U19s eye prize from different perspective
Blades split final doubleheader, take No. 2 seed to state
Times Staff Writer
Originally published 2013-02-14
The U19 Blades are taking a different approach into this year’s Mountain States Girls Hockey League (MSGHL) tournament.
After entering as the No. 1 seed for the past two years — only to fall short of bringing home any championship banners — the Blades black team will begin competition at the Edge Ice Arena in Denver, Feb. 22, as the No. 2 seed.
Playing without the core of their defensive skaters, the Blades split two games in New Mexico over the weekend to end the regular season tied with Aspen, at 17-3. Aspen will enter the MSGHL tournament as the No. 1 seed, having beaten the Blades in their only two meetings during league play.
“We feel confident, because we’ve been right there (at the league tournament) the last two years,” said Marisa Danos. “I think that gives us the drive to make this the year.”
The Blades scrambled to make up for the absence of defenders Sydney Archuleta and Madison Lambert in game one against Team New Mexico. After a Blades goal tied the game at 4-4 to begin the third period, New Mexico found the net twice to steal a 6-4 win.
Marissa Lambert scored two goals and had an assist in the game, while Hailey Pike and Alyssa McGuire also found the net. Alexandra Sunter and Danos provided assists.
“In the first game, it was difficult because we were still trying to figure things out,” said goalie Maddie Smith, who had 12 stops in the game. “But we got better as the game went on.”
By the time Sunday’s rematch rolled around, the Blades were more than prepared to take another test. Two goals from Marissa Lambert in the first period gave the Blades a boost en route to a 4-1 victory.
Ashley Crittendon and Jessica D’Aquila put the finishing touches on the win with goals in the third period. Jennifer Ehmsen, Sunter, McGuire and Crittendon also had assists in the game.
“I think it was impressive overall,” said coach Fred Stewart. “We controlled the puck well for most of the game and came out with the understanding that we needed to win to be in a good position going into state.”
Smith was a rock between the pipes, stopping 14-of-15 shots on goal.
The U19 Blades will be one of six teams at the MSGHL tournament, which takes place Friday, Feb. 22, through Sunday, Feb. 24. After playing four round-robin games between Friday and Saturday, the teams with the best records will move on to the championship game.
The Blades’ first games will take place at 3 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22. All games will be played at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton.
(Matt Smith can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org)