Going to California
by Than Acuff
The West Elk Blades U19 girls hockey team returned to their crushing ways this past weekend, skating to a couple of wins over Telluride by a combined score of 14-0.
The Blades were tested the previous weekend by one of three programs that could pose a problem for a Blades title repeat, but they passed that initial test with a couple of close wins.
This past weekend was a return to Easy Street as they faced off against one of the cellar-dwellers of the league, Telluride.
“It was definitely an ass-whupping weekend, for sure,” says Blades coach Tony Lambert.
Lambert admits he expected more of a challenge from Telluride and was surprised at what transpired over the two games.
“It was a lot easier than I expected,” says Lambert. “They’re a young program but they’ve got a couple of good players.”
The Blades hit Telluride early in the first game as Maddie Lambert buried a shot from the point through a massive screen in the opening minute of the game. Telluride managed to hold off the Blades’ attack the rest of the period though as they circled the wagons in front of their net and the Blades started getting impatient.
“They collapsed in front of the net and we had an awful lot of shots but a majority of them weren’t getting through.”
Lambert took the time between the first and second periods to remind his players of their roles on the ice and that opened things up for the Blades in the second period. Sierra D’Aquila, Alexis Duke and Izzie Dethloff all scored in the second period as the Blades built a 4-0 lead heading into the third period.
“We stuck to our system and started racking up some points,” says Lambert.
The Blades continued to press in the third period and rattled off four more goals, with Dethloff and D’Aquila each netting their second goals of the game and Kendl Santelli and Jaden Cavarra joining in on the stat sheet.
Things went from bad to worse for Telluride in the second game of the day. Bryar Robbins put the Blades on the board three minutes into the first period, finding the net from the high slot. Dethloff followed on a rebound to beat the Telluride goalie but a collision ensued and Telluride’s goalie had to skate off the ice. With no apparent backup plan in place, Telluride elected to skate six players rather than put someone in net. The Blades ended up scoring during a penalty kill when Cavarra looked to ice the puck but ended up scoring an empty-net goal for a 3-0 lead. While Lambert asked his players to ease off the scoring, he did use the opportunity to get his team to work on certain elements of the game to prepare for upcoming challenges.
“We tried to play with some class,” says Lambert. “We worked on a lot of passing and worked on other aspects of the game.”
The Blades held off, despite the empty net, with Elizabeth Shaw, Maddie Lambert and Dethloff scoring one more each to finish off Telluride 6-0.
The Blades are headed to California for a tournament over the Martin Luther King weekend. While a handful of the players have been there before, the team has never made the trip together and Lambert hopes to use it as a jumping off point for the rest of the season.
“The teams we play are definitely stronger and the pace is much faster than we see in our league,” says Lambert. “The biggest thing is, they’ll pick up their pace of play and bring it into the last part of the season when it matters.”