Moose Jaw beats Ullr’s in D League goaltending duel
BRECKENRIDGE – The Summit County Adult D Hockey League is heating up as temperatures plummet. The top three teams are separated by just three points, and the defending champs, Moose Jaw, anticipate a frenzied finish.”It’s close between us, GDI and Cala this year. It’s going to come down to the wire in the playoffs,” said Rob Weeks of Moose Jaw. Coming into this week’s play, GDI sits atop the standings at 7-0-1, while Moose Jaw is 6-0-2. The Cala Inn is hot on their tails at 5-2-1.Moose Jaw clashed with Ullr’s/O’Bryan Partners on Thursday night in a hard-fought game that saw the defending champions prevail, 2-0, with a pair of third-period goals.Ullr’s is in the middle of the pack and is fighting hard to make the playoffs.Goaltending set the tone early in the contest and dominated throughout. Randy Gill of Moose Jaw and Sean Mills for Ullr’s traded saves in what looked like a game that was destined for a scoreless tie. Ullr’s netminder Mills was tested first, and he passed with flying colors by keeping Moose Jaw off the board on an early power play. Mills kicked out a point-blank shot and rejected a breakaway in the first minute of the game.Gill matched him at the other end by smothering a close-range wrister by Ullr’s Josh Forsher, and the goaltending duel was on. Gill would go on to turn aside many golden opportunities by Ullr’s, whose Rory Mill, Korey Scheefer and Kevin Esposito made him eat rubber throughout the game.Gill proved he was up to the task by recording the shutout and shrinking his already miniscule goals-against average (GAA). Moose Jaw has now surrendered just seven goals in nine games.Meanwhile, at the other end, Mills took his mask off and almost keeled over between whistles as the second period wound down. “He was just exhausted, that was his second game tonight,” explained Ullr’s captain Andrew Clapp.Mills, a virtual goalie-for-hire who plays regularly for teams in the C and D leagues, fought through his exhaustion, keeping his team in the game. On a one-timer from the top of the crease, Moose Jaw celebrated a shot to the five-hole of Mills for what they thought was a second-period goal. But when Mills stood up the puck dropped in front of him, as somehow he managed to squeeze his legs together and keep the game tied.Halfway through the third period, Mills’ exhaustion caught up to him.Moose Jaw peppered him in a mad flurry and Katie Drees finished it off with the game-winner. On the third rebound of the sequence, she slammed the puck home and celebrated the 1-0 score. “I just stuck with it,” she said.World Cup speed skier Jake Fiala put the game away with just over four minutes remaining when he beat Mills with a hard wrist shot off the far post. The game was one of Fiala’s final chances to get his hockey fix before he heads off to the international ski circuit for the winter. Forsher made a valiant effort to put Ullr’s on the board, but it was not to be. The smooth-skating Ullr’s defenseman made a coast-to-coast rush and beat Gill with a high shot, but it rang the crossbar and Gill covered the rebound.”I thought everyone skated well. It was a nice, fast-paced game,” said Forsher.Ullr’s/O’Bryan Partners dropped to 4-4 with the loss, while Moose Jaw improved to 7-0-2 with the late-night victory.Matthew Duffy covers rec sports for the Summit Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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