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State hockey: Air Academy turns back Aspen’s upset bid

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The high school hockey season came to a sudden hockey stop for the Aspen Skiers on Friday night in Colorado Springs.

But not before the Skiers threatened to pull a first-round upset in the CHSAA State Hockey Championships.

In the end, the homestanding Air Academy Kadets scored two third-period goals to come from behind and eliminate the Skiers 4-3 in a back-and-forth playoff game at Sertich Ice Arena in Colorado Springs.

Air Academy initially took a 1-0 lead with a first-period goal.

The two high school teams traded goals early in the second period.

Then, the Skiers scored two lightning-quick goals in a 35-second span at the end of the second period to take a 3-2 lead into the final 17-minute period of the state high school playoff game.

But the Skiers also headed into the third period a man down after taking penalty at the end of the second.

Air Academy scored the tying goal early in the third period.

Then, with 6:45 to play, the Kadets scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the 4-3 thriller of a playoff game.

In other state first-round games Friday, Regis Jesuit shut out Heritage 8-0, and Resurrection Christian eliminated Colorado Springs Doherty 3-0.

Regis Jesuit (18-0-1) will take on Resurrection Christian (16-5-0) at 11 a.m. today.

Also Friday, Monarch defeated Cheyenne Mountain 7-4.

Cherry Creek also won Friday, defeating Lewis-Palmer 4-1.

The Aspen Skiers finished the prep hockey season 10-9-0 overall under first-year head coach Dru Lucchesi.

Air Academy High advances to the second round with a 16-4-0 overall record.

The Kadets beat the Skiers 1-0 in an early season game in December.

Air Academy next will play the winner of the Dakota Ridge-Denver East first-round game.

Prep basketball

In prep basketball at the Class 3A Western Slope District Tournament at Grand Junction Central on Friday, the Moffat County girls defeated Grand Valley 44-35 in one semifinal game.

Olathe (19-1) was scheduled to take on Coal Ridge (10-10) in the other girls semifinal late Friday night.

On the boys side, Roaring Fork defeated Grand Valley 63-45 in a Friday semifinal.

Roaring Fork (15-6) eliminated the Aspen boys in a Tuesday night opening-round game in Carbondale, coming from behind in the second half.

Moffat County’s boys (16-4) played the Coal Ridge boys (10-10) in the other semifinal in the boys bracket of the district tournament.

dstrode@aspentimes.com


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