Aspen topples CRMS |

Aspen topples CRMS

Paul Conrad The Aspen Times

ASPEN, Colorado”After forfeiting two wins and a tie earlier in the day, Colorado Rocky Mountain School seemingly had little to play for Wednesday night under the lights at Aspen.

Or, everything to play for, considering the game the visiting Oysters gave the host Skiers.

Aspen won, 3-2, to give CRMS its 10th loss of the season, but only after falling behind twice in the first half and tinkering with overtime before Dillon Travers knocked in the game-winner off a long pass from Ben Armstrong in the 78th minute.

Travers’ goal restored order in a match where a handful of calls from the officials ” and the reaction from Aspen fans, players and coaches ” overshadowed the play on the field in the second half.

The calls that drew the most pronounced disapproval from Skiers fans were two offsides penalties that killed Aspen scoring runs, as well as a late yellow card on Aspen senior Kelly Selby for deflecting a free kick after not giving a CRMS player a 10-yard cushion. Selby and coach Junior Sutherland argued that such a cushion is only enforced if the offensive player asks for it, which never happened.

A heated Sutherland also voiced his displeasure on a no-call in the 62nd minute for a hard collision between the Skiers’ Kyle Lusk and a CRMS defender in the CRMS box that broke up a scoring chance.

A more subdued Sutherland said afterward that he wasn’t happy with some of the calls, but ultimately, what was most important was that his team was able to persevere and pull out the win.

“They played well and kept pushing and pushing, even if we didn’t understand some of the calls,” Sutherland said. “I guess what happened was at the half [the officials] said we were playing too physically and that they were going to call everything they saw. That’s not right. Physical is physical. But you don’t make offsides calls because of how physical the game is.”

CRMS coach Dan Pittz was wholly pleased with his team’s effort, in light of the news of the forfeits before the game. (See related story)

“These guys, they’ve come together amazingly as a team,” Pittz said. “The camaraderie they’ve fostered is incredible.”

As far as the officiating, Pittz said it was a non-issue.

“I think, in this type of a match, with this much energy, there’s going to be good calls and bad calls,” he said. “I liked the way it was called, and I thought both teams played their hearts out.”

CRMS (0-10) certainly put the Skiers (7-5, 5-4) on notice that Wednesday’s game wasn’t an automatic win for the home team when Charlie Boyne blasted a shot past Aspen keeper Alex Owen in the eighth minute.

Aspen tied the game five minutes later on a Lusk header off a pass from Armstrong, but CRMS did the Skiers one better in the 24th minute, with Noah Johnes knocking in a header of his own off a Mathew Myers’ assist.

Aspen tied the game at two in the final minute on a free kick. Selby, off a set piece, took a pass from Murphy Fyrwald and one-timed a shot that missed a wall of CRMS defenders and zipped into the top left corner of the net. CRMS goalie Frank Adgate ” who repeatedly broke up Aspen corner kicks and runs ” never had a chance on the shot.

The Skiers controlled the offensive possession in the second half and outshot CRMS, 15-7, but it was all for naught until Travers’ game-winner.

“It was important to get the win in the last five minutes,” Selby said afterward. “We didn’t want to go to overtime. We’re a team that tends to put our heads down in overtime.”

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