Hockey: Aspen scares No. 1-ranked Monarch
The Aspen Times
The clock struck midnight at 5:48 p.m. for the Cinderella Aspen High School hockey team.
No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Monarch High School, locked in a tense contest with the Skiers, scored the go-ahead/game-winning goal with 6:06 to play in the third period — at precisely 5:48 p.m. Aspen time Saturday.
The power-play goal from senior Drew Wagner gave the Coyotes a 3-2 lead in a game in which they dominated in shots on goal but barely managed to extend their perfect season.
Junior Brendan Van Haute added a final Monarch goal with 1:36 to play, and the Coyotes escaped the Lewis Ice Arena in Aspen with a hard-fought 4-2 victory,
Monarch had to overcome the standing-ovation performance from Aspen goalie Andy Vernier, who turned back a staggering 58 shots from the Coyotes.
Aspen managed 11 shots, but still was in position to pull off an upset with the game tied 2-2 in the third period.
The unlikely scenario opened with Monarch blasting 23 shots in the first period with no goals.
Aspen broke the scoreless tie with a power-play goal from senior Burke Daily, assisted by Zac Mencimer, with 11:53 to play in the second period.
By the end of the second period, the Skiers led 1-0 in spite of 37 shots from Monarch, a co-op team that features players from 11 different high schools in the Louisville/Boulder area.
The top-ranked Coyotes pulled even at 1-1 early in the third period on Van Haute’s first goal of the game — a rebound — assisted by Jake Young and Adam Tybor.
Barely two minutes later, Monarch went ahead 2-1 on an even-strength goal from Brodie Wiener, assisted by Franny Churches and Mahito Henderson.
But the Cinderella Skiers still dreamed of dancing at the victory ball. And senior Vic Dunn tied the game for Aspen with a power-play goal at the 11:30 mark of the third period, assisted by Dominic Lanese.
The building Aspen crowd roared its approval as the 2-2 game counted down.
After killing a penalty of their own. the Coyotes drew a penalty seconds later with 6 minutes to play in the game.
Monarch scored on the first power-play possession when Wagner slotted home the go-ahead goal at 3-2.
Van Haute’s second goal of the game closed the deal, and Monarch improved to 15-0-0 overall, 12-0-0 in the Foothills League.
Aspen moved to 8-8-0 overall, 7-8-0 in the Foothills League, earning a hearty ovation from the fans.
Van Haute finished with two goals and an assist for the Coyotes.
The Skiers are scheduled to play at Summit on Thursday and at Battle Mountain on Friday to close the regular season. They’re fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot.
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