Results from Breck Bucks final homestand and Summit HS boy’s hockey season closer
Special to the Daily
BRECKENRIDGE BUCKS VS. COLORADO THUNDERBIRDS — FEB. 19-20
The Breckenridge Bucks wrapped up the regular season this past weekend (Feb. 19-20) in Littleton against the Colorado Thunderbirds. Regardless of the outcome the Bucks knew that they would be finishing third in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League heading into playoffs.
The Bucks (26-14) had two main goals for the final regular games: finish strong and avoid any new injuries. They were able to accomplish both tasks and get a sweep in the process for the final series against the Thunderbirds (13-27).
Bucks defenseman Chance Mundorf kicked off the scoring in Friday night’s game, finding the back of the net just over 3 minutes into the contest with the lone first-period goal.
Although the Thunderbirds would strike back in the first minute of the second period, it was more or less all Bucks from there as the Breck crew got tallies from Jake Wener, plus a natural hat-trick from Drake Cole. Performances from Wener and Cole put the team comfortably ahead for a 5-2 win.
Saturday night the Bucks opted to rest goalie Oliver Elvenger and start Summit High School senior Wyatt Dickerson for the second time since keeper Lincoln Riley’s injury. Dickerson received plenty of offensive support over the course of the game, as the Bucks put 60 shots on net in the contest.
From those 60 shots, the Bucks had goals from defenseman Ben Schoffield and forwards Milou Lofstrom, Lajcaj and Wener. The three forwards each had two goals as they battled back from an early 2-4 deficit to win 7-5.
Heading into the post-season, the Bucks are the only team that’s been able to steal a couple of wins from both the No. 1 Pikes Peak Miners (34-6) and No. 2 Aspen Leafs (34-6) this season. The Bucks end the season in third with 54 points.
The third-place finish grants the Bucks home ice for the preliminary round of the playoffs. The team returns home to face the Glacier Yeti (2-36) in the first round of playoffs this weekend in a best two-of-three series. Puck drops 7:50 p.m. on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 at Stephen C. West Ice Arena. If these two teams split, Yetis and Bucks will meet for their final matchup on Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m.
The Bucks’ playoff games are flanked by playoffs for the Continental Divide Youth Hockey League, as both of Summit’s pee-wee A and B teams host playoffs for their leagues the same weekend at the Breck ice arena.
Friday, Feb. 19
Score 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Bucks 1 3 1 5
T’Birds 0 1 1 2
Saturday, Feb. 20
Score 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Bucks 2 2 3 7
T’Birds 3 1 1 5
A NEAR MISS IN THE FINAL STRETCH FOR SUMMIT HS BOY’S HOCKEY
The Summit High School boy’s hockey team finished its season this past week. The team had seen its fair share of success and shortcomings over the course of the season, but the resilient group battled through the month of February to come close and closer to a comeback in the tough Colorado high school league.
The program experienced late success during the season, but it wasn’t enough to propel them into the playoffs. The Tigers faced off against mountain rival Aspen for their final game of the season last week after dropping their senior-night game to a very physical and talented Steamboat team the previous week.
Due to how tight the playoff picture was in the final two weeks of play there was an outside chance that the Tigers could sneak into playoffs. With a win and then a subsequent Aspen tie the following night, the Tigers might have found an unlikely backdoor route for the final playoff spot.
Head coach Billy Barto was excited about the prospect but ultimately knew that the chances were slim. He also knew that his team had to fight and hope for the best. Going back to his commentary from the beginning of the season, the coach remarked that the year was all about growth and development. After a 0-6-1 start before their first victory, the Tigers went 3-3 down the stretch, making a case for their playoff candidacy by beating Kent Denver, Mullen and archrival Battle Mountain along the way in their end-of-season run. There was a sense of what-could-have-been, as the Tigers looked back at a tie game against Standley Lake on Jan. 8 and the loss to Columbine on Jan. 21. Both were missed opportunities that could have put the Summit team in a better position for their final push.
The Aspen Skiers knew what was at stake: a win against Summit would put them in position for the playoffs. They played the Tigers aggressively, outshooting the Summit crew 37-14 over the course of the game. Senior goaltender Wyatt Dickerson, playing in his final high school game, fought to keep the game manageable as he turned aside 36 of 37 shots to give his team an opportunity. The Tigers eventually fell 0-2, as the Skiers scored an empty-net goal to seal the win.
Despite the loss, the game was still time for celebration. 9280 Pond hockey Tournament commissioner Mike Gempler presented the Tigers team with a check for $3,643.20 from fundraising efforts at the January pond tournament in Keystone. The game was also the last hurrah for eight seniors who depart the Tigers team: Johann Westerhoff, Casey Lewark, Sean Costello, Carter Flavell, Brendan Greenberg, Joe McComb, Bode Culbreath and Wyatt Dickerson.
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