2013 High School Hockey Chatfield at Ralston Valley

This was one of the most bizarre games I have ever shot.  I was at the Apex Center in Arvada, the home ice of the Ralston Valley Mustangs.  Now, unlike Alaska where every high school has their own hockey team, only a few schools (lets say, one out of three or four) has a team.  So, on the Ralston Valley team it consists of kids that go to Ralston Valley, Arvada West, and Pomona, and possibly some other schools.  Hockey is growing in Colorado and there are rumors that Arvada West or Pomona might try to field their own team in the next couple years, but when a school does that, they have to add a girls sport too.  I am not sure what schools make up the Chatfield team.


In the first period, Ralston Valley scored right away, taking an early 1-0 lead.  In the first period Ralston Valley looked unstoppable by the Chatfield defense.  The only thing that kept Ralston Valley from scoring more was the Chatfield goalie turned it on after giving up that first goal.  But the rest of the Chatfield team looked like they had never skated before.  Falling down, giving up the puck on easy passes.  They just looked horrible.  Everyone figured that the game was a given win for the Mustangs, including the Mustang players, which is where things went horribly wrong for the Mustangs.


When the teams came back out on the ice for the 2nd period, Chatfield started to find their grove and began to skate better.  They were still giving up the puck quite a bit, but they were capitalizing on better passing, and harder play.  Their goalie was stopping anything the Mustangs could send at him.  Some how, Chatfield found the back of the Ralston Valley net in the second to tie the game at 1 goal apiece before the second intermission.


When the third period started, the Chatfield team that hit the ice was totally different than the team that was skating, or trying to skate in the first period.  I do not know if they all drank energy drinks, or had a incredible pep talk in the last break, but they were not the same team, and Ralston Valley could not do anything with them.  The Ralston Valley goalie stopped shot after shot from Chatfield, but finally, the Chargers found the back of the net and took a 2-1 lead.


With a 2-1 lead, the Chatfield Chargers were in the drivers seat, and that put Ralston Valley into desparation mode.  As the clock was counting down, Ralston Valley could not get the puck past the Chatfield goalie, and nearing the end of the game the Mustangs did the only thing they could.  The goalie skated off the ice so Ralston Valley could get an extra player on the ice to try to get that last goal for the tie.


But, it would not be enough for the Mustangs.  Chatfield would hold on for the 2-1 win.  It was almost like the Chargers used the Ali Rope a Dope trick on the Mustangs, luring the Mustangs into a false sense of superiority in the first period, started fighting back in the second, and delivered a knockout punch in the 3rd.


Even though this was a loss for the Mustangs, this could be real good for the team.  They destroy so many of the teams they face, a reality check every once and a while to show them that they are mortal could be good as they get ready for the playoffs.


And with all the games that I have shot at the Apex Center, this was the first game I almost took a puck to the head.  As the Chargers were bringing the puck up the ice, a pass was deflected into the air and I pulled my head back just in time to dodge the puck as it sailed over the glass.  When you shoot sports, always shoot with both eyes open so you can see what is going on around you.  It could save your life!



To view and purchase photos from this game, please visit my Maxpreps gallery.


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