Cibola too much for LAHS to handle

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By Phil Scherer

Heading into this season, Los Alamos High School hockey coach Kevin Brake said he expected this to be a rebuilding year. And he was completely right. With a young roster, and very little experience on defense, the group has struggled this year and finds itself well behind the leaders in the standings of the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League as the season winds down.

Last weekend, in the final games of the season at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink, league leader Cibola invaded and dominated a two-game series, defeating the Hilltoppers 5-1 Friday night and 12-4 Saturday morning.

Cibola has only lost one time in regulation this season, and has a record of 11-1-2. The Cougars have outscored opponents 114-50, and are one of the most aggressive teams in the league.

Friday night, Cibola wasted very little time showing why it has dominated all season.

Six minutes into the first period, Cibola’s Steven Bitzer scored a shorthanded goal, his first goal of the season, to put the Cougars on top 1-0.

Though Jared Carnes scored for the Hilltoppers with just over one minute left in the first period to even the score 1-1, the joy was short-lived.

Cibola scored two goals in the second period to jump on top 3-1, and maintained excellent puck control. The Hilltoppers were only able to register four shots on goal in the period, despite having five power play opportunities.

The Cougars were able to extend the lead to 4-1 on a penalty shot, when LAHS defender John Charles tripped Marcus Trujillo, who had an open lane to the goal.

After scoring a final goal three minutes later, Cibola walked away with a 5-1 victory.

In goal, Sam Fisher was excellent for the Hilltoppers, saving 38 shots while facing a constant attack from Cibola.

Saturday morning, the teams returned to the ice and Cibola picked up right where it left off, scoring two quick goals to jump on top 2-0.

LAHS answered back, though, tying the score 2-2 with a pair of goals from Jacob Dunwoody, who now has 10 this season.

Cibola regained the lead before the end of the first period, scoring with less than a minute left to take a 3-2 lead.

From there, Cibola’s offense was nearly impossible to stop, scoring three more goals in the second period and surging ahead 6-3.

LAHS’ lone goal in the period came from Ben Rees, who leads the team with 11 goals.

Already holding onto a three-goal lead, Cibola never slowed down, adding six more goals in the third period to claim a decisive 12-4 win.

Ray Guffee scored LAHS’ goal in the period.

For Cibola, Ty Kohlrust scored five goals, and now leads his team with 33 goals this season. He is second in the league in scoring behind Amarillo’s Vincent Petrey, who has 42 goals in 15 games.

The Hilltoppers are now 4-9-2 this season, and have dropped to 7th place in the eight-team league. LAHS will have this weekend off, before traveling to Taos on Feb. 9 for a two-game series.