Fedrizzi sends Battle Mountain to 2nd round
GYPSUM — Huskies hockey captain Keaton Fedrizzi might wake up today and think it was all a dream.
But it’s not.
After a 1-1 tie through three periods and one overtime, the senior sealed a first-round playoff win against Aspen on Wednesday night at the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink with a wrister in the second overtime.
Battle Mountain 2, Aspen 1.
“It was just perfect,” Fedrizzi said. “It popped right out with nobody on me, and I saw a corner of the net open and just let it go.”
For the 14th-ranked Huskies, the win is a statement for the program led by five seniors and an impressive supporting class that returns next season with some playoff experience.
Battle Mountain’s starting five included three seniors and two freshmen, plus junior Declan Rooney in net.
“We’ve got five seniors that are the heart of our club,” Huskies coach Dennis Hextall said after the win against the Skiers. “And our goaltender played fantastic tonight. We’ve been scoring goals from the blue line, which we did again tonight.”
The Huskies’ second line against the No. 19 Skiers included a mixture of all four classes, from freshmen to senior.
“We’re trying to work them in and get them as much ice time as possible,” Hextall said of his underclassmen. “But it’s going to be hard to replace those seniors.”
The seniors — led by Hunter Fox, Robby Gruber, Tanner Caldarola, Wyatt Alt and Fedrizzi — aren’t done yet. Up next is Cherry Creek on Friday.
“They beat Aspen 3-1 in a league game, so we’re there,” Hextall said of facing No. 3 Cherry Creek. “We just have to play hard and see what happens.”
“No one’s unbeatable,” Rooney said moments after the game Wednesday night.
TALE OF five PERIODS
Aspen jumped out to an early lead against Battle Mountain, breaking the scoreless tie late in the first period on a deflected shot. The Skiers edged the Huskies in shots on goal in the first, 10-7.
“They came out really hard in the first,” Rooney said of the Skiers. “They got one early on, but our defense locked it down and made it easier on me.”
After focusing on hard hits in the first, it seemed the Huskies transitioned to a more aggressive scoring approach in the second, leading to the equalizer by Garrett Flaagan on a rebound off Zach Booth’s shot.
“We just need to go after them and get as many shots as we can because this could be it,” Fedrizzi told his team in the locker room at the first intermission, adding afterwards that it was “nerve racking because that could have been it.”
Battle Mountain outshot Aspen, 8-2, in the second.
A scoreless third led to a scoreless overtime before Fedrizzi’s gamewinner.
The Huskies will surely savor this win against Aspen, but Cherry Creek is on their minds.
“We’ve got to come out, play them tough and give them everything we got,” Fedrizzi said.
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