PeeWee Red Mountaineers fall to Aspen in Sportsmanship Championship, 2-1
With 45 seconds to play in Sunday’s PeeWee Red A Championship game in the Sportsmanship tournament at Dobson Arena, Aspen was whistled for having too many men on the ice and the Vail Mountaineers, down 2-1, opted to take the penalty shot instead of playing the power play.
Vail’s Chad Bannor took the free puck at mid-ice and skated in on Aspen goalie Zach Ware, shifting his momentum from left to right before firing a laser slap shot on goal.
Unfortunately for Bannor and the surging Mountaineers, the shot found its way right into the chest of Ware and Aspen hung on to win it’s second tournament game over Vail to claim the Sportsmanship first place trophy.
“That was a tough break there,” said Bannor. “I just wanted to be the best I could for the team. There really wasn’t much I could do about it. Their goalie was hot today. He was playing good.”
The Mountaineers had plenty of opportunities to upset Aspen in the third period after Aspen had jumped out a 2-0 lead.
Bannor pulled the Mountaineers within one after slicing in from the right side on a breakaway and launching a puck over the right shoulder of Ware that found the back of the net with 6:32 remaining in regulation.
The puck just didn’t seem to bounce the Mountaineers way for the remainder of the game, though, as Vail’s Hunter Scleper had one shot bounce off the right goalpost with under five minutes to go, along with another breakaway shot that Ware deflected.
“I think the breaks were pretty even,” said Mountaineers coach Bill Young. “We could have used a few more but we played a good team. We just wanted to get to the Championship game. We’ve been getting better every game this year. Hopefully we can play well enough to make it to the playoffs and get to full stride.”
Despite the hard-hitting physical play between the two teams throughout the game, both teams exchanged handshakes and hugs afterwards. The Vail team hosted the Aspen players in their homes this weekend, after the Aspen team did the same last weekend.
“They are good friends, but both teams understand when we take the ice that we play for the win and we play clean and fair,” said Young. “It’s fun to lay a good lick on your buddy.”
Nate Peterson is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608 or via email@example.com.