Once high school student-athletes complete their mid-term exams this week, many teams will also hit the midpoint of their seasons. In Metro boys hockey, parity dominated the league.
From Stowe tying Colchester to Middlebury earning a point against Essex, the addage ‘Any Given Night’ rang true for much of the first half for the dozen teams who reside in the state’s toughest and most competitive division.
“Everybody seems to have that Achilles heel, that one weakness,” said Champlain Valley coach Mike Murray, whose Redhawks are just one win shy of last year’s total with a 6-2-1 record. “It’s that type of year, probably where there’s multiple upsets in the playoffs. It’s good to see with a league that gives everybody a shot at it.”
South Burlington coach Sean Jones agreed.
“The last couple of years it seems that way. Any team, on any given night can put up a fight,” Jones said. “Once teams start to figure it out, then you might see some separation.”
Since their season-opening defeat to CVU, the Rebels have reeled off seven straight wins, including triumphs over Essex, Colchester, North Country and BFA-St. Albans. Rutland (6-0-2) is the last team without a loss in the Metro, of which half had between four and seven victories.
Will this parity last throughout the season? Longtime BFA-St. Albans coach Toby Ducolon doesn’t think so, referencing deceiving score lines and nonleague contests as reasons why. The meat of the season, as Ducolon put it, will provide many of the answers coaches and teams are searching for.
“You are not comparing apples to apples,” Ducolon said. “The next four weeks will be very telling. I think the bigger, stronger teams will rise up.”
After graduating a boatload of seniors from last year’s Division I state championship team, Ducolon’s Bobwhites sit at 2-4-1.
“People don’t realize how hard it is to get 24 guys on the same page and in the same direction,” Ducolon said. “Someone will do it for sure. That’s the one beauty of it.”
Perhaps that team could be the Bobwhites, a possibility Jones didn’t rule out.
“The first half of the year they seem to work hard and figure out who they are,” Jones said. “Then by playoff time, no matter what their record is, they are a team you don’t want to face. I think that could be true of everybody this year.”