Aspen Avalanche finishes third in State Championships
The Aspen Avalanche Midget AA hockey team wrapped up its season last weekend at the State Championships in Littleton.
Th Avalanche skated to a third-place finish by going 1-2, and ending the tournament with their best game of the season in a 4-1 loss to the host Littleton Hawks, one of the strongest teams in the state.
“The team played very well,” said Aspen co-coach Brett Kurtz. “They played hard and gave it all they had, so the season actually ended on an up note. Littleton’s coach came up to me afterwards and said they played their best game of the season and they needed to, to beat us.”
Aspen opened the tournament Friday night with a 5-1 loss to the Hawks. The Avalanche started slowly and trailed 3-0 after the first period, but cut into Littleton’s lead when Carter Hansen got free for an unassisted, short-handed goal in the second period.
The Hawks, however, answered right back with a goal of their own and went on to win by four.
Aspen goalie Tony Prikryl had 25 saves in the game, though he spent three minutes on the bench near the end of the first period cooling down after Littleton’s torrid start. Hank Richey filled in for Prikryl and didn’t allow a goal.
Game two of the tournament, a 3-2 Aspen win, looked to be headed in much the same direction, with the Denver University Midgets taking a 2-0 advantage into the third period. But then DU ran into penalty problems and the Avalanche was able to capitalize.
Captain Bridger Smith scored a power-play goal with 14:25 to play to open the scoring for Aspen off a pass from Hansen. Five minutes later, Oliver Garfield scored during another Avalanche power play to knot the score at 2-all. Brendan Wynn picked up the assist on the play.
Finally, with 7:19 to go in the game, Hansen put Aspen ahead with an unassisted tally, also on a power play.
With Aspen leading 3-2 and time running out, Wynn picked up a penalty for cross-checking, giving DU a power play of its own. But the Avalanche killed off the penalty to ice the win.
Meanwhile, as luck would have it, Littleton was being upset in the winner’s bracket, setting up a rematch with Aspen on the loser’s side of the double-elimination draw.
Aspen’s Travis LaSalle scored off a David Haridim assist to account for the Avalanche’s lone goal in the game, but it was not enough as the Hawks once again notched the win, this time by a score of 4-1.
“The kids played their hearts out,” said Aspen co-coach Mark LeRose.
“It’s a rare occassion when you can lose a game and feel good about it. Sometimes when you lose, you win.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The 2020-21 ski season is going to look substantially different from previous ones. The Colorado Department of Public Health has released its final guidance on coronavirus protocols for resorts and guests to follow.