With his team on the ropes midway through the third period Thursday night Doherty captain Dusty Kachel did what captains do best and took his team under his wing at the Sertich Ice Center.
Kachel notched his second assist by setting up Patrick Alldredge’s power-play goal to break a 2-2 tie with 9:24 remaining and propel Doherty (1-0) to a season-opening 4-2 victory against Pine Creek (1-1) in nonconference action.
“It was awesome,” Kachel said. “We really needed it and it will be good for us to see what we can do in the future.”
“We worked hard and got our power play and worked it around.”
Kachel, the Spartans’ top returning scorer from last season, and Alldredge helped Doherty open up a 2-0 lead through the majority of the first two periods. Kachel scored his first goal of the year 1:16 into the game when he put home a rebound and then assisted on Alldredge’s power play goal with 7:48 left in the second period.
However, the Eagles came to life with 14.4 seconds remaining in the second when freshman Riley Gregory redirected Zach Barber’s shot on the power play from the right of the goal to cut the Spartans’ lead to 2-1. It was sweet redemption for Gregory after he failed to convert on a penalty shot prior to Alldredge’s goal.
Gregory is off to a quick start to his high school career and has three points in his first two games after registering two assists in the Eagles’ 4-0 victory over Cheyenne Mountain on Wednesday night.
“He is a competitive kid. He works really hard,” Pine Creek coach Ken Martel said. “He’s got good skills.”
The Eagles rode the momentum of Riley’s late goal into the third as Zach Zimmerman notched his fourth goal of the season and tied it for Pine Creek with a slap shot off Jared Wolf’s glove side 3:52 into the period.
Kachel credited Wolf (23 saves) for remaining strong and keeping the Spartans in the game after Doherty surrendered its 2-0 lead.
“Once they scored that goal with 14 seconds left in the second period that kind of got to us a little, and they came out really strong in the third period and we didn’t come out so hot. Our goaltender kept us there,” Kachel said.
Evan Weidner sealed the game for Doherty and brought the Spartans’ bench to life by finding the net with 7:12 left.
Unfortunately for Pine Creek, despite rallying back from two goals and getting 42 saves from goalie Conor Chemlka they simply could not overcome eight penalties that resulted in six power plays.
“We did not have emotional control,” Martel said. “We are a young team.”
The teams meet again in a Pikes Peak conference game Jan. 14.
Martel added: “These are the times that give us the chance to learn some lessons and hopefully we are better when we play our conference games.”