The puck drops on rec league hockey’s fall season
BRECKENRIDGE – The puck dropped on adult hockey’s five fall leagues Thursday night at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge.
In a lopsided contest, the D League stalwarts Alpha Omega skated past the youthful Cala Inn to a 6-1 victory.
These two teams met in the summer playoffs and the Alpha Omega side earned a 4-3 victory. However, Alpha Omega failed to win the final, and Cala Inn celebrated its first playoff birth in its 7-month existence.
“We’ve played in the D League for 4 years,” said Alpha Omega captain Mark Ladago after the game. “And we’re going to stay here until we win it. This is our season to do it, we’re gonna win it all.”
The Cala Inn players echoed such enthusiasm as well.
“We’re not only going to finish above .500,” captain and Cala Inn owner Scott Pohlman remarked in response to a teammate’s prediction for the squad. “We’re going to win the whole thing. But only if we play better than we did tonight.”
Alpha Omega would like nothing more than to control games the rest of the season, like they did on Thursday.
Paul Dierel and Ladago dominated on faceoffs throughout the game, affording their team more possessions and chances to put shots to Cala Inn substitute net-minder Damon Polich.
The scoring opened in the seventh minute when Polich had trouble handling a shot from his left. The rebound fell to Mary Quinn, who put it in the goal.
Polich redeemed himself later in the period with two 1-on-1 saves and a nifty glove save. He was helped in the defensive end by Keith VanEs, whose two pokes of the puck dispossessed a pair of charging forwards in the final minute of the first period.
The Cala Inn immediately evened the score in the opening minute of the second period off a determined effort by Todd Hanson. After taking a pass from Pohlman, Hanson positioned himself in front of Alpha Omega stand-in goalie, Matt Stinnett, and put a shot on target that proved too tough to handle. Stinnett could only manage to block the puck and Hanson knocked in the rebound for the equalizer.
The Cala Inn back line had trouble throughout the game clearing the puck under pressure and controlling it in the neutral zone. Dierel forced a turnover against the boards midway through the period, tried to cut back into the center of the ice, stumbled, and managed to get a shot off that surprised Polich and reached the back of the net for the game winner.
A power play goal by Mark Kramer signaled the start of an onslaught of chances with 10 minutes remaining.
Kim Swanson added another after she collected a pass from the right wing and fired high to the glove side of Polich, who was left helpless. Kramer made good on a centering pass from Ladago with seven minutes to play, and Christine Sperber capped the deluge with a wrist shot after a clean faceoff win by Ladago in the Cala defensive end.
Both teams will certainly work hard to reach the championship game on Dec. 18.
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