Two games, two wins for Concord Capitals

  • The Concord Capitals get a pre-game speech at Cairns Arena in Burlington, Vt., during the Tier-II U16 National Championships. —Courtesy photo

  • Sydney Fascetta, Morgan Sisson and Miranda Benoit celebrate after one of the Capitals’ goals. Courtesy photo

  • The Concord Capitals U16 team at the opening ceremonies of the girls' hockey U14, U16 and U19 Tier-II National Championships in Burlington, Vt., pay tribute to Lil Ricker, their teammate who is missing the tournament due to surgery. Left to right: Abby Houle, Darby Palisi, Morgan Sisson, Miranda Benoit, Julia Surgenor, Mikah Baptiste, Bridget Babcock. —Courtesy photo

  • Members of the Concord Capitals U16 team (bottom right of the ‘S’ in USA) take part in the opening ceremonies of the girls' hockey U14, U16 and U19 Tier-II National Championships in Burlington, Vt. —Courtesy photo

Montitor staff
Published: 4/1/2016 9:57:57 PM

The Concord Capitals weren’t sure what to expect when they showed up at the girls’ hockey Tier-II U16 National Championships on Thursday in Burlington, Vt. But the Capitals overcame the unknown, and their first two opponents, and now expectations are rising.

The Capitals, who qualified for nationals by winning the New England tournament in Burlington in March, beat the Brewster Lady Bulldogs from New York, 4-1, in their opening game on Thursday at the Cairns Arena. And Concord kept rolling on Friday with a 9-2 win against the Brick Hockey Club from New Jersey.

“They’re playing like a team right now and everybody knows their roles,” Concord Coach Chris Benoit said. “We have not had a full team of girls in months, so it’s always been playing with somebody different every time and not knowing what your role was exactly, but it’s clearly defined right now and the girls are embracing it and all working hard and it’s just so much fun to be watching them.”

If you want to watch, the games are live streaming at

The Capitals actually played Brewster during the regular season, so it seems like the Bulldogs would have been a known commodity before that first game on Thursday. But that’s not how Concord was looking at it.

“None of us really knew what to expect,” Benoit said. “We didn’t know if (Brewster) was missing girls at Christmas time when we played them, or if they had other girls coming in now, so you just don’t know what the roster really looks like until you show up here and play them.”

Any uneasiness was quickly dissipated when Sydney Fascetta scored for Concord, from Morgan Sisson, just 2:20 into the game.

“The first goal was key,” Benoit said, “it really set the tone for the rest of the game.”

The other key was the defensive focus the Capitals paid to Brewster’s Haley Lunny, who has a scholarship to play at Division I Providence College next year.

“The team just backchecked and Miranda (Benoit, the coach’s daughter) and her D partner, Ashlyn Brown, were out there every time (Lunny) was on the ice and she literally had one scoring chance the whole game,” Benoit said.

Concord also got first-period goals from Mikah Baptiste, assisted by Bridget Babcock at 9:09, and Dominique Biron (two goals), assisted by Olivia Branch at 11:39, to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. 

Lunny converted her one chance with a shorthanded score at 7:13 of the second period to make it 3-1, but Biron pushed it back to a three-goal lead with her second of the game, this time assisted by Drea Chin, near the end of the second. Abby Houle finished with 18 saves and Concord outshot Brewster, 41-19.

The Capitals took part in the opening ceremonies on Thursday at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Claremont native Barbara Cochran, who won a gold medal in the slalom at the 1972 Winter Olympics. But the team was right back to work on Friday morning at Cairns.

Concord dropped four first-period goals on the Brick Hockey Club, the first two from Babcock at 6:26 and 9:45, the third a power-play tally from Fascetta at 10:43 and the last from Mary Anne Wiley about two minutes later.

Sisson (goal, assist) made it 5-0 just 22 seconds into the second, and Baptiste pushed it to 6-0 before the team from New Jersey scored its first goal. Branch (goal, assist) scored at 5:40 of the third before Julia Surgenor scored twice. Concord finished with a staggering 64 shots and Houle had 11 saves for the Capitals.

“The pregame talk was all about everybody doing their own job and making your linemates better and not being selfish on the ice,” Benoit said. “And they came out the first two periods and were really putting the high pressure on the other team. The D was very aggressive keeping the puck in and we just rolled our lines – one two three, one two three – so we didn’t match anybody up and every line scored.”

The game was already in hand, but the last two goals from Surgenor carried special meaning. Surgenor couldn’t even skate on Thursday because a sprain in her right foot was still not healed, despite eight days in a cast.

“(Surgenor) just wanted to be on the ice so bad (Thursday), and she’s one of the natural leaders on our team and one of the older girls, and she felt terrible she couldn’t play,” Benoit said. “Everybody on the team was uplifted by the fact that she was able to play and performed so well.”

The Capitals spent Friday night at the movies watching Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Saturday they will play their final pool-play game at 4 p.m. against the Colorado Roughriders. After that, Concord should (easily) be one of the eight teams advancing to the single-elimination tournament that begins on Sunday morning with the quarterfinals and ends with an 8:30 a.m. championship game on Monday morning.

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or at or on Twitter @timosullivan20.) 

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