Holy Smoke unleashed
It was a perfect opening night for the 2013 town league hockey season Wednesday, January 2 at Big Mine Ice Arena—cold, as in sub-zero temperatures cold.
High Country Capital Management (HighCo) made its debut as the newest franchise in the town league, facing Dragon Sheet Metal on Wednesday night. And while HighCo proved squirrely in their first game as a team, nearly every team does in the opening week of play. Except for maybe the Brick Oven who I’m sure have been running practices and are coming off a fall league title in Gunnison. Which I’m sure is why they went undefeated last year and took the 2012 town league title.
Ed Dujardin made his return to the ice in net for the first time since fourth grade, throwing on the pads for Dragon Sheet Metal and Dragon came out firing in the first period, pinning HighCo in their defensive zone for most of the opening three minutes.
And while HighCo goalie Matt Nilson maintained his composure for the initial onslaught, the push ultimately took its toll when Will Dujardin fired a shot and followed up his own rebound to score for a 1-0 Dragon lead.
Dragon maintained the pressure through the rest of the first period but HighCo held on to hold Dragon to their slim one-goal lead.
Dragon added a second strike early in the second period when Jan Blewett carried the puck up the wing and centered into the high slot. Dom Eymere got a stick on it to push it weak side and Will stuffed it home.
Dan Larsen did what he could within the rules of town league hockey to try to create chances for HighCo and the team gained some cohesion as the game wore on. Larsen broke free twice for great shots on net but Ed turned both away.
Pete Cook looked to add onto Dragon’s lead in the waning minutes of the second period skating up ice and onto net but Nilson charged off the line and stacked the pads to make the save. The team backed up Nilson’s effort turning the loose puck back the other way to mount a counterattack on the Dragon net. Deer charged the goal and slipped it past Ed, closing the second period with HighCo’s first franchise goal and cutting the Dragon lead back down to one.
Once again, Dragon came out in the opening minutes of the period hot, hoping to quash HighCo’s hopes at a comeback.
And, once again, the initial push paid off as Kristopher Gayer found Doug Duryea open on the weak side with a quick pass and Duryea punched it past Nilson for a 3-1 lead.
While HighCo continued to improve throughout the remaining minutes of the game, they failed to find the back of the net as Dragon held on for the 3-1 win.
This just in. Reverend Tim Clark’s patented (or is it anointed, I didn’t make church much as a kid; season tickets to the Baltimore Colts got in the way) slapshot, The Holy Smoke, made its 2013 debut the following evening as sophomore hockey franchise Peak Consulting got its first win after a winless 2012 season. Perhaps Brian Krill’s prediction about planting a seed and a tree will grow may come to fruition this season.
Catch town league action Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Big Mine Ice Arena.