FRANKLIN COUNTY – This weekend, Franklin County teams will take to gyms and arenas for another round of playoff hockey and basketball.
The sixth seed Comets team will take on the third seed Mount Mansfield Union basketball team in the DI quarterfinal on Saturday at 2 pm. The Comets (11-9) faced a host of tough DI contenders at the end of the regular season, going on a five-game losing streak before earning the playdown win against South Burlington on Wednesday evening. Most of the Comet losses came to stiff DI opponents--CVU, Rice, Essex, and St. Johnsbury. They did secure a 53-37 point victory over MMU (#3) in the first game of the season.
MMU closed out the season on a four-game win streak against predominantly DII opponents. They took losses to a mix of DI and DII teams, falling to South Burlington, BFA St. Albans, Essex, Burlington, and Mount Abraham.
Saturday's showdown will be the second time the teams have faced each other this season, with the first contest taking place on December 17th.
The winner of the DI quarterfinal will play at Patrick Gymnasium on Saturday at 2 pm.
On Friday, the fourth-seeded Enosburg girls basketball team (17-4) will host fifth seed, Burr & Burton (13-7), for the DII quarterfinal game. Twelve of Enosburg's regular-season games were played against teams in their division or higher. Of the three losses they took in the regular season, two were to DII powerhouse North Country; the other was to MMU, the third seed in DI.
Burr & Burton played only two games against teams in a lower division and took most of their losses to DI teams including CVU, Brattleboro, and Rutland and to DII frontrunner, Fair Haven.
The winner of the game will travel to the Barre Auditorium on Monday for the DII semifinal game at 8:15.
The seventh-seeded Richford Rockets will travel to Proctor on Friday evening to take on the second seed. Proctor, who earned a buy in the playdown round for DIV, has been waiting to play since the end of the regular season.
Proctor (17-3) played a majority of games in-division, while the Rockets (9-10), faced many DII and DIII teams. Only seven of their regular-season games were against DIV teams. Blue Mountain (#3) and Hazen Union (#8) were the only teams the Rockets took losses to in their division. The winner of the game will play in the semifinal game on Wednesday at 6:30.
On the ice, the MVU and BFA girls' hockey teams will both play this weekend, along with the BFA boys' hockey team.
The second-seeded Comets (16-3-1) will take on DI rival and third seed, Essex (13-7) in the semifinal game on Friday. The matchup, one that all DI hockey fans are very familiar with, will be one to watch! The teams have faced each other in the semis and the finals repeatedly, the last time--the DI state championship in 2019--ended in an Essex title.
This season, BFA has come out on top of two out of three contests with Essex, most recently in the Pink Game at BFA St. Albans in late February.
Comet losses were taken to out of state teams at the beginning of the year. The tie came against the number one seeded Burlington-Colchester SeaLakers.
Essex also took two early losses to out of state teams; they then fell twice to the Comets and the SeaLakers and once to DII Harwood.
The winner of the semifinal will play in the DI hockey final at Gutterson on Monday.
The MVU Thunderbirds, last year's DII state champs, are seeded fourth behind Harwood, Middlebury, and CVU. MVU (9-10-1), earned a win over U32, the fifth seed, on Wednesday.
MVU took five losses to DI teams in the regular season and ended on a four-game losing streak. They finished in the fourth seed in the second tier.
The Thunderbirds will face the one seed in the third tier, the Spaulding Crimson Tide on Friday at 5:30 in Barre. Spaulding, the top team in the third tier, remains undefeated through the quarterfinal.
Spaulding played only one DI team, Rice, in the regular season, while MVU took on seven DI opponents, tying with Rice and earning a win over South Burlington.
The BFA St. Albans Bobwhites hockey team finished the season in the second seed behind the Essex Hornets, last year's DI champions. The Bobwhites (16-4) and Essex (18-1-1) would meet in the championship if both teams clear the semifinal round.
The Bobwhites will face Rice (#3) on Saturday at 7 pm, in St. Albans. Essex will take on Stowe (#4) on Saturday at 5 pm.
The Hornets' solo loss came at the hands of Rice Memorial early in the season; the tie was against Potsdam, NY.
BFA's four losses came in games against Spaulding, Stowe, and Essex. The Bobwhites gave up only 19 goals in the regular season, and never lost by more than two goals.
Rice (16-4) was a slim one index point below the Bobwhites at the end of the regular and will certainly be eager for an upset.
The Enosburg Hornets (4) upset the Hazen Wildcats (1) on Thursday evening at the Barre Aud by a score of 66-55. The Hornets will return to Barre on Saturday at 7:30 pm to take on Thetford for the DIII championship!
Be sure to keep an eye on samessenger.com for results throughout the weekend.