Aspen Leafs host weekend hockey series
The Aspen Times
Drop that puck.
The Aspen Leafs will skate back into the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League season by hosting a weekend series against the Colorado Thunderbirds.
Games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Both games will be played at the Aspen Ice Garden in downtown Aspen.
In addition to regular admission, there also is a special VIP area with refreshments.
At the holiday break, the Aspen Leafs stand in second place in the six-team RMJHL, a 20-and-under Junior A league in Colorado.
The Leafs are 19-5-0 with a total of 38 points.
They trail only the Pikes Peak Miners of Colorado Springs, who are 20-2-0 with 40 points.
The Breckenridge Bucks are in third place with 32 points and a 16-7-0 record. The Bucks and Miners were scheduled to open a two-game series in Breckenridge on New Year’s Eve.
The Colorado Thunderbirds and the Colorado Rampage are tied for fourth with 14 points each in the RMJHL.
The Thunderbirds will enter tonight’s game in Aspen with a 7-17-0 overall record.
The Aspen Leafs also will be playing to protect their position with the league-leading Pikes Peak due in Aspen for series Jan. 8-9 — a series that likely will determine the league leader heading into the final two months of the season.
Those games also will be played downtown at the Aspen Ice Garden.
Andrew Lee of the Aspen Leafs, originally from Portland, is the leading scorer in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League as play resumes after the holiday break.
Lee has 28 goals and 29 assists for a league-best 57 points.
The second-leading scorer in the league is Aspen Leafs alum Ivan Bondarenko of Russia, who was called up to the North American Hockey League right before the break.
The Aspen Leafs also feature the No. 3 overall scorer in the RMJHL in Hayden Knight, who has 48 points. He’s totaled 18 goals and 30 assists for coach Jay Miller and the Leafs.
Knight is from Las Vegas. He’s also the current league leader in assists with his 30.
Christian Gums and Jake Eubank, both of the Pike Peak Miners, are fourth and fifth in scoring with 47 and 41 points, respectively.
Ben Joseph of the Colorado Thunderbirds, who will skate in Aspen this weekend, is No. 6 in the RMJHL in scoring.
Joseph has nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points.
In goaltending statistics, Erik Anderson of Pikes Peak tops the list with 10 victories (10-1-0).
Aspen’s Anders Brucker, a product of Aspen Junior Hockey, is tied with teammate Mike Cowell with eight wins each this year. Cowell is from Mansfield, Massachusetts.
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The Aspen Rec Center is beginning to reopen for indoor use after the coronavirus pandemic effectively put a bolt on the door in March. The ARC staff hopes to have the facility — or at least most of it — open to its members as soon as Oct. 5.