Win keeps Braves in 1st headed into Aspen game

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— A Chris Baumann goal with less than two minutes remaining in Saturday's game ensured the TIC Bantam "A" Braves would stay in first place in the Continental Divide Youth Hockey league headed into the final weekend of the regular season.

"One of our guys (Brad Bonner) shot it from the point, it bounced off of a Pueblo player and it came right back to me," Baumann said. "I just had to put it in."

Baumann led the local team to a 3-2 win over Pueblo in the game, which was played at Howelsen Hill Saturday.

Steamboat opened the scoring when Ryan Brees netted a goal after getting an assist from Nate Coram in the opening period.

Pueblo fired back in the second, however, chalking up two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead.

But Baumann caught fire in the final period. The local skater netted the game-tying goal with six minutes remaining to be played. Nick Pruett and Coram assisted him.

"That goal really gave our team the momentum," Baumann said. "Then we got a couple of breaks and we were able to capitalize on them."

The game winner came after Baumann teamed up with Brad Bonner as the time ran down.

The win will set up a showdown this weekend with the second-place Aspen team. Steamboat is scheduled to play two games against the team in Aspen.

"It's a huge weekend for us," Baumann said. "These games will decide who wins the league."

Last year the Steamboat team won the league and the postseason tournament. The team advanced to the state finals and lost by a single goal.

"It's been our goal all season to get back to that (state championship) game," Baumann said.

Winning the league this weekend would be a big step in that direction.

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