Aspen offense explodes in 8-0 win over Pumas |

Aspen offense explodes in 8-0 win over Pumas

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The mistakes piled up in Friday’s tie with Doherty, Aspen hockey coach Al Butler said.

Saturday, there was little to criticize. The Skiers struck twice in the first period against undermanned visitor Peak to Peak, then scored five goals in a sev­en-minute span in the second to blow things wide open. Aspen cruised to an 8-0 victory, improving to 4-1-2 overall and 3-0 in 5A Foothills conference play heading into the holiday break.

Five Skier goals came on the power play, and six different players scored for Aspen, which outshot the Pumas, 30-6, in the first two periods. Peak to Peak had just eight skaters.

“All you can really count on in a game like that is trying to get everybody involved and have some bal­anced scoring,” Butler said. “Right now, we’re play­ing well. We still need some work … but we’re mov­ing the puck the way we should.”

That was on display often Saturday afternoon. Shortly after the Pumas were whistled for having too many players on the ice early in the first period, Aspen went on the attack. Defenseman Milo Stark fired a shot from the blue line that was redirected by Bo Writer in front of the net with 9 minutes, 51 sec­onds remaining.

Writer found the net once more on a power play six minutes later. When Cody Horn’s shot was deflected by Peak to Peak goaltender Con­nor Lantz, Writer alertly tracked down the rebound and scored.

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The Skiers fired 17 shots on net in the first 15 minutes; the Pumas had just three. The one-sided affair continued in the sec­ond period.

Lantz was caught out of position with 8:26 to play, and Charly Colver converted to stretch the Aspen lead to three. One minute later, Owen Thurston hit Daniel Kelso in stride with a perfect pass, and Kelso went low for the score.

Soon after, the Pumas switched goal­tenders. The change did little to slow the Skiers.

James Pardee turned and tapped home a shot on net from Stark with 4:40 to play. Two minutes later, Nicky Ufkes came away with the puck in a scrum in front of the net and scored the first of his two goals.

One minute later, Laker Mines extended the lead to seven when he unleashed a powerful blast from just inside the blue line. “We were able to do some things we cannot do in bigger games,” Butler said. “This time we got away with it.”

Ufkes tacked on one more score during the third, when a running clock was instituted because of the large goal differential. The win was the Skiers’ third in their last four games. Aspen has not lost since Dec. 4’s season opener against Battle Moun­tain.

Last season, the Skiers dropped their first five games, a slump that dropped the 2006 state champions into last place in the 13-team Foothills and nearly cost them a playoff berth.

“Of course, [this strong start] does take some pressure off of us,” said Butler, whose team next plays Jan. 8 on the road against Regis. “We still have room to improve to get to that next level that we need to be at.

“The break now comes at a good time for us. It gives us time to forget about this game, and get mentally prepared.”

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