Sled Hockey in the Green Mountains 1/4/2015

South Burlington. ----The Northeast Sled Hockey League (NESHL) B-division came to South Burlington’s Cairns Arena Saturday, January 3rd for the second NESHL B-Division Game Day. The three inaugural teams from MA, NH and VT met in Cairns Arena as part of the 6th Annual Matt Smith Green Mountain Classic Sled hockey tournament sponsored in part by The Hartford Financial Group.

The Opening game pitted the Western Massachusetts Golden Knights against the host team, the Vermont Sledcats. Vermont jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by center Bryan Bathalon off an assist from Eric Gissendanner. Jordan Carrell’s goal would give the Sledcats a 2-0 lead into the second period. The Golden Knights made some key adjustments and rallied in the second period with goals by Jeff Granger and Corey Drounin to tie the game. VT responded with a go-ahead goal by Co-captain Jake LaVigne. As the final period progressed, play became kind of chippy with MA committing three minor penalties for roughing, hitting from behind and t-boning but overcame this disadvantage to tie the game on Ryan Kincade’s late third period goal. The regulation game ended with a 3-3 tie but the GMC tournament rules allowed for a 5-minute sudden death OT which was decided in MA’s favor by a Corey Drounin face-off one-timer that snuck past Vermont’s goaltender. Vermont outshot MA 23 to 16.

The second game against the Golden Knights and the NH/ NEP Wildcats saw MA defeat the Wildcats 5-0 on goals by Ryan Kinkade, and two each by Drounin and Brian Boisvere. NH had 3 shots on goal against MA’s 18.

The final game of the series featured the Sledcats versus the Wildcats in a cat fight at Cairns. The game ended with a 4-0 win by Vermont on two goals by Bryan Bathalon and one each by Carrell and Jake Lavigne.

Bragging right for this year’s GMC champion goes to the Western Massachusetts Golden Knights followed by Vermont and Massachusetts. Tournament top scorer was Vermont’s Bryan Bathalon with three goals and two assists for a total of 8 points followed by MA’s Corey Drounin with three goals and one assist for a total of 7 points.

The 600 person arena witnessed a larger than expected crowd turn out for the tournament and they were not disappointed with plenty of fast, competitive, hard-hitting hockey.

The three teams will meet for the final B-division game day in Exeter, NH in March.

NESHL season standings after two hotly contested tournament days stands at:    


Vermont                          3-0-1

Massachusetts                2-1-1

New Hampshire               0-4-0

Submitted by:
Patrick Standen