Aspen beats Breckenridge in junior hockey opener | AspenTimes.com

Aspen beats Breckenridge in junior hockey opener

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Breck Bucks and Aspen Leafs players get ready for face-off during a game in early November. Since then, the Leafs have dropped to second place in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League behind the Pikes Peak Miners and ahead of the Breck Bucks.

The Aspen Leafs are off and winning.

The Aspen Leafs U20 junior team, in the first game in franchise history, defeated the Breckenridge Bucks 7-1 to open the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League season Friday night.

Playing before a near-capacity crowd at Stephen C. West Arena in Breckenridge, Trent Luby scored the first goal of the new season for the Leafs. The goal was a power-play score, set up by Cal Erdmann and Boston Lindlahr.

From there, it was the Ivan Bondarenko and Andrew Lee show, according to Shaun Hathaway, the director of Aspen Junior Hockey and organizer of the Aspen Leafs U20s.

Bondarenko, from Moscow, recorded his first hat trick in Aspen's first game. He also set up Lee for two power-play goals.

The Leafs finished the scoring in the third period when Lee notched his hat trick on an unassisted shorthanded goal. Lee is from Tualatin, Oregon.

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Aspen High School goaltender started in goal for the Leafs, winning his first game.

Brucker will practice and play with the Leafs until the high school season begins, stopped 31 shots in his debuit.

"Although the penalties disrupted the flow of the game, our special teams made the difference with four goals," Leafs head coach Jay Miller said of Aspen score three times on the power play and once shorthanded. "I'm happy to get our first win opening night on the road."

The Aspen Leafs will open the home season Friday at the Aspen Ice Garden with a 7 p.m. game against the Colorado Rampage.

The Rampage opened with a 5-1 win over the Colorado Thunderbirds on opening night.

The Pikes Peak Miners defeated the Grand Junctions Yetis 10-6.

dstrode@aspentimes.com

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