Grizzlies open season with trip to Aspen Fall Face Off
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
The Glenwood Springs Youth Hockey Association Squirt C team recently participated in the wildly popular Aspen Fall Face Off hockey tournament, which is held each year at the Aspen Ice Garden and Lewis Ice Arena.
The event is hosted across multiple weekends in October and November and draws teams from across Colorado, Wyoming and Texas. Not only does the event provide opportunities for hockey teams to assess their skills and development prior to the regular season, but the city of Aspen benefits from more than 40 teams and their families between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
As the Glenwood Ice Rink did not yet have ice, the 9- and 10-year-old members of Glenwood’s Squirt C team participated in the event while a little unsure of their capabilities.
The team’s only practices were two shared ice events at the Eagle Ice Rink and many players were still participating in fall sports.
Any reservations quickly went away once the players took to the ice.
Their first game was with host tournament host Aspen.
The game was scoreless until Ryan Kotz scored the first goal of the season with an assist from Gavin Olson.
Olson scored again (unassisted) just over a minute later to end the period, 2-0.
The Grizzlies continued to pressure hard in the second period and capitalized on a power play when Olson got his second assist by setting up Owen Houston for a goal and 3-0 lead.
Glenwood goaltender Ian Richardson continued to shut down the Aspen shots for a scoreless third period and 3-0 shutout victory for Glenwood’s Squirt C team.
Big third period lifts DCC
The Grizzly Squirt C team returned to Aspen early the next morning for an 8:15 a.m. game against Denver Country Club (DCC).
The Squirts showed character, keeping their cool after giving up a goal off the opening faceoff. They responded with two goals in the first period.
Logan Radtke scored with another assist by Olson and Jacob Barsness scored with an assist by Travis Leahy. The first period ended with the Grizzlies leading, 2-1.
DCC scored twice in second period to go up, 3-2, before Olson scored again to even the score at 3.
The pattern repeated itself toward the end of the period, when DCC again scored twice before Olson responded to end the period DCC leading, 5-4.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, DCC scored five unanswered goals in the third period for a 10-4 win.
Later in the evening, Glenwood was matched up against eventual tournament winner Arapahoe.
Arapahoe was able to build a 2-0 advantage before Trace Apostolik was able to get the Grizzlies on the board by scoring the only goal of the second period.
Arapahoe extended the lead to 3-1 before Matthew Thrun and Barsness combined for Thrun’s first goal of the tournament.
The Grizzlies could not hold off Arapahoe, which scored twice more for a 5-2 win.
The final game was a rematch against DCC.
While the Grizzlies were able to keep DCC to seven goals, that was too many as Glenwood scored twice with goals by Thrun (Ryan Mooney assisted), and another unassisted goal by Olson for the 7-2 loss.
In other Grizzly Hockey action, the Midget Major A team traveled to Steamboat Springs for a non-league game against Steamboat Springs High School.
Similar to the Squirts, the Midgets were facing their first opponent after only a couple of shared ice practices in Eagle, and with many players still committed to fall sports.
The Grizzlies found themselves outplayed in the first two periods, but began to really get in sync with one another by the third period to match the third period scoring, 2-all. Unfortunately, the first two periods had the Grizzlies down by a score of 8-1 and the final count was 10-3.
All the scoring for the Grizzlies was done by those newest to the Glenwood Springs Youth Hockey Association. Matt Shelden scored twice with assists by Dylan Cook and Tanner Wood. Taylor Brown also scored, with an assist by Michael Porter.
Glenwood Midget Head Coach Tim Cota and the coaching staff were impressed with what they saw this early in the season and the group looks forward to a promising season.
With the Glacier Ice Arena in Grand Junction inoperative for the 2010-11 hockey season, the Grizzly Midget Major A team was able to welcome a half dozen Western Slope players who would have been at risk of not playing hockey this season.
Next up for the Grizzly Midget squad is the Vail Eagle Sportsmanship Tournament this weekend. Similar to the Aspen Fall Face Off, the Sportsmanship tournament hosts teams from across Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and Utah, and is held throughout weekends in October and November.
Registration for the 2010-11 Grizzly Hockey season is currently open for players 18 years old and younger from Glenwood Springs and the surrounding areas.
More information is available at http://www.grizzlyhockey.org.
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