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Mitch's Sports: Comets Reach Girl's High School Hockey Title Game; Marchand Plays Hero For Bruins

The state championship for division one girl's hockey is set, following a 4-1 win by BFA-St. Albans over Rutland last night.

McKenna Remillard and Peyton Dukas tallied late in the game with just about 60 seconds separating the two goals to lead the Comets to the victory, the third straight time they've made it to the title game. The second seeded Comets will face top-seeded Essex Monday at Gutterson Fieldhouse to determine the championship.

The division two semi-final between No. 4 Woodstock and top-seeded Stowe takes place later this afternoon in a game that was postponed due to the recent stormy weather.

In other high school playoff action, division three girl's basketball, Thetford upset top-seeded Hazen 51-40 to reach the state finals, setting up a rematch of last year's D-3 title game when they tip off against Windsor on Saturday. Emi Vaughan scored 13 points to lead Thetford to the win, making it five straight years they've made it to the championship game. Windsor reached the final after getting by People's Academy 50-45.

In division one boy's basketball the number eight seeded South Burlington Wolves will tip off against number four Spaulding, with a host of other boy's and girl's high school hoops games also slated for this afternoon.

At the NCAA ski championships in Colorado the first place that was held by the University of Vermont after day one of competition has been erased following day two's events, with Colorado taking over the lead in points, followed by the University of Denver, Utah in third place, Dartmouth in fourth and UVM dropped down to fifth place. UNH currently sits in 11th with St. Michael's in 12th place.

Dartmouth did celebrate one of its skiers reaching the top of the podium yesterday when Katharine Ogden took first place in the women's 5K Classical race.

Slalom runs are up next for the men and women's divisions later this afternoon.

The Castleton University women's alpine ski team recorded a runner-up finish in the slalom at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships Thursday, marking Castleton's best national result in school history. Placing its three racers in the top 10, only Rocky Mountain College finished ahead of Castleton.

To the pro game on ice, and despite a recent spate of injuries and a suspension that has Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, and David Backes all out of the line-up respectively, the Boston Bruins find themselves a perfect 5-0 on their current six-game homestand, the longest stretch of home games for Boston this season, following their last minute 3-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers last night.

The win was last minute because Brad Marchand scored with just 22 seconds left in regulation to break a2-2 tie when he helped nudge a rebound in the crease just across the goal line on a puck that was thrown toward the net by defenseman Zdeno Chara, swiped at by David Pastrnak, and then finally sent to its game-winning destination by Marchand.

Riley Nash also scored for the Bruins first goal on a very similar play, what they like to call an ugly goal in hockey, and as with the game winner, it was Pastrnak's hard work down low that led to the puck just getting nudged over the line by Nash. The B's did score one pretty goal, though, when Chara threaded a pass through center ice to Brian Gionta just before the end of the first period, sending the former Boston College Eagle, long time Montreal Canadiens stand-out, and recent U.S. Olympian off to the races for a breakaway. The 39-year old Gionta went to his backhand at the last moment, roofing the shot over Flyer goalie Alex Lyon to put Boston up 2-1. The Flyers fought back to tie with a short-handed goal by Jori Lehtera but ultimately suffered their fifth loss in a row as they try to lock down a playoff spot in the last month of the regular season.

The Bruins, meanwhile, will just try to keep winning while letting Bergeron and McAvoy heal and with any luck be playoff ready. Next up for Boston is the final game on the homestand Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, the first of an old school back to back home and home series that will have the two Original Six franchises facing off again Sunday in the Windy City.

Elsewhere, the Montreal Canadiens and NY Rangers are just waiting for their lost seasons come to an end. The Habs got shut out 5-0 by the Florida Panthers last night, with defenseman Keith Yandle recording three points on the night for Florida, and the Rangers fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3, scoring two quick early goals that chased Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist from the game.

In the NBA the Boston Celtics welcomed the return of Kyrie Irving to the court after a brief one-game no-show due to a sore knee, and the rest must have done Irving well as he poured in 23 points top go with eight assists in Boston's 117-109 win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota last night.

And if you're pining for the sunny days of summer, you've still got a ways to go, but baseball's spring training games are underway, and in a nice sign perhaps of things to come for Red Sox and Mets fans, J.D. Martinez, Boston's big free agent signing, got his first hit in a Red Sox uniform yesterday, an RBI single that drove in Mookie Betts, and Mets fireballer Noah Syndergaard looked very good yesterday, striking out seven in just three innings of work against the Washington Nationals.

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