They went for hockey and got football instead
BRECKENRIDGE ” Undefeated Battle Mountain came to Breckenridge with its perfect season and the Shrine Pass Cup on the line. After a high-scoring thriller, the No. 1 Huskies went home still in possession of both.
Summit was not intimidated when the perfect Huskies took the ice Wednesday at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena. But Battle Mountain outplayed the Tigers and won with an effort befitting its top ranking by a football score of 10-7.
After a Michael Zajicek goal 2:18 into the third period gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead, the Summit bench went crazy, knowing it had a chance to win against the best team in the state. But Battle Mountain (18-0-0) responded.
Summit didn’t score again, and sophomore goalie Seth Wickham allowed four more Huskies’ goals.
“They got too excited in the third period and lost focus,” Summit head coach Colin Smith said about his 5-10-1 Tigers. “But now, we know we can compete with anyone.”
After Zajicek’s goal, Battle Mountain co-captain Austin Chow tied the game on a wraparound shot from behind the net. Chow was one of two Huskies who scored a hat trick Wednesday night. Fellow captain Brad Myers also tallied three scores in the game.
After Chow’s goal, panic started to set in for the Tigers. Less than two minutes later, Cam Carlson and Billy Barto collided, allowing Battle Mountain wing Casey Kleisenger an easy one-on-one against Wickham. Wickham then fell down giving Kleisenger an open net to push the puck in for the 8-7 lead. The Huskies didn’t look back.
“I knew it was gonna be close,” Battle Mountain coach Andy Hire said. “Some of these kids have played against each other since they were 6. Some are best friends, and some absolutely hate each other.”
Battle Mountain jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period, and it looked like the game might be a repeat of the Dec. 3 season opener when the Huskies beat Summit, 8-1.
But the Tigers outscored Battle Mountain 5-1 through the beginning of the second to grab a 5-3 lead and the momentum. Summit later took a 6-5 lead into the final period.
Junior John Rodger and freshman Scott Noble led Summit with two goals each.
The first-year head coach Smith was on the bench for the first time since the Jan. 26 game at Palmer. Smith missed the last three games due to various suspensions. Summit went 1-2 without its head coach.
“(Smith) hasn’t been at practice, so a couple of kids didn’t see him until today,” Carlson said. “We kind of went into this game in the dark, but we played our best game of the year up until the end.”
The Huskies host Air Academy Saturday in a much-anticipated game at 4:15 p.m. at the Eagle Ice Arena.
Andy Frame can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.