Showing off their skills: Mesa State’s Bowen wins challenge at Glacier Ice Arena
Brad Bowen was a little shocked when Mesa State College coach Kameron Dudek announced his name on Monday.
After two hours of tests, the freshman hockey player won the award for having the team’s best skills on the Mavericks team.
“A lot of the veterans are pretty good,” Bowen said. “I was kind of surprised when they called my name.”
He shouldn’t have been. Bowen won two of the six skills challenges during Monday’s practice at Glacier Ice Arena.
The session was a mid-season relief from the normal rigors of practice as the Mavericks prepare this week to play Metro State College at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Bowen realized the skills test was less a show of a player’s overall hockey ability than it was a measurement of where they’re at individually.
“It’s kind of setting a bar to see where you’re at,” he said.
The players were tested on speed (one lap around the ice), the hardest shot (three tries measured by a speed gun), accuracy (eight shots attempted at the four corners and the ‘five hole’ between the goalie’s legs), agility (skating through six cones, then curling back and shooting), breakaway (one on one against a goalie) and creativity.
Bowen won the speed and creativity drills (his creative shot was to take off his jersey and upper pads while skating toward the goal, then throw the puck at the goalie).
Four players on Glacier’s Junior Mavericks high school team were also asked to test their skills with the college players. Michael Porter came away with the junior skills title.
“I felt I held my own,” Porter said of competing against the college guys.
In fact, he’d played hockey with three of them for two years and skated with a number of others during pickup games during the summer.
“(Dudek) told us to go out there (and) see if we could compete with them,” Porter said.
By his estimation, he did.
“It was good,” he said. “I felt like I held my own.”
More than anything, “It was fun,” Porter said.
For a midseason practice, the Mesa State players would undoubtedly agree.