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Breakaways vie for state title

The Vail Breakaways will try to do their best Marlon Brando imitation this weekend.

It1s Stella time, as in the Stella Cup playoffs in Denver to determine the women1s club hockey state championship.

For the cinematically challenged, the trophy is named Stella for Stella Kowalski, who was married to Stanley, played by Brando and also the namesake for the NHL1s holy grail, in 3A Streetcar Named Desire.²

The Breakaways are definitely in the hunt for Stella after a 20-5-2 regular season, a mark good enough for the regular season Women1s Association of Colorado Hockey title and the No. 1-seed in the postseason tournament.

3We definitely have come off the last couple of weekends playing some of our best hockey,² Breakaways veteran Alice Plain said. 3That1s gotten us fired up and our confidence is high. I think we1ve started to gel and the team is peaking at just the right time.²

A 6-3 win at Aspen last weekend is certainly one sign of that. The win gave Vail a 3-1 regular-season series sweep of the archrival Motherpuckers, who will be the No. 2-seed in the tournament.

Against Aspen, the Breakaways got goals from Plain, Becky Maddux, Jen Babcock, Joni Coughlin and Karrisa Keltner.

But before the Breakaways look for another meeting with Aspen in the finals, Vail will have to negotiate pool play, which starts tonight. The Breakaways face the Fort Collins Flames at 8:45 p.m. Vail draws the Denver Bandits at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The top two teams from the white division will advance to crossover play Sunday against whoever emerges from the the blue division of Aspen, Breckenridge and the Denver Chix.

Sunday1s championship game is slated for 2:45 p.m. at the South Suburban Ice Arena, the site for all the games of the tournament.

Vail has to like its chances for its first Stella Cup since 1997. Two big factors for the Breakaways this season have been the superb play of goalie Pat Lammer and the team1s overall depth.

3Pat1s had some of her best games since I1ve been here and goaltending is always important when it comes to this time of year,² Plain said. 3There was time there when we won three straight (Stella Cups from 1995-97), but we haven1t been able to step it up in the last few years. This year, we1ve got a lot more depth than most teams in the league. A lot of teams have two or three good players and then it slips off after that. We1ve brought on a lot of younger players and that has helped us a lot.²


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