Skiers torch Kent Denver | AspenTimes.com

Skiers torch Kent Denver

Nate Peterson

Aspen goalie Remy Pearlstone makes a save in the first period Friday against Kent Denver at Lewis Ice Arena. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Kent Denver hockey coach David Labbett labeled his team’s loss to Aspen Friday night as “two good periods and one really bad period.”Make that one really, really, really bad period. After taking a 2-1 lead into the third period, the visiting Sun Devils imploded in the final 15 minutes, allowing seven goals to the Skiers in an 8-2 rout.The Skiers outshot the Sun Devils 24-13 through the first two periods of play, but found themselves playing catch-up after a breakaway goal from Sun Devils forward Tim Sickler 12 minutes into the second period gave Kent its 2-1 lead.One quick goal from Aspen sophomore defenseman Simon Dolginow three minutes into the third period shifted the game’s momentum.

Aspen junior forward Ryder Fyrwald scored a power-play goal less than two minutes after Dolginow’s equalizer to put the Skiers up, 3-2. Skiers senior forward David Goldberg then scored just ten seconds later after Fyrwald fed him an assist in front of the net. With the Sun Devils backpedaling, Aspen took the game by the throat. Fyrwald got his second goal of the night with 9:14 remaining in regulation when senior teammate Nicky Anastas slid him a pass right in front of the opposing goal.Sophomore forward Gaelen scored an unassisted goal 10 seconds later off a rush following the face-off. The Skiers final two goals came from junior Andy Conarroe and Anastas.Amidst the Aspen offensive onslaught, Kent managed just three shots on goal in the final period compared to the Skiers’ 14.”With this team, we either score eight goals or we score one,” Aspen coach Mark LeRose said. “I told the team I’m happy they chose eight. … If you keep at them, eventually it’s like the Grand Canyon. You wear away and you wear away. We just kept coming and that led to the result.”

The win marked the third consecutive victory for Aspen over Kent Denver, dating back to the 2004 season. That year, the Sun Devils won the state title.The Skiers seem to have the Sun Devils’ number, Anastas said.”Like our coach says, good teams score in bunches,” the junior said. “We just got one and the other ones just kept coming. It was a battle. We couldn’t get our passes going in the first two periods, but we got the bad passes out of our system and starting scoring.”After a scoreless first period, senior forward Wylie Melberg gave Aspen the lead five minutes into the second with an unassisted goal on Kent Denver goalie Tate Morris. Morris replaced starter Taylor Fant after the first, but was then pulled midway through the third after giving up five goals. Fant gave up the final two.Kent Denver’s first goal came just a minute after Melberg’s. Sun Devils forward Tyler Morton caught Skiers defenseman Ryan Chaloupka out of position, and charged on goal for a clean shot on Skiers goalie Remy Pearlstone.

“They had some really quality shots,” LeRose said of Kent’s only two goals. “We were outplaying them and outchancing them in the first two periods, but they just beat Remy on quality shots.”Labbett didn’t make excuses for his team’s meltdown. The Sun Devils, who fell to 1-3 overall, have a lot to learn, he said.”There’s no excuse for lack of conditioning or fatigue or anything like that,” he said. “Bottom line is, when the whistle blows you need to be ready to go … From here, we play tomorrow night, and that’s the best thing that can happen.”The Skiers (3-2) host Wasson today at 3 p.m. Aspen’s first game after the two-week holiday break is January 10 against Steamboat Springs.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com

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