A Fresh Start Atop the Hill

hockeyST. JOHNSBURY - The St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers kicked off their ice hockey season last night, and they are under the guidance of a new head coach.

Dick Emery and the Hilltoppers hosted the Woodstock Wasps, in Emery's first career game as a high school coach.

Emery, a Lyndon Institute alumni, has coached youth hockey and tournament hockey teams for years. Emery has also been involved with the Lyndon Area Youth Hockey Association (LAYHA), and most recently found himself helping out the Hilltopper football team this past fall.

The Hilltoppers were able to put five goals in the net in Emery's coaching debut, including a hat-trick from Anton Gulko.

"Two weeks into the season, I'm happy with how we played tonight," said Emery.

The Hilltoppers and Wasps would take the season-opener to overtime, where the Wasps would walk away with the victory on the back of a Steven Townley goal.

Coach Emery spoke after the game, saying "We did a lot of things good tonight, but we'll watch the video tonight, and we will break it down for the kids tomorrow."

When asked what can improve before the Hilltoppers next game, Emery emphasized a focus on back-checking, working in-front of the net, and work in the defensive zone.

That next game is scheduled for Saturday night at 5:15 at the Harwood Union High School.

"I expect to be good by the playoffs, and I expect to surprise some teams at the top end. I think we're going to be right where we want to be."

Last season the Hilltoppers went into the playoffs as the #7 seed, losing to Stowe in the quarterfinals.