MONTPELIER — Renee Robert and Payton Kurrle were red hot for the U-32 girls hockey team on Saturday night.
Robert cashed in for five goals and Kurrle recorded a hat trick, leading the Raiders to an 8-2 victory over Brattleboro.
“I thought all the girls played well,” U-32 coach Larry Smith said. “We’ve been working on a lot of little things in practice, and they just started putting it together. So I thought it was a good game for them.”
The final score may have been lopsided, but it was the Colonels who opened the scoring early. Julianna Miskovich fired a shot toward the upper-right corner of the U-32 net just 52 seconds into the first period for a 1-0 advantage. U-32 didn’t let the Colonels’ lead last long, as Kurrle equalized 42 seconds later. Kurrle gave the Raiders the lead for good 3:09 into the opening period.
Robert extended U-32’s lead to two goals on a solo effort 3:34 into play. She used her speed to sneak around defenders and then slipped the puck into the back of the Brattleboro net. Kurrle completed her hat trick 6:10 into the period, and 41 seconds later Robert added her second goal to give U-32 a 5-1 lead.
“I think we played really well as a team,” Robert said. “We passed around a lot — it was a lot better of a game. I think the team is really coming together this year. It’s a newer team, but I think we’re finally starting to come together as a family.”
Brattleboro’s Lila Alexander cut the Raiders’ lead to three goals 7:34 into the first period. Despite the comeback attempt, U-32 entered the second period with a 5-2 lead.
The second period went by without a lot of action until Robert scored her third goal on another solo attack at 10:18. Brattleboro had a chance to get one back in the final seconds of the period on a breakaway, but sharp defending from U-32 goalie Brianna Rich denied the Colonels.
“(U-32) had some great skaters and they moved the puck around well,” Brattleboro coach Eugene Frost said. “They got a lot of shots on net, which is key to the game. We struggled getting the puck out of our zone, but it was a good game on both sides.”
Robert scored her fourth goal 4:40 into the third period and added her fifth late in the game. The offensive outburst allowed U-32’s players to go to bed happy after finishing off 2018 with a victory.
“I thought that whole group of girls, that whole line, played very well together,” Smith said. “They passed the puck well and they looked for each other. I just think (Robert) had a great game.”
Raiders goalie Rich made 15 saves. She stopped six shots in the first period, three in the second and six in the third. Brattleboro goalie Natalie Gadowski (29 saves) stopped 12 shots in the first, 11 in the second and six in the third.
U-32’s defensive line was made up of Emily Frazier, Cece Curtin, Phoebe Osadchey-Brown, Elizabeth Guthrie and Jenna Mekkelsen. Brattleboro’s defense featured Max Yost, Grace Szpilla, Abbey Squiers and Tobin Lonergan. U-32 will host North Country-Lyndon at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. Brattleboro will travel to play Burr & Burton the same day at 8 p.m.