Open regular season on the road
Despite another tough loss at the hands of the Gunnison Blades, there are signs of improvement on the Crested Butte Wolfpack hockey team.
The team managed just one practice since their last outing against the Blades and their lack of ice time continues to be their greatest hindrance.
Nevertheless, they appear to be getting stronger with each outing, despite the score, and once their home ice is in shape, look for the Wolfpack to peak at just the right time.
The Blades opened the game with a goal in the first three minutes when Evan Ayers skated to the net, pulling the trigger from just inside the face-off circle. Wolfpack goalie Nicholas Mikeska stopped the blast but Brandon Roedder followed to score on the rebound.
The Blades owned the puck in the opening eight minutes of the game with the Wolfpack mounting the odd rush into the Blades zone. The Wolfpack held tight though in front of their net, scrambling to hold off the Blades assault.
The Wolfpack got their first chance on net 10 minutes into the game when Ben Reaman carried the puck into the Blades zone to open up for a shot. Blades goalie Dan Reinhardt made the initial near-post save, but the puck dropped right in front of Elias Friedman. Friedman looked up to see an open net and fired, but Reinhardt dove across for the block to deny the Pack the equalizer.
The two teams traded power plays with no result and the Blades held their one goal lead into the second period.
The Blades struck two more times in the second period as Luke Schumacher and Mike Spallone each found the back of the net to build a 3-0 lead.
Fatigue once again took hold of the Wolfpack, and the Blades carried their momentum through the third period as Kalae Miller and Caleb Trantow each scored to take a 5-0 lead.
The Wolfpack had one last chance to deny the Blades a shutout with a power play for the final 30 seconds. Sam Evans took advantage of the man-up situation carrying the puck end-to-end drawing two Blades defenders. Despite the double team, Evans held on until the final moment, flicking a backhand to beat the Blades goalie to the near post for the Wolfpack’s only goal of the game with six seconds left in regulation.
The team has one more preseason game against Gunnison on Tuesday, December 15 in Gunnison at 8 p.m. They open league play on the road with two games against Craig on Sunday, December 20.