Huskies hold off Aspen, 3-2
ASPEN – Aspen handed Battle Mountain hockey its first loss in the program’s history and the Huskies don’t seem to have forgotten it.After a 5-3 defeat at Aspen in December 2001, the Huskies have owned this series. Battle Mountain made it five in a row over its top mountain rival Tuesday, holding off the Skiers, 3-2.”Aspen is a really hard rink to play in. Going into their barn is a difficult task,” Huskies senior Brad Myers said. “To come away with a win, I can’t express how happy I am. The team that played against Aspen is what a state champion looks like.”While Huskies coach Andy Hire isn’t thinking state title quite yet, he has gotten a taste of the Huskies/Vail Junior Hockey-Aspen rivalry.
“It was a very physical game on both sides,” said the coach, whose team moved to 14-0. “There were bodies everywhere. They were clean hits. It’s just you could see that both teams were fired up. They’ve been playing together for years and they have grudges. It was definitely one of the most physical games we’ve had.”That experience should put the Huskies in good stead come playoff time when opposing teams will doubtless try to outmuscle speedy Battle Mountain. A close game was also good for the Huskies who have been breezing through the Metro Conference.The Huskies looked like they were on their way to a cakewalk, leading 3-0 in the second before Aspen pulled within one with 11 minutes remaining.”The fans were going crazy,” Hire said. “We weren’t getting many calls. But, the kids kept in the moment and showed a ton of heart. They played through every circumstance and showed a lot of maturity.”
Speaking of maturity, it was seniors-only on goal No. 1 for Battle Mountain. Alex Biegler fed Austin Chow 19 seconds into the second for a 1-0 lead. Battle Mountain’s second line chipped in on the team’s second. Barrett Chow to Derek Byron to Myers made it 2-0 a little more than a minute later.Austin Chow, from Evan Sherer and Andreas Apostal, added what would be some munch-needed insurance with 5:26 left in the middle stanza.Aspen responded with goals from Ryder Frywald and Wiley Melberg.While the Huskies offense got just enough for the win, Karl Eklund had one of his better nights between the pipes for Battle Mountain. The goalie turned aside 28 shots for the win.
“He had a great night back there,” an appreciative Sherer said. “One of his saves was incredible. He just reached behind his body and pulled the puck back. He made us feel comfortable out there. We felt like he was going to stop anything.”Ice chips: Hire three stars were: 1) Chow (Austin), 2) Myers and 3) Eklund … Battle Mountain tries to host Machebeuf for the third time Thursday at 3:30 p.m. There is a report that Huskies athletics director Fred Koetteritz is sending several snow plows and tow trucks to accompany the Buffaloes’ bus. … Machebeuf will be first of three straight for the Huskies. Battle Mountain has Palmer and Mitchell in the Springs Friday and Saturday.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Colorado