Kostick, Devils edge Vail Mountain, 9-8 | VailDaily.com

Kostick, Devils edge Vail Mountain, 9-8

Nice cleats, Xander

Eagle Valley’s Erich Petersen (18) brings the ball upfield against Vail Mountain on Thursday down in Gypsum. Petersen and the Devils rallied for 9-8 victory over the Gore Rangers. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

GYPSUM — What. A. Save.

With less than a minute to go and trailing by one goal, Vail Mountain’s Sebastian Kohlhofer had what appeared to be a point-blank shot on net, but Devils goalie Xander Kostick made the save … by the slimmest of margins.

“It was a bouncer coming,” Kostick said. “I just saved it with the bottom of my feet. Quality cleats.”

And with that, Eagle Valley boys’ lacrosse hung on to win the rematch with Vail Mountain, 9-8, Thursday evening at John Ramunno Field In Gypsum. VMS (5-1) and Battle Mountain (3-1) are tied atop the Western Conference with one loss with Eagle Valley is a game behind at 3-2.

Vail Mountain hosts Battle Mountain on Tuesday in the first of two between the rivals, while Eagle Valley heads to Aspen for another big one.

Jack Suhadolink and Eagle Valley are still kicking in the Western Conference race after defeating Vail Mountain, 9-8. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

Stick issues

While VMS-Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley-Aspen are superb match-ups, is there any way the Devils and Gore Rangers could play 15 times next spring in lieu of a normal schedule? Between VMS’s 13-8 win earlier this month and Thursday’s 9-8 Devils thriller, it’s not a half-baked idea.

The fourth quarter started on the sidelines. Eagle Valley challenged the legality of VMS’s Becker Dienst’s stick and its pocket was too deep. While Dienst passionately argued to the contrary to no avail, he got a 2-minute penalty.

Just 29 seconds later, VMS got another whistle and was facing a two-man disadvantage.

Eagle Valley’s Julius Petersen just took over, scoring the natural hat trick in a mere three minutes. Throw in the second of two from freshman Peter Boyd and the Devils led 9-5.

Midway through the fourth, VMS rallied behind three straight from the Gore Rangers’ Mason Geller and it was 9-8 for the last 2:35 of the game.

“A little stressful. Definitely a bit stressful,” Kostick said. “I was definitely nervous. They had the ball on our side. I was like, ‘I better step up if the ball comes to me,’ and I made quite a lucky save.”

Vail Mountain did suffer its first loss of the season in a 9-8 decision to Eagle Valley, but the Gore Rangers still control their own destiny in the conference race. VMS hosts Battle Mountain on Tuesday. (Mort Mulliken
Special to the Daily)

As for the penalty, coach Anders Fogel?

“We felt a little unlucky with that,” VMS’s head coach said. “At the same time, we responded. Eagle Valley went on a big run, but then we did. I like the way we responded to an unlucky situation.”

Red Bull, anyone?

Vail Mountain fans liked the first half a lot better. The Gore Rangers built a 4-0 lead. Kohlhofer, Dienst, Carter Large and Nick Kirwood all scored.

Meanwhile, Eagle Valley was doing its best impression of being as dead as a door nail. In fairness, ye olde “lulling them into a sense of complacency before striking,” strategy seems to be working for the Devils.

“That’s been a problem all season so far, but we pulled it off today,” the Devils’ Erich Petersen said. “Maybe a couple of Red Bulls will help out.”

Capital idea, young man.

Eagle Valley stays in the conference race with the win, and now is in the awkward position of rooting for Battle Mountain on Tuesday. Yes, if you bleed Devils’ black and red, you’re actually cheering for the Huskies in both contests vs. the Gore Rangers.

What’s more, if Eagle Valley runs the table with Battle Mountain beating Vail Mountain twice, the Devils win the West. Please don’t shoot the messenger.

Meanwhile, VMS lost its cushion in the standings, but not its position. If the Gore Rangers win out, they win the West.

“What we said [after the game] was that we made a little comeback at the end,” Fogel said. “I think that’s the sign of a good team and we get back at it in practice tomorrow.”

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