Aspen Leafs win inaugural championship in OT | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Leafs win inaugural championship in OT

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The Aspen Leafs, champions of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. From left, front row: Taylor Knight, Will Doremus, Viacheslave Goev, Garrett McNichol, Boston Lindlahr. Second row: Matt Soldano, Hayden Knight, Andrew Lee, Mike Cowell, Hunter Havice, Mike Tilly, Ander Brucker, Jaskson Wilson. BackrRow: Doug Lein, Hunter Perry, Justin Adams, Charlie Van Allen, Cal Erdmann, Cam Dufault, Spencer Sabourin, Bryce Dirscherl.

The Aspen Leafs celebrated the first championship of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League on the ice at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Aspen native Charlie Van Allen scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Leafs a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Pikes Peak Miners on Friday night.

The championship game of the RMJHL matched two teams with identical season records (35-6). The two had split the regular-season series 4-4.

The Aspen Leafs 20U team, after overcoming a five-goal deficit to beat Breckenridge 7-6 in overtime in the semifinals, scored first in the title game, just 40 seconds after the opening faceoff.

The Pikes Peak Miners answered with two goals late in the first period, outshooting the Leafs 17-7.

The Leafs regrouped during intermission scoring twice in the second period to take a 3-2 lead; goals by Viacheslav Goev and Boston Lindlahr.

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With less than seven minutes to play, Pikes Peak tied the game 3-3 to force overtime.

Both teams started fast in overtime, with shots at both ends.

After the Miners blasted their seventh shot of overtime, the Leafs had the answer. Their seventh shot of OT came from Van Allen on a feed from Hayden Knight. The puck crossed the goal line with 7:08 to play in overtime with Aspen winning 4-3.

Each team posted 45 shots in the marathon.

There was only one penalty — a 2-minute minor — in the RMJHL championship game that spanned 67 minutes.

Aspen goaltender Mike Cowell had 42 saves in the Aspen victory.

The Aspen Leafs are coached by Jay Miller.

The members of the Aspen Leafs include Taylor Knight, Will Doremus, Viacheslav Goev, Garrett McNichol, Boston Lindlahr, Matt Soldano, Hayden Knight, Andrew Lee, Mike Cowell, Hunter Havice, Mike Tilly, Anders Brucker, Jaskson Wilson, Doug Lein, Hunter Perry, Justin Adams, Charlie Van Allen, Cal Erdmann, Cam Dufault, Spencer Sabourin, and Bryce Dirscher.

Semifinal dramatics

In the semifinal game comeback, Viacheslav Goev opened the scoring for the Leafs.

But Aspen fell behind by five goals before Will Doremus scored early in the third period.

Twenty-three seconds later Mike Tilly scored for Aspen to further reduce the lead.

Goev added his second of the game and Hayden Knight scored to pull the Leafs with a goal.

With a pulled goaltender and 26 seconds left in regulation, Doremus completed the comeback with a game-tying shot into the Breckenridge net.

Taylor Knight scored the game-winner 2 minutes into OT for Aspen's victory, sending the Leafs into the championship game of the inaugural season of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.