By Than Acuff
Perusing through the Crested Butte Town League hockey standings and schedule, I felt the game Sunday, January 28, between the Talk of the Town and CB Electric offered up an opportunity to cover the first upset of the season.
The Talk of the Town sits at the top of the C/B league standings undefeated while CB Electric, despite its seemingly solid roster of players, sits near the bottom winless through three games. But I knew they had more in them, CB Electric that is, and was hoping to see that Sunday night. And I did, but despite their efforts, CB Electric ended up coming up short on their upset bid losing to the Talk of the Town 1-0.
CB Electric opened the game looking to rise to the upset occasion dictating play in the opening minute paced by some aggressive forechecking from Megan Paden that provided their first opportunity on net only to meet goalie James Brennan. Brennan, by the way, got the call up from the CB South Beer League to play in net in town league due to a flurry of early season injuries and, as you will find out if you keep reading, answered the call.
Regardless, while CB Electric was in control the opening minute or so, the Talk of the Town struck first when Ben Henson carried the puck to goal from the wing and fired a shot. Nicholas Mikeska made the first stop, but Henson followed on his own rebound to stuff it in for a 1-0 Talk of the Town lead.
As the period progressed, the Talk of the Town turned the tide in their favor and were on the attack throughout most of the first period. Mikeska was there for the needed saves but, more importantly, the CB Electric defense was diligent in their effort to “protect the house” leaving the Talk little opportunity for rebounds.
Meanwhile, as CB Electric was pinned, they did have their opportunities on a handful of quick breakouts to set up both Mark Goldberg and Beth Schumacher for chances on the Talk net, but Brennan proved he’s more than a journeyman goalie with a couple of big saves to help keep the Talk’s slim one-goal lead intact by the end of the first period.
The Talk continued to press on CB Electric as Talk defensemen James Hensley and Jay Plvan held tight at the blue line on their shifts to keep the puck in the attacking zone but CB Electric’s continued commitment to protecting the house proved worthy.
CB Electric did find some acreage up ice at times as the effort of Niki O’Connor and Bill Frame provided some openings for Dano Marshall and Goldberg through neutral ice, but Brennan remained on point to deny CB Electric the back of the net including somehow seeing a blast from the point by Frame through traffic at the last possible moment to push the puck wide keeping the Talk out front 1-0 heading into the third period.
The work of Talk players Kestral Kunz and Jeff Duke in the corners and behind the CB Electric net offered up additional chances for the Talk to build on their lead but there was nothing getting through the CB Electric wall of resistance. CB Electric continued their assortment of odd man, and woman, rushes but they ended up coming up short as the Talk held on for the 1-0 win to remain undefeated at the top of the C/B league standings.