When Jackson Hole Moose coach Sean Hannafin saw the Colorado Tugboats walk into the Snow King Sports and Events Center last weekend, he got a bit worried. The Tugboats are young. The Jackson Hole Moose aren’t getting any younger.
The Moose’s top player, Drew Akins, is 37 and has been out recently not feeling well. Goalie Nick Krauss is 36, and so is veteran forward A.J. Sanders, who injured his right foot blocking a shot the weekend before.
But the Tugboats, for all their youthful exuberance, are still a tad green, while the Moose have been around, so to speak.
Final score Friday: 10-1 Moose.
Final score Saturday: 14-1 Moose.
That moves the Moose’s record to 17-5 on the season, or 17-3-2 if you count their two overtime losses as ties.
“Our goal is still to win 20 [games] every year,” said Hannafin, who suited up and played some, too, on Friday.
Win three of their last four, and the Moose are there.
They play the Vermont Flex this weekend for two games at Snow King Center and then wrap up their 26th season with back-to-back home games against the Bozeman Stingers on March 10-11.
Despite the mismatch against the Tugboats, the Moose got some scoring practice in against the Colorado team that consists of several ex-University of Colorado players.
The Moose originally were supposed to play Cleveland, a team that’s regularly on the schedule, but that club had to back out, Hannafin said, so the Tugboats were willing to make the trip.
“It was two more wins, so I guess that’s a good thing toward our record,” Hannafin said.
Despite the absence of Akins for the second straight weekend, the Moose’s sticks were firing and hitting as forward Dakota Richardson scored four goals and had three assists for a seven-point night. Stephen Miller and Ryan Glantz each had two goals and three assists, and defenseman Kristian Ophus had three assists. Krauss had 52 saves in the net.
Sanders, despite still having a sore and bruised foot, was able to play on Saturday and fed his teammates all night, notching five assists in the 14-1 thrashing.
“It feels better in a skate than it does in a shoe,” Sanders said of his foot.
“It was a good game,” Sanders said. “Their goalie played really well, and then I think it became too much. I think he saw upwards of 120 shots [in two nights]. That’d wear anybody out.”
The Tugboats’ goalie had to deal with a combined 128 shots on goal by the Moose, recording 104 saves.
Miller had a head-spinning five goals on Saturday. Forward Alex Dewitz had three goals and two assists, and Richardson had two goals and two assists.
“He couldn’t miss,” Sanders said of Miller, the first-year Moose player who played college hockey at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. “He was just shooting from everywhere, and they were going in.”
Moose goalie Robbie Leslie had 36 saves on Saturday.
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