On Saturday, December 2 at the Pueblo Plaza Ice Arena, the County Hornets played their first hockey game against Rampart.
Since no other schools in Pueblo have a hockey team, students from all Pueblo schools try out for County’s team.
As the players came on the ice, I noticed that the stands were pretty filled with not only parents, but students as well. The crowd started cheering loudly and the game began.
The starters for County were Nicholas Rooney #2 (East), Dixson Root #6 (East), Nathan Cress #17 (ECA), and Connor Whittington #8 and Broc Schindler #16 from West.
County started off the first period by hustling well.
The first period ended with the scored being 3-0 with County in the lead. Root and Whittington each scored a power play goal and Whittington also scored a short-handed goal.
Root scored only 7:14 minutes into the game. Whittington’s first goal was the short-handed goal and that was 10:04 minutes into the first period and that goal was assisted by Preston Tafoya #19 (Centennial). Whittington’s power play goal was with 1:04 minutes left in the first period. That goal was assisted by Schindler and Root.
As second period started, County players were confident because they were already ahead.
5:09 minutes into the second period, Schindler scored and was assisted by Jake Pacheco #15 (West).
After his assist, Pacheco scored an incredible goal with Tafoya assisting.
The second period ended up being 5-0, County significantly ahead.
The first goal of the third period was scored by Pacheco once again, unassisted, and it was a power-play goal.
Unfortunately, the game didn’t end up being a shut-out because Rampart scored, as County’s goalie, Sean Meier #33 (County), was trying to pass to a County player but the puck was stopped and shot in by a Rampart player.
County did bounce back fairly quickly and scored one more goal before the end of the game. Emilio Aguilera #20 (County) scored with an assist from Luke Guarienti #12 (South) with 4:56 minutes left in the game.
County won by a significant 6 points, as it was a good game for all fans to watch.
After the game, I was fortunate enough to get an interview from Whittington and Ryan Nicoll #22 (West).
Whittington said that Alexander Ovechkin, who plays for the Washington Capitals, inspires him and that is why Whittington is #8. Nicoll is inspired by Nathan Mackinnon, who plays for the Colorado Avalanche. When Mackinnon played Juniors, his number was #22 and that’s why Nicoll chose his number to be #22.
Before every game, Whittington has to put all of the gear on his right side first, then his left, and of course he has to listen to good music in the locker room. Nicoll’s pregame rituals include taking a shower before each game.
Whittington’s favorite position to play is either left wing or center, and Nicoll’s is center.
One of the best things about hockey games that the audience doesn’t get to experience are the chirps that happen on the ice. Whittington’s favorite chirp is something that he has said and since the guy he was chirping had a bubble, he said “Buddy, roll down your window, I can’t hear you.” Nicoll’s favorite chirp is “I’ve seen better hands on a digital clock.”
As their are eight players on the team from West which are Whittington, Pacheco, Schindler, and Nicoll, there is also Garrett Kristan #1, Cade VanRiper #10, Dylan Horvat #11, and Trentyn Wilson #14.
I highly suggest going to at least one game this season and supporting the Hornets, and especially all of the players that were named above.