4A hockey: Battle Mountain tops Crested Butte to claim program's first state title

LOVELAND — Heading into the third period, Battle Mountain goalie Logan Gremmer knew there was no room for error. His team trailed by one. He had already let the puck into the net four times. A fifth would spell doom.

On the other side of the ice, he got the help he needed. Jensen Rawlings tied the game then Hunter Davis scored the game winner in overtime. A 5-4 win gave Battle Mountain the Class 4A state hockey title and the first hockey championship in school history.

After celebrating with his teammates and receiving the state championship trophy, he made his way to the locker room as his emotions were getting the better of him.

"I'm doing as well as anyone can be doing," he said.

He wasn't lying. He was between the pipes on March 9 when Crested Butte beat the Huskies 5-1. It was one of just two losses on the year for Battle Mountain and it was a painful memory that they had to bring up Thursday morning before making their way to the Budweiser Events Center.

"We brought it up this morning and talked about it briefly," coach Derek Byron said. "We knew what we had to do to get it done today. We made some adjustment and we had to play strong."

The Titans got a good bounce as Matthew Solanik fired the puck from the blue line and it snuck by Gremmer. Wyatt Horn and Tyler Knox scored before the first period edge to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.

Then a goal fest broke out in the second half. The Titans scored two power play goals to regain the lead before each team added another. Heading into the third period, the Titans held on to that one-goal lead, putting every bit of pressure on Gremmer heading into the third.

"I was nervous, but I knew it was shut down hockey," he said.

And that's what he did for the rest of the night. Gremmer faced 12 shots between the third period and overtime and turned them all away. He watched as Rawlings scored on a goal that was fired from near the blue line and bounced off the glove of Crested Butt goalie TJ Wonnacott.

Neither team could break the 4-4 tie at that point and they went into overtime, a sudden death scenario where someone was going to claim their first hockey championship.

The suspense didn't last long as Davis scored the game winner just over two minutes into the overtime period.

"We just did what we had to do," Davis said. "We know what we practice and we just went and played how we always play."

The Huskies had previously played in two state championship games, losing one to Cheyenne Mountain in 2002 and one to Regis Jesuit in 2008.

"We wanted it so bad," Davis said. "We've never had a hockey championship at Battle Mountain and we really wanted to beat Crested Butte after they beat us 5-1."

They got their redemption. And because of it, the Huskies are state hockey champions for the first time.

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)