Paint that shed!
by Than Acuff
What a playoff season in Crested Butte town league hockey this year with everyone having a shot at the title as the top two seeded teams were eliminated early. It appears the NCAA tournament is playing out just the same as the top seeds are falling like purple syzzurp Juggalo casualties in the parking lot of an Insane Clown Posse concert.
Are you down with the clown?
The Eldo, who came into the playoffs seeded fourth, ran roughshod through the post season to reach the finals, winning every single game they played. Meanwhile, third seeded Altitude Painting was on a rollercoaster ride through the post season. They started by knocking off HCCM only to fall to last year’s champions, the Last Steep, and get dropped into the loser’s bracket but then they rattled off three wins in a row to reach the finals.
The final was a showcase of some of the top net minders in the game with Shawn Harrington between the pipes for Altitude Painting and Roan Pershke in goal for the Eldo. With the security of Pershke in net, the Eldo went immediately on attack to open the first period. Brandon Muller had two looks early in the game but Harrington turned both away and Altitude’s diligent back checking helped disrupt the Eldo attack.
Muller then had the upper corner near post completely tee’d up and looked to pick it clean but Harrington came through again with the save to keep the game locked up 0-0.
Nicole Fuller was a big part of the Eldo effort as she was working hard to keep chaos in place diving to clear pucks from the zone and keeping Altitude from finding any cohesion on offense.
Cody Scott eventually found some room, taking a breakout pass and working up the ice with the puck to fire a shot through traffic only to have Pershke push it wide at the last possible moment. As the period progressed, the Eldo continued to push but Altitude refused to fold and started finding their way into the Eldo’s zone and staying there. Thomas McClean was a big part of the Altitude push as he made a point of covering the point, in an attempt to turn the screws on the Eldo.
The tides turned ever so slightly in Altitude’s favor at the start of the second period with Caleb Woodworth holding down the fort defensively and Walker Carroll working some magic in the attacking zone. Yet, as the period wore on, the Eldo started taking back control of the game.
Altitude got a leg up midway through the second period as a penalty left the Eldo in a penalty kill situation but that just opened up more of the ice for their top players. As Altitude pressed, the Eldo countered and Kevin Williams took a pass from Ryan Maddux and scored a short-handed goal to go up 1-0.
Two minutes later the Eldo struck again as Maddux took a pass from Muller and drove straight to the near post holding off a flurry of Altitude players to stuff the puck past Harrington for a 2-0 lead.
Altitude continued to struggle, building a nexus from defense to offense and the Eldo settled into their two-goal lead for the remainder of the game to seal the 2018 title.