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AHS hockey nips Palmer

Aspen Times Staff Report

The Aspen High hockey team didn’t bring its “A-game” to Colorado Springs Saturday, but the AHS Skiers still managed to escape with a win over Palmer.

Aspen, the No. 2 team in the Colorado High School Hockey League standings, with a league record of 9-1, bested Palmer 4-2.

“We didn’t bring our A-game, that’s for sure,” said Aspen coach Brett Kurtz. “I’m not sure what the heck happened, but we wouldn’t have been able to win if it were not for the Matt Stege line and the Eric Strauss line.”

The two lines normally saddled with defensive chores combined for three of Aspen’s goals, “and we were able to hold them off and get the win,” Kurtz said.

Senior Carter Hansen broke the ice for Aspen, scoring a short-handed goal in the first period, assisted by defenseman Jamie Gull.

Stege, a junior, scored Aspen’s second goal in the second period, assisted by senior Jeff Flack. Flack then netted a goal of his own, assisted by Stege. A Palmer power-play goal in the second period narrowed the margin to 3-1 heading into the third.

Strauss added Aspen’s fourth and final goal early in the third, “and then Palmer made it interesting,” Kurtz said, with another goal in the final four minutes.

Aspen goalie Stuart Barwick turned away 15 of 17 Palmer shots. Aspen recorded 24 shots.

“We took too many penalties – eight to Palmer’s four,” Kurtz said. “If we do that this weekend against Air Academy, we’re in trouble. I take a lot of pride in the discipline on this team, and we’re going to have to regain that this week in practice.”

Aspen hosts two games this weekend that may have meaning in the postseason. On Friday, at 2:30 p.m., Aspen hosts Mitchell (1-6). And on Saturday, Aspen hosts Air Academy (5-2), a team tied for third place in the Colorado High School League standings, behind Liberty (7-0) and Aspen (9-1).

“If we sweep this weekend we assure ourselves second place, which is pretty admirable for our first year in the league,” Kurtz said. “To get first place, we need some help from other teams. And Liberty has the toughest part of their schedule coming up, while we’ve gotten through the toughest part of our schedule, with the exception of Air Academy.”


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