Victory over Glenwood Springs Demons
[ by Than Acuff ]
The Crested Butte Titans hockey team returned after a two-week break from games to near full strength for their two-day road trip Friday and Saturday, January 21-22 and ready to get back to their winning ways.
“It was nice to be able to recoup and we had a great week of practice heading into the weekend and we were ready to go,” says coach Billy Watson.
They started with the Glenwood Springs Demons on Friday, January 21. The Demons are sitting at the bottom of the Mountain League standings providing a good opportunity for the Titans to get back on track, but the first two periods passed without a single goal from either team.
“I felt like we were taking it to them in the first period, but their goalie was standing on his head, as was Jack Perkins for us,” says Watson. “It was a goalie battle.”
A series of penalties had the Titans on their heels in the second period, but when they managed to get back to full strength and then on the powerplay at the end of the period, the game turned in the Titans’ favor.
“We weathered the storm all period and then got a few opportunities in the last 30 seconds on the powerplay,” explains Watson. “I went over the powerplay between periods and when we started the third period still on the powerplay, the kids just executed it so well.”
They cracked the seal on the Demons’ net in the third minute as Perkins held the puck by his own goal and found Sam Dukeman near mid-ice with a pass and Dukeman took it to net to score. Two minutes later Colm Piccaro scored and the Titans looked in charge with a 2-0 lead.
Glenwood Springs turned up the heat on the Titans scoring in the ninth minute of the third period but when they pulled their goalie in the final minutes of the game, Jack Lambert finished it off with an empty net goal and a 3-1 Titans’ win. Perkins finished the game with 39 saves.
“It was one of the most exciting games I’ve been a part of coaching,” says Watson. “Perkins stood on his head in goal, the defense played great and the younger kids really stepped it up in intensity. Best three periods they’ve put together all season.”
Things didn’t go so well for the Titans the following day when they faced the Aspen Skiers. Watson knew Aspen was coming off a road trip to Steamboat the night before and laid out the plan for the team before the game that his players executed.
“I knew we had to get on them immediately,” says Watson. “We just completely dominated them at the start.”
Aspen struck first though scoring on a powerplay in the 10th minute of the game. The Titans responded three minutes later as Connor Zummach assisted Grady Buckhanan’s powerplay goal.
Crested Butte continued to carry the momentum through the second period but when they lost both Piccaro and Lambert to injuries at the end of the second period, the game started to unravel.
Aspen jumped on the opportunity to score two goals in the third period to skate to a 4-1 win over the Titans.
“When the team sees two leaders go out like that, the rest of the team gets nervous,” says Watson. “They started the second and third second guessing themselves.”
The Titans have two home games including Friday, January 28 when they host Battle Mountain in Gunnison at 5:45 p.m.