Winning streak continues
Crested Butte’s women’s hockey team, the Red Ladies, picked up right where they off last season, dominating.
For the second year in a row, the Red Ladies won the Pucktoberfest hockey tournament in Colorado Springs held Friday through Sunday, October 19-21.
The tournament attracts teams from the Front Range as well as from out of state—and many of these teams have access to year-round ice.
The Red Ladies, on the other hand, get maybe three and a half months of ice time.
While ice time may make a difference for most squads, it appears to have little effect on the Red Ladies, with the same skaters working together year-in and year-out. To say the team has gelled would be an understatement. They’ve solidified into a lean, mean, scoring machine.
The weekend started Friday night with a 5-2 blasting of the Denver Firebirds. Hillary Buscovick led the Red Ladies with two goals and Beth Gallagher, Lisa Lynch and Rachael Miller each scored one apiece.
They gathered steam from their opening tournament win and carried into their second game of the weekend on Saturday morning, out-shooting the Denver-based Cliffhangers 30-6 for the 6-1 win.
Buscovick netted two goals again with Gallagher and Lynch scoring a goal each. Niki Schroer punched a rebound in off a Buscovick shot for her first goal of the tournament, and Hillary’s sister, Erica Buscovick, sealed the 6-1 deal with a goal of her own.
The offensive frenzy wore the Red Ladies down, though, as they opened the third game of the weekend a bit flat. The team was obviously a bit out of whack through the first period, as they were notched in a 0-0 tie with the Spitfires, another Front Range team.
Yet, it was just a matter of time before Hillary Buscovick would strike, as she opened up for five goals over the next two periods. Gallagher scored her third in as many games. The Red Ladies goalie Sandy Robinson registered her first shutout of the 2007-2008 season as the Red Ladies skated to a 6-0 win.
The three wins vaulted the Red Ladies to the championship game against Anger Management, a team from Phoenix, Ariz., on Sunday morning.
This would be the first true test of the weekend for the Red Ladies, as the two teams traded shots and goals throughout all three periods.
Lynch scored in the first period on an assist from Rachael Miller, but Anger Management returned the favor and the teams were locked in a 1-1 tie.
Gallagher gave the Red Ladies a 2-1 lead when she received a pass from Hillary Buscovick in the high slot and flipped a backhand past the Anger Management goalie.
Anger Management scored to tie the game 2-2 but the Red Ladies connected again when Miller skated the puck up-ice on a breakout and found Lynch on the far post for another backhand goal for a 3-2 Ladies lead.
Anger Management opened the third period on fire, scoring back-to-back goals to take the lead back and looked to ice the win with time draining in regulation.
But the Red Ladies were relentless in their attack, with the defense pushing up into the offensive zone looking for the game-tying goal.
The hard skating paid off with two minutes left in the game, when defensewoman Megan Paden slipped into high slot unmarked on a pass from Hillary Buscovick.
Paden wasted no time with the perfect pass taking one flick of the wrist to slip the puck between the goalie’s pads through the five-hole tying the game and sending it into overtime.
Both teams were held scoreless through overtime, forcing the game to be decided in a shootout.
Robinson shut down the first four Anger Management shooters, but the fifth one scored with one more Red Lady left to shoot.
Hillary Buscovick skated to goal and shot but the Anger Management goalie had her read and took the shot in the chest. Believing she stopped the puck dead, the goalie started to celebrate the win but the puck dropped to the ice and rolled past her into the net, sending the game into the next round of sudden-death shootout.
Again, Robinson proved tough in net for the Red Ladies as she denied the first four Anger Management shooters the taste of nylon.
The Anger Management goalie was equally stingy as she turned away the first three Red Ladies but not the fourth. After watching the goalie shut down all attempts to the right, Talley “Colorado Baxter” Nichols skated to goal and shot left, beating the Anger Management goalie for the win and the tournament title.
The Red Ladies now have a couple of months to bask in the glory of their season-opening tournament victory before returning to the ice sometime in December, when they typically face San Juan-nemesis, the Box Canyon Beavers.