Huskies win home opener
VAIL – Just click your heels and say, “There’s no place like home.” There is truly no place like home for Battle Mountain hockey – to the tune of a 37-0-2 mark in four-plus years. “Still undefeated,” yelled senior Chris Chase after Battle Mountain’s homer opener Tuesday night, a 7-1 thumping of Palmer.”I think we all played really good,” sophomore forward Sam Sterling said. “(We were) a hard-working team today and got a lot of goals in the second and third periods. Jason Funk put a lot in. I put a couple in. Barrett (Chow) put one in and Jake Lammert put one in.”Hey, Sam, don’t forget Kodi Wyatt. But you could forgive the Huskies for not remembering from where all the goals came. They came from all over.
Slow startBattle Mountain, missing two forwards to suspensions, had to shuffle its lines and it showed in the first period. The team was off just a hair in the opening scoreless frame. Throw in some home-opener jitters and it was understandable.”We only had one practice together with those combinations, but it was more of that first home game nervousness in front of the crowd,” Huskies coach Gary Defina said. “But the lines really clicked after that, especially Jason, Sam and Todd Walker. They really played great.”And that would be the first understatement of Defina’s career at Battle Mountain. Funk, Sterling and Walker combined for four goals and three assists on the evening and jump-started the Huskies.
Down 1-0 after Palmer’s Mark Price scored, the Huskies responded immediately. Chase and blueliner Coulter Somes fed Funk for the first of his two and the game was tied.It didn’t stay that way for long. Ninety seconds later, Funk to Sterling gave the Huskies the lead for good. Chow scored unassisted with 7:16 left in the middle stanza with a nice deke move, beating Palmer goalie Jeff Wolfe on his glove side. “I thought the Huskies started to move the puck a lot better,” Terrors coach Bob Davidson said. “They were hitting open spots, making tape-to-tape passes. Maybe they were off a bit in the first period. That got us trapped deep. They started getting a lot of 3-on1s, a lot of 2-on-1s breaks because our forwards were playing a little aggressive on the forecheck and we weren’t keeping a guy high to protect the defense.”Pouring it on
The Huskies didn’t let the second intermission slow them down. In the first minute of the third, Walker and Funk assisted Sterling on a jailbreak. Next, the Huskies executed the power play to perfection.John Ryan Melzer got the puck down to Chow in the right corner. Chow then found a streaking Wyatt in the slot. The pass was perfect and Wolfe had no chance to stop Wyatt’s one-timer.With 11:29 left, Lammert caught the Terrors napping. Lammert simply took the puck off a Palmer defender who was dawdling in the crease and jammed it home. Funk unassisted finished the evening.Foster Fox got the win in net.Battle Mountain, 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Metro, is at Steamboat Springs tonight at 6:30.
“Steamboat’s undefeated. They’re 5-0. So, it’s really going to be a challenge,” Defina said. “They have the Olympic-sized (ice) sheet up there. It’s a little different ice rink. It’s a little bigger. It’s more of a skating game and they’re more used to it. It might be the same thing. It might take us a period to adjust to that, but I think we have a good skating team. I think we’ll be right with them.”Ice chipsBattle Mountain’s special teams were strong. The Huskies were a perfect 6-for-6 on the kill and 1-for-4 with the advantage. … Palmer is 4-4 overall and 0-1 in the Metro. … The Huskies are beginning a marathon stretch of games. They’re at Steamboat tonight, at Pueblo Friday, at Mitchell Saturday, at Summit Monday and back home for Steamboat on Tuesday. That’s followed by home games against Liberty and Cheyenne Mountain the weekend after next. … Three stars: 1) Funk, 2) Sterling and 3) Sommes.Vail, Colorado