Shootout at Dobson: Huskies outlast Aspen
Having seen Aspen come back from a 5-1 deficit Friday night at Dobson Arena to close the score to 6-5 late in the third period, Chase ended the threat with a nifty slap shot to the upper corner to give the Huskies much-needed momentum on their way to an 8-5 victory.
The fact that Battle Mountain had just exhausted an Aspen power play gave the goal that much more significance.
“I knew I was going to go to my right and the goalie followed me,” Chase said. “I knew there’d be a shot open to the left and it just happened. (Aspen) had come back, and we knew someone had to step up.”
When junior forward Keith Denton finished off his hat trick a minute later, Aspen wilted and the celebration began.
“It’s awesome,” Chase said. “They beat us last year, so we had this game on our mind. This is probably the most fun game we’ve had.”
Battle Mountain (3-1) used a huge first period to sprint out ahead of the Skiers, who needed a mid-period goalie change to get back on track. Huskies forward Alex Biegler, a sophomore, found a free puck around the goal in the opening minute to give the Huskies a lead they’d never relinquish. In the first period alone, sophomore Austin Chow added two goals, senior Steve Reid added one and Denton pounded in a rebound for his first and, suddenly, the Huskies owned a 5-1 lead. Aspen would add a goal just before the buzzer sounded, but still, the start was a relief for head coach Jade Kersey, who saw his team come out flat in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Kent Denver.
“I think anybody in the rink saw a different team come out here tonight,” Kersey said. “These guys were disappointed with how they played on Wednesday. They’re such a hard-working group; they know they can keep playing like this when they want.”
In the second period, penalties got the best of both teams. Battle Mountain survived two-straight power plays and so did Aspen, before Huskies junior Adam Weiss was penalized for high sticking. But it was Battle Mountain’s Denton who found some luck during that power play with six minutes to go, as his slap shot trickled through the legs of the Skiers’ No. 2 goalie Kris Long.
Less than a minute later, Aspen would begin the comeback.
Aspen senior Matt Young scored the first of two goals that stayed low and under Huskies goalie Karl Eklund, who had 24 saves on the night.
In the final period, Skiers’ Sean French scored and Young added his second goal and Aspen looked to have the edge.
That’s when Chase’s slapshot woke the Huskies from their defensive slumber and, as they say, the fat lady began her tune.
“It was a beautiful shot,” Kersey said. “We had been back on our heels after killing so many penalties.”
The win was the Huskies’ second in three days. The fun continues tonight at Dobson, when Battle Mountain hosts Steamboat Springs at 6:30 p.m.
“We have to keep working hard,” Chase said. “We have to come out ready from the first whistle to the last one.”
NOTES: In total, there were 16 penalties called in the game, six on Aspen … Reid’s goal in the first period was also nice. He took a fine pass from sophomore Turi Olson, who had centered a pass from the corner and found Reid, who one-timed it into the net … The game was the first time the Huskies scored eight goals, surpassing the seven they scored on Summit in the season-opener.
Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.