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Baseball background tips Spartans to win hockey game
Kachel scores game-winner in OT
Dusty Kachel will tell you he’s a better baseball player than hockey player. And he might be.
But as long as he keeps tipping in game-winning, overtime goals, his teammates might try to convince him otherwise.
Kachel redirected a point shot between Air Academy goalie Alex Long’s pads 34 seconds into overtime to give Doherty a 3-2 win at Sertich on Wednesday.
“I saw it coming the whole way,” said Kachel, whose 19 points have him third in scoring in the Peak Conference. “I play baseball, so you gotta get that.”
The Spartans (6-2, 2-2), ranked No. 1 in the Pikes Peak area rankings, went 23 days between games and looked like they were wearing down in the third.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, Doherty faltered. No. 2 Air Academy (5-2-1, 3-1) seized on the opportunity.
Travis Hinton scored midway through the second and Everett Valtin forced overtime when he scored with 1:47 left in regulation. The Kadets also out-shot Doherty 18-6 in the final period.
But Air Academy coach Dave Meisinger wasn’t so secure heading to OT.
“It’s always kind of scary when you score that goal in the third period,” Meisinger said. “You don’t want that letdown, well, OK, you scored. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Doherty goalie Jared Wolf carried his team into the extra session. Wolf stopped numerous chances, including making a save that landed him on top of the puck with 2:10 left and had several Kadets shaking their heads.
“Jared was itching (with the layoff),” Doherty coach Will English said. “He wanted a game. He wanted to be here.”
Wolf and his teammates killed off back-to-back penalties over a span of 4:09. While the Kadets didn’t score, they picked up steam, putting six shots on net over the final seven minutes, eventually tying the game.
Kachel was worried that run of play would carry to overtime.
“It was a little nerve-racking,” the Spartans captain said. “They had the momentum. We just had to get it in deep and try going toward the net, and it ended up working.”
The win gave Doherty an even league record. But the players pointed to the win over Air Academy as being one that could key the season.
“After break we usually fall off a little bit,” Wolf said. “We’re definitely here to win games and make it to the playoffs. It was definitely the biggest game of our season.”
The Spartans coach also is expecting big things.
“There’s a lot of talent, there’s a lot of drive on this team,” English said. “When they reach down and find what they’re really capable of doing, outcomes happen like you saw tonight.”