“It was pretty incredible”
The Crested Butte Wolfpack hockey team maintained its undefeated record after winning four games in a row on the road.
The Wolfpack battled arctic temperatures all week preparing for the big weekend against northern division teams Steamboat Springs and Kremmling. The conditions forced coaches Phil Martin and Chris Werderitch to concentrate on keeping players warm during workouts more than anything else.
“Last week was tough,” says Martin. “When it’s negative 20 degrees it’s really hard to practice. Feet are white, faces are white.”
To make matters worse, Martin discovered that he would be missing several players for the games for a variety of reasons, leaving him with just 10 players for four games over two days.
Martin shifted players between lines as well as from forward to defense to find the right combination for the weekend.
In the end, the Wolfpack players in attendance rose to the occasion, coming home with four big wins.
“It was the Iron 10, it was pretty incredible,” says Martin. “The defense played great for what they had.”
The Wolfpack opened the weekend Saturday, January 19 with two games against Steamboat Springs.
After giving up a goal to Steamboat Springs six minutes into the first period, the Wolfpack scored four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead.
John Tharp netted the first three and Mo Gillie scored the fourth, with Holleran assisting on all four.
Holleran took it himself in the opening minute of the second period to score and give Crested Butte a 5-1 lead.
Steamboat Springs scored two power play goals in the second period but Sam Evans literally blew the glove off the Steamboat goalie with a short-handed goal.
Holleran scored two more goals in the third period for a total of three goals and four assists on the game as the Wolfpack finished with an 8-5 win.
“If it wasn’t for Robbie, we wouldn’t have won that game,” says Martin.
Steamboat replaced its goaltender for the second game of the day closing off the goalmouth from the Wolfpack offense.
Steamboat took a 1-0 lead early but Holleran and Tharp each scored to give Crested Butte a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
Quinn Langsfeld scored the eventual game winner in the second period for a 3-1 lead. Zach Van Dyke had 26 saves in net for Crested Butte and the Wolfpack defense gave up just one goal in the second and third periods for a 3-2 win.
The Wolfpack rested and recovered for two more games on Sunday, January 20 against Kremmling.
Jenner Currier and Gillie each scored in the first period for a 2-0 Crested Butte lead.
The two teams played scoreless hockey in the second period and then Kremmling scored first in the third period to close the Wolfpack lead to one.
Crested Butte responded as Holleran scored in the third period on an assist from Tharp for a 3-1 Wolfpack lead. Van Dyke registered 30 saves in the game, giving up just one more goal for a tight 3-2 win.
Crested Butte closed the weekend with a 5-3 win over Kremmling that afternoon. The Wolfpack built a three-goal cushion on a strike from Holleran and two from Tharp, with Currier assisting on two of the three goals.
Kremmling netted three goals over the course of the second and third periods, but Holleran found the net in the second period and Tharp got his second hat trick of the weekend with a goal in the third period for the 5-3 Wolfpack win.
“We had flawless passing against Steamboat and Kremmling,” says Martin. “I don’t think they knew what to do against us.”
The Wolfpack have a four-game home stand this weekend, hosting Grand Junction on Saturday, January 26 at 3 and 6 p.m. and then Oak Creek on Sunday, January 27 at 8 and 9:30 a.m. at Big Mine Ice Arena.