LITTLETON – Eighth-grader and Mullen Mustang-to-be Kit Witwer opened Wednesday’s Colorado Academy-Mullen matchup at The Edge with an interesting rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” on his guitar, although the power and volume obviously needed boosts.
Mullen simply surged and turned up the volume to LOUD in the second period, erupting for a whopping seven goals to blitz previously undefeated CA 8-1 in the Class 4A North. In improving to 6-3 overall, 4-1 in the 4A North, Mullen remains in the playoff picture through what it has remaining as well as what happens elsewhere. In the new 4A in this new Season B, the three league champions will advance to the postseason as will one at-large team, the best of the runners-up.
As it was, Mullen head coach Devon Brady enjoyed the second-period binge as well as anyone else in the building. And he agreed – it couldn’t have been much better for a senior night.
“That was one of the most fun times I’ve had standing behind the bench probably ever, probably ever,” he said. His players “played the right way, they moved the puck and we finally got a little bit of love and you know what that does for the confidence level.
“I’m super happy for the seniors, it was deserved and it was really cool.”
Of the 11 seniors who played their final home game, winger Riley Watters, who had three assists, was about as happy as any of them.
“I guess we weren’t satisfied,” he said. “We turned the burners on and showed them what’s up and what the real Mullen hockey is … it was just a good final home game.”
It was particularly good for Nick Gilbert, who turned in a hat trick, all in the second period. He has six points in his past two games. Aidan Cashman, J.C. Carter, Hayden Klem, Ian MacDougall and Larry Simons also scored. Simons opened the scoring at 7:46 of the first period. Cashman, Klem, Ben McManus, Amos Mills, Simons and Robby Witwer added assists.
In goal, freshman Logan Clothier again had his bid for a shutout end, this one with 2:49 to play, including a running clock.
“For the life of him,” Brady said, “we can’t get him a shutout.”
Next for Mullen is another matchup with CA – on Saturday, March 8, at Big Bear Ice Arena, 8:30 p.m. Mullen also is pulling for undefeated Crested Butte to beat Battle Mountain twice this weekend, Friday and Saturday, to aid its playoff aspirations.
“There’s definitely hope here,” Brady said.
MULLEN 8, COLORADO ACADEMY 1
Colorado Academy 0 0 1 – 1
Mullen 1 7 0 -- 8
First Period – 1, Mullen, Larry Simons (Hayden Klem), 7:46.
Second Period – 2, Mullen, Aidan Cashman, pp (Amos Mills), 4:53; 3, Mullen, Nick Gilbert (Riley Watters), 7:19; 4, Mullen, Hayden Klem (Aidan Cashman), 9:12; 5, Mullen, J.C. Carter (Ben McManus), 10:58; 6, Mullen, Ian MacDougall (Larry Simons), 11:14; 7, Mullen, Nick Gilbert (Riley Watters, Robby Witwer), 12:44; 8, Mullen, Nick Gilbert (Riley Watters), 14:27.
Third Period – 9, Colorado Academy, Jack Gerber (Jack Paschel), 14:11.
Shots on goal – Colorado Academy 13, Mullen 39.
Saves – Fraser Smith and Mateo Gluck, CA, 31, Logan Cothier, Mullen, 12.
Power plays – Colorado Academy 0-for-4; Mullen 1-for-6.
Penalties – Colorado Academy 32 minutes on 8 infractions; Mullen 28 minutes on 6 infractions.