Talk of the Town takes C/B hockey league crown

Greatest idea since feeding mayonnaise to tuna

By Than Acuff 

“Take live tuna fish and feed them mayonnaise. Call Starkist.”

In all seriousness, current WEHA executive director Bill Frame’s creation of the C/B hockey league this year may be one of the best ideas to hit Crested Butte town hockey if not the town of Crested Butte, the Gunnison Valley or, dare I say, the entire sport of hockey. It’s right up there with playing 3v3 in overtime.

I mean, it’s no rotary idea but it’s also not nearly as controversial. 

Well, the C/B town league hockey season came to a triumphant close Sunday, March 10, at Big Mine Ice Arena as the Talk of the Town took down Altitude Painting in back-to-back games to take the C/B town league hockey title.

Bill Dickerson would be so proud, perhaps even LaDonna too. 

It was a dream deferred for Altitude Painting for which it did in fact explode. They came into the playoffs and rattled off successive wins enroute to the finals, including a win over the Talk of the Town that sent the Talk to the loser’s bracket. I’m sorry, in these times of ultra-sensitivity we will call it, the bracket for those who did not win but still might and therefore makes them just as important as those that did win.

The Talk did survive through that bracket to rise back up for a rematch with Altitude Painting and exacted revenge not just once, but twice.

The immediacy of the situation for the Talk of the Town was evident in their first game that night as a loss would mean the end of it all. As a result, they came out determined to force a second game and made it known in the third minute of the game when Maura Roche roofed, and I mean ROOFED, a backhand during a melee in the slot off an assist from Cody Sexe.

The Talk remained in control the entire period with Quinn Nicolich wreaking havoc up and down the wing, but Altitude’s team defense and goalie James Brennan did what they could to keep the Talk to their slim one-goal lead through the remainder of the first period.

Altitude Painting switched gears for the start of the second period as Clay Meier’s pinpoint poke checks and diligent backchecking by the entire team disrupted the Talk’s mojo.

Max Carroll found some openings up the ice for Altitude Painting but Talk goalie Nicholas Mikeska was on point in net seemingly surging for the post season to deny Altitude the back of the net.

The game remained tight throughout the entire second period, but the Talk finally tacked on a second goal early in the third period when a shot from Andreas Kavountzis from the point clipped off a skate and past Brennan for a 2-0 Talk lead. One minute later Patrick Walsh scored for a 3-0 Talk lead before Altitude Painting finally scored when Kyle Koelliker assisted Carroll for their lone goal before falling 3-1 and resulting in a second game that evening.

It was now down to one final game and Altitude Painting turned their effort up a notch with the title now officially on the line. With CJ Hoover hovering around the blue line looking to break loose, David Bright battling in the slot for shots and Meier skating like a man possessed, Altitude Painting was knocking on the Talk’s door. But early chances were turned away and the Talk ended the first period on top 1-0 as Jay Plvan poked in a rebound.

Then, the Talk opened up a big ‘ol can in the second period scoring four unanswered goals. Walsh started it off scoring in the first minute of the second period. Then, when Brennan stopped a shot by Plvan, the puck sat still just behind him in front of the goal line. An Altitude Painting player dove over Brennan to try and swat it clear, but Kestral Kunz had slipped in through the mess to lift the puck over the diving player and score for a 3-0 Talk lead.

The Talk then finished it out in the final two minutes of the second period as Jimmy Hensley scored off an assist from Walsh and then Walsh set up the other #10 Ben Henson for a goal and a 5-0 lead heading into the third period.

I’d like to say that Altitude Painting then mounted an incredible comeback to pull within one goal. Then, pulled their goalie to tie it up in the final 10 seconds only to have the Talk win it in overtime during the 3v3 format.

But they didn’t and the Talk cruised through a scoreless third period for the C/B town league title.

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