Huskies, Dekanich give Sailors the slip in OT |

Huskies, Dekanich give Sailors the slip in OT

Defense rules the day

Battle Mountain's Thomas Dekanich tries to get past Steamboat Springs' Kellen Adams Thursday in Edwards. Dekanich had the game-winner in overtime as the Huskies beat the Sailors, 6-5. (Chris Dillmann

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it certainly does have an echo to it.

Battle Mountain freshman Thomas Dekanich scored with 8 seconds left in overtime as the Huskies defeated Steamboat Springs, 6-5, in overtime Thursday in Edwards.

The last time Battle Mountain lacrosse beat Steamboat Springs in Edwards? On March 30, 2018, the Huskies and Sailors were tied at four through two overtimes before defender Jake Bukovich screamed, “Could someone score a goal?” (There might have been another word or two in there.)

Tucker Morrow did in the third OT, and the Huskies won, 5-4. If you’re playing “Battle Mountain Lacrosse: The Home Game,” well, you also know that 2018 was Battle Mountain’s last Western Conference title.

History or not, Battle Mountain lacrosse likely took its season off life support — an 0-2 start isn’t automatic elimination, but definitely a deep hole in COVID-19, 10-game season — in the waning moments of Friday afternoon.

Men of the Match

Dekanich from Nate Bishop — a Saints special; both attend Vail Christian — won it, but the story of the day is the defense. After getting sliced and diced last week in a loss to Eagle Valley, the unit rallied with flying colors.

“Our defense played such an amazing game,” Huskies coach Connor Compton said. “Especially after that game against Eagle Valley, to play their hearts out, clear the ball, make sure that Steamboat didn’t have good chances on net. Both goalies were amazing.”

Battle Mountain's Nate Bishop tries to get past Steamboat defenders Thursday in Edwards. Bishop and Thomas Dekanich, both Vail Christian students, combined for the winning goal in the Huskies’ 6-5 overtime victory. (Chris Dillmann

And on and on Compton went, and rightly so: Clears, killing off penalties ground balls, etc.

Oliver Grems, Seamus Farrell and Kyle Parliament with help from Zander Miscio and Ryan Moore, take a bow. Take a bow, goalies Jakub Pecinka and Quinn Peterson.

While neither team led by more than one goal, Steamboat Springs seemed to have the majority of the possession particularly during the first half. Battle Mountain’s defense was gassed by the third quarter, but found a way to take over during the fourth period.

“It feels amazing. It’s nice to get out here. We had to make it work in the fourth and overtime,” said Peterson said. “Everything has to be on the dot. You have to make the saves, the right calls, make sure everyone’s in position. If not, that’s a chance for a goal.”

The thing that Steamboat brings is size and pressure. Much like their basketball team, Steamboat lacrosse gets a lead and is very good at sitting on it. The Sailors are methodical in their possessions. They take their time and wait for the right shot.

Battle Mountain's Stephen Hill moves the ball down field against Steamboat Springs Thursday in Edwards. (Chris Dillmann

As a result, Steamboat can be up by only one goal, but it feels like more because opponents just don’t have as many possessions as usual. Opponents start to rush their rare possessions and Steamboat starts the cycle again.

Meet the frosh

As such, Battle Mountain started winning the faceoffs and ground balls and things slowly turned around. With tallies from Jaden Weiss, Bishop and Dekanich, the Huskies trailed, 4-3, in the third. Blu Barnett leveled it at four with 1:35 left in the third.

Down 5-4 with 2:09 left in the game, Dekanich slid through the Sailors’ defense for the equalizer.

And, yep, the goal in overtime was the hat trick.

“When that ball comes out of my stick, I’m always looking at the net and watching the net,” Dekanich said. “My favorite part is seeing the net fly back right as the ball goes in. To be honest, I didin’t think that last shot was going in. It was great.”

The one thing to remember is that when you score a game-winner in overtime, prepare yourself for the onslaught.

“I’m not a big guy. All of them jumping on me was a first time for that,” Dekanich said. “I enjoyed that even though there was a bunch of weight on me.”

Here comes Aspen

Battle Mountain, 1-1, now has 48 hours to prepare for Aspen on Saturday in Edwards at 5 p.m. There is no rest for the weary with the West.

The next two days are critical in preparing for the Skiers. Since coach Compton said the team was going to practice in the morning, we’ll assume the Huskies will be in East Vail to watch Aspen face Vail Mountain at 4 p.m. on Friday. Battle Mountain is hoping that game goes 26 overtimes or something of the sort.

“We have a quick turnaround and that’s the nature of this season,” Compton said. “We’re going to get out tomorrow and go over some basic passing and catching, some things we need to clean up. But the message from me to my boys is, ’You emptied your tanks. Let’s restart, refuel and get after Saturday night.’”

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