Glenwood Springs hockey comes apart in third period, falls vs Aspen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — For two periods, the Glenwood Springs High School hockey team played strong and disciplined, leading to a 2-1 lead after 34 minutes of play. That discipline disappeared in the third period as Glenwood took five penalties in the final 17 minutes of action, allowing rival Aspen to roar back for a 3-2 win Friday night at the Glenwood Ice Rink.
It served as the first official home game for the Demons, who are playing their first season as a Colorado High School Activities Association sanctioned varsity program.
The Demons, who play their “home” games at the Eagle Ice Rink this season, played at home in front of a packed house on Friday night and looked like the better team through two periods as Glenwood had active sticks defensively, taking away any semblance of offense for Skiers, and buried scoring chances offensively in the first game action coming out of the holiday break.
“We came out hard, and we were ready for everything that was going to happen in this matchup,” said Devlin Powell, Glenwood’s co-captain. “Coming out of the break was good for us because we were able to focus a bit more outside of school and get some things done in practice that we needed to.”
Glenwood raced out to a 1-0 lead just 2 minutes, 50 seconds into the rivalry matchup as sophomore Colter Strautman scored from behind the Aspen net, banking in a shot off Aspen goaltender Logan Soderberg’s back, staking the Demons to a pivotal 1-0 lead.
Controlling the first period with possession in Aspen’s end of the ice, the Demons nearly made it 2-0 on a shot from junior Ryan Kotz, but Soderberg came up big, leading to a Skiers chance at the other end. Glenwood goaltender Hunter Hadsock, a junior, played his part defensively, making a big glove save on Aspen’s Connor Chesner, keeping the Demons on top.
Late in the period, the Demons turned the puck over deep in their own end, leading to a goal from Aspen’s Dominic Lanese in front of Hadsock. The senior flipped a backhand shot over the sprawling Hadsock, finishing off a feed from Brady Hornburg and Jack Pevny, tying the game at 1-1 heading into the intermission.
Despite outplaying the Skiers in the first period, the Demons found themselves locked in a 1-1 tie after one, but Kotz was having none of it for the Demons. The speedy junior center pounced on an errant pass just under five minutes into the second period at the Aspen blue line and raced in all alone on Soderberg, deking the Aspen netminder with a forehand-backhand-forehand move, scoring easily to give the Demons a 2-1 lead at the 4:50 mark of the second period.
“We’ve been working on our defensive play without the puck, having active sticks,” said Tim Cota, Glenwood’s coach. “Pony (Kotz) had a great night doing that. He had his feet moving all night. He had an active stick and broke up quite a few passes, and one of them led to his goal. He had a number of chances doing that, and he had a really nice night.”
Following Kotz’s go-ahead goal, the Demons buckled down defensively, holding the Skiers at bay to take a 2-1 lead into the final period of play.
Prior to the end of the second period, Strautman took a roughing penalty after the whistle, putting the Demons on the penalty kill for the eighth time on the night. To that point, the Demons were perfect on the penalty kill. But Glenwood played with fire in that area of the game throughout the night, and in the third period the Skiers burned them.
“If we can have that fire on the penalty kill and the effort level moving forward, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games,” Cota said.
Down a man to start the third period, Glenwood successfully killed off Strautman’s penalty, but junior Kelton McPherson took a slashing penalty midway through the period which led to a game misconduct and another Aspen powerplay. This time, Aspen cracked the code with the man advantage as Pevny tipped home a shot from Robert Fitzgerald in front of Hadsock, knotting the game up at 2-2.
A little over four minutes after Pevny tied the game for Aspen, Lanese gave the Skiers a 3-2 lead with his second goal of the night. The senior captain skated in one-on-one with a Glenwood defenseman and fired a shot from between the circles low past Hadsock’s glove into the back of the net, putting the Skiers in front.
“We just lost our composure,” Cota said. “Once they got that tying goal, we could have buckled down a bit better defensively. We let things get out of control on us just a bit. Against a good hockey team like Aspen, if you lose one or two shifts, they’re going to take advantage. They did. Dom came down and took advantage. We gave him some time and space; good hockey players do that.
“We could have been much better with out composure. We went to that well (penalties) too often and it hurt us.”
Trailing by a goal late, the Demons drew a goaltender interference call on Aspen with 1:23 left in the game, but 20 seconds later junior Max Mencimer was called for cross checking and then disqualified from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct, putting the Demons back even with Aspen at 4-on-4. Glenwood pulled Hadsock late for the extra attacker, but the Demons never really got a good shot on goal, allowing the Skiers to hang on for the come-from-behind win.
Glenwood falls to 3-4 on the season. The Demons will take on Chaparral Saturday at the Eagle Ice Rink at 5 p.m.
“We just have to brush this one off tonight,” said Jacob Fowler, Glenwood’s sophomore co-captain. “This was a great game for us; it was super intense and super fun. But we just have to clean up mistakes on our end and tighten things up. Penalties were big for us tonight. We have to get rid of that.”
Aspen, now 3-3-2, will play Saturday at Steamboat Springs.
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