AHS hockey beats Summit, advances | AspenTimes.com

AHS hockey beats Summit, advances

Steve Benson
Aspen goaltender JoJo Hernandez is about to make a save with his chest during a state playoff game against Summit Friday at the Lewis Ice Arena. Aspen defeated Summit 5-1. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

Summit’s goalie, Seth Wickham, played two periods of brilliant hockey but the Skiers were overwhelming in a 5-1 victory in the opening round of the high school state hockey championships in Aspen Friday night. Wickham, a sophomore, stopped the first 18 shots he faced, providing some early hope for the underdog Tigers, seeded 14th in the 16-team tournament. The Tigers played defensive hockey from the start, giving Wickham, who would eventually have 29 saves, plenty of help in front of the net. “It worked for awhile,” said Aspen head coach Bryan Ganz. “But we kept chipping away at them.”

After a scoreless first period, Summit’s Grant McGahey gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with 11:46 remaining in the second period. The shot was only the third Aspen goalie JoJo Hernandez had faced all game. The Skiers would eventually outshoot Summit 34-11. Aspen, seeded third and hosting the opening round of the state playoffs for the first time in school history, didn’t stay behind for long. Less than 30 seconds after McGahey gave the Tigers the lead, Aspen’s Tyler Doremus, a junior, rocketed a wrist shot above Wickham’s left shoulder to tie the score at 1-1. Aspen’s Jordan Friedland, a senior, would add another with 2:37 left in the second period. Friedland’s goal was a one-man show – the offensive leader split and outskated two Summit defensemen before tangling up Wickham with an unbelievable move to put the Skiers up 2-1.

Summit continued to focus on defense in the third period, which kept the Skiers off the scoreboard for about 10 minutes. But Aspen would eventually wear down the Tigers. After freshman Tyler Moore scored with just under five minutes remaining in the third period to give the Skiers a 3-1 lead, the flood gates opened. Senior Tad Norris scored a power-play goal at the 3:14 mark, and Ryder Fyrwald, a sophomore, added another goal with 52 seconds remaining in the game. Ganz said he knew Aspen would eventually wear down Summit, and he told his players to stick to the game plan.

“I told them, ‘If we get a few goals, they’ll fall apart,'” Ganz said. “We got a few goals and that’s what happened.” Steamboat, seeded 11th, faced Bishop Machebeuf, seeded sixth, following the Aspen game at the ARC’s Lewis Ice Arena Friday night. Aspen faces the winner of that match-up at the ARC today at 1 p.m. The winner of that game advances to the state semifinals, held at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Feb. 25. The championship game is Feb. 26, also at the World Arena. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com

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