Skiers storm back, down Gators | AspenTimes.com
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Skiers storm back, down Gators

Nate PetersonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN Nicky Ufkes didn’t even see the puck go in. He didn’t need to.Moments after flicking a rebound back toward the Standley Lake goal less than two minutes into an improbable overtime period Friday night, the Aspen freshman found himself at the bottom of a pile of whooping teammates.

“Everyone was yelling,” said Ufkes. “I knew it was good.”Good enough for a 2-1 win on a night where it seemed like nothing could go right for the defending state champions.Fourth-ranked Aspen missed two wide open shots in the opening period, racked up 24 minutes of penalties and looked to be on its way to its first loss in seven games before a last-gasp goal from sophomore captain Daniel Doremus with one minute to go sent the game into overtime.Doremus’ put-back goal came with Aspen on a 5-on-3 advantage following two late Standley Lake penalties. For the previous 44 minutes, Aspen had been unable to solve Gators’ goalie Michael Barber, who stopped 30 shots.With a pack of Skiers in front of him, however, Barber never saw Doremus’ blast off a rebound after shots from Simon Dolginow and Ricky Frias.

In a game marred by 64 minutes of penalties, Standley Lake coach Scott Reynolds was not at all pleased with the last two called on his team.A roughing call on the Gators’ Donovan McClean with 3 minutes to go was followed by a tripping penalty on Cody Small that led to the Skiers’ 5-on-3 advantage. “I can’t talk about the reasons for [the advantage], because we’re restricted to talk about that stuff, but I would just say things didn’t go our way at the end of the game,” Reynolds said. “We got down a man or two, gave them an advantage, and they put it in.”When asked directly if he thought the referees called Friday’s game fairly, Reynolds replied with a stern “no comment.”Ufkes, quickly becoming a clutch player for the surging Skiers, said the win was one to savor. He also said it was one where the Skiers learned – yet again – that if they don’t play up to their potential, they’re capable of getting upset.

“They did a good job of taking us off our game,” he said. “They got under our skin for a bit, but we were able to pull it out in the end and regroup as a team and get the job done. I think it was just hard work there at the end. We had two minutes where we just showed a lot of heart and a lot of character.”The Skiers (12-6, 7-3 5A Foothills conference) certainly look to be gelling at the right time. Aspen finishes its regular season at 6 p.m. tonight against Columbine with a chance to reel off eight straight wins before heading into the playoffs.”We’ve just got to keep the tempo up throughout every game,” Ufkes said. “You just can’t let up. Coming off a win like Ralston Valley on Wednesday, you’ve just got to take that momentum and bring it into the next game. … It would have been tough to lose, but this is good. It just shows you that we can do anything we set our minds to.”npeterson@aspentimes.com.


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