Aspen High hockey returns to the ice in 2019 opener at Glenwood Springs
Two weeks later, Aspen High School hockey coach Dru Lucchesi hopes his team hasn’t lost the feeling of the last time it stepped on the ice. That would be in the Skiers’ Dec. 21 victory over Steamboat Springs, a 4-0 win at Lewis Ice Arena.
“That was definitely the most complete game we’ve played so far,” Lucchesi said. “Any time you can finish and go into a break with a win is always encouraging. It makes everyone feel a little bit better about their vacation. But everything kind of came together that game.”
It was a needed win for a team that had an up-and-down start to the season. Sitting with a record of 2-3-2 overall, Aspen will open 2019 with a conference game Friday, Jan. 4 at Glenwood Springs. That game starts at 7:45 p.m. at the Glenwood Community Center.
The Skiers also play Saturday at Steamboat Springs.
“It’s always tough coming back from break, but hopefully we can right that ship pretty quick this weekend,” Lucchesi said. “I love the conferences this year with having all the mountain teams together. It really hits these rivalries even more. It makes them all that much more important, besides just bragging rights.”
Friday’s game at Glenwood is special as it will be the first time the two teams have played in varsity hockey — this is the first season the Demons have had a varsity hockey team. They are 3-3-0 entering 2019, including a 3-2 win over Steamboat.
Friday’s game will also be the only true home game of the season for Glenwood Springs, as it plays all its other home games at the Eagle Ice Rink this season.
“I’m excited about it, if I’m able to stay warm,” Lucchesi said with a laugh, highlighting Glenwood’s outdoor ice rink. “What a great situation to play their only home game against us there this year. It will be a lot of fun.”
Aspen is in position to make a run this side of the holiday break. Most of the Skiers’ losses have come against the best teams in the state, including No. 1 Regis Jesuit, No. 8 Denver East and a Battle Mountain team that sits just outside the top 10. Those rankings reflect the Dec. 17 CHSAANow.com poll, which is the most recent.
Aspen opened the season with a draw against current No. 3 Valor Christian. Its other draw came against Doherty, which is unofficially No. 13 based off votes. Aspen’s other win came against unranked Summit.
“It’s definitely still very encouraging,” Lucchesi said of the early part of the season. “It gave us a great baseline for how we need to finish the season and what we need to correct. I’m very happy with it. The record doesn’t show it too much.”
After the two games this weekend, Aspen will host Glenwood Springs on Jan. 11 at Lewis Ice Arena and then host No. 5 Fort Collins the following day. The Skiers’ final home game will be Jan. 19 against Resurrection Christian, a game scheduled to be played at the Aspen Ice Garden.
Aspen’s final six games will be played on the road, concluding with a Feb. 16 game at Resurrection Christian.
The International Ski and Snowboard Federation announced that for the first time in 19 years, a ski jumping World Cup event will take place on American soil from Feb. 10-12.
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