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Following an emotional win Friday night in its showdown against Santa Fe, the unbeaten Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team traveled to Albuquerque to face the Eldorado Eagles on Saturday.
Although it was a little rockier of a road Saturday, the Hilltoppers came away with a 5-1 victory.
In contrast to the disciplined effort Friday at home, the Hilltoppers were hit with several first period penalties and were forced to play shorthanded for much of the early part of the game.
With neither team able to mount much of an offensive attack, the game remained a scoreless tie until late in the first period. With 26 seconds left in the period and the Hilltoppers on penalty kill following the their fourth penalty, Nate Sharp stole the puck from an Eldorado defenseman and skated in alone on the Eagles goaltender to score and give his team a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long, however. Eldorado was still on the power play and worked the puck into Los Alamos’ zone. Center Tommy Benjamin scored just 18 seconds after Sharp’s goal to tie the game 1-1.
Late in the second period John Baca took a pass from Chase Havemann and scored to give the Hilltoppers a 2-1 lead.
Los Alamos started the third period with yet another penalty, but good hustle on the part of the penalty kill unit resulted in Sharp’s second shorthanded goal of the contest, extending the lead to 3-1.
The line of Baca, Kory Archuleta and Neel Gupta were productive against the Eagles and put the game out of reach in the third period. Goals by Archuleta (assisted by Gupta) and Baca (assisted by Archuleta) stretched the final margin to 5-1.
Kyle Lupenski stopped 12 of 13 Eldorado shots to secure his sixth win of the season in goal.
Los Alamos improved its team record to 11-0-1, while Eldorado fell to 5-6-0.
Next on the schedule for the Hilltoppers are games Friday night against Albuquerque and Saturday morning against St Pius X.
Both games will be played at Outpost Arena in Albuquerque.