Preps from Jan. 5: Aspen High hockey skates by Battle Mountain; basketball falls
VAIL — That was some playoff payback for the Aspen High School hockey team.
The Skiers came into Vail’s Dobson Arena and thumped Battle Mountain, 8-2, on Friday to complete a season sweep of their Peak Conference rivals.
That the Huskies eliminated Aspen last year during the first round of the playoffs probably did not escape the Skiers’ notice.
Yet this is a very different year for Battle Mountain hockey (2-4 in the Peak and 3-6 overall). The Huskies, hit hard by graduation, will be learning as they go this season.
“It’s a real challenge because we’ve got a young team and a small team,” Huskies coach Dennis Hextall said. “Take Aspen, they’ve got 13 or 14 seniors. We got pushed around a bit. I look at this year as coaching and teaching. Hopefully, we get some size over the next couple of years. If we can keep the core together, you should have a real good hockey team.”
The Skiers skated to a 5-4 win against the Huskies back in December. Friday night’s contest wasn’t close.
Luke Grimaldi, from Zach Turner, got the Huskies off to a good start, but Aspen struck for the first of four times on the power play.
The Skiers’ Max Ufkes lit the lamp 12 minutes in. Dominic Lanese gave Aspen the lead going into the first intermission.
This is an unknown part of the Constitution that Lanese is required to score against the Huskies, be it hockey or lacrosse.
The Skiers put up a four-spot in the middle stanza, starting with Finnegan Allen on the power play and Liam Rigney with an even-strength goal.
Aspen capitalized on the Huskies’ Bronson Fiore’s five-minute major for charging with a score from Ty Yocum. Henry Ferguson completed the second-period onslaught.
“Some individuals will have a real good shift,” Hextall said. “They’ll play it smart, but they’ve got to do it consistently. You can’t stand around and watch the opposition get the puck before you move. It’s just part of it. I think our kids are trying and playing hard.”
Battle Mountain’s Joey Beveridge got the Huskies’ second goal during the third period.
Battle Mountain heads down to Magness Arena on Friday to face Denver East in nonconference action. The Skiers (4-2-1) next play Friday at Pine Creek.
ASPEN BASKETBALL LOSES TO MOFFAT COUNTY IN DENVER
The Aspen High School basketball teams began the 2018 slate on Friday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, part of a special promotion put on by the Denver Nuggets.
The AHS girls fell 61-25, although coach Greg Peterson thought it was the team’s “best game to date against a talented Moffat team. We continue to improve. We need to improve our defense and rebounding.”
The Aspen boys lost 59-37. Both AHS teams fell to 1-5 overall on the season. The Skiers next host Rangely on Tuesday.
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Bringing the game of golf to the community, and particularly making it accessible to young players, is a focus for Steve VanDyke as the director of golf at River Valley Ranch.