Resurrection Christian takes command
EAGLE — And Resurrection Christian is the new standard for Battle Mountain hockey.
The Cougars came to the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink and handed the Huskies their lunch, 11-2, on Friday night in a Peak Conference showdown. In the process, Resurrection Christian all but clenched the league title.
It was a humbling experience for the Huskies, who have been having a bit of a renaissance this year, but there’s still a lot of hockey to go and a lot can happen.
“They’ve got four balanced lines and they come at you,” Huskies coach Dennis Hextall said. “They have 100 kids come to camp. It’s a private school. That’s what you run into. That’s what they’re trying to do with the league is to balance it out with the four divisions.
They got a couple of lucky breaks on the first two goals. If we come through the first period within in a goal, that could have been a different game.”
CHSAA has realigned the state hockey map based on past performance, so all the behemoths are in the Foothills Conference. The Peak, the Huskies’ home, is the second level, and Battle Mountain has acquitted itself well here.
But eventually all four conferences will mix and mingle come the playoffs, and the Huskies (11-2-3 overall and 8-2-2 in the Peak) want to compete.
Battle Mountain feel behind 3-0 during the first 11 minutes of play in the first period. Jackson Birdsall, Chris Sherill and A.J. Buckner all lit the lamp for the Cougars (11-3, 9-0).
The Huskies’ Tanner Caldarola gave the hosts a bit of hope with a goal to start the second. Teammate Zach Booth also had a breakaway goal, but Resurrection Christian ended up dropped a six-spot on the Huskies in the middle stanza, and that was that.
After a game like that, it’s important to remember that not all is lost. The Huskies entered the game No. 13 in the state — 24 make the playoffs — in the rating-percentage index, so the postseason is on the horizon. Battle Mountain has its Senior Night today at 5 p.m. against Columbine. And, yes, the Huskies get another shot at Resurrection Christian on Friday.
“It’s a tough loss and we’ve got to get ready for tomorrow night,” Hextall said. “We’ve got a pretty good group of kids and they’re pretty fired up. They knew what they were getting into tonight. Tomorrow night’s another game.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.