Kadets, Rangers next for Huskies
VAIL, Colorado ” The motivation before Saturday’s hockey game was indirect, but very much to the point at the same time.
Battle Mountain hockey coach Gary Defina told his team “Lewis-Palmer 4, Cheyenne Mountain 0.”
Of course, the Huskies were actually playing Pueblo Saturday night, but as they say in the “Airplane!” movies, that’s not important right now.
Battle Mountain had to step of its game regardless of the opponent, and the Huskies did by thrashing the Hornets, 9-2, setting up one of the biggest weekends of high school hockey here in a few years.
The Huskies host long-time nemesis Air Academy Friday and then Lewis-Palmer, the aforementioned 4-0 winners last week over the Indians, on Saturday. Both games begin at 6 p.m.
Lewis-Palmer and Battle Mountain seemingly have been on a crash course toward a Peak Conference showdown since the beginning of the season. The Huskies are 6-0 in the Peak, while the Rangers are 5-0, and will play their game-in-hand at Coronado on Tuesday, almost assuredly a win.
The Huskies are 11-2 overall, while the Rangers are 10-1-1. Lewis-Palmer’s tie is against Ralston Valley, the leader of the Foothills Conference. Battle Mountain beat Kent, the second-place team in the Foothills last month. And then there is the 4-0 win over Cheyenne, a result which immediately catches the eye of anyone in the Battle Mountain hockey community.
The Huskies and Rangers played to a 4-4 tie last year down in Colorado Springs.
“They just came in (to CHSAA hockey) last year,” Defina said. “They had all their kids at other schools and when the school brought back hockey, they all came back. They had almost no seniors last year. They have a great coaching staff. Talking to the coaches (around the state), they kind of figured that Lewis-Palmer would be on the rise.”
First things, first
If both teams enter Saturday’s game with perfect conference marks, the winner will likely have the inside track to the Peak crown. While Lewis-Palmer has Liberty at home Friday night, the Huskies will have their hands full.
The Kadets are coming to town.
Air Academy at 9-4 and 4-2 is a potent opponent, and what’s more there’s a lot of history between the two programs. The Huskies have 4-3 and 4-2 wins against the Kadets the last two years and the two teams met twice in 2005 in memorable fashion.
Battle Mountain and Air Academy met in the last game of the regular season that year with the Huskies at 18-0 and the Kadets sporting a 17-1 record. Battle Mountain escaped with a 4-3 win.
At 22-0, the Huskies met Air Academy in the state-title game and lost, 2-0, two weeks later in Colorado Springs. Battle Mountain’s seniors were freshmen on that squad and they remember. There will be no looking ahead to Lewis-Palmer.
“The kids know,” Defina said. “The kids who have been around know of the tradition. But they’ve been very good all year at taking it one game at a time and improving with every game.”
Battle Mountain showed that Saturday, blitzing Pueblo. Jonny Stevens and Kodi Wyatt gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Then the Huskies rolled out what Defina called “possible the best period the guys have played.” Pueblo’s Jon Naylor started the scoring. The Huskies proceeded to find the net six times. Jake Lammert had two, as did Taylor Beairsto. Stevens struck for the second time and Gustav Philipson ripped the twine.
Ryan Maddux finished off the rout.
Defina’s three stars were 1) Charlie Tedstrom, sparking the defense 2) Beairsto and 3) goalie Brad Beaudine.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.