BFA-St. Albans' Bri Jarvis celebrates after her first-period goal during Wednesday's game against Essex. (Ben Kaufmann, County Courier)


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Wednesday’s game between the BFA-St. Albans and Essex girls hockey teams more closely resembled what a game between the longtime rivals should look like as opposed to the first meeting between them.

After the Comets came away with a 12-4 rout in the first meeting against the Hornets, they weren’t as comfortable for a majority of Wednesday’s contest. After trailing 2-1 going into the final six minutes of the game, the Comets tallied four unanswered goals to come away with a 5-2 victory.

“The girls were very excited to play Essex again tonight,” said BFA coach Luke Cioffi. “We anticipated they would be stronger and would be a much different group than the last time we played. This was a traditional BFA/Essex game.”

The Comets put a bunch of pucks on Essex goalie Emily Carter (24 saves), but couldn’t get much past her for a majority of the game. The Hornets seemed to focus their attention on BFA’s Sophie Zemianek for most of the game making sure there was a body on her every time she touched the puck.

With the Comets down 2-1 and on the powerplay with just over five minutes to play, Zemianek took advantage of her best opportunity of the game to get the scoring barrage started. She intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and made a great individual effort fighting through a number of slashes and fired a wrist shot into the net to make it a 2-2 game.

“Sophie’s bullet to the top right corner was a solid effort,” said Cioffi. “It was just classic Sophie of working hard along the boards and taking an opening and rifling the puck as she gets to the middle.”

Bri Jarvis kept the momentum going in the Comets’ favor just over 40 seconds later with her second goal of the game. She picked up loose puck in the corner from a scrum and skated the puck toward the front of the note. With Caroline Bliss tying up a couple of Essex players in front of the net, Jarvis put a perfect backhand into the top corner of the net to give the Comets the lead in quick fashion. Bliss and Jodie Gratton (one goal, one assist) were credited with assists on the go-ahead goal.

“Bri’s patience out of the corner to the slot was initiated by some great forechecking by the entire line,” said Cioffi. “The back hand was an excellent shot that caught a big part of the net.”

After the Comets were assessed a penalty with under a minute to go and Essex’s goalie pulled, they had to hang on with the one-goal lead with the Hornets on a 6-on-4 advantage.

Off the faceoff, Ayla Shea intercepted the puck in the defensive zone and put a perfect outlet pass onto the stick of Bliss (one goal, two assists) in the neutral zone. Trying to just put a puck toward the net, Bliss outmuscled an Essex defender to get just enough of a shot from the neutral zone to get into the net.

Gratton added another goal, unassisted, with a couple of seconds left in the game.

“Everybody feeds off the positive energy that is generated by all of the players on and off the ice, which has helped us score goals in bunches at various times this year,” said Cioffi. “The players’ excitement and commitment to continue to battle through the ups and downs of a game has highlighted the growth this team continues to make every week. We are fortunate to get scoring from all the line combinations we have.”

BFA-St. Albans’ Caroline Bliss tracks the puck during Wednesday’s game against Essex. (Ben Kaufmann, County Courier)

The Comets got the scoring started late in the first period. Bliss passed the puck to the blue line to Rachel Needleman who took a shot that was saved by Carter, but Jarvis was on the doorstep to score on the rebound.

It didn’t take the Hornets long to knot the score up. After BFA failed to clear the puck, a scramble ensued in front of Comets goalie Makenna Montgomery before Taylor Senecal slipped the puck into the net to make it 1-1.

After a scoreless second period, Essex got the go-ahead goal early in the third. Abigale Smith intercepted the puck behind the Comets’ net and slipped a no-look pass to Dylan Line who fired the one-timer into the net to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead.

Montgomery was solid in net the entire game making some key saves to put the Comets in position to breakaway late in the game. She finished the game with 25 saves.

“It was another good game for Makenna tonight and she saved us in the second period when we were simply forcing too many passes out of our zone,” said Cioffi. “This game provided a bit more confidence for her and provided an opportunity to play in a playoff type of game.”

It was another productive game for the Comets’ top line of Bliss, Jarvis and Gratton who combined for seven points in the game.

“Bri, Jodie and Caroline have the ability to transition so quickly with and without the puck,” said Cioffi. “On the defensive side, they make it very difficult for teams to get quality scoring opportunities because of their ability to get back quickly. They are often catching the other team in the neutral zone and creating a scoring opportunity.”

The Comets improved to 14-0 with the victory. It was another hard-fought victory for the Comets, as they look forward to another meeting with Spaulding on Saturday. The Crimson Tide’s only loss of the season came in a 5-3 loss to BFA earlier this season.

“This was an excellent opportunity for us to grow mentally and emotionally as we head into the last few games,” said Cioffi. “We know what we need to do to be successful, and we learned we need to make improvements and will look at how we can get better tomorrow and the next day and so on.”

BFA-St. Albans’ Molly Smith (9) takes a shot through traffic during Wednesday’s game against Essex. (Ben Kaufmann, County Courier)