No Love Lost on the Ice on Valentines Day
by Sarah Sweeney, RMJHL
Aspen, Pikes Peak secure first round byes after chippy Springs weekend series
The much-anticipated weekend matchup between the first-place Aspen Leafs and second-place Pikes Peak Miners lived up to the billing, with each squad walking away with a victory.
Friday night was a barnburner, as both teams threw everything they had at the net. Miners goalie Matty Taylor faced 42 shots on goal, while Leafs Matt Soldano saw 49 shots. It was Aspen that held the momentum for the majority of game, scoring first with an even strength goal by Boston Lindlahr just five minutes into the first. Miners Paul Norris answered right back with a goal just 14 seconds later. However, Leaf Andrew Lee lit the lamp a minute later, and Aspen held the lead for the remainder of the game, outscoring their rivals 5-2.
The Miners made amends Saturday night, skating to a 3-1 victory over the Leafs. Miner coach Nick Haber made a few adjustments to his lines for Saturday, and kept the vaunted Leafs lineup from its usual bucketload of goals—holding them to just one in the first, and as a result a split for the weekend. With the Miners’ victory, they prevented Aspen from taking a commanding lead in the standings. As it stands now, each team has six losses, with four coming from one another, and two at the hands of the third place Breckenridge Bucks. The Miners have played one less game than the Leafs, leaving them two points behind.
It was a Friday night feast for goals when the Colorado Thunderbirds traveled west to Grand Junction for their weekend series against the Glacier Yetis. The T-birds prevailed 9-6 win for the T-birds, with a handful of players from both sides lighting up the scoresheet. The big point getters for the night— T-birds Aidan Kirby 7, Levi Clemenson 6, Ben Joseph 4, and Dante Polomares with 3; Yetis Daniel Benilov 4, Carson Linnick 2, Jack Rousseau 2, and Andre Talarico 2.
Yetis goaltender,Ryan Kostelnik, made perhaps the most significant saves of his season in overtime against the surging Thunderbirds Saturday. The Yetis captured just their third win of the season in spectacular fashion. After a scoreless first, the Yetis pressured T-birds goalie, Austin Borchert, pelting him all night, and eventually finding some free space when Noah Ingwers snuck one past him in overtime to clinch the win.
The Breckenridge Bucks, who are practically locked in to third place in the league, cemented their home ice advantage with a 10-5 win over the Colorado Rampage Friday. Michael Klintworth and Anthony Flores of the Bucks both enjoyed a hat trick for the night.
For the final weekend of league play, the Glacier Yetis travel to Aspen to face the Leafs 7:00 pm Friday and 7:15 pm Saturday. The T-birds host the Bucks at 8:00 pm both Friday and Saturday at South Suburban Ice Arena. The final series is the Rampage v. Miners in Colorado Springs--8:00 pm Friday and 5:30 pm Saturday.