Times Staff Writer
CBHS Hockey — Finding the back of the net in hockey isn’t the easiest feat. Especially considering the puck is only three inches in diameter.
Yet, the Crested Butte High School (CBHS) hockey team made it look easy once again this past weekend in two games at home. They demolished Columbine High School 8-3 on Friday and Glenwood Springs 7-2 on Saturday.
Currently, the Titans are No. 1 in the Peak Conference when it comes to scoring — with 29 goals. Additionally, CBHS’ offense has been dominant at home, averaging six goals per game while only giving up a single goal.
While the Titans started off slow against Columbine, once they found the back of the net, the Rebels’ chance of winning went out the window.
With 4:24 left in the first period, Joseph Stock got things going for CBHS, finding the back of the net on a Matthew Solanik assist to give the Titans a 1-0 lead.
Just as it appeared that Columbine would go into the second period down by one, Rachel Potoker found Sam Stepanek who scored on the fastbreak. CBHS’ offense continued its pressure in the second period — only taking 45 seconds to extend the Titans’ lead to 4-0.
Thirty seconds into the second, Ted Trujillo skated behind the net and found a way to squeeze the puck past the goalie. Fifteen seconds later, Stock found the back of the net again.
The Rebels continued to look for an opening. But the Titans’ defense of Potoker, John Smith and goalie Shaughn Rourke proved too much.
Ultimately, however, after a line substitution, Columbine found the back of the net, cutting CBHS’ lead to 4-1. The Rebels scored again with 7:33 left in the second period.
Yet, with 1:42 left in the second, Stock found the back of the net — recording a hat trick, or scoring three goals in a single game — and extended the Titans’ lead to 5-2.
“We are finally working as a team and win against teams we should,” said Stock. “But for me all that hard work pays off when those hats hit the ice.”
Still, in the third period, Stepanek, Graham Barrett and Dominic Piccaro all scored, telescoping away from the Rebels by a score of 8-2. Columbine found the net once more, but it was too little, too late.
While CBHS has been dominant on offense at home all season, the action slowed Saturday against Glenwood Springs. Both teams had early opportunities on to score but were unable to capitalize.
With 1:28 left in the first period, the Demons put on the pressure. However, a CBHS line composed of Stepanek, Stock, Picarro, Jack Lambert, and Adam Collins denied Glenwood.
The Demons had another opportunity to score with 6.8 second left in the first. Yet once again the Titans denied the attempt — helping CBHS gain an edge in the second period.
With 15:39 left in the second Jakub Kozanyi found the back of the net off an assist from Hunter Wright .The Titans continued to pressure Glenwood and nearly scored with 6:11 left to go. However, the shot just missed wide left.
The Titans didn’t miss their next opportunity. With 4:41 left in the second, Kaden Hardesty found the back of the neck off a deflection — extending the lead to 2-0.
Possessing a a five-on-three advantage, the Demons had a chance to cut the lead to one goal with 3:16 left to play in the second period. Yet, the defense of Picarro, Barrett and Collins curtailed the effort.
With the second period coming to a close — and all five Titans finally back on the ice — Barrett found the back of the net, extending the lead to 3-0.
CBHS then picked up a five-on-three opportunity to push the lead to 4-0. This time, Glenwood’s defense stopped the Titans — using the momentum to rejuvenate their spirits.
Hat trick No. 2
With 6:57 left in the game, Glenwood found the back of the net, cutting CBHS’ lead to 3-1. And a minute later, the Demons scored again.
However, Kozanyi answered by pushing the Titans’ lead to 4-2 — a goal that kick-started CBHS’ offense. As the second period neared an end, Joe Coburn found the back of the net — resulting in the student section erupting in cheers.
With 1:36 left to play, Kozanyi found the back of the net once again — recording his own hat trick.
“I honestly think I didn’t play a good game, but it felt great to the help the team get the win,” said Kozanyi. “We played like a team this weekend, which is why I was able to score.”
Before the final buzzer, Stock got in on the scoring action, skating around the back of the net and sneaking the puck past the Demon goalie.
With six games left in the season, the Titans (5-1) currently are tied for first place in the Peak Conference with No. 12 Aspen.
“It’s good to see our hard work paying off,” said Stepanek. “The team and I are in no way satisfied with a tie for first and are looking to take over the Peak Conference.”
CBHS will have a good chance to claim as much, as five of six remaining games are at home. Still, the Titans will face a tough challenge on Saturday, Jan. 26. They host No. 11 Battle Mountain at 12 p.m.
(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or email@example.com.)