Aspen Leafs start season with win streak

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
The ceremonial first puck drop for the inaugural home game for the Aspen Leafs last weekend at the Aspen Ice Garden. From left, there is Leafs captain Taylor Knight, Shaun Hathaway (Rocky Mountain Hockey League president and Aspen Junior Hockey director), Mike Gempeler (RMJHL commissioner) and Rampage captain Alexander Schubert.
Courtesy photo |

The Aspen Leafs U20 juniors are off to a fast start in the inaugural season of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.

The Aspen Leafs improved to 4-0 on the season with a sweep of their home openers last weekend against the visiting Colorado Rampage.

The Leafs scored four power-play goals on opening night at the Aspen Ice Garden en route to a 6-0 victory over the Rampage.

On Saturday, the Aspen Leafs completed the sweep with a 2-1 victory, including the deciding power-play goal late in regulation.

Forward Andrew Lee continued his four-game scoring streak with two goals Friday night and the power-play winner Saturday. Lee, from Portland, Oregon, is the leading scorer in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League with nine goals in four games.

Leafs goaltender Mike Crowell made his debut, stopping all 32 shots from the Rampage on Friday night. He stopped 26 more on Saturday.

“I’m happy with the results from this weekend, but it’s clear we have things to work on,” Aspen Leafs head coach Jay Miller said. “The biggest is playing a full 60 minutes. We’ll get back to work … and keep getting better.”

Shaun Hathaway, director of Aspen Junior Hockey and president of the RMJHL, said the league and the Aspen Leafs are off to a great start.

“We certainly have a lot of details to improve upon, but overall we are very pleased with the show that we provided our new fans last weekend,” Hathaway said. “Coach Miller has done a tremendous job putting together a very skilled team that should experience a lot of success.”

He said the organization is committed to showcasing their talent to the community in the most fan-friendly atmosphere possible.

The Aspen Leafs will travel this week with two games against the Colorado Thunderbirds in Denver.

The Aspen Leafs will be back home for three consecutive weekends of games at the Aspen Ice Garden, starting with a two-game set against the Grand Junction Glacier Yetis on Oct. 23-24.

In other games in the league last weekend, the Pikes Peak Miners improved to 4-0 with a 7-0, 3-0 sweep of the winless Colorado Thunderbirds.

The Breckenridge Bucks defeated the Glacier Yetis 10-2 and 8-7 in overtime. The Bucks are 2-2 on the season.