JAY–In the second game of the doubleheader, the Falcons boys went up against one of the more surprising teams in division one this year, the Stowe Raiders.
Stowe made the jump to the top level of hockey this season and have done well, accruing only four loses on the season to date.
The Raiders feature one of the best players in the state, Ross Mandigo, but the electrifying forward almost missed the game as he forgot his jersey at home.
However, teammate Connor Meehan gave up his sweater and watched the game in street clothes to help bolster his team's chance of winning.
"It was one of the most selfless acts I have seen in quiet some time, and what he did for his team tonight was unbelievable," said Stowe coach Silas Gilbert.
I am willing to bet top dollar that the Falcons wished that it was Mandigo watching the game from the bench as Stowe went on to pick up the 5-2 win on Friday night.
"The kids competed hard, we fought with them until the last minute, we played an honest game of hockey, but we made some mistakes and they've got some talented kids who are going to find the back of the net," said Falcon coach Andrew Roy.
The Falcons were able to contain the Stowe captain, keeping him off the score sheet as a goal scorer, but Mandigo was still able get his points, and it started late in the first period.
With under three minutes to play and a Falcon defenceman on top of him, Mandigo slid a perfect pass over to Hunter Grosvener who blasted in a high one-timer to open the scoring.
With time winding down and the Falcons on the penalty-kill, Ross DeLaBruere nearly tied the game, but Matt Rauch was there for the save.
Still up a man, Stowe's Zach Haggerty sniped home a low far-side shot, as Stowe went up 2-0 with just twenty-one seconds left in the first.
Six minutes into the second, the Falcons netted their own power-play goal when Adam Viens, who has been on a tear as of late, fired home a nice short side blast to make it 2-1.
"We are moving the puck, taking shots, and I've got Nate Marsh on my line, so it looks like that mojo is working pretty well,"said Viens after the game.
Haggerty struck again for Stowe, stealing the puck at center ice, weaving his way into the North Country end, and going five hole to restore the two goal lead.
Said Roy of his team's turnovers, "We made a few mistakes at the blue line and they put those behind us. They have great speed and they were able to take it the other way."
Up 3-1 six minutes into the third, Stowe was awarded a penalty-shot when the Falcons were found guilty of covering up the puck inside their own crease.
The man with the hot hand Haggerty was elected to take the shot and he did not disappoint, once again going five hole to complete the hat-trick and make it a 4-1 game.
North Country had their chance to get back into the game with an extended amount of power-play time in the final eight minutes of the game, but would manage only one goal by Logan Fortier.
"We popped one in quickly, but then something was not clicking with the power-play unit. They saw a lot of ice, skated hard, but we need to get better there and I think all the guys know it," said Roy of the team's unfocused late play.
Stowe would add one more goal as they picked up the 5-2 win.
Chris Bronson had twenty-seven saves in the loss for the now 6-10 Falcons, while Rauch stopped twenty-one for fourth ranked Stowe.
There is not much time left in the regular season, and if the boys want to improve their play-off seating they will need to pick up some wins, starting on Wednesday when they too will face Rutland, back-ending the doubleheader with a 6:00 start.