Three games in three days – a tough task to ask for any Junior hockey club. Oh, and your opponent is the league-leading Pikes Peak Miners who have just two losses in their first 25 games. Despite the odds defending RMJHL champion Aspen Leafs managed three points in the three games, winning the finale on Sunday.
Pikes Peak have all but locked up the regular season title, currently holding a 27-point advantage on second place Aspen. Come playoff time it is a new season and with that the Leafs have proven they can win on the road, even at Sertich Ice Arena.
The weekend series started with what has become a familiar scenario for the Miners – giving up an early lead only to storm back and score goals in bunches. Trailing 2-0 Pikes Peak went on a four-goal run on their way to a 6-3 win.
Christian Gums (two goals, one assist) and Patrick Alldredge (two goals) provided plenty of offense while goalie Matty Taylor was brilliant stopping 58 of 61 shots.
Aspen came ready again the following night, outshooting the home team 15-5 in the opening period. Unfortunately the Leafs could not solve Erik Anderson, who played solid in net throughout finishing with 46 saves. The game remained scoreless until early in the second period when Cory Kane gave Aspen the 1-0 lead.
Paul Norris would tie the game before second intermission in an evenly played period. The third began in typical Miners style with Gums scoring at 3:41 to give Pikes Peak their first lead. On this night Aspen had a response as Jack Allen and Tommy Bowe goals would put the Leafs back in front 3-2 at the 8:51 mark. It took a Kole Mudra tally at 14:40 to tie it before eventually going into overtime.
Alldredge would be the hero of the night when he scored the game-winner at 1:21 of OT. In a game that had Aspen out shoot the Miners 49-32 the Leafs were left with a single point in the standings.
The weekend finale finally saw Aspen rewarded for their efforts coming away with a 4-2 victory. In a game that saw the visitors with another big advantage on the shot chart (39-22) it took a third period rally to earn the win.
Curtis Martin scored the only goal of the opening period to give the Miners the lead. The Leafs would tie it midway into the second when Boston Lindlair scored. That is where the game stood entering the final frame.
Brody Bryce found the net at 3:57 of the third and Pikes Peak had their lead once again. This time it would be Aspen with the flurry of goals as Alec Johnson (two) and Tyler Perry scored to take the well-deserved two points.
For the weekend Aspen held a large advantage in shots, totaling 149 in the three games. If not for the strong play of the Miners goaltender tandem of Taylor and Anderson the series could have ended with much different results.