Aspen High hockey to open state playoffs |

Aspen High hockey to open state playoffs

Charlie Van Allen (13) and the Aspen Skiers will skate into the first-round of the state playoffs with a game against Air Academy in Colorado Springs.
Aubree Dallas / The Aspen Times |

The second season begins Friday for the Aspen High School hockey team.

The Skiers, under first-year head coach Dru Lucchesi, qualified for the CHSAA state hockey playoffs this season and will play a first-round game Friday afternoon in Colorado Springs.

“Right now, it’s a matter of playing like we are playing,” Lucchesi said as the Skiers readied for the 4:45 p.m. game against Air Academy High School at the Sertich Ice Arena in Colorado Springs. “We’re playing the best hockey we’ve played all year over these last two weeks. We need to keep that up.”

The Skiers closed the regular season with a 4-0 win over Battle Mountain and a 4-1 win over Summit, flexing their offensive muscles in Lucchesi’s system.

“Our defense has always been solid,” Lucchesi said. “Now, our offense is moving, they’re moving the puck and we’re scoring. They are understanding the system.”

He said the Skiers have been practicing with intensity and that has carried over onto the ice for games.

“We’ve changed a few things around (on offense). We moved some wingers to center. Some kids are stepping up, and we have three lines clicking,” the Aspen first-year head coach said.

The Skiers will take on a highly regarded Air Academy team that finished second in the Peak League with an 11-2-0 conference record, 15-4-0 overall. They finished behind only Mountain Vista (12-1-1 in league, 16-1-1 overall).

One of the Air Academy victories is a 1-0 win over the Skiers at the Lewis Ice Arena in Aspen early in the season — Dec. 13.

Air Academy is coming off a 6-2 loss to Colorado Springs Doherty on Feb. 19.

Lucchesi said senior goalie Evan Morris will anchor the Aspen defense against Air Academy and in a second-round game if the Skiers can knock off the Kadets.

“We’re going to ride him all the way through the playoffs,” Lucchesi said of Morris.

Captain Harry Ferguson will lead the Skiers along with state playoff veterans like Ryan Fitzgerald, Arthur Kelco, Burke Daily, Charlie Van Allen, Henry Godfrey, Connor Peirce, Trey Robinson, Victor Dunn and Zac Mencimer, among others.

Mencimer is a student at Glenwood Springs High School who plays on the Aspen team in CHSAA hockey.

Ryan Kiernan and Peter Harriman are the assistant coaches.

Sandra Peirce is the team manager.

The winner of the Aspen-Air Academy first-round game will play a second-round game Saturday in Colorado Springs against the winner of Denver East (11-7-0 overall, 7-4-0 in the Peak League) versus Dakota Ridge (16-3-0 overall, 11-3-0 in the Foothills League).

They are scheduled to play at 6:45 p.m. today at Sertich Ice Arena in Colorado Springs.

“We’re very blessed to be in the playoffs,” Lucchesi said. “Now, we’ve got to go out and play Aspen hockey.”

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