Breck Vipers hockey fall to Vail Yeti in season opener, 3-6
Breck Vipers vs. Vail Yeti — Nov. 12
1st 2nd 3rd Final
Breck 1 1 1 3
Vail 1 1 4 6
17:08 Vail — Brent Sands (Matt Merritt, Spencer Gold)
7:10 Breck — Zeke Yslas (Braxton Green, Kaleb Schway)
15:20 Vail — Bill Foster (Dalton Spellman)
7:14 Breck — Rick Batenburg (Tyler Cavan, Tyler Snyder)
17:35 Vail — Brent Sands (Kyle Dove, Ryan DeRousse)
17:04 Vail — Justin Elmore (unassisted)
9:55 Breck — Mike Luke (Brad Edelberg, Tyler Snyder)
9:40 Vail — Brent Sands (Kyle Dove, Ryan DeRousse)
7:42 Vail — Dalton Speelman (Bill Foster)
BRECKENRIDGE — It wasn’t exactly how the Breckenridge Vipers wanted to open their first season as defending Mountain West Hockey League champs. Luckily, there’s plenty of season remaining.
On Saturday night, the Breck Vipers semi-pro hockey team hosted cross-county rivals, the Vail Yeti, for the opening game of the 2016-17 season. After neck-and-neck play in the first two periods, the Yeti ran away with things in the third period for a 6-3 upset at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breck.
The night began with plenty of pomp and circumstance for the Vipers, including a banner-raising ceremony marking the 2015-16 MWHL Commissioners’ Cup title for the best regular season record. The visitors took little notice, though, scoring the opening goal less than three minutes into the game. Breckenridge would answer soon after when veteran Zeke Yslas scored at 7:10 remaining in the first. Despite being outshot by the Yeti, 28-12, the Vipers held on to end the period tied, 1-1.
Breckenridge looked more poised on defense and offense coming into the second frame, but the Yeti again struck first when Bill Foster scored after 4:40 to make the game 2-1. The Vipers again responded when team owner and 2015-16 MWHL lead goal-maker, Rick Batenburg, scored his first of the season at 7:14. Shots in the period were 18-6, this time led by the Vipers.
The third was almost all Yeti. Momentum turned early in the frame, when Brent Sands scored his second of the game, followed by a Justin Elmore goal just 30 seconds later. Rookie Michael Luke scored his first-ever Vipers goal at 9:55 to make it 4-3, but the loud and cheering home crowd was quickly silenced 15 seconds later when Sands completed his hat trick. Vail went on to score once more — their fourth goal on nine shots in the third — to seal the 6-3 victory.
The Vipers next face Pikes Peak Vigilantes on Nov. 25 at Magness Arena in Denver. Face-off is at 7 p.m.
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