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'Stangs rebound nicely

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen responds after 1st loss with a 9-1 whipping of visiting Air Academy; Mustangs move to 4-1 to open busy stretch to end the regular season.
LITTLETON – Mullen was looking for a rebound and got it.

It wasn’t so much that the Mustangs easily handled Air Academy 9-1 on Wednesday in the Class 4A North at The Edge Ice Arena.

It was more about how they did it. In improving to 4-1 overall, 3-1 in the 4A North, they responded after last week’s irritating loss to Kent Denver, played crisply, had success in puck movement, got back on defense and dominated a winless team (0-5) that they should have dominated.

“It was,” Mustangs head coach Devon Brady said when asked if his team regrouped after its first setback. “When we put the effort into it, we can be a very good hockey team. When we work hard, we’re good.”

Mullen was good – its checking was thorough, as was its skating, and it realized a good, thorough showing was necessary, especially from a mental standpoint.

“It was a good win,” Mustangs senior Robby Witwer said, “and I think we needed it. I think it’s tough when you’re outplaying a team and outshooting a team and not getting the win (as the Mustangs did against Kent Denver) … but we came back, skated and returned to what we’re all about.”

Mullen jumped on the Colorado Springs-area Kadets almost immediately, with Witwer scoring twice within the first half of the first period. Riley Watters added another score late in the opening period.

Aidan Cashman and  Larry Simons added second period goals and what followed was what Brady wanted to see – Air Academy scored early in the third period against freshman goalie Logan Clothier, but the Mustangs responded with a four-goal barrage.

They finished.

“We were a little lackadaisical to start and it was (puck drop) at 2:30, a tough game to get up for, but I wasn’t disappointed and it helped the way we finished out the third period,” the coach said.

Watters and Cashman also scored twice. Also scoring were Larry Simons, J.C. Carter and freshman Jeff Witwer, his first. Nick Gilbert and Watters each contributed three assists. Cashman had two and Caden Clothier, Carter Hill, Ian McDougall, Ben McManus and Robby Witwer each had one.

The new Season B that is turning into a blur for the Mustangs is gaining speed – they will play six games over 11 days, including the current four over six. Mullen will host Kent Denver on Friday, Feb. 26, at The Edge in a makeup game that won’t count toward the 4A North.

Remember, we remain in a pandemic.

“This last bit of February is a sprint, I mean, the whole season is, but especially this whole bit,” Robby Witwer said. “We just have to keep to the grindstone.”

Air Academy  0  0 1  --  1

Mullen  3  2  4  --  9


First Period – 1, Mullen, Robby Witwer (Nick Gilbert, Ben McManus), 1:43; 2, Mullen Robby Witwer, pp (Riley Watters), 8:26; 3, Mullen Riley Watters (Nick Gilbert, Aidan Cashman), 15:24.

Second Period – 4, Aidan Cashman (Riley Watters, Nick Gilbert), 10;31; 5, Mullen, Larry Simons (Ian McDougall, Caden Clothier), 12:11.

Third Period – 6, Air Academy Joey Polaski (Ryan Clynke), 3:15; 7, Riley Watters (Robby Witwer), 4:13; 8, J.C. Carter (Aidan Cashman), 5:15; 9, Jeff Witwer (Riley Watters), 6:44; 10, Aidan Cashman (Carter Hill), 10:48.

Shots on goal – Air Academy 18; Mullen  39.

Power plays – Air Academy 0-for-5; Mullen 1-for-2.

Penalties – Air Academy 4 minutes on two infractions; Mullen 10 minute son five infractions.

Saves – Air Academy Chris Bassett 26, Brecken Douglass 4; Mullen Logan Clothier