Aspen boys lacrosse finally gets home game, beats Grand Junction in overtime |

Aspen boys lacrosse finally gets home game, beats Grand Junction in overtime

Aspen High School boys lacrosse player Judd Gurtman, right, controls the ball as the team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, on the AHS turf. The Skiers won, 7-6, in overtime.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School boys lacrosse team was able to log its first home game of the season on Tuesday, a 7-6 overtime victory over visiting Grand Junction on the AHS turf. The Skiers had their first two home games postponed, leading to their home debut being unusually late into the spring campaign.

Judd Gurtman came up big for Aspen, scoring both the game-tying and game-winning goals to give AHS its third win in as many games. The Skiers also beat Grand Junction in their season opener on March 10, winning 10-6.

Aspen struggled through the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, finishing only 2-8 overall last spring with both wins coming over Summit. This came after a solid 10-6 season in 2019 (the 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic) and the team’s run to the Class 4A semifinals in 2018.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” said AHS coach Tommy Cox, who took over the program ahead of the 2019 season. “Coming off the season we did last year and to make the improvements that we’ve made, it’s something special. The boys put in the work through the summer and through the fall. We had 20-plus guys here in preseason ball, which is new for Aspen lacrosse. We’ve been focused on trying to change the culture and to a degree it’s paid off on the field.”

The Skiers trailed 6-5 late — really late, in fact — against Grand Junction on Tuesday before Gurtman scored with only 4.2 seconds left in regulation to tie it. Gurtman’s game-winning goal came with just inside of 30 seconds to go in the second of the two four-minute overtime periods.

The Tigers dropped to 6-3 overall with their second loss of the season to the Skiers.

Aspen was 2-3 overall after an overtime loss at Eagle Valley on April 6, but since then has beaten Summit (17-6), Battle Mountain (5-3) and now Grand Junction, all in a row, to reach 5-3 on the season.

The Skiers, ranked No. 10 in this week’s poll, aren’t scheduled to play again until hosting Battle Mountain on Monday, part of a now backloaded slate of home games.

The season goes through the first week of May, after which AHS hopes to carry on into the playoffs.

“We never assume anything. I want to keep pushing forward,” Cox said of the team’s postseason chances. “Should the cards be dealt in our favor, we are going to take advantage of it.”

The Aspen girls lacrosse team (5-2 overall) plays Thursday at Roaring Fork and Saturday at Evergreen. AHS is ranked No. 7 in Class 4A this week, while Evergreen is No. 6.

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