Breakaways open at Fort Collins |

Breakaways open at Fort Collins

The first ladies of local hockey, the Vail Breakaways women’s hockey team, are set to take to the ice tonight at Fort Collins at 10.

The Breakaways, who finished second in the state last season, begin their five-month quest for the Stella Cup with a nice mix of veterans and young talent.

“We’ve had a lot of practices this year and we’re looking good,” Vail forward and captain Alice Plain said. “I think we’re going to have as good a chance as ever. We have a smaller roster than usual, but that usually helps us. We’re going to be able to roll out three, strong lines each game.”

Those forwards should include Plain, Jen Babcock, Tania Landauer, Julie Alt, Cindy Reynolds, Becky Maddux, Maddie Vaquez, Kristena Wyatt, Toni Axelrod and Karrisa Keltner.

At the blueline, Coach Bob Saxer can call upon Joni Coughlin, Susanne Johnson, Deb Davis, Ali Wadey and Jessica Backhus. For those who have been watching the Breakaways for the last few years, Johnson is the defensive artist formerly known as Susanne Chardoul, while Wadey, in past seasons, has gone by Ali Cox. Both were married during the offseason.

Backhus, meanwhile, is new to the the team and, at 6-foot-2, she is expected to make an impact for the Breakaways in 2002-03.

All good teams need good goaltending and Vail is no exception with Pat Lammer between the pipes.

“This summer, she played a bit more down in Denver with some men’s teams,” Plain said. “She’s been working on her skills this summer and she’s excited for the season. She’s definitely our rock back there.”

Christina Aiello is expected to help out during the first half of the season in net also.

The Breakaways will be missing two familiar faces this season. Linda Osterberg, a 20-plus-year vet, has retired, while Yodi Borg is taking maternity leave.

“We are definitely going to miss her personality,” Plain said of Osterberg. “She’s the type of person on the team who always gets everybody fired up. She’ll be missed. Yodi, we’re just saving a spot for her for next year. We’ll miss her because she’s such a dynamic player.”

After tonight’s opener, the Breakaways make their debut at Dobson next weekend. And what better way to hold a home opener than by hosting archrival Aspen. The puck drops Nov. 24 at 6 p.m.

Vail has more home games than usual on the slate so the team would love to have the community come out and fill the stands. Other highlighted home games include the state champion, Denver Bandits (Dec. 8), High Country rivals Steamboat (Jan. 12 and March 23) and Breckenridge (Dec. 15 and March 12) and a return visit from Aspen (March 2).

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at

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