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Hockey: LA picks up first two wins of year

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By Dann Alison

The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team grabbed a pair of wins to improve its record to 2-1 over the weekend.

Los Alamos picked up its first win of the season in a dominating, performance, blasting the Taos Ice Tigers 13-2 Friday night, then returned two days later to grab a 4-2 win over the Eldorado Eagles. The win over Eldorado was in Los Alamos’ first home game of the 2009-10 season.

Friday night, the Hilltoppers scored early and often to upend the Ice Tigers.

Taos had a hard time dealing with the constant Los Alamos offensive pressure, while all four lines were offensively productive for the Hilltoppers.

On the other end of the ice, solid goaltending by both Jason Grider (5 saves) and Justin Trujillo (2 saves) and good team defense kept the Ice Tigers in check much of the way. The Ice Tigers managed only nine shots-on-goal.

Oliver Funsten, Neel Gupta, Chase Havemann, Cameron Ranken, Kyle Barach-Mooday, Christopher Owens, Marina Meneakis and Niko Meneakis all scored goals for Los Alamos.

All of Los Alamos’ goals came in the first two periods, as the team put things on cruise control in the final period.

Los Alamos managed 33 shots in Friday’s game.

Sunday’s game in Albuquerque was a tight affair much of the way.

Gupta opened the scoring on a nice feed from Dillon Coyne with only 1:58 remaining in the first period, but Eldorado would answer with 4:20 remaining in the second period, picking up a goal by Jonathan Edwards, one of its primary offensive weapons.

Gupta scored again with 1:24 remaining in the period to put the Hilltoppers back in front. The score remained 2-1 heading into the final period.

In the third period, Eldorado tied the score with another goal by Edwards at the 6:14 mark.

The teams skated even until Niko Meneakis scored what would be the game winner on a hard slap-shot from the high slot with just 47 seconds remaining in regulation. Gupta completed the hat trick with 15 seconds remaining on an open net chance to shut the door.

For Sunday’s game, the Hilltoppers outshot the Eagles 30-13.

The Hilltoppers play at home again Dec. 4 against the Santa Fe Blue Jackets, then go on the road the following day to face Rio Rancho.