Summit High School hockey rises to moment to defeat Aspen |

Summit High School hockey rises to moment to defeat Aspen

Tigers top conference with 8-3 record

Highlights from the Summit High School Tigers versus Glenwood Springs Demons game Saturday, Dec. 21, at Stephen C. West Arena in Breckenridge.
Liz Copan /

BRECKENRIDGE — Over the summer, while Summit High School hockey head coach Joey Otsuka prepped college skaters for camps, Tigers freshman Finn Theriault was seemingly always in view out of the corner of the coach’s eye. The rising freshman would be on the ice by himself, setting up cones and pushing himself through drills, putting in the work when no one else was.

“And that work is paying off for him,” Otsuka said Tuesday.

In recent games, Theriault has been in the right place at the right time, using his advanced skating and puck skills and battling through physicality to score important goals for the Tigers (8-3). He did that again Saturday night in a high-pressure, high-skilled home game versus Aspen (3-5-2). At the 1:38 mark of the second period, the freshman finished a power-play goal to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead after a slobber-knocker of a first period versus the Skiers.

After Aspen responded with a goal just over two minutes later, Theriault scored a gritty even-strength goal to give Summit a lead it’d never relinquish.

“In tight hockey games, we try, as a coaching staff, to explain to the kids, ‘Hey, this is not going to be an individual (score). You are not going to go through their whole team. The goal will be a shot where you’re grinding to get a rebound, you’re getting cross-checked at the back. So go to the gritty areas,'” Otsuka said. “And that’s exactly what it was: a good shot. And Finn was there for the rebound and banged it home.”

Summit hockey

Dec. 6: at Cheyenne Mountain, W, 7-3
Dec. 7: at Heritage, L, 8-2
Dec. 11: vs. Steamboat Springs, W, 6-3
Dec. 14: at Coronado, W, 6-2
Dec. 18: at Battle Mountain, L, 4-1
Dec. 21: vs. Glenwood Springs, W, 3-2
Jan. 4: at Mullen, L, 2-5
Jan. 10: vs. Crested Butte, W, 5-1
Jan. 11: vs. Crested Butte, W, 6-3
Jan. 17: at Palmer, W, 6-0
Jan. 18: vs. Aspen, W, 6-2
Jan. 25: Chaparral, 5 p.m.
Jan. 31: at Steamboat Springs, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: at Glenwood Springs, 7:45 p.m.
Feb. 8: at Aspen, 6:15 p.m.
Feb. 12: vs. Battle Mountain, 6:45 p.m.
Feb. 14: at Liberty, 6:45 p.m.
Feb. 15: vs. Woodland Park, 3 p.m.
Feb. 22: vs. Standley Lake, 6 p.m.

Theriault tacked on a goal in the third period for a hat-trick as Summit used its depth to battle through a defense-heavy first period that saw just 13 shots to come alive in the final two periods. Summit outshot Aspen over the final two periods 37-18, as Ranger Stone scored twice and Max Bonenberger added a score.

On the other end, Otsuka lauded the effort and execution of senior goaltender Jake Mallory. The stone-faced Mallory stopped 20 of 22 shots, setting his angles correctly and never wavering on his focus — on or off the ice.

“He’s the cornerstone of the team, and he knows it,” Otsuka said. “And he expects other players to play with the same intensity, focus and responsibility he does.”

Now ranked 11th in the state, Summit will next play at home at 5 p.m. Saturday versus Chaparral at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge.

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