Wednesday afternoon, the combined LPS hockey team defeated Kent Denver, 5-3, at the DU Ice Arena. Students from Arapahoe, Heritage, Littleton and Options make up the team, but they compete under the Heritage logo. There are two LHS players on varsity this year, junior Jackson Smith and sophomore Angus Neeley.
The team got off to a strong start and led Kent 2-0 up until late in the second period when Kent was able to score. However, this did not derail HHS as although Kent had bigger bodies, they were able to use their skill to stay ahead.
“Kent is a really good team, we just had a pretty fast start which is always a good way to get our team going. They were missing two of their best players which was good for us and we just put pucks in the back of their net when we needed to,” said Smith
At the end of the second, Kent had a 5-on-3 opportunity, but still could not capitalize due to the solid defense and goaltending. HHS stayed pretty dominant throughout the third and made it 4-2 with only five minutes left.
That is when things got interesting. Kent was not having much success, so they decided to turn their focus to scrappier play which translated into HHS retaliating and then getting multiple penalties called against them. Due to a few minor penalties, misconducts and an ejection, there were multiple HHS players in the penalty box at one point.
“There was a big scrum in front of the net, so we got called for four penalties with a penalty already happening and were a man down the last three minutes of the game,” said Smith.
Although the game was a bit derailed because of all the conflict, the refs still did not call anything on Kent. At the very last minute, Kent snuck in a goal and only trailed HHS by one. After a nerve wracking last few moments, HHS scored an empty net goal to secure their victory, 5-3.
“Despite the adversity of the refs, it feels good to get the win and go into the break with a 6-1 record,” said Smith.
This was not the prettiest game to watch and tensions were high, but the team came away with a win against a tough opponent. Towards the end of winter break, they will take on Columbine at the Edge Ice Arena on January 5.
Many LPS players in the penalty box.