Battle Mountain falls to Liberty 7-4 in first round of 5A state hockey playoffs |

Battle Mountain falls to Liberty 7-4 in first round of 5A state hockey playoffs

Huskies got two goals from Suhadolink in season-ending loss

Kaia Borski protects the net during the second period of Thursday's playoff game between Battle Mountain and Liberty.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Liberty got its revenge.

After losing to Battle Mountain 4-2 on Feb. 17, the No. 9-seeded Lancers came back to town — albeit in front of a packed crowd at Eagle Ice Rink instead of the usual Dobson Ice Arena arrangement — and took down the No. 8-seeded Huskies 7-4 Thursday in the first round of the 5A state hockey playoffs.

Ollie Grems fires a shot late in the first period against Liberty.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Battle Mountain, which came into the game having won three of its last four, got on the board first when senior Scott Suhadolink knocked home an unassisted power play goal with 13:04 remaining in the first period. Liberty senior captain Tristen Brooks responded less than four minutes later with an unassisted goal of his own to knot things up.

Declan Kelly brings the puck up the ice during the first period against Liberty.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

The 1-1 tie persisted until the final second of the period — literally — when the brothers Bolte capitalized. Krae found his brother Wayne for a slapshot from just outside the face-off circle for the Lancers first lead as the buzzer sounded.

The Lancers kept their momentum rolling right into the second period, jumping on the Huskies 19 seconds in with a goal from Ethan Graber. The two-goal deficit didn’t deflate the home team entirely, but Krae Bolte’s score with 4:04 remaining gave the visitors a commanding 4-1 advantage.

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Liberty players celebrate Wayne Bolte’s goal at the end of the first period to put the Lancers ahead 2-1.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Liberty would score again with 12:56 remaining in the third, but Battle Mountain came back with some juice after a goal by Kirchner Slaugh off an assist from Ollie Grems exactly 1:05 later. With Liberty short-handed by two players shortly after, the Huskies turned up the aggressiveness, with Ethan Fronteras and Nate Bishop getting several good looks. Goalie Logan Gabrielson snatched one of Bishop’s shots out of the air, and ultimately, the Lancers were able to kill three straight penalties.

With 6:25 to go, they came back on the offensive. Brooks got loose on a breakaway, deked left and backhanded his second goal past Borski. With under 1:20 remaining, he completed the hat trick.

In the final minute, however, the Huskies got hot. With 54.5 seconds to go, Grems found Keegan Collins and 10 seconds later, Suhadolink found the back of the net to send frenzied Husky fans home feeling good despite the season-ending loss.

Battle Mountain ended its 2023 campaign with a 7-11-2 overall record. Liberty will go on to face No. 1 Glenwood on Feb. 28 in the state quarterfinals.

Battle Mountain saw it’s season come to a close on Thursday night. The Huskies finished their season with a 7-11-2 overall record.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

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