Battle Mountain falls to Pueblo County, 2-1, in Vail | VailDaily.com
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Battle Mountain falls to Pueblo County, 2-1, in Vail

Ian Smith
ismith@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Pueblo County made its bus ride feel a lot shorter than normal on Saturday night.

The Hornets (8-8-1, 7-3-1) coasted home after scoring a rare victory against Battle Mountain on its senior night at Dobson Arena in Vail, Colorado. Pueblo’s physical effort led to a 2-1 win and included a 34-22 shot advantage over the Huskies.

“Any time you can beat a mountain team at home, it’s good,” Pueblo coach Will Harris said. “It’s important to us when we come up here. Winning is big for us.”

Right from the start, the Hornets came out firing. With only 39 ticks off the first period clock, Pueblo’s Marcus Giebel ripped a shot past goalie Brad Beaudin for a 1-0 lead.

After the mishap, Beaudin played superbly in net filling in for the injured Kalen Burnett. Beaudin’s pads helped fight off eight Battle Mountain penalties, including extended periods of 5-on-3 action.

“Brad played great,” Battle Mountain coach Gary Defina said. “You can’t complain about giving up two goals on (34) shots. He gave us a chance to win. That’s what you want from your goalie.”

Only minutes after Pueblo’s goal, Cody Kleisinger’s one-timer knotted the score. Guy Garth set up the goal with a nifty move past the defense, then he dropped the puck behind him to a waiting Kleisinger.

Still, for the most part, the Hornets took the action to Battle Mountain. In the first period alone, the Huskies were outshot, 14-7.

Physical play by both sides dominated the second period. Battle Mountain’s best scoring chance came when Jack Sunderland skated across the crease and narrowly missed an opportunity to give the Huskies the lead. Pueblo goalie Jacob Rapier made a sliding save on the play.

“The funny thing is, Jake is actually playing with a strained groin,” Harris said. “He’s kind of duck tape and bubble gum (right now). He did a good job for us.”

Battle Mountain killed another 5-on-3 chance for Pueblo that stretched from the end of the second period to the start of third. Finally, the Hornets’ Brad Reeves beat Beaudin with the game-winner with 12:52 remaining in the third.

“We just managed to bury the puck,” Harris said. “Sometimes, the puck bounces the right way for you.”

The Huskies had two golden opportunities to tie the game after Reeves’ goal. Twice in the third period, Pueblo committed penalties. Unfortunately for Battle Mountain, sloppy execution on the power play doomed its chances.

“The seniors played their guts out,” Defina said. “It was like they were pulling a train with the breaks on. That’s what it looked like out there.”

The loss marks the end of six seniors’ careers at Dobson. Beaudin, Burnett, Spencer Fox, Geoff Funk, Kleisinger and Mitch Lammert laced up their skates for the last time in Vail.

Battle Mountain has one more home game at the Eagle Ice Rink on Feb. 14 against Rampart. The next time the Huskies are in action is Friday at Valor Christian.

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


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