Crested Butte Titans boys hockey gets back on winning track

“Things started working, our shots were low and we had more pressure in front of the net”

[  by Than Acuff  ]

After dropping a couple of tough games last week, the Crested Butte Titans hockey team got back on the winning track outscoring the Pueblo County Hornets 13-1 to roll to two wins Friday and Saturday, February 4-5.

It would have been easy for the Titans to fold up, as it had been a while since they won and they were missing two of their captains to injury. Instead, players stepped up into new roles, lines were adjusted accordingly and workouts were on point the week prior to the Pueblo games.

“Morale was incredibly good,” says assistant coach Bob Piccaro. “We made the three lines more equal instead of having one power line and they all looked good.”

Confidence was high rolling into Pueblo as the Titans knew they were facing a team that was young and struggling but Crested Butte started off out of sync scoring just one goal in the first period as Dominick Cerio scored off an assist from Rhodes Moffett.

“We had a couple of people trying to do too much on their own and we were shooting high a lot,” says Piccaro. “We reminded them to use their systems, work the puck and shoot low because their goalie was giving up a lot of rebounds.”

The adjustments made all of the difference as the Titans got back into form sparked by a powerplay goal from Grady Deitrich in the third minute. Deitrich scored again five minutes later and Sam Dukeman and Brendan Hartigan added one each for a 5-0 lead by the end of the second period. Cael Medina scored the lone Crested Butte goal in the third period to finish off the Hornets 6-0. TJ Wonnacott stopped 22 shots to record his first shutout of the season.

“Things started working, our shots were low and we had more pressure in front of the net,” says Piccaro. 

The Titans faced Pueblo County again on Saturday, February 5 and after a similarly slow start with no goals in the first period, the Titans cracked the seal on the Hornets net with two goals in the second period.

Crested Butte then poured it on in the third period on goals from Dukeman, Cerio, Blue Gardner, Connor Zummach and Deitrich, two during powerplays, for the 7-1 win. Jack Perkins finished the game stopping 25 shots.

“Once we started working the puck around, cycling and getting pressure in front of the net again things opened up,” says Piccaro. “I think our conditioning wore them down in the third period of both games.”

The team has a major challenge on Friday, February 11 when they head to Vail to face league leaders Battle Mountain. The Titans then return home to host Glenwood Springs on Saturday, March 12 at 3 p.m. They wrap up the regular season February 18-19 with games against Aspen and Kent Denver.

“Hopefully we can get back to full strength soon because we need a couple of wins out of our next four games,” says Piccaro.

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