Results from the Breckenridge Bucks vs. Pikes Peak Miners | SummitDaily.com

Results from the Breckenridge Bucks vs. Pikes Peak Miners

Wren Arbuthnot
Special to the Daily

The Breckenridge Bucks celebrate after splitting a weekend series with the top-ranked Pikes Peak Miners at Stephen C. West Ice Arena on Jan. 1. The Bucks enter the inaugural Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League postseason in third place behind the Miners and No. 2 Aspen Leafs.

BRECK BUCKS VS. PIKES PEAK MINERS — DEC. 31 AND JAN. 1

Thursday, Dec. 31

Score 1st 2nd 3rd Final

Bucks 1 1 2 4

Miners 0 4 1 5

Friday, Dec. 1

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Score 1st 2nd 3rd OT SO Final

Bucks 0 1 1 0 (1) 3

Miners 0 2 0 0 (0) 2

The Breckenridge Bucks (17-8) were back in action the final weekend of 2015 with games against the top-ranked Pikes Peak Miners (21-3) on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Despite having two weeks off, the Bucks came out flying. Forward Anthony Flores scored on the first shot of the game (less than a minute in) on a walk out from the corner.

After that, the Bucks turned the puck over a few times during the first period on ill-advised passes up the middle in their zone. But goalie Oliver Elvenger was up to the task, making several critical saves to preserve the Bucks first-period lead.

The Bucks felt the Miners' wrath though in the second period. Pikes Peak capitalized on several turnovers in a very short span, undercutting the Bucks and turning a 1-0 game into a 4-1 game halfway through the second period. The Bucks didn't give up, as forward Jake Wener tipped in a shot on a power play with less than a minute left in the period to cut the Miners lead by one, 4-2.

Despite a boost at the end of the second period the Bucks came out flat in the third period. Yet again, the Miners made them pay, as Loghan Houghton pounced on a rebound and boosted the Miners lead to 5-2.

The Bucks seemed destined to fall short to the high-powered Miners but got back in the game in the most unlikely of ways with a pair of shorthanded goals from Wener and Flores, bringing the game to 5-4. But the Bucks weren't able to complete the comeback and lost by one.

The Bucks began the New Year with a second chance against the Miners. Returning to the home lineup was local talent Ben Schoeffield — and not a moment too soon. On the first shift of the game, the already shorthanded Bucks lost forward Nick Neddo to a broken clavicle. Despite line juggling, the Bucks managed to escape the first frame unscathed behind solid goaltending from Lincoln Riley.

In the second period the Bucks adjusted and moved to a trapping style of play meant to contain the deep, high-powered Miners team. Pikes Peak sunk an early goal in the second off a rebound opportunity with a two-one rush. They found the net again halfway through the second off a bad turnover deep in the Bucks zone. The home team answered less than a minute later, as Swedish forward Milou Lofstrom picked the pocket of a Miners player and sent a haphazard shot on net, where it bounced off a Miners player before falling in.

The Bucks continued their passive style through the first half of the third period to capitalized on lackluster play from the opposition. It lasted until Miners' defenseman Cameron Komrofske was called for a five-minute major, when the Bucks adjusted their tactics and began to empty the tank. The Bucks were unable to score on the major penalty, but with just over a minute to go Lofstrom sprung for a breakaway and buried his second goal of the night to tie the game at the buzzer.

The Bucks managed to kill off two successive penalties in the extra period and sent the game into a five-shot shootout. After spending the majority of the game containing the Miners, the Bucks suddenly found themselves with a fantastic opportunity to win the game. Both goaltenders were excellent in the Shootout, but the Bucks prevailed behind Riley. After facing 61 shots in regulation, he turned aside all five Pikes Peak shooters. Lofstrom scored the lone goal of the shootout to give the Bucks a weekend split and hand the Miners their first defeat since November.

The win moves the Bucks two points closer in their quest to overtake the Aspen Leafs (21-5) in second place. The Bucks travel to Monument next weekend to face the Colorado Rampage.