Close regular season at home this weekend
by Than Acuff
It’s coming down to the wire now with the state tournament on the near horizon and the Crested Butte Titans looking to close out the regular season strong and improve their seeding as they head into the post-season.
They hit the road last weekend for two games against the Castle View Sabercats on Friday and Saturday, February 9-10. The Sabercats are in a similar position as the Titans and equally motivated to gain some ground as they head into the post season.
The Titans opened the scoring in the first game on Friday as Kaden Hardesty scored off an assist from Hunter Wright five minutes into the first period. Despite being outshot 10-5, the Titans held their one-goal lead into the second period.
Castle View then responded three minutes into the second period to tie the game and then took a 2-1 lead 10 minutes into the second period despite the Titans having gained the advantage on shots.
They held onto their slim lead until the ninth minute of the third when Ted Trujillo found the back of the net to tie the game 2-2. The two teams traded attacks but failed to find the finishing touch, leaving the two teams with a 2-2 draw.
Titans goalie Shaughn Rourke stopped 25 of 27 Sabercat shots.
The two teams took to the ice again on Saturday and, again, the Titans opened the scoring as Joe Coburn scored on a powerplay 14 minutes into the game. Castle View wasted little time responding as they struck just three minutes later in the final ticks of the first period to send the two teams into the second period notched in a 1-1 tie.
Castle View built off of their momentum from the late strike in the first period, taking a 2-1 lead in the seventh minute of the second period. The Titans came right back to tie it up two minutes later as Luke Collins scored, but the Sabercats responded late in the period to go up 3-2 heading into the third period.
Castle View then added to its lead, scoring on a powerplay in the 13th minute of the third period to ultimately seal the 4-2 win. Titans goalie Clayton Freed finished the game with 28 saves.
The Titans will close out the regular season this weekend at home with state seedings on the line. They will host Mountain Vista on Friday, February 16 at 5 p.m. and then Palmer on Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m. As of press time Tuesday, the Titans were ranked 16th in the state with both Mountain Vista and Castle View hot on their heels ranked 17th and 18th. Two wins this weekend could secure a home game in the first round of the state tournament tentatively scheduled for either Tuesday or Wednesday, February 20 or 21.