Riley Hunt-Bahn (22) scored four goals, including three on the power play, to lead Cherry Creek over Vail 4-1 in their CPHL matchup on Oct. 9. It was Hunt-Bahn's fourth multi-goal game in CPHL play this season. Photo by Katie Hinkle, SportsEngine
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With less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period of Vail's Colorado Prep Hockey League matchup with Cherry Creek, Huskies coach Derek Byron felt his team had a chance to erase a one-goal deficit.
But then the penalties piled up — nine in total — leaving Vail stuck in a jam and playing, at times, a man or two down. Cherry Creek navigated through the mess thanks to two power-play goals from Riley Hunt-Bahn and cruised to a 4-1 victory Friday night in the interconference clash at Family Sports Center.
It was the fourth multi-goal game of the 2020 CPHL season for Hunt-Bahn, the Bruins' leading scorer, and it secured Cherry Creek a bounce-back victory after a 2-1 loss to Pacific Conference rival Monarch on Oct. 3.
Vail junior goalie Logan Gremmer. Photo by Katie Hinkle
Gremmer finished the game with 48 saves, but the pressure of playing a man or two down in the final 10 minutes proved to be too great.
The Huskies accumulated 45 minutes on 13 penalties and allowed Cherry Creek to end the game with a 43 percent success rate on the power play (3-for-7), including the final two goals tallied by Hunt-Bahn that extended the Bruins' lead to 4-1.
“I felt like we contained (Hunt-Bahn) throughout the game,” Byron said. “I felt like we were starting to push forward, but then we had a mental lapse and shot ourselves in the foot with penalties.”
Hunt-Bahn's prolific scoring was no surprise to anyone. The forward had 16 goals and 42 points in CPHL play a year ago, and he had 12 goals and 24 points in the 2019-20 Colorado High School Activities Association season.
“He’s our captain and spent a lot of time during the summer trying to focus on getting the chance to play at the next level,” said Cherry Creek coach Jeff Mielnicki. “He does everything well in his preparation during the week. He’s right there and totally engaged.”
His three power-play goals against Vail on Friday matches the total number of power-play goals he scored in CPHL games last season and helped give him 22 total goals and 30 points this season for Cherry Creek (6-2-2-0, 2-1-1-0).
“We have a good power play that has the ability to find the open space,” Mielnicki added. “When we have possession, (Hunt-Bahn) is able to find the open space and shoot accurately.”
After hitting a few potholes on the trip to Denver, Vail (4-2-0-0 overall) will need to find another road to show it can keep pace with some of the state’s best programs before taking an exit ramp on the season.
“It’s clear we can play with these teams,” Byron said. “We’re starting to push forward and know we can play with these guys. We just have to go back to work and be better.”
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