Battle Mt. ‘dominates’ AHS |

Battle Mt. ‘dominates’ AHS

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Battle Mountain Keith Denton (10) breaks away to chase a loose puck against Aspen at the Lewis Ice Arena Wednesday evening January 7, 2004. Denton scored three goals in their 8-1 defeat of Aspen. Aspen Times photo/ Paul Conrad.

Three goals in one 63-second span of the first period propelled Vail’s Battle Mountain to an emphatic 8-1 win over Aspen High last night at the Lewis Ice Arena in Aspen.

Aspen, winner of seven straight since losing at Battle Mountain Dec. 3 in their season opener, allowed four goals in the first period, including the back-to-back-to-back scores, three more in the second and one more for good measure in the third.

Afterward, Aspen coach Dennis Maruk kept his players behind locked doors for a good 30 minutes, then came out repeating to the word “commitment.”

“I think that team just dominated us,” Maruk said. “They’re strong, they’re a mature team, and we didn’t rise to the occasion.

“We did discuss commitment, both on and off the ice. How many guys were out skating over the long holiday break? How many were out snowboarding? I think our skating legs were still on the hill, maybe.”

Battle Mountain, 7-1, the only team to beat Aspen (7-2) this season, got a hat trick from senior forward Keith Denton. Junior Austin Chow had two goals, and senior Nathan Simon and freshman Casey Kleisinger both had a pair of assists.

Battle Mountain senior goalie Eric Hansen made 14 saves in recording the win. Aspen goalies Oliver Martineau, in the first, and JoJo Hernandez, in the second and third periods, saw a combined 27 shots.

“I think we caught a young team flat-footed tonight,” said Battle Mountain coach Jade Kersey. “Their last couple games have been against weaker opponents and that can carry over and impact your intensity, and I think that’s what happened.

“We were moving the puck well, making things happen,” Kersey continued. “But we will not take a win like this for granted ” we know a team like Aspen is going to be there in the end. I know they’ll rebound.”

Aspen sophomore defenseman Sam Harder scored Aspen’s only goal with 6:39 to play in the second period. The goal, a scorched slap shot from the point that scooted 5-hole on Hansen, cut the deficit to 5-1.

Not surprisingly, given the tenor of the game, Battle Mountain’s Denton scored his second goal of the night about a minute later, then his hat trick goal with 1:43 to play in the second.

“Things didn’t work for us,” coach Maruk said. “They came out and skated hard and the puck bounced their way.

“But when you’re playing against stronger teams, you’ve got to raise your play individually and as a team. We didn’t do that.”

This weekend, Aspen travels over the divide for two games on the Front Range. On Friday night, Aspen faces off with Regis in Denver, and on Saturday it’s Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs.

“We’ve got to get ready for this weekend,” Maruk said. “Hopefully, we can get our chemistry back.”