Battle Mt. ‘dominates’ AHS
Aspen Times Staff Writer
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.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
There might be part of Hailey Swirbul that is finally beginning to believe she belongs. The 22-year-old cross-country skier is coming off quite a stretch with the U.S. ski team, one that includes her first career World Cup podium and a successful go in the notorious Tour de Ski stage race.