WEHA u19 girls hockey finishes season at state tournament

“It was great, definitely a feeling of achievement for the team”

By Than Acuff 

The West Elk Hockey Association (WEHA) Wolverines u19 girls team entered their state tournament the sixth seed and won one of three games to finish in fourth when all was said and done, with their lone win one of the highlights of the season.

WEHA opened the weekend with a game against the Aspen Leafs on Friday, March 1, and started off with a bang as Riley Aslanian scored off an assist from Nicoline Friedrichsen in the first period for a 1-0 lead through the first period.

Aspen scored two in the second period to take a 2-1 lead, but WEHA responded in the opening minutes of the third period when senior captain Nicola Roberts scored tying the game 2-2. The Leafs responded, but when Aslanian scored her second goal of the game, the teams were locked in a 3-3 tie with 10 minutes left in the game. Aspen ended up with the last say though to score two more for the 5-3 win. WEHA goalie Reilly Seward finished with 18 saves. 

WEHA returned to the ice Saturday, March 2 to face the Colorado Springs Tigers. The Tigers had the upper hand against WEHA during the regular season and their rivalry came to a head during the league tournament the weekend before in a physical battle with the Tigers that left the Wolverines on edge. But they refocused for the game looking to do what they do and not get drawn into the drama.

“We decided to play and keep it classy,” says Roberts. “Be cautious but ready to play our game.”

The Wolverines struck first when Haley Roberts assisted sister Nicola for a goal and a 1-0 lead. The lead held throughout the second and third periods and when the Tigers pulled their goalie, Nicola scored an empty net goal for the 2-0 Wolverines win. Seward recorded 26 saves to tally the shutout.

“It was great, definitely a feeling of achievement for the team,” says Nicola.

WEHA hit a wall Sunday morning though when they took the ice to face the eventual tournament champions, Steamboat Springs.

Steamboat charged out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and then scored two more over the course of the second and third periods before WEHA responded when Aslanian and Nicola each scored for a bright finish to the season-ending 5-2 loss.

“It was definitely the best season I’ve played,” says Nicola. “It was great to have Joel (Aslanian) as a coach, he changed the standard of the team and we saw tremendous improvement from all players. We became a family which was really special.”

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