Aspen skates by Battle Mountain hockey
VAIL — That was some playoff payback for Aspen hockey.
The Skiers came into Vail’s Dobson Arena and thumped Battle Mountain, 8-2, on Friday, Jan. 5, completing a season sweep of their Peak Conference rivals.
That the Huskies eliminated Aspen last year during the first round of the playoffs probably did not escape the Skiers’ notice.
Yet this is a very different year for Battle Mountain hockey (2-4 in the Peak and 3-6 overall). The Huskies, hit hard by graduation, will be learning as they go this season.
“It’s a real challenge because we’ve got a young team and a small team,” Huskies coach Dennis Hextall said. “Take Aspen, they’ve got 13 or 14 seniors. We got pushed around a bit. I look at this year as coaching and teaching. Hopefully, we get some size over the next couple of years. If we can keep the core together, you should have a real good hockey team.”
Power play problems
The Skiers skated to a 5-4 win against the Huskies back in December. Friday night’s contest wasn’t close.
Luke Grimaldi, from Zach Turner, got the Huskies off to a good start, but Aspen struck for the first of four times on the power play.
The Skiers’ Max Ufkes lit the lamp 12 minutes in. Dominic Lanese gave Aspen the lead going into the first intermission.
This is an unknown part of the Constitution that Lanese is required to score against Huskies, be it hockey or lacrosse.
The Skiers put up a four-spot in the middle stanza, starting with Finnegan Allen on the power play and Liam Rigney with an even-strength goal.
Aspen capitalized on the Huskies’ Bronson Fiore’s five-minute major for charging with a score from Ty Yocum. Henry Ferguson completed the second-period onslaught.
“Some individuals will have a real good shift,” Hextall said. “They’ll play it smart, but they’ve got to do it consistently. You can’t stand around and watch the opposition get the puck before you move. It’s just part of it. I think our kids are trying and playing hard.”
Battle Mountain’s Joey Beveridge got the Huskies’ second goal during the third period.
Battle Mountain heads down to Magness Arena on Friday, Jan. 12 to face Denver East in nonconference action.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.