Steamboat Springs In front of 800 cheering fans, Steamboat's Tyson Voyek stood in the center of Howelsen Ice Arena, skated toward one of the best goalies in the country and scored.
The goal wasn't for any league titles, or any team records, it wasn't even for the game winner but it will likely be one Voyek will never forget.
He was the last of five players on the Midgets Ice Hockey team to go in the shoot-out against the USA Women's Hockey Team and his goal put the team one point ahead of the defending Olympic gold medal winners.
"I knew it came down to me," Voyek said. "It was pretty cool to be able to score on an Olympic goalie."
The Midgets maintained that lead when goalie Tim Higbee, one of the best high school goalies in Colorado, saved a shot by U.S. captain Cammi Granato.
Although the Midgets might have just lost a 5-0 game to the women, the high school boys team will forever have the bragging rights to winning a 2-1 shoot-out against the Women's Hockey Team.
Sunday's scrimmage was the last public appearance made by the U.S. Team in its three-day stay in Steamboat before it headed to Salt Lake this morning. And, like the practices and clinics before it, Steamboat fans flocked to the ice arena to watch the 2002 gold medal favorites take on the Steamboat Midgets team of 16- to 18-year-olds.
It didn't seem to matter who was scoring or defending, the largest crowd the Howelsen Ice Arena had ever held cheered with equal enthusiasm for its hometown and home country players.
"It was an amazing turnout," said USA defender Chris Bailey. "I never expected this great turnout even though it is a big hockey town."
For a team that has won 31 straight games in its exhibition tour, finding competition can be hard to do. But defender A.J. Mleczko said competing against boys teams means bringing strength and speed into games they might not find in teams such as China, whom they outscored 48-4 in four games before heading to Steamboat.
"It's really hard to find competition, except for Canada and Finland," Mleczko said. "We played Canada eight times and it's halfway across the world to play Finland. So it's much better to play these guys than teams like China."
Women's coach Ben Smith said the game was a great opportunity for his team to practice power plays.
"It's something you can't create in practice," Smith said. "It was just a good up and down game."
It might just have been a chance for the Olympic team to add some excitement to its practices, but for the Steamboat team, it was a priceless moment.
"I didn't want to get off the ice," forward Trask Donaldson said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime game."
Donaldson admitted he was a little bit nervous before the game, more nervous than he was for the league games, and could not fall asleep until 1 a.m. the night before.
Stopping all but five of the 50 shots taken on goal, Higbee said the team's excitement for the game was comparable to a state tournament and the women were the toughest team he has ever faced.
"I don't think any one of us is going to forget this," he said of a game that had the women scoring all of their points in the first half.
Without a doubt, it was the precise passing and teamwork that blew the Midgets and the fans away.
"It was like they were putting on a clinic a couple of times," said Midgets coach Jim Dingle of the women's team's passing on the ice. "The flow and teamwork and to see that, it's such a beautiful game."