Skiers skate to win in OT |

Skiers skate to win in OT

Jon MaletzAspen, CO Colorado

The Skiers nearly folded in Saturday’s game against Cheyenne Mountain. Then, the reigning state hockey champions stood tall. Aspen surrendered two goals in the final 2 minutes, 43 seconds of the third period – the latter the equalizer – but bounced back in overtime. Simon Dolginow scored a shorthanded goal 4:29 into the extra frame, and the Skiers left Colorado Springs with their third straight victory.”I thought we could’ve done things differently when we had the lead, but it was great to see how we reacted after they tied it and it went to overtime,” Aspen coach Al Butler said. “They didn’t fold the tent. They kept on coming. That says a lot about their character.”Two “lazy penalties” gave the Indians the opportunity they needed to climb back into the game, Butler said. Cheyenne capitalized with a score at the tail end of its 5-on-3 advantage with 2:43 to play. It pulled its goalie, then pulled even with 40 seconds remaining to extend the game.”The momentum turned in their direction … the guys were getting tired,” Butler said.Tired but determined. Aspen (3-1) killed a penalty early in overtime, then capitalized on a man-up advantage after an Indians misstep. The Skiers patiently passed the puck deep in Cheyenne’s zone, generating at least four scoring chances from point-blank range. Dolginow, who had a few of his shots turned away during the sequence, finally found the net. He faded off to the side as the Indians crashed the net to cut off passing lanes. An Aspen player sent a pass out from behind the net, the puck was crossed to an open Dolginow, and he connected on the game-winner.”It was back and forth, but in those last couple of minutes we were in their zone, we moved the puck around well,” Butler said. “Simon had two or three chances. Finally, the last time he got it, he was able to score.”Aspen didn’t look like it would need late-game heroics to pull out Saturday’s game. Daniel Doremus and Tyler Moore scored in the first to give Aspen a two-goal advantage, which it maintained for the second and much of the third period. While things changed in the final 2:43, the Skiers weren’t about to let an opportunity to pick up a third road win slip away. “This is a good win,” Butler said. “Any time you beat Cheyenne Mountain, you accomplish something.” The Skiers travel to Battle Mountain on Friday at 6:30 p.m. for a rematch against the Huskies, who handed Aspen its only loss in the season opener. Saturday, the Skiers host Peak to Peak at 6:45 p.m., in a makeup of a Dec. 7 game that was postponed because of inclement weather.Skiers girls fall in Grand ValleyGrand Valley’s fast-paced, full-court game proved too much for Aspen in a battle of girls basketball unbeatens on Friday. The Cardinals put on a show for their home crowd, outgunning the Skiers, 68-33.Led by 13-first quarter points from Kendall Babler and Lauren Schubert, Grand Valley jumped out to a 23-7 lead after eight minutes. A smothering man-to-man defense kept Aspen from developing any rhythm on offense.Aspen cut the Cardinal lead to 10 midway through the second quarter. Any hopes of comeback were short-lived, however, as Grand Valley reeled off eight of the game’s next 10 points to take a 38-21 halftime advantage.The Cardinals opened the second half with a 13-0 run to stretch their lead to 30 halfway through the frame. Easy shots fell with regularity for the hosts as they upped their edge to 55-23 by quarter’s end.Schubert finished with a game-high 20 points to pace the Cardinals, now 6-0 on the season. Kendall Babler added 15 points, Erin Vanderpool eight and Sherry Mlakar six.Julia Hassall scored 19 points for the Skiers, who dropped to 3-1.Two Skiers headed to all-state football gameSeniors Tucker Eason and Cory Parker, two major catalysts behind Aspen’s impressive run to the 2A state playoffs this fall, will represent the Skiers in the Colorado Coaches All-State games June 14 in Greeley.Parker and Eason join Gunnison’s Scott Redden as the only 2A Western Slope players on the state’s south team. “It’s great for a small town to get two kids on the team,” Aspen coach Mike Sirko said. “It’s exciting, and we’re all very proud.” Eason, whose 1,699 yards rushing were the second-highest total in all of 2A, averaged nearly seven yards per attempt and scored a team-best 20 touchdowns. When he wasn’t piling up yards, he was stifling opposing offenses. Eason led the Skiers with 105 tackles – 15 for a loss – and compiled four sacks. He made the all-state first team as a linebacker.”He’s right up there with the all-time great players I’ve ever coached,” Aspen defensive coordinator Ruben Burbach told The Aspen Times in November. “He could’ve played with us at Doherty (5A) and done well. He’s a good one, there’s no doubt.”Parker, a perennial all-state basketball selection, was an honorable mention all-state in his first year playing high school football. He racked up 30 tackles, three sacks and batted down six balls from his spot on the defensive line. He used his 6-foot-7 frame to his advantage on offense, too, leading the team with 20 catches for 250 yards. He scored five touchdowns. Glenwood Springs Post Independent sports writer Jeff Caspersen contributed to this report.

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