In two of the three divisions, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds advanced, setting the stage for big clashes today.
In Division II, No. 1 Burr and Burton and No. 2 Montpelier put their unbeaten marks on the line at Randolph High School. Another 1-2 matchup in Proctor and Twin Valley meet in the D-IV final at South Royalton High School and Capital Division-tested Stowe and Thetford square off for the D-III crown at Williamstown High School.
The trio of games are slated to start at 1 p.m.
(2) Montpelier (17-0)
vs. (1) BBA (17-0)
It has seemed like a destined matchup all season; Montpelier and Burr and Burton, the two unbeatens facing off in the championship game.
The Bulldogs will be defending their title against a Solon team that is clicking at the right time. Montpelier’s Caleb Basa has been on fire during the playoffs, scoring the game winner in each game, including Thursday’s 1-0 result over Mount Abraham in the semifinals.
T.J. Dellipriscoli is also part of a Montpelier attack will test the Bulldogs, who have surrendered just seven goals this season.
“You don’t know if this type of season will happen again, but we’ve said to enjoy every victory from Day 1,” Montpelier coach Jason Miles said. “We’re really looking forward to it. BBA is a great team, but we’re playing really well.”
Reid Conde (15 goals), Sean Paradis (10) and Axel Sapera (8) power BBA, which has scored 13 of its 62 goals in the playoffs.
This is the first finals meeting between undefeated teams — in all divisions — since 1998, when Rochester defeated United Christian in D-IV.
(5) Thetford (11-6)
vs. (7) Stowe (9-6-2)
Stowe has played in 10 one-goal games season, including a pair of overtime victories in the playoffs to reach its first final in three years.
Thetford traced a similar path to the final, waging to one-goal battles in eight contests and not including Thursday’s penalty-kick shootout triumph over defending-champion Peoples following a 1-1 deadlock.
“I would bet on it,” said Stowe coach Jamie Birmingham when asked about the possibility of a one-goal outcome in today’s final. “Both us know it will be an evenly matched game.”
Stowe defeated Thetford by a score of — what else? — 1-0 on Sept. 22, a game Birmingham admitted the Panthers had the better of the chances.
Robert Buonnano and Tyler Mullin are Stowe’s leading scorers while Kai Norden commands the defense.
Aiden Cleaves and Ian Weider are key players for Thetford, which hasn’t won a title since 1996, a span in which it has reached double digits in wins 11 times.
(2) Twin Valley (14-3)
vs. (1) Proctor (15-1-1)
The Proctor Phantoms are no strangers to the finals, playing in their third consecutive championship game.
They also know their opponents quite well, as the Phantoms and Twin Valley faced off twice during the regular season, splitting the series.
Proctor’s offensive duo Dan Smith and John Connell have had big years, each surpassing double-digit goal totals.
For the Wildcats, Colin Lozito is poised to have a big day, but is up against a Proctor squad that hasn’t surrendered a goal in eight games.
“It should be a dog fight,” said Proctor coach Kevin Ratti, “(Coach) Buddy Hayford always has his guys ready down there.”