Taylor Smith waited in front of the net as the Dakota Ridge wingers worked with the puck in the corners. His patience would be paid off soon enough.
The puck finally popped out to him in the high slot and he put it past Josh Aycock for the eventual game-winning goal with 7 minutes, 47 seconds left in regulation as Dakota Ridge posted a 4-2 victory over rival Chatfield on Dec. 5 at the Edge Ice Arena. The win, coupled with an earlier 4-1 win over Doherty has the Eagles off to a 2-0 start to the 2013-14 ice hockey season.
“It’s really big for the hockey team. We haven’t really won much. The season is looking good so far. Hopefully we can pull off a great season and go far in the playoffs,” Smith said.
Not so fast. There is still plenty of regular-season games to get through first, but this start isn’t too shabby.
Zach Williams’ rebound goal early in the second period gave Dakota Ridge a 1-0 lead. Andrew Endsley added an insurance goal with 38.4 seconds remaining in regulation. Goaltender Jeff Hart finished with 27 saves.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work in the offseason. I think what it really comes down to is we have a good group in the locker room. It starts from there. These kids have been used to losing for so many years. We really changed that mentality inside our locker room,” Dakota Ridge head coach Alec Hines said. “With that being said, it needs to transpire on the ice. A prime example of that was us coming together in the third period and shutting the door.”
But not before Chatfield did its best to make a game of it.
The Chargers tied the score at 1-all in the second period on an Alex Thompson tally. Then after the Eagles scored on a Joey Dolce goal just 7 seconds into the third period on a 4-on-4, Chatfield tied it again just 95 seconds later on Brian Vits’ power-play score. But the short-handed Chargers couldn’t keep up.
Aycock made 33 stops for the Chargers, who were playing without Tyler Seltenreich and Chase Smith who were both absence due to their club hockey program commitments.
“We’re a young team. We don’t have all of our guys. Some guys are still playing club and are not allowed to play. So we’re a little short-handed there, a little bit inexperienced as far just playing together,” Chatfield Senior head coach Mark Glombecki said. “The high school season is really bang-bang and the games are ready to go.”
While Glombecki said the Chargers haven’t jelled yet, which is somewhat obvious as the team sandwiched the Dakota Ridge loss with defeats to Columbine and Cheyenne Mountain, their time is coming. For now, however, it’s Dakota Ridge’s time.
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.