The Vermont boys' high school hockey season isn’t even three weeks old, but Champlain Valley Union may have already established itself as the team to beat in Division I.
CVU raised its record to 5-0 by defeating Rice 8-1 Thursday night.
“From what I’ve read it does seem like we have that bulls-eye on us,” first-year CVU coach Mike Murray said. “We’re an explosive club and we’re eight deep in defensemen. That gets overshadowed by our offense.”
Forward Robbie Dobrowksi is an early favorite to be named Vermont’s Mr. Hockey. Dobrowski, who led team with 31 goals and 22 assists last season, collected nine points in CVU’s first two games – victories over Waterville (Maine) and Scarborough (Maine). He had three goals and two assists in the 6-0 triumph over Waterville, and added a goal and three assists in the 9-2 victory over Scarborough.
Dobrowski, who has 20 points in five games, has been a starter since he was a freshman.
“He’s a quick skater,” Murray said. “He’s got a very accurate shot and he sees the ice well. This year he’s figured out that he has to play at the other end of the ice as well.
“He’s also a 4.0 student. I know Middlebury is very interested in him.”
CVU’s Kyle Logan and Derek Goodwin are also among the top offensive players in the state. Goodwin, Logan and Dobrowski each scored twice in Thursday’s victory over Rice.
Goodwin has 10 goals through five games.
Eric MacLean is the team’s only senior defenseman. If there’s a question mark it’s in goal, where junior Jason O’Brien is a first-year starter.
“We’ll probably go where he takes us,” Murray said.
CVU will enter the new year as one of four unbeaten teams in Division I. St. Albans, Essex and Rutland are the others.
Although it was the No. 7 seed last season, CVU advanced to the Division I championship game, where where its improbable run ended with a 4-1 loss to Spaulding. The Redhawks, who won the Division I state title in 2009, have reached the Division I championship game in each of the last three seasons.
BOYS BASKETBALL: ZABILI CARRIES BURLINGTON
Bodel Zabili scored nine of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead Burlington to a 51-46 victory over Essex last Thursday in a matchup of programs that met in the 2010 Division I championship game.
Curtis Rodgers added 12 points for Burlington.
Senior guard Ben Farris tossed in a game-high 22 for Essex, which beat Burlington 44-37 to win last season’s title. Essex was within a point, 45-44, after Farris made back-to-back 3-pointers, but Burlington hung pulled away after Farris was called for an intentional foul with 29 seconds to play.
In other action, Rutland made 9 of 11 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter and improved its record to 6-0 by defeating Spaulding, 51-41, in the Fran Pinard Holiday Tournament’s championship game.
Alex Snyder led the Rutland offense with 19 points. Troy Davine added 17.
Rutland overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to beat Mount Mansfield 58-55 in the tournament’s opening round. Rutland has won the Pinard Tournament in each of the last four years.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: STOWE’S SEASON ENDS EARLY
After one game, the Stowe administration had seen enough and brought a premature end to the school’s girls basketball season.
After a meeting that included parents, players and Stowe athletic director Joanna Graves, the decision was made to cancel the remainder of the 2010-11 season because of lack of players.
Stowe had five players eligible for games scheduled before the holiday break, and one of those five players was nursing an injured knee.
FOOTBALL: HILL REPLACES PERRY
Jim Hill has been in charge of the Otter Valley football team’s defense for the past nine seasons, but he’ll have a lot more to worry about this fall.
Hill, 34, was recently named Otter Valley’s head coach. He replaces Dennis Perry, who retired after serving as the program’s head coach for six seasons.
Hill was a captain and an all-state linebacker at Rutland. He graduated from high school in 1994 and played football for one season at Dean Junior College.
Hill will remain in his position as Otter Valley’s boys lacrosse coach.
Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.