OT goal extends season for Hartford girls hockey

Hartford teammates celebrate after Zoe Zanleoni’s (19) game-winning goal in overtime of a VPA D-II girls hockey quarterfinal game against Stowe High School at Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt., on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Hartford won, 2-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hartford teammates celebrate after Zoe Zanleoni’s (19) game-winning goal in overtime of a VPA D-II girls hockey quarterfinal game against Stowe High School at Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt., on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Hartford won, 2-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news / report for america — Alex Driehaus

Aubree Gramling, 11, center, congratulates Hartford players as they leave the ice while standing with her friend Maria Chaput, 12, left, and her father Hartford goalie coach Jason Gramling during a VPA D-II girls hockey quarterfinal game against Stowe High School at Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt., on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Aubree Gramling, 11, center, congratulates Hartford players as they leave the ice while standing with her friend Maria Chaput, 12, left, and her father Hartford goalie coach Jason Gramling during a VPA D-II girls hockey quarterfinal game against Stowe High School at Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt., on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news / report for america — Alex Driehaus

Hartford’s Emma Bazin (5) fights for the puck against Stowe’s Isabel Donza (7) during a VPA D-II girls hockey quarterfinal game at Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt., on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hartford’s Emma Bazin (5) fights for the puck against Stowe’s Isabel Donza (7) during a VPA D-II girls hockey quarterfinal game at Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt., on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

By TRIS WYKES

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 02-29-2024 1:33 PM

Modified: 03-02-2024 11:45 PM


WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Exhaustion, illness, injury and overtime. The Hartford High girls hockey team overcame it all Wednesday during its 2-1 defeat of Stowe in a VPA Division II playoff quarterfinal at Barwood Arena.

Zoe Zanleoni’s jam-shot goal at the right post with 5 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the extra stanza boosted second-seeded Hartford (14-6-1) past the no. 7 Raiders (9-10-2) and into Friday night’s semifinal against sixth-seeded Middlebury at Barwood.

The Hurricanes won the teams’ regular-season meeting, 2-1, at home on Dec. 16.

The Tigers defeated third-seeded Woodstock, 3-2, on Wednesday, preventing the neighboring Hurricanes and Wasps from renewing a multi-sport rivalry that’s intensified the past few years.

Middlebury (10-11-0) knocked favored Hartford out of last season’s playoffs in the quarterfinals.

Hurricanes coach Kylie Young said her team’s top three forwards are all sick, some to the point of vomiting on Tuesday night. Conversations before the contest and overtime centered on the need for self-reflection and the belief that one can give more than first thought in difficult situations.

“I’m losing my voice because I’m having to do a lot more (verbal) hyping up of the girls,” Young said. “We talked about playing with your heart and knowing we might not get another chance. A lot of these girls live with the regret of last season.”

Hartford took 14 of the first period’s 15 shots and finished with a 36-6 advantage. The hosts only forced Stowe goaltender Marie Zenth to make 24 saves, however, as the puck was often blocked or plunked into the netminder’s torso.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Lebanon warns taxpayers to budget for larger bills
Hartford man held without bail following weekend standoff and shelter-in-place advisory
Woodstock’s first Pride brings community together
Man gets DUI at Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery
NH federal court strikes down ‘banned concepts’ teaching law
Art Notes: River City Rebels is an older and wiser punk band

Zenth struggled with rebound control and with pucks at the side of her net, and that’s where Zanleoni pounced in overtime.

A sophomore wing whose contribution has increased dramatically from last season, Zanleoni is among the team’s top five in points and now regularly corrals loose pucks and carries them hard up ice.

“We’ve worked with her taking charge in the neutral zone instead of watching other people play,” Young said. “If you’re not carrying the puck there, get to the net and use your time and space a little better.”

On the back end, Hartford benefits from smooth-skating Braelyn Park, who nearly scored on a long rush during overtime. The granddaughter of NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Brad Park, No. 11 has moves reminiscent of her famous forebear.

“She’s gotten so much smarter, and she doesn’t get down on herself if something doesn’t go well,” Young said. “Before, that would happen and she’d be kind of useless for the next couple of shifts. She’s developed a lot emotionally.”

Hartford opened the scoring 55 seconds into the third period, Emma Bazin scoring at the right post off a Zanleoni feed. Stowe improbably struck for a 1-1 tie when Jackie Henderson exited the penalty box behind Hartford’s defensemen, received a Falon Forrest pass and beat goaltender Nella Bowen on a breakaway.

“It felt we were working against everything, including the boards and bad timing,” Young said. “This was a team I worried about because they’ve had amazing goaltending all season long, and they have some strong forwards.

“We played our hardest and best today, given where we are illness- and injury-wise.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.