Palmer hockey downs Battle Mountain

Pine Creek's Josh Martinez, behind, defeated Widefield's Jason Peterson in the 103-pound final at the Colorado Springs Metro Championships on Saturday. Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE

Beating last year's state runner-up marked a tremendous feat for upstart Palmer.

One player scoring two goals in 8.5 seconds? That may have been even more impressive.

Palmer fought hard to top state power Battle Mountain 5-2 on Saturday night. The margin buoyed in the final minute when Palmer forward Justin Campbell scored with 36.9 seconds left and again with 28.4 to go.

With the win, the Terrors (10-2, 7-0) strengthened their standing atop the Peak Conference. A loss would have dropped them into a first-place tie with Battle Mountain (9-5, 6-2).

"It's a real positive statement," said Campbell, who was part of the 2008 team that lost in the first round of the playoffs. "Last year, we were a little overconfident with the talent that we had. Everybody thought we would go all the way, and it came back to get us. This year, we have come back with a more laid-back style.

"We knew that this was going to be a challenge."

It was. Battle Mountain went up 1-0 on the final second of a power play late in the first period. Palmer's Brendon Evans answered 30 seconds later, setting a tone for the final two periods.

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"We knew that we couldn't let an experienced team like Battle Mountain build on that lead," Palmer coach Bob Davidson said. "We had to come back with some sort of statement, taking control of the game, having an extra good shift, something."

The momentum carried over. Ted Hettich added a goal in the second, and Kirk Van Arkel found the net 29 seconds into the third for a two-goal lead. Coming back, Battle Mountain scored to make it 3-2 with just under 2 minutes left.

It was close, but not for long. Campbell strolled in for an empty netter, and then tacked on No. 2 after the ensuing faceoff. Josh Richards assisted both times.

Davidson said he had never seen back-to-back goals by one player scored that fast in his 44 years behind the bench.

Had Campbell previously done it?

"I have before," he said, smiling, "but not in a game as big as this."