Games of the year: #5-1

The countdown concludes with the five best games of the year
The countdown concludes with the five best games of the year
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 11:23 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - We have reached the end of our 2022 year in review series. Tonight we conclude our countdown of the games of the year with the Top 5.

At #5, we head down to Albany. The UVM women’s lacrosse team had never won a conference title until this May. It didn’t get off to a great start in the America East championship, with the host Great Danes leaping out to a 5-0 lead. But Vermont would claw its way back in it, and three straight from Ava Vasile helped UVM even things at 10. After falling behind once again in the fourth, Grace Giancola would strike twice in the final eight minutes, her third of the game giving Vermont its first lead with just 2:12 to play. Albany’s would-be equalizer came a split second too late, and the Cats hung on for the 12-11 win and their first conference crown.

To Gutterson for #4, Milton taking on Hartford in the D2 boys hockey championship. The top seeded Hurricanes dominated the first 15 minutes, with Connor Tierney scoring a pair as Hartford built a 3-0 lead. But the Yellow Jackets would rally in the third. Cooper Goodrich picked out Cameron Fougere to get things going, and with just over four minutes remaining, Owen Severy leveled things up to force overtime! With all the momentum behind them, Fougere and Severy would team up once again in the extra session to win it! The wild 4-3 comeback gave Milton its first title in 40 years.

At #3, the Middlebury women’s hockey team was looking to complete a perfect season and claim the national title in March against Gustavus Adolphus. Midd would take the lead on a shorthanded tally from Jenna Letterie in the first, with the Gusties answering in the second. But the final three minutes of regulation got crazy. Madie Leidt would deliver the host Panthers a go-ahead goal with 2:47 showing on the clock, but Molly McHugh would answer literally as time expired to force overtime. 13 minutes of nailbiting would follow, before Ellie Barney got her own rebound in front to put things away. The 3-2 win gave Midd a fourth NCAA title.

At #2, the D2 high school football championship between Mt. Anthony and Bellows Falls was an instant classic. The unbeaten defending champ Terriers would take a 14-7 lead into the break with Walker James and Caden Haskell finding paydirt. But the Patriots would fight their way back: a little trickeration late in the fourth would allow MAU to tie things up at 14 a piece and force overtime. The two teams would trade field goals in the first OT, with Tanner Bushey scoring on a QB sneak to put the Pats in front in double overtime. On the Purple Gang’s possession, the Pats D would stuff James just short of the goal line as Mt Anthony hung on to the 24-17 win and their first state title since 1994!

And for our game of the year, we head to Virtue as UVM men’s soccer hosted Quinnipiac to open the NCAA tournament. The Cats would break the ice just over four minutes in on a Max Murray header, but the Bobcats would not back down: before the break, Brage Aasen would tally on a stunner from outside the box to tie it at one. Then a late penalty and ensuing conversion by Tomas Svecula made it look like UVM’s dream season would come to a close in the first round yet again. But just two and a half minutes later, Noah Egan got up to head home Yaniv Bazini’s corner kick and tie things up with just 15 minutes to play. This game would go to overtime, and with less than a minute and a half remaining in the second period, UVM’s first team All-American would deliver. Alex Nagy vollied a rebound in the box, bouncing it off the far post and in, handing the Cats a thrilling 3-2 win to kick off the program’s first run to the NCAA Quarterfinals since 1989.