots and she had to come up with some big saves for us. She stood up for us in a big way, especially in those first two periods.”

Sophie Zemianek led the charge for the Comets with a hat trick and Jodie Gratton added four points of her own with two goals and two assists. Molly Smith (two assists) and Reese Clayton (one goal, one assist) also had multi-point games.

Grace Fraties (one goal), Seneca Lamos (one assist), Caroline Bliss (one assist) and Bri Jarvis (one assist) all tallied a point in the game.

BFA-St. Albans’ Molly Smith, left, and Sophie Zemianek celebrate with teammates after one of Zemianek’s third-period goals during Tuesday’s game against Rutland. (Anthony Labor Jr. Photo)

It was a scrappy first two periods for the Comets, who led 1-0 after the opening frame. While on the powerplay, Lamos flipped the puck to the front of the net and Clayton found it in a scramble and snapped it into the net for the lead.

The game went back-and-forth for the next 16 minutes of the game with both Jackson and Rutland goalie Sierra McDermott (35 saves) making some clutch saves. It seemed like Rutland couldn’t find an answer for Jackson until in the midst of a scramble Addison Hubert poked the puck into the net to tie the game 1-1.

The Comets made sure they got the momentum back quickly going back ahead two minutes later. Clayton skated the puck into the offensive zone and her shot was blocked, but Fraties was there for the rebound and put a shot off the post and in for the 2-1 lead. Zemianek got her first goal of the game with 13 seconds left in the period when she intercepted a pass in her defensive zone and skated past the defense for a breakaway. She was taken down in the offensive zone, but stuck with the puck and scored while going down to make it a 3-1 game going into the third.

The Comets showed off their depth from there.

“Getting those two goals gave us a whole lot of energy going into the locker room,” said Rouleau. “We have a lot of girls on our team that play and we use that to our advantage. I think we will have more energy in the third period because of that depth and we showed it off tonight like we did against Hingham earlier this year.

From there it was all Comets with Gratton scoring the first two goals of the period. She skated the puck into the slot untouched and fired a wrist shot that beat McDermott. Bliss then skated into the zone past the defense and made McDermott commit to her before sending a perfect pass over to Gratton for the easy goal.

BFA-St. Albans’ Jodie Gratton takes a wrist shot for a third-period goal during Tuesday’s game against Rutland. (Anthony Labor Jr. Photo)

Zemianek scored her final two goals 24 seconds apart midway through the period while the teams were skating on a 4-on-4. Both were scored in similar fashion, as she used the space on the ice and corralled a pass from Smith on both goals and took slap shots through traffic and in to give the Comets the big lead.

“Getting contributions from everyone on the ice from all of our forwards and our defense makes everything that much easier,” said Rouleau. “Opponents can’t key in on one player because we have so many players who can score and can score from a variety of areas on the ice, which is just another advantage we get by our depth.”

It was another solid win for the Comets who have outscored their opponents 23-6 through their first four games, as they improve to 4-0 on the season. They will have some time off for the holidays before heading to Hanover, N.H. for a tournament started on Tuesday.