Aspen cruises to win over Columbine |

Aspen cruises to win over Columbine

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad The Aspen Times
Paul Conrad | The Aspen Times

ASPEN After 47 minutes of drama Friday night, the Skiers breathed easy Saturday.Aspen scored twice in the first seven minutes, Daniel Doremus completed a hat trick in the second period – another goal was called off because of a crease violation – and the Skiers cruised to the 5-2 victory over Columbine in their regular-season hockey finale. With the victory, Aspen locked up fourth place in the 5A Foothills conference. The top eight teams from both the Foothills and Pikes Peak leagues will advance to the state tournament, which begins Friday. Brackets will be released Sunday.

The Skiers (13-6 overall, 8-3 conference) enters postseason play having won their final seven games. Last year, they rode a nine-game winning streak at season’s end to a first-ever state championship.”Last night was pretty bad. We were coming off a win against Ralston Valley, and we didn’t quite have our legs and were playing too much as individuals,” Aspen coach Al Butler said. “Our game plan [tonight] was to come out and get on top early and not give them too much confidence.” Friday, Aspen needed a last-minute goal to force overtime with Standley Lake before pulling out a dramatic win in the extra frame. Saturday, the Skiers jumped in front 3 minutes, 30 seconds into the first when Doremus passed to a streaking Tyler Moore for the score. Less than three minutes later, Doremus, in what would become a common sight, was in the middle of the play once more, passing to wide open teammate Simon Dolginow on the far post for the tap in.Doremus found the net on his own in the second period. After skating up the right side one minute in, the sophomore stopped, turned and fired a shot that deflected off a Rebels defender and past goalie Jordan Garkow. Four minutes later, Moore pushed the puck deep into the Columbine zone; as he faded toward the net, he turned and passed back to Doremus, who beat Garkow once more. Doremus completed the hat trick when he converted off passes from Moore and Murphy Fyrwald with 2:30 to play, giving Aspen a commanding five-goal advantage.

Aspen scored five times on just 13 shots in the first 30 minutes.”That doesn’t happen too often,” Butler joked. The big lead gave Butler a chance to rest many of his players after a stretch in which the Skiers played three games in four days. Columbine took advantage against Aspen’s reserves.Rebels forward Rollin Schuler finished a wrap-around score with a backhanded wrister, flicking the puck past Skiers goalie Remy Pearlstone. Trent Edwards cut the lead to three with 32 seconds to play in the game off an assist from teammate Joe Frechette.The late surge would not be enough to avoid an 11th straight loss and a winless conference record, however.

And while Columbine was the last to score, it was Aspen who left the lasting impression. The Skiers, who finished 8-3 at Lewis Ice Arena this season, lined up on the ice after the final buzzer and bowed to the crowd. Both players, coaches and fans are hoping for a similar sight two weeks from now in Colorado Springs.”We’re starting to come together at the right time,” said Butler, who predicts his team will be a seven or eight seed. “We’re playing well and, going in, we’re confident. If we play like we did against Ralston, we can compete against anybody.”

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