Altitude Painting skates to overtime win in C/B league playoffs

Double elimination underway

By Than Acuff 

All the hard work, the dedication, the film sessions and training come to a head now as the Crested Butte C/B town league hockey playoffs opened Sunday, February 25 at Big Mine Ice Arena.

It started with a bang in the early game as REG took down CB Electric 2-1 with Stevie Kremer providing the game-winning goal early in the third period that proved enough for the win.

Then Altitude Painting and Ska Brewing took to the ice in the late game, and it took until overtime to determine the winner.

While Ska came into the post season in last place in the league standings, they looked to have flipped a switch for the playoffs taking control of the game early with solid positioning and pinpoint passing. Altitude Painting did get some offense thanks to the work of Max Carroll, but Ska goalie Carter Brock had his number turning away Carroll’s first attempts on net.

Dan Loftus made his way up and down the ice for Ska trying to create opportunities and Bryan Hawley made a point of mixing it up in the slot, but Altitude Painting goalie Nicholas Mikeska brought his A-game to the ice and denied Ska the back of the net.

That is until the ninth minute as another Ska surge finally paid off as defenseman Mark Cram charged in off the blue line to follow a rebound and stuff it through for a 1-0 Ska lead.

CJ Hoover and Adam Chater had a nice passing combination early in the second period to set up a chance on the Ska net, but Brock was there once again for the stop. Erika Brownlee made her presence known for Altitude Painting firing a shot from the blue line that turned into an odd man rush for Ska up the ice, but Brownlee hustled back to break it up and keep Ska to their slim one-goal lead.

While Ska continued to dominate puck possession in the second period, the pure hustle of Altitude Painting made up the difference and resulted in some wide-open back-and-forth hockey at a pace not really seen in the C/B league all season.

Altitude’s attitude would eventually make it all worthwhile as they tied the game 1-1 with three minutes left in the second period when Kyle Koelliker, new to the game of hockey but improving every game, slipped a pass to Peter Bright and Bright scored.

Inspired by the goal, Altitude Painting closed the second period on the throttle and opened the third period still on the throttle looking to tack on a second goal. The effort of Kevin Van Horn and his backchecking capabilities broke up Altitude’s attempts early but they eventually broke the seal on Mikeska’s net once more when Hoover found a loose puck and swatted, scored and spilled to the ice for a 2-1 Altitude Painting lead.

Ska then responded two minutes later to tie the game back up. After Chris Zacher got close firing a shot off the post, a second shot from Zacher was pushed wide by Mikeska but Scott Reamer was on the weak side to follow and net a low-angle, borderline no-angle, shot tying the game 2-2 with three minutes left to play in regulation.

No one scored and the game went into overtime and thanks to another one of the town league commissioner Bill Frame’s great ideas, overtime would follow the direction of the NHL and collegiate hockey with a 3v3 format for five minutes. If no one scores, then it goes to a shootout.

Well, someone did score midway through the overtime period as Carroll won a faceoff, skated straight to net and scored for the 3-2 Altitude Painting win.

Fortunately, the playoffs are double elimination, so Ska is not out yet. C/B league playoffs are Sundays and Mondays while A/B league playoffs are Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Check Also

Big fourth quarter leads to Titans lacrosse win

Home game Thursday, April 11 at 4 p.m. By Than Acuff   The Crested Butte …