Fall Face-Off kicks off Aspen hockey season
The Aspen Times
The 20th annual Fall Face-Off, Aspen’s kickoff to the junior hockey season, will fill the local rinks with action again this weekend.
The extravaganza of youth hockey, the Fall Face-Off is sponsored by Aspen Junior Hockey.
“I thought the first two weeks of the tournament were phenomenal,” said Shaun Hathaway, the new director of Aspen Junior Hockey. “It’s been very well organized. Even with the number of teams, we’ve stayed on schedule.”
Hathaway said the first weekend of Fall Face-Off in Aspen featured 34 youth hockey teams playing at the Lewis Ice Arena and the Aspen Ice Garden.
Last weekend, 32 more teams played in the second weekend of Fall Face Off.
Beginning today, 17 more junior hockey teams will be in Aspen for the long weekend.
The Pee Wee AA division will be featured this weekend along with girls hockey teams, said Hathaway, a native of Colorado Springs and a longtime coach in the junior hockey ranks.
Hathaway, a lifelong hockey enthusiast, is the former hockey director for the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association. He also formerly coached at Miami Universitiy of Ohio. He also coached the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL and the Pikes Peak Miners, a Midget AA team.
“It’s been a great start,” Hathaway said.
He said Fall Face-Off tournament directors Tim Ware and Jackie Ayers have done a fantastic job with the 2013 events.
“We’ve had great support with tremendous organization,” Hathaway said. “We’ve had some long days. But this is a solid start.”
He said all three of the Aspen teams entered in last weekend’s tournaments finished in the top three in their respective divisions.
The Aspen Leafs Midget team finished third last weekend, defeating the Boulder Bison, 3-2, in the consolation game.
Aspen went 2-2 for the weekend with losses to the Summit Tigers and Columbine Rebels.
The Aspen wins included a 4-0 victory over Boulder in pool play.
Burke Daily and Henry Godfrey led the team in scoring with three points each.
With a small roster of 12 players, all but two players registered points. Charlie VanAllen and Ross Pingatore led with two goals each.
Goaltender Any Vernier made 47 saves on the weekend — a 2.5-goals against average (GAA).
In the Bantam A division, the Aspen Leafs again managed a third-place finish after going 3-1 on the weekend. The only loss came at the hands of tournament champion Arvada.
The Leafs defeated the Boulder Bison (7-2), the Colorado Springs Tigers (4-1) and the DU Pioneers (4-0).
Alec Cokely led the team in scoring with four goals and five assists.
Dominic Lanese added four goals and three assists.
Andrew Malcolm added three goals and one assist.
Anders Brucker had 78 saves (2.75 GAA) in goal.
In the nine-team Pee Wee A division, the Aspen Leafs nearly collected the top prize before finishing as the runner-up.
In pool play, the Leafs finished 3-1 with wins over Arvada (5-1), Arapahoe (4-2) and Boulder (7-0).
Colorado Springs eventually won the division with a 3-1 victory over the Aspen Leafs.
Logan Rech, Robert Fitzgerald, Jack Pevny and Max Bass led the team in scoring with five points each.
Rech and Fitzgerald each scored four goals.
Pevny netted three.
Bass and Connor Chesner scored two goals apiece.
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While the pandemic is not over, as rules remain in place to guard against the spread of COVID-19, Aspen Junior Hockey is already humming along at a pre-pandemic pace this fall.