Hoyt McCuin is a sophomore who leads the Champlain Valley Union High School boys hockey team in scoring. Next on the list is Jack Hall, a freshman center on the first line.
While their youth movement has been on display during a 6-2-1 start, the success of the Redhawks’ early-season scoring leaders can also be attributed to team depth. CVU rolls four lines, with playing time divided equally, according to coach Mike Murray.
“All four lines play 25 percent a game and that gives us a lot of energy,” Murray said. “We are hard to the puck and quick to think.”
The Redhawks have won four of five games, with the one defeat at the hands of Essex, a game that could have gone either way.
“We don’t have any superstars. Our story is about nobody in particular,” Murray said. “I can’t tell you tonight who’s going to get the goal and that will continue to be the storyline with us this season.”
Brattleboro surging into big game
At 8-1, the team’s best start in six years under coach Eric Libardoni, Brattleboro has a chance to accomplish two things Saturday when it plays host to Division II state champion U-32:
Exact revenge on a Raiders team that ousted the Colonels in last year’s quarterfinals and prove to the rest of the league they are a viable contender.
“I’m excited to see how we match up with them. They were definitely better than us last year and this year I’m not so sure that’s the case,” Libardoni said. “We’ll find out Saturday.”
Behind the Colonels’ first-half surge has been consistent defense, which is giving up less than 20 shots a game, and balanced scoring.
Philip Perkins, a lead defensemen, has plugged into the offensive mix with six goals and seven assists while Nick Raincourt (eight goals, eight assists), Andy Harris (nine goals, six assists) and Adam Griffin (seven goals) also key a Brattleboro attack that has rung up 40 goals.
“We have two lines who I feel are pretty interchangeable and our defensemen have been excellent,” Libardoni said.
North Country overcoming concerns about depth
Due to injuries and poor turnout in preseason, North Country only suits up 15 players. The lack of depth, however, hasn’t hurt its win-loss record.
The Falcons (7-1) opened the season with five wins before falling to South Burlington on Jan. 5.
From forwards Ross Delabruere (14 goals, 11 assists) and Ryan Paul (eight goals, 10 assists) to goaltender Chris Bronson’s experience, the Falcons have remained contenders a year after making their third Division I semifinal since 2009.
“We have some talented kids. Ross and Ryan have stepped up, and with Chris in net, he gives us a chance every game,” North Country coach Andrew Roy said. “We thought about about 7-1 or 0-8, just thought about winning the next game.
“We have a big one at BFA (on Saturday).”