AHS hockey skates
Aspen Times Sportswriter
The Aspen High hockey team rebounded from a stunning loss last weekend with a 4-2 win over Palmer Friday at the Aspen Ice Garden.
With the win, Aspen, now 13-2, will enter the 12-team Colorado High School Hockey League State Playoffs as the No. 2 seed or better. In the playoffs, the top four seeds get byes in the first round, meaning Aspen will open its postseason in the round of eight, starting Feb. 22.
Aspen was scheduled to close its regular season at home on Saturday against Regis, but winter weather barred Regis from making the trek from Aurora on Saturday. The game will be rescheduled prior to the playoffs.
“It was a good effort from the guys,” said Aspen coach Mark LeRose of Friday’s game against Palmer. “I asked the guys to get up early, because we’ve had slow starts of late, and they responded.”
Aspen staked a 2-0 lead in the first period on a pair goals from junior Joey Carlson. Junior Reid Hansen and senior Elizabeth Severy assisted on the first goal, and Hansen and senior Travis Lizotte recorded assists on the second.
Severy, a defenseman and the only woman on the Aspen team, is among six other women in the league, LeRose said. “But most of them don’t play,” he said. “She’s a regular player with us.”
In the second period, junior Michael Reveal scored on a breakaway – “a really nice shot to the upper corner,” LeRose said – assisted by senior Warren Chitty.
Palmer scored its first goal late in the second period, and again in the early goings of the third, to cut the deficit to 3-2 before Reid Hansen scored an insurance goal for Aspen, unassisted, in the 4-2 victory.
Aspen outshot Palmer 36-8, with senior goalie Stuart Barwick stopping six shots.
“We outshot them 20-0 in the first period. They played very well,” LeRose said. “The interesting thing is that it was senior night and it was our juniors who were scoring: Reid, Joey and Michael. It’s good to see going into the playoffs that we’re getting some balanced scoring. Our seniors have been scoring of late, but the juniors really stepped it up.”
Prior to the Feb. 2 loss to the previously winless Mitchell, Aspen controlled its own destiny as the No. 1 team in the league standings. Now however, at 13-2, Aspen stands to be overtaken by Vail’s Battle Mountain, which has one loss and one tie with two games remaining. Nevertheless, LeRose said Aspen can finish no worse than second in the standings, regardless of the outcome of the makeup game against Regis.
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Peter Arnold’s playing career ended after high school, but his time on the ice continues a few decades later. A longtime USA Hockey official and new Aspen resident, Arnold is searching for the next generation of hockey referees among the youth ranks here in the Roaring Fork Valley.