Huskies roll past Coronado, 7-2, In Vail
VAIL, Colorado ” The question was not whether Battle Mountain hockey was going to beat Coronado Friday night at Vail’s Dobson Arena. It was how?
After two disheartening losses last weekend in Colorado Springs, the Huskies bounced back with two crisp periods of hockey to skate to an easy 7-2 win against hapless Coronado.
“We played much better,” Huskies coach Gary Defina said. “We played smart. Our power play was clicking. We put in a new system this week because we had to adjust. We needed to respond and we did.”
The Huskies didn’t miss a beat Friday night against an excruciatingly-undisciplined Cougars team, which managed 40 minutes of penalties in 45-minute game.
“When we play a team like this, it’s important to maintain or standard of play,” said Huskies forward Cody Kleisinger, who had two goals Friday night. “You can kind of lose your momentum. We rolled our lines and played as if we were playing a good team.”
Coronado (1-13) does lead the Peak Conference in one statistic ” penalty minutes, and that trend continued Friday. The Huskies scored their first goal of the game at even strength on a nice pass from the back of the net by Jack Sunderland to Kleisinger for a 1-0 lead.
After that, Coronado simply could not stay out of the sin bin. Of Battle Mountain’s next six goals, five came on the power play. The cavalcade started on a 5-on-3, when Sunderland won the face off straight out to Elliott Simon who one-timed it into the twine. Sunderland scored a minute later deking a Coronado blueliner before going shortside for a 3-0 margin.
Captain Geoff Funk rounded out the first period with a hard slapper on helpers from Sunderland and Chris Davis.
It was more of the same in the second. Spencer Fox had a nifty wrap-around goal and scored again on the power play, this time courtesy of Brian Ratkowski.
By the time Kleisinger scored again, the Huskies (10-5 overall and 7-2 in the Peak) just wanted to get out of Dobson unscathed.
“They responded well,” Defina said. “It was an up and down week in practice. It’s tough to tell against that team, but 4-0 at the end of the first period and giving up only one shot in the period, you can’t do much better than that. After the second, we just wanted to get the game finished without someone getting hurt. It was a slaughterhouse out there.”
Tonight the Huskies host Pueblo in the final game of the year at Dobson. The Huskies do host Rampart Feb. 14 at the Eagle Ice Rink for their annual foray to the west side of the county, but this is it for seniors Brad Beaudin, Kalen Burnett, Mitch Lammert, Funk, Kleisinger and Fox at Dobson.
“It’s going to be fun,” Kleisinger said. “I saw it last year with all the seniors. It’s good to have the parents out on the ice. It’s special to say, ‘Hey, I’m a part of Battle Mountain hockey.”
Coronado spent most of the evening complaining about home-town officiating. Given that the stripes were from Aspen and Summit County, that might have been a stretch. … Huskies starting goalie Kalen Burnett was unavailable because of a concussion he sustained last weekend at Lewis-Palmer. He is medically cleared to play tonight but Defina will hold him out as a precaution. Brad Beaudin and Curtis Hart split time in goal Friday. … Coronado’s Brock Lofgren and Nick Lang scored in the third for the Cougars. … The Vail Daily’s three stars of the game were 1) Sunderland, 2) Davis and 3) Kleisinger.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.