Avalanche stops Fort Collins, twice
The Aspen Avalanche boys hockey team skated to a pair of hard-fought victories at Fort Collins last weekend.
In the opener, the Avalanche won 6-2.
And in the Sunday second-game, the Aspen team held off a revenge-minded Fort Collins team 4-3 in another hard-hitting, penalty-plagued game.
Carter Crouch started in goal for Aspen in the opener. Carter Hansen started the scoring early in the first period with a goal, assisted by Michael Friedland.
Aspen added a second goal after killing off a Fort Collins power play when Brian Phillips scored. Assists went to Chris Erickson and Wyley Hodgson.
The Avalanche followed with their third goal of the game, a power play goal by Phillips (assisted by Hodgson and Bret Norris).
Phillips completed his hat trick early in the second period, scoring off assists from Stephan Reveal and Hodgson. The assist gave Hodgson a playmaker award of three assists for the game.
Fort Collins scored on a power play midway through the second period.
Crouch opened the third period by stopping a bevy of Fort Collins shots.
Phillips then netted his fourth goal of the game, assisted by Reveal and Brendan Wynn.
Bridger Smith followed with an unassisted goal as Aspen extended its lead.
A flurry of penalties followed. More penalties included a major game misconduct for Wynn, forcing him to sit out the next game.
As play deteriorated and penalties increased, Fort Collins added a late goal for the 6-2 Aspen margin.
Crouch was credited with one of his best games of the season, stopping 24 of 26 shots. Fort Collins turned back 17 of 23 Aspen shots.
Penalty totals included 13 for Fort Collins and 15 for Aspen. The 15-penalty figure forced Aspen coach Marc LeRose to sit out the next game for the Avalanche.
Aspen coaches credited strong defense from Yu Yoshida, Oliver Garfield, Blue Carlson and Jeremy Young. As well, coaches commended the offensive play of Ian Meloy, Travis LaSalle and Danny Brown.
Sunday’s rematch started with the Avalanche short on players and coaches. Goalie Crouch was out sick, forcing Hank Richey and Tony Prikryl to split duties in the net.
Assistant coach Scott Lehman and manager Bud Norris took over bench duties for the Avalanche.
Fort Collins, bent on revenge, opened Sunday’s game with a first-period power-play goal.
After killing off a 5-on-3 power play, the Avalanche tied the game 1-1 on an unassisted goal by Hansen.
Aspen took the lead in the opening minute of the second period when Hansen added a power-play goal for the Avalanche.
But barely a minute later, Fort Collins tied the game on a breakaway goal.
And Fort Collins took the lead midway through the period on a power-play goal.
The Avalanche, late in the period, finally tied the game at 3-3 when Hansen scored, unassisted, on the power play. The goal gave him a hat trick for the game.
With another power play for Aspen, the Avalanche scored the game-winner at 11:09 of the third period when Hodgson fed a perfect breakaway pass to Reveal at mid-ice.
Reveal did the rest and beat the Fort Collins goalie for the 4-3 lead.
The Avalanche protected the one-goal lead throughout the rest of the game, turning back several Fort Collins power-play opportunities.
At one point, Fort Collins pulled its goalie in power play to have a 6-on-3 advantage against Aspen. But Prikryl and the Aspen defense held off the charge.
The game ended after a series of rough plays and several fights, but Aspen won 4-3.
Aspen’s goalies turned back 15-of-18 shots. Fort Collins stopped 31 of 35 shots from the Avalanche.
The Aspen Avalanche will be off this week, preparing for a trip to Littleton Jan. 30-31. Trip The two games against Fort Collins followed Aspen’s holiday trip to Vancouver for a Canadian tournament.
The Avalanche played five games in the international tournament, winning one and capturing the consolation crown.
In the opener Richmond, B.C., beat Aspen 4-1. Hodgson scored Aspen’s lone goal, assisted by Phillips and Reveal.
Richmond tied the game in the second period on a power-play goal. The British Columbia team won with two goals in the final period. Crouch turned back 25 of 29 shots for Aspen.
Against West Valley, Calif., in the second game, the Californians won a thriller with a third-period goal – late.
Hodgson had tied the game for Aspen 3-3 with an unassisted goal earlier in the third period.
Phillips and Hansen had Aspen’s other goals. Assists went to Reveal and Friedland.
Fairbanks, Alaska, edged Aspen 4-2 in the third game. Reveal and Smith had unassisted goals for Aspen.
Semiahoo, Saskatchewan skated past Aspen 6-2 in the fourth game.
Friedland scored, assisted by Norris, for Aspen. And Wynn also scored for the Avalanche (assisted by Hodgson).
In the consolation game, Aspen defeated Seattle 3-2.
Reveal tied the game 1-1 in the second period with goal off a pass from Hansen.
Aspen added two goals early in the third period – by Reveal and Norris – to take a 3-1 lead. Seattle closed with a late goal for the 3-2 Aspen victory.
Other assists went to Hansen and Hodgson.
The trip was the first to Canada for the Aspen Junior Hockey players.
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