Aspen U-14s hang tough in Face-Off |

Aspen U-14s hang tough in Face-Off

Tim Mutrie

Colorado Springs cruised through three qualifying games unbeaten and unscored upon in the under-14 girls division of the 11th annual Aspen Fall Face-Off hockey tournament.And twice, the Colorado Springs Tigers beat the Aspen U-14s by a score of 3-0 (once in a tournament game, once in a game that counted in the state girls hockey league). But the Aspen U-14s came out a different team when they got their third crack at the Tigers for the championship Sunday afternoon at the Lewis Ice Arena.Aspens Katrina Buesch scored on a rebound with 12:08 left in the second period, tying the game at 1-1 and making for an intense game down the stretch. And while the Tigers managed to put the championship on ice with an Anna Gregorich goal with 5:13 remaining, Aspen hung tough and proved itself against a foe it is likely to see come playoff time.That was probably the most inspiring game weve played all year, said Aspen U-14s coach Hank Thurston.Our team has all the makings of a very, very strong team now and in the years to come the oldest player is 13 years old.Taylor Gross put the Tigers on the board first with 13:07 to play in the first 15-minute period. Gross stole the puck in the middle of the ice and finished off a breakaway with a deke on Aspen goalie Marisa Dreher.Both teams had 11 shots on goal, with several filling the rink with the distinctive thumping sound of puck striking goalie leg pad. While Aspens (just turned) 10-year-old goalie Dreher dazzled at one end, Colorado Springs Jordan Lee played like she couldnt be scored on in this town (and she was nearly right).Colorado Springs finished the tournament at 4-0 (5-0 including the win over the Aspen U-14s in a league game). The Tigers are 8-0 overall this season.The Aspen U-14s, the only Aspen team to advance to a Fall Face-Off championship game Sunday, finished the tourney at 2-2 (or 2-3 including the league loss to the Tigers).I think were going to see [Colorado Springs] again in the state playoffs, said Aspen coach Thurston. Theyre solid.In other Face-Off action, Aspens U-19 Girls beat the Colorado Selects 4-1 in the third-place consolation championship game on Sunday. The Aspen U-19s finished the tourney with a record of 2-1-1.The Aspen U-19s lost to Summit on Friday, tied New Mexico 4-4 on Saturday, then New Mexico went on to beat Summit 2-1 for the U-19 championship on Sunday.For Whitney Thurston and Elissa Walter who play with the U-14 and U-19 Aspen teams it meant skating in 10 games between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon.In the U-12 girls division, the Aspen U-12s went 1-4 during the tournament.Tim Mutries e-mail address is

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