Alpine Lumber rebuilds to pull off late game tie in town league

“No, leave it running while we go sledding. Don’t want Tibbles to get cold”

By Than Acuff 

I think we can all agree that the Clark’s Market parking lot has improved dramatically. It’s almost like they’ve taken the gelato bar inside and created the same clear and coherent idea in their parking lot. Go in circles until you find what you want.

But fear not, Parking Vigilantes Facebookers with nothing better to do than take pics of the way people park and post them on Facebook. Have I got a venue for you. If you’re as bored as it appears you are based on your obsession with the way people park, take a trip to Big Mine Ice Arena any weekday immediately after school and it is parking chaos at its finest as Yukons weave around F250s and AT4s while avoiding hitting Audis trying to get their kids to either hockey or Nordic skiing. Make sure you leave your vehicle running though. Not like it’s unseasonably warm, and has been for a while, in Crested Butte or anything. My all-time favorite, leaving the car running so the precious Labradoodle doesn’t get cold while the family is out sledding.

Uh-oh, do I have nothing better to do than observe people who leave their vehicles running? Am I as bored as it appears?

Fortunately, the unseasonably warm weather has done nothing to affect town league hockey as the Eldo faced Alpine Lumber in A/B league action Monday, February 5.

The Eldo came into the game with a short bench with just eight players total, including goalie Nicholas Mikeska while Alpine Lumber was near full strength for the game, including goalie Eric DiMarco.

That shortage did nothing to slow down the Eldo though as they were determined to overcome their situation with plucky play and pure hustle scoring three minutes into the game when Betsy Welsh set up Ben Barocas for a goal. They continued their aggressive style for the remainder of the period to set up several other shots, but DiMarco DiDid his DiJob and made the needed DiSaves. Am I the only one that immediately thinks of McDonalds when I see a capital D?

At any rate, things were going just swell for the Eldo until the final 10 seconds of the first period when Joey Otsuka picked up a puck in neutral ice and skated just inside the blue line to pick the corner with a low blast tying the game 1-1.

Alpine Lumber had a chance to take the lead a minute into the second period during a powerplay but, as is often the case, a powerplay in town league hockey rarely bears fruit and the Eldo ended up with numerous short-handed chances to score.

The Eldo continued their “plucky” play best exemplified by a last second poke check by Pink Loubier to deny Otsuka a wide-open look. But Alpine Lumber’s roster is solid, and their patience would pay off seven minutes into the second period when Cole Hanson took a pass from Jack Weise on the wing and skated into the high slot to score for a 2-1 Alpine Lumber lead.

The Eldo looked to tie it up with an odd man rush catching Alpine Lumber out of position, but Ryan Carroll hustled back to disrupt the 2-on-1 with a backcheck to help maintain Alpine’s one-goal lead. As the second period wound down, the game wound up and both teams traded attacks in the final minute, but neither could get the puck past either Mikeska or DiMarco leaving it 2-1 heading into the third period.

The pace from the end of the second period carried into the third and the Eldo showed no signs of slowing down, tying the game 2-2 when William Muller took advantage of an Alpine Lumber miscue to score. 

The Eldo then took back the lead with two minutes left in the game when Barocas struck again off an assist from Danny Stoneberg and were set to hold out for the win. Axel Deer was the anchor for the Eldo defense looking to clear the puck with pure determination and things were looking good for an Eldo win until… until they incurred another penalty with 15 seconds left in the game.

Remember how I said powerplays rarely pan out in town league hockey? Well, this time it did as Alpine Lumber kept their goalie on the bench for a two-man advantage during the powerplay to eventually score with eight seconds left as Joe Coburn stuffed the puck home off an assist from Carlee Drobnick to leave the teams with a 3-3 tie.

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