Pine Creek vs. Lewis-Palmer

8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18 


It's good to have connections.

Lewis-Palmer coach Scott Bradley used his connections with the Colorado Avalanche to facilitate moving his Rangers' matchup with Summit Conference rival Pine Creek at Monument Ice Rink on Saturday to Tuesday on the outdoor ice sheet at Falcon Stadium. The team will take to the same rink where the Avs will have met the LA King just days before as part of the NHL Stadium Series.

Pine Creek is a scoring machine, accounting for 112 goals this season — the most by any team — and have the No. 2 and No. 3 goal scorers in CHSAA: Austin Sawyer (24 goals) and Austin Gipson (20).

The two are a key reasons why the No. 2-ranked Eagles (14-0-2, 8-0-0) have averaged nine goals per game in their last six contests. Sawyer, who is arguably the most productive goal scorer in the CHSAA, has found the back of the net in 15 consecutive games and scored in every game besides the first contest of the year. In the last six games, he registered a two-goal performance and has two hat tricks, including in his last game — a 9-0 rout of Air Academy on Feb. 10. 

Gipson has been equally as effective in his last six games with a three-goal performance and a pair of two-goal outings.

All that offensive talent seems like a lot to handle for Lewis-Palmer (8-6-1, 6-2-1), which isn't necessarily playing its best right now. The Rangers are 2-2-1 in their last five games and have seen the shine of winning six of seven games early in the season start to dull. 

To polish what's left of the season, Lewis-Palmer will need to turn around its struggles against top-tier teams, including its Summit Conference foe Pine Creek. 

A 6-3 loss on Dec. 17 should remind the team what to expect when playing the Eagles on Saturday, when Sam Kleinsmith, the Rangers' leading goal scorer, attempts to keep his hot streak going. The forward has scored seven goals in his last five games.