(at Gutterson Fieldhouse)
Unfazed by a five-day delay due to last week’s Nor’easter, No. 2 Essex (19-3-0) took control with a three-goal burst in the first period and wrapped up coach Chris Line’s inaugural campaign with the program’s 15th title by shutting out No. 4 Spaulding (15-7-0), 5-0.
Grady Cram (two assists) tallied the only goal the Hornets required before the game was five minutes old. Ryan Young (assist) and Sam Gibbs stretched lead to 3-0 by the end of the opening period.
Thereafter, it was a matter of maintenance for Essex, which kept Spaulding’s shots to a minimum. Hornets’ goalie Sam Foster finished with 17 saves. Defenseman Maverick King (assist) made it 4-0 in the second period and Jonah Janaro completed the scoring in the third. Waylon Almeida finished with two assists.
The win was Essex’s fourth of the season against Spaulding, which also fell in last year’s title game.
Essex knocked off No. 3 Stowe in the semifinals while Spaulding had advanced by defeating the draw’s Cinderella team No. 8 South Burlington, which ousted defending champion BFA-St. Albans in the quarterfinals.