by Than Acuff
Caveat: I thought I was going through a spell of Thanopause recently. Night sweats, moods swinging between extreme disdain and euphoria coupled with nocturnal feedings based primarily on sugar intake and an affinity for country music.
Then I remembered who our president is.
Whew. And I thought it was something serious.
Then I remembered who our president is and realized it is serious.
But amidst all of this chaos, at least there is town league hockey and Monday night was another treat as High Country Capital Management (HCCM) skated to a 4-0 win over Altitude Painting.
Warm-ups prior to the game told a different story. While Altitude was working through what appeared to be a “real” warm-up prior to the game, HCCM was just keeping it real. A glance at the rosters also showed that Altitude had added a handful of former and current high school players and had both Dujardin brothers. Toss in the fact that HCCM, as a franchise, has spent its formative years in the league much like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did when they joined the NFL—losing.
But, much like the Buccaneers did, it appears HCCM is climbing its way to a title run. Maybe not this year; I mean I don’t see them getting past at least four other teams in the league during the post-season, but hell, the Last Steep pulled it off last year so maybe this is the year for HCCM.
The opening minutes of the game played out as expected as Altitude was stringing together no-look drop passes and finding open players cross ice with pinpoint puck work but their flash and dash soon crashed as HCCM started pressing high into Altitude’s zone.
HCCM’s aggressive pressure nearly backfired in the sixth minute of the first period as Altitude stand-out Caleb Woodworth sliced his way from end to end and straight to net, only to have Roan Pershke deny the backhand attempt. Seconds later HCCM’s John Peterson did the very same thing, but scored for a 1-0 HCCM lead.
Altitude eventually re-stoked its mojo to set up in HCCM’s zone and fire shots but Perschke was spot on in net. HCCM returned fire as Ian Schaul set up at the blue line to pepper shots and close out the period but Shawn Harrington was equally stout in net, and HCCM finished the first period with a tenuous 1-0 lead.
Surely Altitude would respond in the second period but they didn’t, and don’t call me Shirley. Instead Peterson continued to lead the HCCM attack with some help from Mark Sawyer as Peterson dropped the puck to Sawyer, Sawyer fired away at the net and Peterson tipped it past Harrington for a 2-0 HCCM lead. Peterson struck again a minute later for a 3-0 lead but with him maxed out on goals, the door would, in theory, open up for an Altitude comeback.
But it didn’t. With Schaul and Anthony Poponi holding court at the blue line, HCCM continued to fluster the Altitude game plan, crowding neutral ice to shut off passing lanes.
The straw that broke Altitude’s back then came in the first minute of the third period as Sawyer took a pass at the point and skated in to fire a shot through traffic and find the back of the net to put HCCM up 4-0.
Emerson Wohlers, Betty Sue Gurk and Carlee Drobnick looked to inspire some offense for Altitude while Montana Wiggins looked to find his shot and they started playing the way they did to open the game with better passing, but it was too little too late as HCCM adroitly sealed the 4-0 shut-out win.