Huskies hockey begins title defense with split
2021 Colorado 4A state hockey champs are 1-1 to begin 2021-2022 campaign
The defending Colorado state champion Battle Mountain High School boys hockey team opened up its season with a win and a loss last weekend. It defeated Resurrection Christian 2-1 on Thursday before dropping a home contest Saturday against Steamboat Springs, 6-3. The latter game was a 4A Mountain League game.
“We have a lot to be positive about and a lot to work on, as you would expect early on in the year,” head coach Derek Byron wrote in an email after both games.
“We had slow starts in each game this past weekend,” he said, noting that he felt his team’s surrendering of two first period goals ultimately cost them the game against Steamboat.
The Huskies coach believes his squad needs to work on jelling more as a singular unit.
“(We need to) improve upon becoming more of a team; getting away from individual effort and focusing on team efforts,” he wrote when asked how they ought to progress after these early season games.
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In 2020-2021, the Huskies were 9-2-1 in league play, while Steamboat Springs was 3-6. The top team in the league last year was Crested Butte, at 9-0.
“All of our league games are super important, key games for us this season,” the coach said. His team has been in the runner-up position in the Mountain League standings for three years in a row.
“Our first goal is to win the league,” he said.
Byron said he is also excited for the opportunity to face 5A schools in the nonconference games on the calendar. Friday will be the first of those tests, as the Huskies square off on the road against the No. 2 ranked 5A school, Regis.
2021-2022 is looking to be a bit different for the defending champs, who graduated 10 seniors. Captain Kyle Parliament, goalie Logan Gremmer, forward Carter Large and defenseman Kyler Hill are the key returners. Byron says the new faces are still working to figure each other out as they strive for improvement each day.
“This team has the potential to be great and achieve its goal of a league and state title,” Byron stated. “We just have to do it together and believe in ourselves and our teammates.”
They’ll have a full season to do so, unlike the slightly abbreviated COVID-19 year, which started on Jan. 30 and spanned only 14 games, seven fewer than 2019.
“Last year was hard mentally for a lot of reasons,” said the head coach.
With a full slate of games, he is just excited to watch good hockey.
“Having a full season to see what these kids and what this state can produce in hockey are going to be fun to be a part of and watch.”