3 Aspen girls teams win state hockey titles
Aspen Junior Hockey defied the odds.
Last weekend, Aspen Junior Hockey won three state championships in the Mountain States Girls Hockey League playoffs.
The Aspen girls captured state titles at the U12, U14 and U19 “A” divisions, the only three offered this season by the MSGHL.
The Aspen Leafs girls teams teams finished the tournament with a combined 13-1-1 record, leaving no doubt about the teams that are being developed in Aspen.
“The unprecedented sweep at the MSGHL playoffs raises the bar for girls in the Roaring Fork Valley and strengthens our resolve to provide a nationally recognized girls hockey program,” said Aspen Junior Hockey Director Shaun Hathaway. “The success will only hlep to improve the future of girls hockey.”
For the U12 team, the win marked their third consecutive state championship in the Mountain States Girls Hockeky League.
Their dominance was evident from the start and punctuated in the finals with a big 7-1 victory over league-rival Vail.
In five games, Aspen beat their opponents by a staggering combined score of 35-2.
“These girls played with heart, drive, and passion,” coach Missy Schlaff said. “They truly rose to the occasion and then some.”
With challenging out-of-state trips this season that included a tournament win in San Jose, the Leafs were prepared.
“Many of our girls played against elite teams in Minnesota and California earlier this season and learned to compete at a higher level. They brought that experience into the state tournament and dominated the field,” coach Coley Cassidy said. “We couldn’t be more proud of the way they played,”
In the second state title game of the weekend, the Aspen Leafs U14 girls team defeated the New Mexico Mustangs 2-1 to earn Aspen’s second championship.
They started the weekend with an emotional 4-1 victory over top-seed Steamboat Springs. The Aspen team secured its spot in the title game with wins over New Mexico (2-1) and Gunnison (4-2).
In a rematch against New Mexico in the finals, it took an overtime goal by forward Juna Rettig for Aspen to celebrate the victory.
“We have a special group of talented athletes that play together as a team, and it shows in the results,” coach Keith Howie said.
In the last Mountain States Girls Hockey League championship game, the Aspen U19 team made history with a 2-1 win over New Mexico, giving Aspen Junior Hockey the clean sweep.
In his final game behind the bench, legendary Aspen coach Doug Coombe soaked in the special victory as his 19-under squad tossed their gloves high into the air at the final buzzer.
One of the founders of Aspen girls hockey, Coombe has coached many of the same players for nearly a decade.
“It’s been such a pleasure to coach this group of girls, and rewarding beyond words to witness them climb the ladder and improve each year.”
The U19 girls went undefeated over the weekend with wins over Steamboat Springs (4-0), Summit (5-2) and Gunnison (1-0).
Caroline Godfrey led the tournament in scoring with 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists); Jennifer Coombe was second with 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists).
After the Aspen sweep, the Leafs now boast state championships at all levels.
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