AHS ‘dominant’ in opening games | AspenTimes.com

AHS ‘dominant’ in opening games

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen's Tyler horn skates around Summit County's Charlie Niggeler during third period action at the Aspen Ice Garden Saturday. The Skiers thrashed the visiting Tigers 10-1. Paul Conrad photo.

Aspen High hockey opened the season with back-to-back wins at the Aspen Ice Garden.

Aspen shut down Colorado Academy 6-2 on Friday, then teed off on Summit County in a 10-1 rout Saturday.

“I’m really surprised how well we’re doing in our end zone offense ? it’s probably the best end zone offense we’ve had, ever,” said Aspen coach Mark LeRose. “We are just dominant ? once we get the puck into the zone, we control the game.”

The Skiers opened against Colorado Academy of Denver, the Academy’s first ever in the Colorado High School Hockey League. “To give you an idea, we outshot them 47 to 23 ? so we were pretty dominant, even though the score was pretty close,” the coach said.

Junior Lincoln Neiley notched the first goal of the day off an assist from Sean French, followed quickly by an Academy goal that tied the score at the end of the first period. French, a junior, then opened the second period with two goals before earning a hat trick in the third period with his final goal of the night. Senior Joey Carlson contributed with two goals, while senior goalie Jesse Amory made 21 saves.

Though it was a successful start to the Skier season, LeRose saw problems in Aspen’s multiple shots on goal.

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“I think we were a little bit nervous for the first home game. We were dominant in the offensive zone, but we weren’t picking corners ? we were shooting into the goalie,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of poise, even though we had a lot of [scoring] opportunities.”

Saturday’s follow-up was a blowout for Aspen. Senior forward Jamie Walbert kicked off scoring just two minutes into the first period with an unassisted goal ? a shot that seemed to open the floodgates for Aspen. French collected two goals, and another goal by senior Scotty Tarbet gave Aspen a 4-0 at the end of the first period.

Summit managed its only goal in the second period, but the score was followed by goals from seniors Carlson, Reid Hansen and Matt Young, as well as Neiley and sophomore Tyler Horn. French collected a third period goal to cement his second hat trick of the weekend.

Aspen outshot Summit 34 to 11, LeRose said, with the visiting team’s lagging defense allowing goals from eight different Skiers, including sophomore starters and first-time scorers.

“We had scores from young guys, scoring from defensemen ? it was a great team effort,” he said.

The Skiers now turn their attention to Battle Mountain, a team both Denver newspapers ranked on par with AHS. Aspen and Battle Mountain face off at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Eagle.

“We match up pretty well with them. They have a lot of really talented players,” LeRose said, rattling off a list of Battle Mountain players. “But so do we. And I think where we have the competitive edge is we have so much depth, that we’re seeing scoring from everywhere. It’s not like you can shut down one line and stop our scoring.”

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