Hockey: Aspen Bantam A’s capture Fall Faceoff title |

Hockey: Aspen Bantam A’s capture Fall Faceoff title

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
The Aspen Leafs Bantam A Team poses with head coach Blake Hull after winning the 2015 Aspen Fall Faceoff title last weekend.
Courtesy photo |

Youth hockey skates to center ice again this week in Aspen.

The 22nd annual Aspen Fall Faceoff tournament, an extended early season showcase event, will continue Friday and Saturday at Aspen’s two ice rinks.

Due in this week are the Squirt teams, ages 10-11.

A total of 24 teams from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and California will be in Aspen for tournament games at the Lewis Ice Arena at the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC) and at the downtown Aspen Ice Garden.

Games will run all three days at the two rinks.

Last weekend, Aspen Junior Hockey, the sponsor of the annual Fall Faceoff, hosted 32 teams in Faceoff tournaments in Pee Wee B, Pee Wee A, Bantam B and Bantam A divisions.

The host Aspen Leafs Bantam A team won its division title with an unbeaten record and a 5-4 comeback victory over the Glenwood Springs Grizzlies in the tournament final.

According to Shaun Hathaway of Aspen Junior Hockey, the Aspen Bantam A team started slowly and fell behind 4-1 against the Grizzlies.

Henry Morrison scored two late goals for Aspen including the game-winner with 1:30 to play in regulation.

The Aspen defense and goaltender Gage Redmon (23 saves) held on for the 5-4 win against the late power-play attack of the rival Grizzlies.

The Aspen Leafs Bantam A’s cruised to the title game by beating Utah 7-1, Arapahoe 5-1 and Green Mountain Falls 4-1.

In four games, Max Ufkes led the team in scoring with 10 points. He had five goals and five assists.

Robbie Fitzgerald, who scored a third-period momentum-stealing goal for Aspen, finished with eight points (seven goals, one assist).

And Matthew Rigney totaled seven points (two goals, five assists) for Aspen.

“It’s impressive that this group went undefeated after only formally coming together as the 2015-16 Bantam A team last week,” Hathaway said. “Although we have a long season of work in front of us, this certainly sets a nice bar early for our players and program this season.”

The Aspen Leafs Pee Wee A team finished third in the tournament with a 4-1 win over the Foothills Flyers in the consolation game.

In four games Wilder Jacober and Brooks Bond led the team with nine points each.

In addition to Aspen Fall Faceoff youth hockey games coming up, there also will be Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League games in Aspen on Friday and Saturday. The league-leading Aspen Leafs Junior A team (U20), currently leading the RMJHL at 6-0, will host the Grand Junction Glacier Yetis at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Aspen Ice Garden in downtown Aspen. There is a $5 admission.

There also is a special Woody Creek Distillers VIP Room for the game for a $25 entry fee.

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