Lady Avalanche hit the road to California
The girls of Aspen are at it again.
Actually, they are on the road again – a place the Aspen Junior Girls’ Tier hockey team knows all too well this year.
After spending the first part of their season on the road playing at tournaments as far away as Minnesota and Connecticut, the Lady Avs got to stay home for their lone home series of the year two weeks ago, when they hosted Shattuck St. Mary’s for a four-game series.
Now, they’re back on the road.
Thursday, the Lady Avs will travel to Huntington Beach, Calif. for a Rocky Mountain Regional hockey tournament that will also include an all-star team from California that is not part of the RMR.
Participating teams at the tournament will include Phoenix, California, Salt Lake City, Colorado Springs, New Mexico and Dallas.
Aspen has played and defeated all the teams in its region except California this season.
Though Aspen is a favorite on paper to win going into the tourney, Lady Avs coach Wily Manering predicted the California team “will be our toughest challenge.”
The Lady Avs are focusing this season around one common goal – getting back to the national tournament in March, which will be held in Washington, D.C. this year.
Last year, Aspen made the big tourney its debut season, but came home empty handed on the end of some lopsided scores, including a 12-0 loss to Minnesota and 10-0 whipping by Connecticut.
“Every tournament we play and every game we play from here on out on the road to nationals is very important,” Manering said. “We can’t take any game or any team lightly.”
Manering added that his team would have to play every game as if it “were the last one.”
Among the sparks for Aspen this year have been the play of front liners Ali Crum, Sascha Anastas, Courtney Brinkerhoff, and U.S. Olympic Hockey Developmental invite Bekka Lass, to whom Manering gave kudos.
“Bekka is playing unbelievably,” he said. “We wouldn’t be near as strong as we are without her on this team.”
Aspen has had to deal with the loss of Elizabeth Severy, who had reconstructive knee surgery last month.
“That was a huge loss for this team,” Manering said.
Aspen will kick off the weekend of play Friday against state rival Colorado Springs.
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Colorado has been hit with a substantial spike in COVID-19 cases, with one in 41 residents believed to be contagious. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, warned during a virtual news conference that Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in cases and pleaded with people not to travel or gather in large groups.