Skiers outshoot Pilots, but settle for 1-1 tie
Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN For a second straight game, the Aspen hockey team outshot its opponent by a considerable margin. And for a second straight game, the Skiers had little to show for it on the scoreboard.Aspen (4-2-1) fired 30 shots on goal to Steamboat’s 19 Saturday, but managed to score just one goal. It walked away with a 1-1 tie. Tuesday, the Skiers outshot Battle Mountain, 31-13, in their home ice debut, but suffered a 4-2 defeat.Skiers coach Al Butler, who watched his team take a one-goal lead deep into the third period, said he had a feeling his team’s missed opportunities would hurt Aspen.”We were hoping [the lead would hold], but in those types of games you have a feeling something’s not going to go right when you dominate and score just once,” he said. “Of those 30 shots, 20 were point blank, from the bottom of the circles to the net.”Aspen, which lost to Steamboat on Dec. 2, struck first Saturday on a goal from sophomore Tommy Mines 1 minute, 22 seconds into the second period. Senior Andy Conarroe gained control of the puck in the neutral zone then looked up ice. Mines, who trailed Conarroe as he dribbled the puck into the Pilots’ end, jumped into the play. Conarroe passed back to Mines, who attacked the net, moved the puck from his backhand to forehand and slipped a shot over the goalie’s glove. The goal was defenseman Mines’ second of the season.Aspen made the score stand up for the next 27-plus minutes. It was able to kill the first 13 Steamboat Springs power play opportunities. The Pilots’ 14th try, however, was a success.Following a holding call with less than four minutes to play in the third, the Pilots took full advantage of their man up advantage. The Skiers were caught out of position, the puck bounced to an open Steamboat Springs player and he took it to the net and scored.”From the first period on, it seemed like we were killing penalties constantly,” Butler said. “We were getting a bit tired, and the puck bounced a funny way. We should’ve won long before then.”Aspen’s inability to capitalize on more of its chances doesn’t concern Butler, he said. The Skiers, who don’t play again until Jan. 5, will use the break to tweak their offensive strategy. They will focus on creating shot attempts from different angles and from farther away from the net.”We seem to have a hard time when we’re right there with the goalie,” Butler said. “We need to get the goalie to move more from one side to the other. The true test will be to see how the kids play when we come back.”
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In some ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Beaver Creek and Birds of Prey hosted the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships. It feels like it’s been five years since March and the outbreak of COVID-19.