Steamboat Sailors edge Aspen Skiers in boys lacrosse season opener, 9-8
At this point, there aren’t any surprises when the Aspen High School boys lacrosse team tangos with Steamboat Springs. The ski town rivals usually put on a show, and both of last year’s contests were more than memorable.
So, when the teams opened the season against each other on Saturday on the AHS turf, more of the same was expected.
“Every time we play Aspen it’s always a good game,” SSHS coach Jay Lattimore said. “Last year we lost on one of the last-second shots of the game and then we got them in the playoffs. But it was good to come back here and take care of business.”
The Sailors used a big fourth-quarter rally to come from behind and beat Aspen 9-8 on Saturday. That feeling was all too familiar for the Skiers, whose last game of 2017 was a 5-3 playoff loss to Steamboat in Aspen. The Sailors lost a round later in the Class 4A quarterfinals to eventual state champion Valor Christian.
“It always hurts losing to Steamboat,” Aspen coach David Miller said. “But I’ll play a one-goal game any day of the week, especially with these guys. They are a good team and coached really well. Everybody had to play with the conditions.”
The teams played to a 3-3 halftime score on Saturday. Back and forth the teams went, with AHS taking a 4-3 lead before back-to-back goals from the Sailors made it 5-4 in favor of the visitors from up north.
Then, Aspen ended the third quarter with three straights goals, one each from R.J. Peshek, Robbie Fitzgerald and Tyler Ward, to take a 7-5 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“We know it was going to be up and down. It’s always up and down when we play Aspen,” Lattimore said. “Our motto this year is just win every quarter. We went into that quarter just thinking it was 0-0 and the guys made sure we scored more goals.”
The Sailors answered with three of their own goals to open the final quarter to take an 8-7 lead with about seven minutes to play. Then, with a touch under 90 seconds to go, Aspen’s Trey Fabrocini scored the equalizer and overtime looked possible.
Before that happened, Steamboat’s Tallak Mhyre took control, outsprinting the AHS defense to score the game-winner with about 38 seconds to play. Aspen had possession late, but a bad pass with 20 seconds remaining essentially iced the game.
“We beat ourselves. It’s what we did last year playing these guys the last game of the season,” Miller said. “We beat ourselves then, we beat ourselves today. We just got to clean it up and things are looking good.”
Aspen (0-1) and Steamboat (1-0) both enter the 2018 season with high expectations. The Sailors are preseason No. 7 in Class 4A and brought back a lot of talent from a season ago, highlighted by leading scorer Davis Peterson.
The Skiers are preseason No. 9 in 4A and also return the majority of their team from last spring, when they went 11-5 overall in Miller’s first season as head coach.
“Lots of names back,” Miller said. “We got an exceptional senior core. Our leadership this year is going to be off the charts.”
Steamboat next is scheduled to play Wednesday against No. 4 Thompson Valley (1-0) in its home opener. The Skiers are off until hosting Montrose at 4 p.m. on Friday.
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