ST. ALBANS–Ruffie Palin's header in the 31st minute provided the only scoring Wednesday night, as North Country earned its’ first victory of the season with a 1-0 decision over the Bobwhites.
BFA (1-4-1) gave the Homecoming crowd plenty to cheer for in the opening minutes with a series of great chances, and had a handful of shots at a wide-open net late. Falcon goalkeeper Logan Fortier made a few great stops, but most of St. Albans' chances flew wide of one post or the other.
"They were really pressuring things up top, a lot offensive movement," North Country (1-5-1) coach James McKenny said. "For whatever reason, luck was on our side tonight."
The Falcons, especially through the middle of the second half, also created numerous scoring chances, with the Bobwhites sophomore keeper, Jacob Zemianek, twice diving back toward his own line to prevent goals. Having survived BFA's early scoring threats, North Country struck for the lead on a free kick from near midfield. After the ball glanced off a player's head in the penalty area, Falcon freshman Palin headed it in from 10 yards out, making it 1-0 nine minutes before the half.
The Falcons threatened to double their lead minutes into the second half when Chris Bronson drilled a 45-yard shot into the wind toward the top-left corner, but Zemianek tipped the ball just enough that he could turn and bat it back onto the field before it crossed the goal line.
Midway through the half, the Falcons put together their best sustained attack of the night, starting with Tweed's long free kick that was knocked into the net with an arm. A minute later, Zemianek sprinted out and slid to the ball an instant before Travis Tetreault could get to it for North Country. Just as the stiff wind did a sudden 180 to shift behind the Falcons, Bronson struck another long-range shot that Zemianek made a nice play on at the top-right corner.
Bronson threatened again with a 25-yard shot to the bottom left that Zemianek got just enough of to slow down before he again turned toward the goal, diving to cover the ball just shy of the line.
McKenny praised his team's defensive poise that kept BFA from getting its offense going even when it had the wind advantage for much of the second half.
"Out of the back Zack Tweed really controls things, pushing it outside and finding passing lanes, trying to create good chances.
"All the credit to BFA. They've got a good club, with a lot of weapons up front. That number 18 (Jankowski), he's really strong on the ball. But we were able to hold them off."
Next up for the Falcons is a match with St. Johnsbury this Saturday at home.
Game time is an early 10:00 AM