Hilltopper hockey gets back in win column

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By Phil Scherer

For the first time in nearly two months, the Los Alamos High School hockey team got into the win column, winning two games against the Taos Ice Tigers last weekend.

The Hilltoppers entered the weekend on a 10-game winless streak, dating back to Dec. 16. Throughout the long drought, defense proved to be a problem for the team, allowing five or more goals eight times.

Against Taos, however, the defense stepped up in a big way for LAHS, allowing just two combined goals in two games to end the regular season.

Friday evening, the Hilltoppers started scoring early and did not allow Taos a chance to respond. Just three minutes into the game, Tyler Weiss scored his fourth goal of the season, putting LAHS in front 1-0.

Ben Rees added on to the score with five minutes left in the period with his 13th goal of the season, putting his team in front 2-0 heading into the second period.

Weiss and Rees combined on a goal at the beginning of the second period to put the Hilltoppers up 3-0, giving them complete control of the contest.

Midway through the period, Jacob Dunwoody scored his 13th goal of the season, putting the team up 4-0 after the second period.

Things began to get out of hand physically midway through the second period, though, as LAHS’ John Charles earned a double minor penalty for roughing, and two players from Taos earned matching minors as well.

The rough play continued into the final period, as Charles earned another roughing penalty midway through the period, and then a fighting penalty near the end of the game. The fighting penalty earned him a game misconduct penalty, and gave him five penalties for the game, earning him a suspension for Saturday’s game.

Taos scored its only goal of the game two minutes into the third period, but LAHS answered back with a goal from Jacob Rutten, earning a 5-1 victory.  

Saturday morning, the Hilltoppers picked up right where they left off, going up 1-0 with just over four minutes left in the first period with a goal from Dunwoody.

After holding onto that lead through the end of the first period, the Hilltoppers added another goal just 25 seconds into the second period. This time, it came from Weiss.

Though it appeared the Hilltoppers would maintain the shutout going into the final period, Taos scored with less than a minute remaining in the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1.

That’s where the score remained throughout the third period, as the Ice Tigers were unable to get the equalizing score.

With less than a minute left in the game, Taos pulled its goalie to put an extra attacker on the ice.

With an empty net in front of him, Dunwoody took full advantage, scoring an empty-net goal to put LAHS up 3-1 and seal its second win in a row.

LAHS will be off until March 2, when the playoffs begin in Santa Fe.