The good part was the Aspen High School hockey team won its first game Saturday. The bad part was it took a lot of goals to get it done.
Hosting Crested Butte for the second time in less than 24 hours, the Skiers won 5-4 at Lewis Ice Arena to get victory No. 1 on the season. Friday night, AHS lost 5-3 to the Titans, resulting in a split of the two-game homestand.
“They found a way to win,” Aspen coach Dru Lucchesi said after Saturday’s game. “They know they need to take care of business. They know this shouldn’t have been this close, but once again we can’t take care of the puck on our end. We are just giving them freebie goals, and that can’t happen. Our team can score goals, it’s just we have to keep the puck out of our net right now.”
Aspen’s season opener was a 6-1 loss at Battle Mountain on Wednesday. Meaning, through a 1-2 start, the Skiers have allowed a combined 15 goals, Lucchesi pointing out a sloppy zone defense as the culprit. The AHS offense has tallied nine goals of its own in that span.
“When they get into the offensive zone they make really good plays and they are using their bodies really well. They are getting opportunities. It wasn’t a ton of shots, we wanted more, but they are making the most out of them right now,” Lucchesi said. “We have a lot of speed, they just need to realize how to use it and the biggest part of it is getting out of our ‘D’ zone.”
Saturday against the Titans, Aspen’s offense came out firing with goals from Robbie Fitzgerald and Jack Pevny, but a pair of goals by Crested Butte that straddled the first two periods made it 2-2. A goal by Eli Hunt midway through the second period briefly gave Aspen the lead back, but it was 3-3 going into the third.
The Titans’ Graham Barrett scored his second goal of the game less than a minute into the final period, putting the Skiers in a 4-3 hole. About five minutes later, Aspen’s Connor Chesner scored the equalizer and it was Pevny’s goal with less than five minutes to play that won it.
With only four official practices under their belt to go with three games, Lucchesi said the team just needs more ice time and it can all come together.
“That really is our biggest hindrance right now is just taking care of our ‘D’ zone, getting the puck out. We have bodies in front of the net we still aren’t taking care of,” Lucchesi said. “Once again, the base of what we have is really exciting. It’s just getting everything together, getting all the glue and eventually it’s going to gum and it’ll be buzzing, it’ll be fun.”
Aspen will play once more before the holiday break when it hosts Steamboat Springs at 7:45 pm. Friday at Lewis Ice Arena.
Aspen boys basketball starts winning streak, beats Lotus
The Aspen High School boys basketball team wrapped up play in Meeker on Saturday with a 58-39 win over the Lotus School of Excellence. The victory came a day after Aspen rolled over Soroco for its first win of the season, 65-35. Now 2-2 overall with losses to Rifle and Mancos, Aspen is scheduled to play Vail Christian on Thursday in its home opener and final game before the holiday break.
The AHS girls basketball team’s game Saturday at Hotchkiss was canceled. They will also host Vail Christian on Thursday.
Basalt basketball falls to Riverdale Ridge on Saturday
The Basalt High School boys basketball team closed out play at the Weld Central tournament on Saturday with a 77-70 loss to Riverdale Ridge. BHS lost 67-51 to Weld Central on Friday, but got its first win of the season on Thursday, a 57-48 victory over Vail Mountain. The Longhorns, now 1-5, will play Friday at Rifle in their final game before the holiday break.
The Basalt girls (1-2) did not play this weekend after Friday’s game against South Park was canceled due to the weather. They also play Friday at Rifle to close out the early-season schedule.