Battle Mountain tops Conifer, 13-8
EDWARDS — First off, many happy returns to Gordon Smith, who turned 80 years young on Friday.
And where else would Smith be than taking stats for Battle Mountain boys lacrosse’s season-opening 13-8 victory against Conifer on Friday afternoon in Edwards?
As with any opener, the No. 6-ranked Huskies showed some good stuff and some not-so-good stuff as they got their first test of the season against the No. 10 Lobos.
“It exposed some weaknesses on our end. It definitely gave us something to work on,” Huskies coach Jerry Nichols said. “All in all, the talent is out there. I’m really pleased with the holes we filled with some new faces.”
After seemingly playing forever with Zach Trombetta between the pipes, the Huskies have a new keeper in Max Schramm. And a good portion of the defensive corps is new as well. Eli Stephens remains. He seems to be a defensive fixture on the Huskies’ turf, be it fall or spring. Zane Hensel and Kevin Nichols made their debuts in back.
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As would be expected, the timing on second slides was off or not there. Schramm had some good saves and some things he’d probably like to have back.
“Nothing he can’t fix in a heartbeat,” coach Nichols said, adding that Schramm was playing hockey one week ago in the state playoffs for the Huskies.
As Trombetta has been a rock, so were Quinn Davis and Rio Garton on faceoffs. Enter Windham Miller, who helped the Huskies not skip a beat there.
“Windham Miller absolutely killed it on faceoffs,” Nichols said. “I don’t know what the stat was. It had to be 80 percent. Possessions are everything. We got a lot of goals off those faceoffs.”
While there’s a lot of turnover in back, a lot of familiar names have returned in the offensive zone. Cole Delain led the Huskies with four goals, while Clayton Davis, Mike Lange and Wyatt Dilling each scored twice. Young Nichols, Tony Clark and Charlie Morrow added scoring diversity, not allowing the visiting Lobos to key in on one specific threat.
“We’re getting the dust off,” Miller said. “We’re really motivated after the loss to Aspen in the playoffs. That was a real bummer. We’re trying to come back. It’s a really good gauge of where we are at the beginning of the season. It’s really good just to play again.”
Along the lines of last year’s playoff ouster, coach Nichols wasn’t too happy with his team’s discipline during the final quarter, in which Conifer outscored Battle Mountain, 3-1. He said that part of it was the team’s fitness — tired players tend to make mistakes — and general awareness of the situation, which will come with more playing experience.
The gents’ next game is on Tuesday at No. 7 Alexander Dawson. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain girls lacrosse gets going on Monday in Edwards against Cherokee Trail.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.