West Elk U19 girls hockey rattles off four home wins last weekend

Sitting in third place in league standings

By Than Acuff

The West Elk Hockey u19 Wolverines girls battled through their first game of the weekend and then rolled through the next three games to win all four at home Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3 and moved into third place in the CGHL standings with a record of 5-2-1.

It was a tough start to the four-game stretch as the Wolverines took the ice Saturday morning against Telluride and struggled with penalties and some panic falling behind 1-0 early on. They did convert on a powerplay late in the first when Nicola Roberts scored but it was not the strongest start for the Wolverines.

“That first period was our only bad period of the weekend,” says coach Joel Aslanian. “I told the team we can’t play with a sense of panic.”

The teams skated through a scoreless second period and as the game wore on, the Wolverines started to find their rhythm on the ice. The difference in the game came with just over four minutes to play when Riley Aslanian scored off an assist from Bristol Buffington and the Wolverines held on for the 2-1 win over Telluride. Goalie Reilly Seward finished the game with 19 saves.

The Wolverines then stepped it up a couple notches for their next game of the day as they skated to a 10-2 win over Summit. The Wolverines opened an 8-1 lead in the first period and just stayed in control through all three periods for the win. Roberts led the team with five goals, Riley netted three goals while Gabby Silva and Kathryn Frey each scored one.

“That was awesome, the players just started clicking and we had good team passing in the offensive zone and were controlling the puck enough to get creative,” says Joel. “That was the best game we’d played so far.”

It took the Wolverines a little while to get back to their scoring ways when they faced Arapahoe on Sunday morning. After a scoreless first period, the Wolverines caught fire in the second period. Riley and Roberts each scored to go up 2-0 but Arapahoe answered right back with back-to-back short-handed goals to tie it up before the Wolverines scored the next three, including two goals in the final minute of the period, to take a 6-2 lead into the third period. They then tacked on two more in the third to finish off Arapahoe 8-2.

“We just kept doing what we do,” says Aslanian. “We were getting scored on, but we didn’t panic.”

Their final test of the weekend came Sunday afternoon when they took the ice against the Hyland Hills Panthers. Joel decided to switch up a couple of players and the Wolverines rolled with the new lines without issue.

“We moved Gabby back to defense and she shined and Kathryn moved to forward and she shined,” says Joel.

Hyland Hills had their fair share of talented skaters, but the defense held tight often turning away the Jaguars’ attack. Meanwhile, the Wolverines continued to move the puck better than the Jaguars to control puck possession. Defenseman Nicoline Friedrichsen came up with a big shot block midway through the first period and the Wolverines turned up ice resulting in a goal from Roberts and a 1-0 lead. 

Hyland Hills tied the game up three minutes later and closed the first period on a powerplay, but Seward came up with several big saves and the defense protected the front of the net to deny rebound chances keeping the game notched in a 1-1 tie.

The Wolverines opened the second period on the front foot playing most of the game in the Hyland Hills’ end but didn’t reap the rewards of their work until eight minutes into the second period when Riley skated end-to-end to score a short-handed goal for a 2-1 lead.

Roberts then opened the third period scoring two goals in the first three minutes for a 4-1 lead. Hyland Hills responded and were looking to mount a comeback late in the game on a powerplay but heavy pressure high up the ice on a penalty kill by the Wolverines led to another goal by Roberts to seal the 5-2 win. Seward finished the game with 21 saves.

“We worked on team passing in practices and I think that’s what led to our success over the weekend,” says Joel.

The Wolverines hit the road for three games this weekend in New Mexico. Their next home game will be Sunday, December 17 at Jorgensen Ice Arena. 

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