Lady Avs whip Colorado Springs at home |

Lady Avs whip Colorado Springs at home

Ben Husband

After spending the first two months of their season on the road, the Aspen Junior Girls’ Tier I hockey team stayed home last weekend.

And the Lady Avs gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about, defeating state rival Colorado Springs in a pair of Rocky Mountain Region games at the Aspen Ice Garden.

“We’ve been playing away from home for such a long time, we still felt like we were the away team,” Aspen coach Wily Manering said. “But it was nice to be home and it was a nice way to open at home.”

In what Manering described as “two tough and very physical games,” Aspen, the defending RMR champion, topped Colorado Springs, 4-2, on Friday, and 3-1 on Saturday.

“The girls played great,” Manering said. “The games were very physical and there was a lot of hard hitting, but we retaliated and we continued to play smart hockey.

“There is and always has been a lot of bad blood between these two teams,” Manering added. “So it was nice to get these wins at home.”

When the players took to the ice last Friday, Aspen’s usually potent offense had difficulty getting the puck past the Colorado Springs goalkeeper in the early stages of the game.

But midway through the first period, senior defender Kristin Harn blistered a shot into the net to put the Lady Avs on the board.

“That was a very important goal for us,” Manering said. “We couldn’t find the net before that, and when Kristin scored, there was no looking back.”

Aspen scored three more goals to secure the 4-2 win heading into Saturday’s second matchup of the state’s top two girls teams.

In the second game, Jessica Smith got Aspen off to a quick start with her first goal of the season early in the opening period, giving the AVs the 1-0 lead.

Smith, a second-year player for the Lady Avs, “played fantastic,” said Manering.

Shortly after Smith’s score, senior forward Courtney Brinkerhoff thrilled the crowd with an amazing score off a great pass from Harn to give Aspen a 2-0 advantage.

Later in the game, Harn was ejected from the game after receiving a game misconduct. Harn, one of the top junior defenders in the country, will have to sit out Aspen’s next game.

Colorado Springs then scored in the second period to cut Aspen’s lead in half, but Rebekka Lass scored her second goal of the weekend in the final period to secure the win for Aspen and the sweep over Colorado Springs.

“These were two very hard-fought games,” Manering said. “It was especially great to get the wins over our bitter rivals and to continue to play great hockey.”

The Lady Avs will be on the ice again this weekend with a game against the Aspen Bantam boys team (game time to be announced).

Then Aspen will welcome Shattuck St. Mary’s, Minn., for a four-day tournament beginning Friday, Jan. 29 at the Aspen Ice Garden.

For more local hockey coverage, see Thursday’s sports section.

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