Battle Mountain tops Liberty, 4-2 | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain tops Liberty, 4-2

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado

SPT BMHK Simon TS 12-19-08

VAIL, Colorado ” Battle Mountain hockey answered every challenge Friday night.

Opportunistic Liberty hockey team put a scare into the Huskies, but Battle Mountain came up with timely goals to win, 4-2, at Dobson Arena.

The victory improves Battle Mountain’s record to 3-2 overall, and 1-0 in the Peak Conference.

“It felt really good to come in, in front of the home crowd, and get a win,” senior Connor Tedstrom said. “We let them hang around a little too long, but it was good to see us respond like that.”

It looked like the Huskies were on their way to a victory in the third period, ahead 2-1, but a tripping penalty gave Liberty a chance to get back in the game. Six seconds into the power play, the Lancers’ Casey Robinson found teammate David Sweatt wide open on the right side of the net for an easy goal.

The game-tying score didn’t stun Battle Mountain for long. Less than 90 seconds later, Elliot Simon ripped a shot from the right side that went through the wickets of Liberty goalie T.J. Hill.

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“Elliot’s got a really good, hard shot,” Battle Mountain coach Gary Defina said. “He fired it right through the goalie’s five-hole on the flat angle. That was huge.”

The game-winner was the first-career goal for Simon.

“With the whole crowd and everything, it just gets your heart pumping,” Simon said. “You get a little frazzled out there, a little excited.”

Daniel Westerberg added an insurance goal with 4:39 left in the third period to account for the final margin. It was also Westerberg’s first goal of his career.

Early frustrations

Battle Mountain controlled the puck right from the opening whistle, but it didn’t translate into goals. The Huskies were in the attacking zone for nearly the entire period, but Hill kept making saves for the Lancers.

When Liberty finally had an opportunity, it took advantage. With Battle Mountain scrambling to change lines, Sweatt converted a nice centering pass into a goal for the 1-0 lead.

The Huskies went right back on the offensive, but they couldn’t score. The first period ended 1-0, with Battle Mountain outshooting Liberty, 21-3.

“When you outshoot a team 21-3, you can’t do any better than that,” Defina said. “You just keep pouring it on. That’s the idea. The goalie was making saves, but he was leaving rebounds in front. We wanted to get in front and put some pucks in.”

Battle Mountain cashes in

After getting continually stoned by Hill, Battle Mountain finally broke through with 9:36 left in the second period. Aaron Lewis’ wrist-shot from just inside the blue line surprised Hill, sliding past him into the lower right corner of the net. The goal was also a career first.

“I just threw it at the net,” he said. “We wanted to get a change in. It just went in. I was pretty stoked about it.”

Tedstrom made it 2-1 minutes later with another wrist-shot. This time, Tedstrom fired from just beyond the circles to beat Hill for the lead. Despite taking the loss, Hill did well in net for Liberty. Battle Mountain outshot the Lancers 38-11 in the game.

Battle Mountain is back in action today at Heritage Ranch at 8:50 p.m.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.