Aspen High hockey opens with win
The Aspen Times
The Aspen High School hockey team took advantage of its opportunities Tuesday night in the season opener.
The Skiers, with a barrage of shots early, skated past visiting Steamboat Springs 4-1 at Lewis Ice Arena in the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC).
Playing before an enthusiastic crowd of students and fans, Aspen scored on its first power-play of the year when Zac Mencimer blasted home the opening goal with 7:08 to play in the 17-minute first period, assisted by Burke Daily and Trey Robinson.
The Sailors, in spite of a huge deficit in shots, tied the game a minute and a half later on their first shot — a goal by Andrew Mitchell.
The Skiers took the lead for good in a 4-on-4 situation when Harry Ferguson stuffed in a loose puck at the side of the Steamboat net with 2:44 to play in the opening period.
“They (Skiers) were moving the puck really well,” Aspen first-year head coach Dru Lucchesi said. “Their corner work was outstanding. They were finding lanes and space.”
He said he was pleased with the Skiers’ relentless attack early on.
“Nineteen shots in the first period is outstanding,” Lucchesi said after his first win behind the Skiers’ bench.
After the teams skated to a stalemate through the first 10 minutes of the second period, the Skiers faced their biggest challenge of the game. With two Aspen players in the penalty box, Steamboat enjoyed a 5-on-3 opportunity.
But Aspen’s Victor Dunn collected a loose puck at center ice and skated full speed toward the Steamboat net, releasing a wrist shot that found the back of the net.
With the Aspen fans roaring across Lewis Ice Arena, the Skiers seized a 3-1 lead with 7:34 to play in the second.
“Anytime you get a shorthanded goal like that, it’s another opportunity,” Lucchesi said. “It’s one of those things you don’t count on happening in a game. But when it does, it really pays off.”
The two-goal edge boosted the Skiers, who went on to close out more key penalty-kill situations.
“Obviously, a goal like that is a huge momentum changer,” Lucchesi said. “It got … our team fired up.”
Aspen added a fourth goal in the opening seconds of the third period.
Tyler Tick, on his first touch of the period, slipped the puck into the Steamboat net on the Skiers’ first rush. His goal came just 10 seconds into the period.
Aspen outshot the Sailors 28-12.
Senior Evan Morris was in goal for the Skiers in the season-opener.
Lucchesi credited execution in the penalty-kill as the Skiers started 1-0.
They will play at Battle Mountain in Vail on Friday.
Women’s Nordic combined will not be in the Olympics in 2026, preventing the Winter Games from reaching gender equality. The International Olympic Committee elected to not add the sport to the schedule on Friday.
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