Over the weekend, the Upper Valley Storm Bantam Team competed in the New England sectional hockey tournament, a first in the organization’s history at that level. After competing at a state level, the top two teams from New Hampshire advanced to compete against the top two teams from each of the surrounding New England states. Not only did they qualify, they advanced to the semifinal round, finishing in the top 4 in New England at tier 3. The beginning of the season, the team was off to a rocky start, dropping a handful of games. By midseason, they had proven themselves to be a contender in the division by winning their next 5 games and losing only one out of 10. This was enough to earn them a spot in the state tournament. They entered the tournament as the 4 th seed. The first game ended in a tie VS Mount Washington Valley. Later that day they played their best game of the year, knocking off the second seed, Berlin, who had only lost 2 games all year. This projected them into the semifinal and they dominated Back Bay on Sunday morning to move onto the final.
The win against Back Bay qualified them to advance to the New England Sectional Tournament. After a tough loss to Oyster River in the state final, they came ready to play against the best New England had to offer at Tier 3. Coming in as the number 8 th and last seed, they stunned Braintree, Mass (ranked number 5), handing them a 3 to 2 loss in the opening game. Saturday morning they tied Coastal Maine, scoring the final goal only seconds remaining in the game. This was enough to advance them to the semifinal round where Waltham, Mass was too much for the Storm that day.
This group of 13 young players bonded and played as one unit. This allowed them to compete with other organizations larger and more experienced at Sectional play. This was a major step for the UVHA organization. Between the Peewee team qualifying for New England Regionals this year and there one and only Bantam Team advancing to sectionals, these kids have help put UVHA hockey on the map. The future is bright for this organization.