Five Huskies named all-state | VailDaily.com
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Five Huskies named all-state

The Battle Mountain hockey team led the state in offense during the 2003-04 season.

So. it’s no surprise that the 2003-4 all-state team is dotted with Huskies forwards and one of the best two-way defensemen in the state.

Your Huskies all-state contingent is headed up by captain, defenseman and first-team, all-stater P.J. Bevan. Austin Chow and Jason Chase are second-team, all-state and Keith Denton and Max Miler made honorable mention. All these awards were given out at last weekend’s state hockey banquet in Colorado Springs.

“To have 700 people at a banquet and to have those boys stand up and walk down then aisle and accept their awards, it was a really special moment for Battle Mountain High School and the individuals themselves,” Huskies coach Jade Kersey said.

A look at the Huskies’ haul down in the Springs:

n P.J. Bevan – He has been the captain for every year of the program’s history. He has been the team’s best defensemen for three years. No. 7 was constantly double-shifting and always on the power play. Quite simply, he’s been the rock.

Despite missing some games to an ankle injury, he put up two goals and 10 assists. CHSAA doesn’t keep plus-minus, but that’s doubtless a pretty number.

“It’s definitely a great honor. I mean this, every single kid on this hockey team is just as deserving as that,” Bevan said. “It’s great to be recognized. It’s also sad to be the only one (on first-team, all-state).

“Every single one of those guys deserves all the credit they are given. They’re probably four of the best forwards in the whole league. I have more confidence playing with them than anyone – Max Key from Kent and some of these kids. I’d take Keith and (Jason) and Austin and Max over them any day.”

Kersey’s take: “He’s meant everything to us. Any kid who gets named team captain in his sophomore year obviously has some incredible leadership qualities. P.J. has embodied the principles we attempt to exemplify – excellence in hockey, education and citizenship.”

n Austin Chow – In an amazing statistical coincidence, the Huskies had a three-way tie for the team lead in points scored – Chow, Chase and Denton – with 38. But, Chow led the Huskies in goals with 24 to add to 14 assists.

In short, since his freshman year, he’s been terrorizing the state for three years. He is no stranger to all-state, having won it the last two years.

“I give a large shout out to (my linemates) Brad Myers and Alex Biegler,” he said. “Without them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten this honor. This is as much of their award as it is mine. This is a team game and you don’t do it by yourself.”

Kersey’s take: “The thing I appreciated with Austin this year was his willingness to work upon his weaknesses as a player. That’s a true testament as a team player that he identified some of his holes in his game and said, ‘Hey, those are some things I need to improve upon.’ He’s the hardest worker in the state and the best player from the blueline in.”

n Jason Chase – Chase’s offense numbers were great, no question – 15 goals and 23 assists, including a school-record six helpers in the state quarters against Liberty. But Chase’s greatest asset was his toughness. The kid would hit anything that moved on the ice that wasn’t wearing black and gold. He simply rattled other teams’ teeth and their confidence.

“I’m pretty excited. This is my second time I got it,” Chase said. “Ten years ago, I didn’t know I was going to be playing high school hockey for Battle Mountain. Since we lost, I go off that and turn it into a positive thing and work hard during the offseason.”

Kersey’s take: “The biggest difference in Jason this year was that he committed himself to making himself physically stronger with the weight training. We worked out with him. When he came in this year, he was so much stronger and it really created a lot of opportunities for him and he took full advantage.”

n Keith Denton – Denton was always soft-spoken off the ice and a silent killer on the ice. Centering The Smurfs with Chase and Nate Simon, Denton quietly made things click with 19 goals and 19 assists.

Kersey’s take: “Keith Denton is by far the most underrated player in the state. It’s shame he doesn’t get recognized for his contributions. The guy led the conference in scoring and didn’t receive any accolades for that. In my opinion, Keith was our Most Valuable Player this year. You’re not going to find a smarter hockey player.”

n Max Miller – Thank you, Summit County. Miller, a junior, came down a 1,000 feet or so to play for Battle Mountain and the Huskies were happy to have him. Miller had a 27 point season (13-14), but was best known for his grittiness.

Kersey’s take: “The biggest thing with Max when he came over was buying into what our definition of toughness was. At the start of the year, he was unfamiliar with it. By the end of the year, he became an example of it. I’m really proud to be Max’s coach.”

Ice Chips

In other honors, Casey Kleisinger, Derek Byron and Coulter Somes made all-rookie, honorable mention. “I think Casey, Derek and Coulter would have got more recognition had they not been playing on a team with 11 seniors on it,” Kersey said with a laugh. … Kersey would have like to have seen more players ranked higher on the state team, but with the number of blowouts the Huskies had Chow’s, Chase’s and Denton’s playing time was limited. “We could have had the top-three scorers in the state if I would have let these guys play when it was, 9-0,” Kersey said. “But in the interests of sportsmanship and developing the younger players, we didn’t do that.” … When it comes to these honors, there are always those who are left out. So, the Vail Daily awards honorary postseason honors to Nate Simon, who had 10 goals and 14 helpers. … By the way, we have one final postseason honor for Huskies hockey. Check out Thursday’s Vail Daily. Attaboy, Reg.


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