In a game organized by the Apple Valley peewee B1 team and played on Coon Rapids new outdoor ice facility last Friday, December 28th, the Apple Valley Eagles beat the Arapahoe Maize 2-1. The Apple Valley organizers took full advantage of the available block of ice to schedule additional games between the Mpls Storm Orange B1 and Arapahoe. A full story of the Arapahoe team’s visit will be posted later this week.
The Eagles played the Maize on the Friday afternoon under cloudy skies, but with no wind. The ice was clean and the temperature was in the mid-twenties. Some snow had fallen earlier in the day, but everybody agreed it was a good day to play hockey outdoors.
When the team took the ice, it was amazing how quiet the warm-up had become. The outdoor game was played even quieter. After being inside watching games with noise constantly reverberating off of concrete walls, it was almost surreal.
The Coon Rapids outdoor ice is a great facility. The ice is artificially cooled and “Zambonied” between games. There is a nice scoreboard and lines on the ice. Best of all, it is only seconds from the main rink. Kids dressed in indoor locker rooms.
District 10 referees were used for the game, and the refs insisted on using D10 game times (12 minute stop time periods and running time in this last period). They wanted to be off the ice in an hour.
Arapahoe pressured the Eagles from the start of the game. They tied up Apple Valley in the Eagle’s zone until the Warriors drew a checking penalty at the 10 minute mark. Valley organized on their power play, set up in the Arapahoe zone, but couldn’t get the good shot. The Warriors killed the penalty.
The game became an up and down game with both teams moving the puck, but neither team getting the good shot. Gradually, the Arapahoe team started to build pressure on Apple Valley. They were holding the Eagles in the Valley zone longer and longer. When Apple Valley drew a penalty with 19 seconds left in the period, the Eagles seemed to be in trouble. The first period ended in a 0-0 tie.
The Eagles were on the penalty kill when the second period started. Arapahoe set up in the Eagles zone and pressured Apple Valley for the first half of the period. The Warriors didn’t score on the penalty, but had two great shots on the Valley net. Valley goaltender, Lucky Bolden, came up big.
At the 7 minute mark of the second period, Apple Valley got a tripping penalty. Arapahoe took the faceoff and attempted to set up in the Eagles’ zone, but their defense lost control of the puck at the blue line. The Eagles Connor McAllister picked up the puck and soloed down the ice to the Arapahoe goal.
He scored unassisted to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Things got warmer in the Apple Valley stands.
Arapahoe came back strong after that score. Only 10 seconds had lapse on the Eagles’ penalty and the Warriors quickly set up in the Eagles’ zone. Thirty seconds later the Eagles drew a checking penalty. Apple Valley was faced with a 5-on-3 penalty kill for over a minute.
The Eagles’ defense hung on and killed the penalty. Before the game could get going, the Warriors drew a tripping penalty on another Apple Valley breakaway.
This time on the power play, the Eagles could not set up in the Warrior zone. The Warriors easily killed that penalty pressuring the Eagle wings. The Arapahoe defense would pinch down on the Eagle wing in the neutral zone and the one of the two Warrior forwards would play off the pinch looking to intercept the Eagles’ pass.
With less than 90 seconds on the clock in the second period, Apple Valley drew their third penalty of the period for high sticking.
This time it took Arapaho 10 seconds to score. They controlled the face off and got the puck low to the end boards. A Warrior forward worked the puck to the right side of the crease and made a neat pass to Nick Schultz in the slot. Schultz banged the puck in the net to tie the game 1-1. Neal Sklar and Chrsitian Bemiller got the assists.
he third period opened with Arapahoe pressuring the Eagles in the Eagles’ zone. An Eagle came up with the loose puck and again broke away from the Warrior defense only to be tripped. Arapahoe killed the penalty and suddenly both teams had upped the game pace.
The game became a series of attacks, first one team and then the other. Apple Valley’s goalie Bolden and Arapahoe’s goalie Luke Dosen shut down the scoring until the last minute of play.
With less than a minute left in the game and on the attack again, the Arapahoe defense got caught up in the play. The Eagles Steven Budka broke loose with the puck in center ice and beat the Warrior’s goalie with a hard high shot from the slot. It was the winning goal. Apple Valley won 2-1.
After the game, the two teams exchanged gifts. Both coaches commented on playing outdoors. Mike Steele, the Arapahoe coach, loved the facility. “We can’t play outside in our area of Colorado. The sun is too hot. The only outdoor ice that can survive is one that is in the shade and that makes it a small sheet.” Steele appreciated the effort Apple Valley B1 team made to host the games. They were looking forward to playing the Minneapolis Storm Orange under the moon later that day (another game organized by Apple Valley).
The Apple Valley coach, Erik Williams, loved the facility also. “Once you get out there and play, all the grumblings about an outdoor facility go away.” He had asked his players during the game to close their eyes and listen to the skates on the ice and the sounds of the puck moving off sticks, glass and boards. “That all gets lost indoors” he said. He wished that the City of Apple Valley would reconsider adding an outdoor rink next to Hayes Arena. The City passed on doing that last year. The City has the space and the benefits for Apple Valley and Eastview programs far out weight the costs.
Both coaches wanted to specifically thank Janine and Don Petros, the Apple Valley B1 team managers, for the effort they made to make it all happen.