VAIL — That wasn’t happening twice.
Battle Mountain had a 2-0 lead late at Aspen on Wednesday night, only to settle for a 2-2 tie. Friday night against Kent Denver at Dobson, the Huskies closed the deal, wiping out the Sun Devils, 9-0.
“The game the other night, we actually played a real good game,” Huskies coach Gary Defina said. “We outshot them handily. We carried the play. The ice was tilted. We just had a bit of hard time finishing. Even though we got the tie and it was a late tie, the kids were pretty upbeat because they played pretty well. They could feel it.”
Junior Michael Lange had a hat trick by the early part of the second period, finished with four goals and dusted any illusions that Kent Denver may have had of a comeback.
“My teammates set me up. They were playing well,” said Lange who had traded his hockey lid for a construction helmet, which he won for being the game’s hardest worker. “All that hard work turned out for the better.”
And for the Huskies, who had been struggling in the goal-scoring department so far in 2014, Friday was a nice outburst.
“The last two weeks it’s been an issue. We needed it,” Defina said. “We missed a couple empty nets, the first couple of shifts. Then we hit a post, and I thought, ‘Here we go again.’ As soon as we got a couple in, we started to relax.”
Early and Often
Early and often was the theme of the night as Reynaldo Trillo fed Lange for the first score with 6:38 left in the first period. Junior Tanner Crisofulli broke up Lange’s rampage temporarily with a nifty goal from Hunter Henderson and Kennedy Nary.
Lange rushed up the left side of the ice and went top shelf with 12.5 seconds left in the first stanza. That tally came from Harrison Stevens and Noah Beairsto.
Lange had his hat trick with 12:36 left in the second on Beairsto’s second assist. Battle Mountain found itself short-handed for four minutes, but that wasn’t really an offensive impediment. Crane McGuckin won a faceoff in Kent’s end, pulling the puck back to Wyatt Dilling for a wicked wrister. That was Dilling’s first varsity goal. The Huskies’ sixth goal was also a first for Trillo, courtesy of a big shot from the point by co-captain Cole Caynoski.
In the third, the Huskies kept lighting the lamp. McGuckin struck on the power play, followed by Beairsto and Lange’s fourth.
Battle Mountain moved to 5-4-1 overall. More importantly, the Huskies upped their Foothills record to 2-3-1. They are tied for 10th in the conference, which sends eight teams to the state playoffs. Steamboat Springs holds down the eighth and final berth, and, the Huskies head north in six days to face those same Sailors.
Sports editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.