Notice to the RMJHL: Pikes Peak Miners are on a roll. The defending league champion took all three games this weekend against the visiting Colorado Thunderbirds extending their win-streak to seven games. Now with a game at-hand the Miners (18-6-0-0) trail first place Steamboat Wranglers (19-6-0-0) by just two points. The two teams are scheduled to meet again on February 9-10 at Howelsen Arena.
After closing out 2017 with a two-game sweep of the Wranglers confidence has been riding high in Pikes Peak. The goaltending tandem of Joseph Chekan (10-4-0-0; 2.53 GAA; .924 save%) and Jimmy Grosklaus (7-2-0-0; 3.02 GAA; .922 save%) are tops among league leaders in save% who have played a minimum of 240 minutes. The Miners also boast the leading scorer in Ian Zaleski (29 goals, 26 assists) which is 16 points more than the next points leader.
2018 began even better than the last with Pikes Peak scoring 11 goals in their series opening win over the Thunderbirds. Zaleski, Jake Komrofske, Brett Hawkins and Jacob May each scored a pair in the lopsided affair in which the Miners put 52 shots on net.
The following night saw the Thunderbirds fare a bit better with Jarod Ackerman making the score 2-1 Miners after 23 minutes. Pikes Peak would then score unanswered goals in end the second period leading 5-1 on their way to a 7-3 victory. Zaleski and Taylor Gatto both scored twice while May and Trevor Checketts added a goal and one assist each.
Two tired teams met for a third time on Sunday afternoon with the Miners leaving no doubt from the opening puck drop. Pikes Peak scored five times in the opening frame then three more in the second on their way to a 9-0 shutout. Seven different players scored in the game with Lars Culver and Gatto each finding the back of the net twice. Zaleski scored another while assisting on two goals to complete his 11-point weekend. Grosklaus stopped all 28 shots faced to earn the shutout.
Next weekend the Miners play host to the Breckenridge Bolts. The Thunderbirds are idle.