Fawcett boosts Devils towards postseason | VailDaily.com

Fawcett boosts Devils towards postseason

Ryan Slabaugh

The Devils, locked into the fourth and final playoff spot in the 3A Western Slope behind Basalt, Vail Mountain School and Aspen, needed to beat CRMS, did, and now hosts Roaring Fork Saturday to clinch.

“I’ve had probably five of those this year and not one of them has found the net. They’ve all been blocked,” Fawcett said. “This was the first one I hit exactly where I needed to.”

The excitement began late in regulation, with the Devils trailing 2-1. Devils forward Cory Gilmer stole the ball from a defender and pasted the ball past CRMS keeper Reid Johns, who would make a diving stop moments later to keep the score tied.

Devils goalie Ross Herr got his opportunity to match Johns, when CRMS forward Andrew Still-Baxter was freed on a breakaway. Herr dove feet first and deflected Still-Baxter’s shot out of bounds. The score remained tied.

“I was just pretty happy to see it going wide,” said Herr, who stopped three breakaways on the day. “They’ve always had a pretty good team. But we want that fourth spot. Big time.”

In overtime, the defenses kept to form. When a ball slipped past Herr in the early moments of the extra period, it was Jayson Gutierrez who booted the ball clear. The ball reached Tommy Michelbrink, who juked three defenders and fired a rocket from the right side to the near post, but a fully-extended Johns slapped the ball away.

Then, the penalty and senior Fawcett’s game-winner.

“All of the seniors have been doing a good job in practice. They understand they have the responsibility to lead the team,” Devils coach Brian Large said. “The team really wants this. They deserve it. They’ve played so hard.”

CRMS, however, walked away stunned that the game was won on a penalty kick.

“It’s so frustrating,” coach Ao Forbs said. “We just couldn’t quite score. It’s frustrating to have a game end like this.”

In the 23rd minute, Eagle Valley’s John King started the scoring after Jordan Miekle stole the ball from the goaltender and centered the ball. King jogged to the ball and filled the empty net. CRMS countered three minutes later, when Still-Baxter outran the Devils defense and slammed the ball into the net. CRMS would take a 2-1 lead after converting a penalty kick, similar to Fawcett’s, just after the half.

For the Devils, now 4-4 in the league, the game Saturday at the Eagle County Fairgrounds holds a culmination of a season’s work. Game time is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at rslabaugh@vaildaily.com.

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