Wolfpack opens up season against strong Telluride team

Scoring punch loses power

It’s been a long start to the season for the Crested Butte Wolfpack hockey team with games rescheduled and little ice time due to the weather.



Fortunately, thanks to the new indoor facility in Gunnison, the Wolfpack has managed to get some practice time in, albeit limited practice time.
Their lack of ice time ultimately took its toll on the Wolfpack when they opened the regular season with a double header on Sunday, December 21 against the Telluride Lizard Heads.
The first game was classic Wolfpack hockey with everyone hustling and moving the puck as the Wolfpack out skated the Lizard Heads from the opening face off.
The Wolfpack’s early efforts paid off as Jena D’Aquila and Ben Frame worked together to set up Robbie Holleran for the Wolfpack’s first goal 11 minutes into the game.
The strike opened the net up for the Wolfpack, specifically Holleran, as he scored two more times for the hat trick, one coming off an assist from Sam Evans.
Evans scored his first goal of the regular season eight minutes into the second period on an assist from Holleran and then added a short handed goal at the end of the third period on another assist from Holleran to close the season opening game with a 5-0 Wolfpack win.
“We came out really working hard,” says coach Rob Bramwell. “We were moving the puck really well and everyone was moving their feet.”
The second game saw a completely different Wolfpack team as they fell to Telluride 5-1.
Gone was the jump in their step, the puck movement and all around hustle.
The Lizard Heads came out determined to even the score threatening early in the game when a Lizard Head was left unmarked in front of the Wolfpack net for a point blank shot.
Wolfpack goalie Zach Van Dyke stacked the pads for the save but Telluride would eventually pick the Van Dyke lock a minute later capitalizing on a defensive collision to score and take a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later the Lizard Heads chased down a clearing pass to set up their second goal of the game.
Evans pulled the Wolfpack back into the game when three defenders jumped on Holleran and Evans found the loose puck to push the backhand through, cutting the Telluride lead back to one.
Telluride closed the period with a power play goal in the final 13 seconds of the period to build a 3-1 lead heading into the second period.
The remaining two periods were more of the same as Telluride continued to out hustle the Wolfpack eventually leading to two more goals and the 5-1 Telluride win.
Bramwell chalks the loss up to a dangerous mix of fatigue and overconfidence.
“I could see it in the locker room before the game,” says Bramwell. “I think they took them for granted in that second game. They out worked us and beat us to all of the loose pucks.”
Fortunately, with Big Mine Ice Arena open now, Bramwell can get his team on the ice four nights a week and he plans on using the time to get the team in game shape.
“We’re going to start getting our legs under us,” says Bramwell.
The Wolfpack heads down to Gunnison on Monday, December 29 to play the Gunnison Blades Black at 8 p.m. Their first home games at Big Mine Ice Arena are set for Saturday, January 3 when they play a double header against Kremmling.

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