Ski School riding high atop C League after sixth victory
BRECKENRIDGE – Led by Scott Stoeckel’s hat trick, Ski School blanked Agent Orange 5-0 Wednesday night in a matchup of first- and last-place C League hockey teams. The win upped Ski School’s record to 6-1-1, as the team continues to pave a C League path of success that has been going strong for a number of years now. “We’ve been playing together for over four years,” said Stoeckel, “and we practice as much as possible.”So what makes Ski School a dominant team in the league? According to their coach (yes, even C League teams have room on their bench for a coach), a pair of female additions have made quite an impact. Jamilee Headley, who scored the first goal of the game Wednesday on a rebound, and Jessica Johns, who will be leaving at the end of the summer to play for the CU women’s ice hockey club team, both have helped the squad jump out to its fast start this summer.
“Girls play a big key,” said coach Ingemar Losch. “They’ve got skills and help the team greatly. Also, Chris Erickson (Ski School’s netminder). He’s got the lowest GAA (goals against average) in all 3 leagues right now and is a real cornerstone to the team.” True to form, Erickson recorded a shutout on Wednesday, turning away all 11 shots he saw. He has yielded just six goals in eight games.The fact that Ski School has a coach says a lot. Losch has the ability to direct line changes and add effective strategy to the game, an advantage enjoyed by few teams in any of Summit’s rec hockey leagues.”I’m here because I love the sport,” said Losch, who plays in the B League when he’s not coaching. “The more I play, the more I want to be around the ice.”
In addition to Losch and the hotshot girls, a number of veterans contribute to the team’s consistency. Among them are captain Bob Hamel, lifelong skater Matt Gallo and Tom Vitalone – a trio complemented by second-year skating sensation Andy Kelch. “He’s got incredible speed and excellent stick-handling abilities,” Losch said of Kelch.As if the talent on the team wasn’t enough, Ski School even comes equipped with a heckling fan base. It was out in full force on Wednesday, berating Agent Orange, which has struggled this summer since making the jump up from the D League recently. At 1-7, Orange sits at the bottom of the C League standings.Add the hecklers to the wealth of scorers and you’ve got one heck of a solid ice hockey team. Which brings up the obvious question: With all its success, why wouldn’t Ski School make the move to the B league?
More than anything, the team believes its skills are best suited for the C League, plain and simple.Vitalone explained it this way: “There used to be just A, B, and C leagues. Ice hockey has become so huge in Summit County that there are now A through E leagues during the busy seasons. C-leaguers played some high school and mostly recreation hockey. B-leaguers played at the college level. A league is semi-pro.” There are plenty of benefits to a league maintaining consistent members, and the rivalry that Ski School has developed with Fatty’s is one of them. Fatty’s defeated Ski School last week, but Ski School maintains the best record the league. Fatty’s is second, not far behind at 5-3.As the postseason looms ever larger, Ski School and Fatty’s appear the favorites to meet in a title tilt later this summer – though All Electric and CC&S Construction will likely have a say in whether that happens before it’s all said and done.
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