Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Midget hockey team made a valiant comeback against Colorado Springs Friday night, but came up short at the end despite outshooting their opponent.
Steamboat, which outshot Colorado Springs 43-12, could not overcome an early 3-0 deficit.
The Braves dropped the game, 3-2, which now puts them in a must-win situation today, on the second day of the Ski Town USA Hockey Festival.
"We should have won it," said Chad Barczuk, who plays center for the local team. "We skated really hard but we just couldn't get the puck in. Their goalie is what kept them in it."
The Braves quickly fell behind when Kylan Francis scored at the 7:33-mark of the first period to put Colorado Springs on top, 1-0.
BJ Lachat then scored at the 5:02-mark to extend the lead to 2-0 for the visiting team.
By the end of the first period, the Braves were down, 3-0.
Adam Grimes, who plays center for the Braves, took a hard fall during the first period that resulted in him exiting the game early. He was replaced by Barczuk.
Grimes lost his balance after colliding with a Colorado Springs player that caused him to fly toward the boards.
He suffered a severely sprained left ankle.
The Braves came out in the second period more physical, but couldn't buy a shot against the Colorado Springs defense.
In the third period, Braves' goalie Jamie Magnus made a one-handed snag that stopped another potential Colorado Springs score.
Jeff Franks then scored the home team's first goal less than a minute later on an assist from Trask Donaldson.
The Braves found the inside of the net once more when Dusty DeGroff fired in a shot from close range at the 3:06-mark of the final period.
John Bowers made the assist to DeGroff.
The Braves fired a number of desperation shots in the final three minutes, but their effort was stopped short by a tough Colorado Springs defense.
Jim Dingle, who coaches the Braves, said his players fought like champions in the final period.
"I was inspired how they kept the game going," Dingle said. "We'll take that momentum and use it for tomorrow."
Dingle feels his team still has an excellent shot at making it to the championship game Sunday. Last year, the Braves dropped the first game at the tournament but made it to the finals to play Vail.
Today, the Braves play the Dallas Midget team at 10:45 a.m. before taking on the BW Blades of North Dakota at 9:45 p.m.