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Season B debut on ice is nice

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen dominates Chatfield 4-1 in nonleague; lots of skating, passing, defense and goal-tending lead to thorough victory at The Edge.
LITTLETON -- For openers, it could not have been much better.

Mullen’s start to the new and shortened Season B came with a bunch of mature seniors, contributions from underclassmen, a full roster that got into the action, a couple of strong players who returned to the program, a new goalie who appears to have found a home, overall domination and a pleased coaching staff … and, oh, yes, a season-opening 4-1 victory over Chatfield on Saturday night at The Edge Ice Arena.

“One-hundred percent, absolutely, that’s a really good win for us,” Mustangs head coach Devon Brady said.

The Mustangs, now in the new Class 4A, gave up a couple of shots early in probably beginning a little flatfooted against the 5A Chargers, who had opened the previous night, but quickly established superiority with crisp skating and passing, smothering defense and solid play from new goalie Kai Bigham.

“It was our first game of the year and (the Chargers) played last night and they came out a little quicker,” Brady said. “Then we settled in like we did and we really owned the play. And that’s’ not something we’ve done much of the last couple of years, but we have hammered all summer, all fall about working down low, everything below the goal line, working low to high. And we did that.”

Overall, Mullen outshot the Chargers 48-17, including 30-8 over the first two periods. Aidan Cashman and Robby Witwer gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead in the first period with Witwer’s shot a roofer to the right side. And both came despite the Mustangs being whistled for four penalties to Chatfield’s three. J.C. Carter and Hayden Klem added goals over the final two periods as the Mustangs kept creating chances. Carter’s came on a 2-on-1 off a pass from Klem while shorthanded.

Klem, who returned to the team after opting for AAA play, said it felt glorious to just take the ice again.

“Exactly,” he said. “It was the first game and everyone was just trying to get their sea legs under us. But after the first 5 minutes, it was good.”

Bigham, a senior at Denver School of Science and Technology Conservatory Green in Northfield, said he was cut from Denver East and sought a team in need of a goalie for the season. State rules allow for teams to make such a concession and he plans to take advantage.

“They were killing it out there,” he said of Mustangs skaters. “The guys played really well in front of me. I didn’t have too many shots.”

Klem, a center, said “yeah, he played great for us in net and really got us going on the bench.”

Amos Mills, Carter, Nick Gilbert and Leo Mansfield also added assists.  

Brady said he experimented with various lines down the stretch of the game and said no one player “stood out … it was just a good 20-man game. It was a really good effort for us.”

It was Mullen’s lone nonleague game this season. Next: Saturday, Feb. 6, vs. Rampart in the 4A North, puck drop at 6:15 p.m.

Mullen  2  1  1  --  4

Chatfield  0  0  0  --  1


First Period

1, Aidan Cashman, M, pp (Amos Mills, J.C. Carter), 6:58.

2, Robby WItwer, M  (Nick Gilbert), 10:23.

Second Period

3, J.C. Carter, M, sh (Hayden Klem), 1:22.

Third Period

4, Hayden Klenm, M (Leo Mansfield), 5:37.

5, Holden Beckett, C, pp (unassisted), 14:10.
Shots – Mullen 17-13-18  --  48; Chatfield 4-4-9  --  17.

Penalties – Mullen 13 minutes oin five infractions; Chatfield 23 minutes on 6 infractions.

Saves – Kai Bingham, Mullen, 16 on 17 shots; Kian Haynes, Chatfield, 44 on 48 shots.