Santa Fe upends Los Alamos in showcase final

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By Mike Cote

The Santa Fe Blue Jackets knocked off the Los Alamos Hilltoppers in the final game of the High School Showcase hockey exhibition Sunday, 5-3.The showcase, featuring eight teams from around the state which compete in the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League, started Friday night and concluded Sunday morning at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink.Los Alamos, which won its three pool play games, including a 4-1 victory over Santa Fe in the showcase’s opening game, traded goals with the Blue Jackets throughout the contest, until Santa Fe pulled away with a pair of unanswered goals, one coming with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second period, and the other with just 15 seconds expired in the third period.In other action Sunday, Taos shut out La Cueva 2-0, Albuquerque Composite nipped Cibola 2-1 and Rio Rancho thumped Eldorado 9-1.Sunday against the Blue Jackets, the Hilltoppers never led. Within the first 10 seconds of the contest, Santa Fe’s Dustin Rael took a hard shot which bounced off Los Alamos goalie Kyle Lupenski right to Peter Bessone, who took a quick shot into goal to give Santa Fe a 1-0 lead.Los Alamos would tie the game at 1-1 right before the first intermission, with Brad Picard scoring off an assist from Zach Mang.Mang would also score a goal at the 5:45 mark of the second period, with assists credited to Picard and Neel Gupta.For Santa Fe, Bessone finished with a pair of goals — the first and the last of the game — and an assist on a second period goal by Grant Duke. Rael assisted on Bessone’s second goal as well.John Baca scored Los Alamos’ third goal at the 2:19 mark of the second period unassisted.Lupenski stopped 22 shots against Santa Fe, while Jordan Fuentes finished with 20 saves to pick up the win.In Sunday’s other games, Eldorado held a 1-0 lead in the first period of its game, but Rio Rancho would score five goals in the second period to break the game open. Patrick Brewer of Rio Rancho earned a hat trick to lead the Rams to the win.For the Taos Ice Tigers, Aaron Molina picked up a first period goal and Maguns Nelson added an insurance goal in the third period. John Laycock pitched the shutout in goal for Taos, stopping 10 shots, while Garrett Luna had 17 saves for La Cueva.Jason Newton scored the game-winning goal for Albuquerque Composite with 5:53 remaining in regulation off an assist from Luke Jaramillo to take the win over Cibola.Buli Schaefer scored the first goal of the game for Albuquerque in the second period, but Cibola would answer in the third period with a goal by Aidan Martinez. Nicholas Shaneyfelt earned the victory between the pipes with 19 saves.

Saturday’s late gameLos Alamos 5, Eldorado 3

In Saturday’s late game, the Hilltopppers outscored the Eagles 3-0 in the second period and held on to win.Mang, Picard and Ben Havemann each picked up tallies in the second period, and the ’Toppers held on in the third period, despite Jesse Dailey’s goal to cut the ’Topper advantage to 4-3.Mang had a pair of goals in the contest as well as an assist. Nick White scored the first goal of the game only 17 seconds into the first period.Dillon Coyne, Chase Havemann, Picard and Gupta all earned assists Saturday.Daniel Bency had two goals for Eldorado.Lupenski, who had 16 saves, earned the win in goal. Cody Griego had 25 saves for Eldorado.