Pee Wee Bs, Squirt Cs win league titles
Vail, CO Colorado
The Vail-Eagle Mountaineers Pee Wee Bs captured the Divide League title, mounting a third-period comeback to defeat the Colorado Jr. Eagles, 5-3, in the championship game of the playoffs last weekend in Windsor.
The Mountaineers automatically qualified for the Colorado state playoffs this weekend at The Edge Ice Arena in Denver.
In Friday’s first-round action, Bjorn Bredeson’s hat trick provided all the offensive punch as the Mountaineers defeated the Jr. Eagles, 3-2, in sudden-death overtime. Defenseman Phil Middleton assisted on all three of Bredeson’s tallies and Michael Wilhelm and Jonnie Nolan chipped in with one helper each. Goalie Carter Peel turned away 17 of 19 Eagle’s shots to earn the win.
The Mountaineers took on ski-town rival Steamboat in Saturday’s second-round game. Wilhelm and Nolan scored two goals each, with Wilhelm’s score with five minutes remaining proving to be the game winner. Ben Hymes put in a buzzer beater as time expired to provide the icing on the 5-3 victory. Assists went to Michael Viera, Erik Sortland, Jesse Greve, Middleton and Hymes.
Sunday’s championship game provided a rematch with the Jr. Eagles.
The Eagles came out flying with three unanswered first period goals and still held a 3-0 advantage well into the second stanza. Nolan’s score, assisted by Hymes, chipped away at the lead in the second period. The Mountaineers exploded for four third period goals to turn the game around and claim the crown.
Two scores by Bredeson, one in a short-handed situation, and single markers from Wilhelm and Stefan Sortland did the damage. Peel earned the win by shutting down the Eagles for the final two and a half periods after weathering the early onslaught.
Forwards Karl Norris and Garrett Funk round out the Mountaineers’ roster and the team is coached by Eric Lickteig and Lonnie Bredeson.
Vail-Eagle takes on Rocky Mountain League champion, Kremmling, at 6 p.m. on Saturday in the semifinals of the state playoffs.
Squirt Cs off to state
The Vail-Eagle Mountaineers Squirt C hockey club continued its quest for a state championship this last weekend in Fort Collins and returned home with a Divide League title in the process.
Goalie Grant Verlinde backstopped the team by allowing only one goal in three games.
Friday afternoon the Mountaineers took on Aspen. Clayton Davis got the scoring started late in the second period with a laser shot from the bottom of the left circle.
Davis’ shot seemed to open the floodgates for the Mountaineers. Noah Beairsto, Jackson Shanley and Michael Lange contributed the next four tallies in a 5-1 victory.
Saturday morning, the Squirts faced Colorado Springs-based CHC. This one remained scoreless until the third when Shanley broke through the defense and lit the lamp for the first of his two goals. Beairsto added another to notch a 3-0 victory and a chance to play for the championship the next morning.
In the title game ” a rematch against CHC ” the Mountaineers struggled to get their legs underneath them. The game remained scoreless well into the third period with a parade to the penalty box.
While shorthanded, Beairsto made the play of the day with a rush from the neutral zone up the left boards, weaving through two CHC defenders. Beairsto spotted a wide-open Shanley between the circles in front of the goal and fed a pass to his tape that Jackson ripped over the goalie’s right shoulder.
The Squirts face Foothills this Saturday at 1:40 p.m. at the Edge Arena in the semifinals of the state playoffs, and the title game is Sunday at 10:10 a.m.