Too little, too late for Aspen Hockey
It wasn’t for lack of effort, or pride, that the Aspen High hockey team came up one goal short in their playoff rematch with Machebeuf Friday in Superior.Said coach Mark LeRose of the 4-3 loss: “The guys played their hearts out. We were all over them. They just capitalized on their opportunities and we didn’t.”The 12th-seeded Skiers outshot the fifth-seeded Buffaloes in the first period, 8-4. But it didn’t carry over to the scoreboard, with Machebeuf netting its first two shots on goal, while Aspen came up short on all of its chances. LeRose made a switch in goal at the start of the second, replacing junior Kody Hornburg with sophomore Remy Pearlstone. Aspen also got its first goal in the period when junior forward Matt Cooper slotted a shot pas Machebeuf goalie Ryan Massa. Machebeuf only widened its lead, however, after Pearlstone gave up two goals of his own. LeRose thought the Buffaloes’ third goal wasn’t actually a goal, arguing that it went off a post, but the officials ruled otherwise. With a 4-1 deficit to overcome in the final 15 minutes of play, Aspen played its best hockey of the season, outshooting the Buffaloes, 15-3.Senior Wilie Melberg punched in Aspen’s second goal off an assist from junior Ryder Fyrwald. Aspen’s final goal was scored by junior Nicky Anastas off assists from Melberg and senior forward David Goldberg.”Tonight was the story of our season,” LeRose said. “We dug ourselves a hole, then we tried to get out of it. They ran out of gas, we ran out of time. You can’t control the events of competition. We were better than they were, and yet we lost. It’s very unfortunate. I felt badly for our seniors.”Along with Melberg and Golberg, seniors DJ Furth, Kevin Morrison, Sam Harder, Collin Smith and James True played their last game in an Aspen uniform. LeRose was disappointed for the talented class of seven that the season came to such an abrupt end.”They knew they had a chance to move onto the final four and compete,” he said. “That was the challenge all year with this team. We just couldn’t put the right pieces together at the right time and compete.”In the loss, Aspen finished its season 9-9-2. Machebeuf improved to 14-6 and will face Metro League foe Summit in the quarterfinals, after the 13th-seeded Tigers upset Air Academy.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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