SWANTON - The Missisquoi Valley Union Thunderbirds and the Milton Yellow Jackets faced off on Friday, Oct. 14, in a game that ended in a 3-2, double overtime win in Milton's favor.
After a well-balanced start to the half, Milton's Luke Bushey broke the stalemate on a skirmish in front of the Thunderbirds' net. A second goal was scored three minutes later as Brendan Besaw slipped the ball past the diving MVU goalkeeper.
A third ball rolled into the empty net just after the horn sounded to end the half and was ruled a no-goal.
Milton keeper Dylan Mitchell made an excellent save on a direct kick early in the second half, denying the T-birds' an opportunity to halve the deficit.
Gavin Nichols had an excellent chance for MVU, and Andrew Preuss missed a third Milton goal by inches, sending the ball just outside the far post.
MVU defenders held off several scoring attempts, including an almost inevitable goal on a failed cross that skimmed the outside edge of the net.
Gage Rembert put the T-birds on the board on a penalty kick 18 minutes into the second half, giving MVU a much-needed boost. Garrett Fregeau tied the game on a direct kick with approximately five minutes on the clock.
Both teams had opportunities to break the tie in the final minutes. Milton fired a shot just over the crossbar, and MVU put a shot on goal with five seconds remaining on the clock.
MVU put the first shot on goal in the first minute of the extra frame; Milton answered with a shot of their own, but Milton's Preuss punched home the winning goal two minutes into the second overtime.
Milton coach Jack Hubbard spoke of the intensity of the contest.
"We battled hard after coming out flat in the beginning. We knocked in a couple of goals, and I was proud of the way we finished that half," said Hubbard. "Missisquoi battles hard; they're an athletic team, and we just need to keep our composure when we're out there."
Hubbard spoke of Preuss's game-winning overtime goal: "Andrew is a phenomenal kid and a spectacular player. His leadership is unbelievable, and I'm very glad I have the opportunity to coach him."
The game-winning overtime goal was a first for Preuss, a freshman at Milton High School.
"I knew Jack (Houghton) would put a good ball in the box that would end up near the back post," said Preuss. "All I had to do was get there and put it on net. We lost to MVU earlier in the season, and I was glad we could come back today and win."
Besaw, a captain for the Yellow Jackets, spoke of his team's effort in the game.
"I like the way we fought back, and I liked our tenacity."
Besaw also spoke of coach Jack Hubbard, who's in his first year as head coach of the Yellow Jackets: "I've enjoyed his enthusiasm, and he definitely cares about us. He wants to see the team succeed."
Preuss agreed with Besaw: "Coach (Hubbard) has a lot of experience with the game, having played in college, and that's good to bring to the team."
MVU coach Chris Conti was pleased with the determination of his Thunderbird players.
"The effort is always there," said Conti. "It doesn't matter what the score is; they just keep coming at it and don't give up. That's our best trait as a team."
Milton assists: Jack Houghton had two assists, and Luke Bushey had one