Skiers’ four late goals top Summit
Summit County correspondent
BRECKENRIDGE ” After Wednesday night’s game against Aspen, Summit High School hockey coach Bryan Smith walked out of the locker room, strode silently past the waiting parents and reporter, and didn’t stop until he reached the center of the ice.
His expression reeked of frustration. Time and again this year Smith has said the key to his team’s success is its ability to play at the same high level all three periods. Wednesday, the Tigers won the second period but lost the other two. A woeful third stanza did the most damage, as SHS gave up four straight goals and fell to 2-6 with a 5-1 loss to the Skiers at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.
Apparently out of postgame options, Smith went to plan P. As in pain. He made every healthy player on his team (and the number is shrinking by the game, it seems) skate to exhaustion on the same ice they had just left in defeat. Parents watched from the stands.
“We played the second period and we won the second period,” Smith said. “Came out in the third period and absolutely brain-farted. It was awful. I’m very frustrated right now; the team’s frustrated. We had that game. We’re just as good of a team as Aspen.”
It didn’t look that way in the first period. Star Skier Collin Smith poked home a puck 5:35 into the game to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. It was the period’s only goal, but Aspen ended the first 15 minutes with a 10-2 advantage in shots.
Then something clicked for Summit. Billy Barto’s wristed power-play flip was redirected by freshman Alex Gutierrez 41 seconds into the second period, and suddenly the game was tied. Michael Henthorne’s subsequent blue-line slapper pinged off the post instead of giving SHS the lead, but the Tigers still outshot Aspen 10-4 in the period.
Alas, four straight third-period goals by the Skiers ended any hopes Summit had of pulling the upset.
Barto joined fellow senior leader Chase Underbrink on the bench by game’s end, both of them sidelined by shoulder separations.
Corey Hancock, a sophomore goalie who got his first start of the season because Smith wanted to “switch it up,” played well in defeat. He finished with 21 saves.
Perennial contender Aspen improved to 5-2 with the win.
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