Heating things up

Two Steamboat teams in hunt for hockey titles

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The eighth annual Ski Town USA Hockey Festival concludes today with two Steamboat Springs teams vying for championships and the other two playing for third place.

The Steamboat Springs Midget and Bantam A teams will attempt to win a title on their home ice today against Denver University and Fort Collins-based NCYHA, respectively.

The Midget championship is at 2:30 p.m. at Howelsen Ice Arena. The Bantam title game is at 12:30 p.m.

"It's important to win this tournament because it's our home tournament," Bantam A member Jake Stanford said.

The Bantam A team has a great shot, already having defeated NCYHA 5-2 earlier in the Ski Town tournament, but the Fort Collins team got the better of Steamboat the last time these two teams met in a tournament final.

Steamboat's Bantam A team is attempting to repeat as champions. Last year, the group of 13- to 15-year-olds defeated Vail, 7-1.

Steamboat's Midget team earned a berth into the championship against DU after defeating SCAHA out of Colorado Springs, 5-3, on Saturday night.

In round-robin play Friday, Steamboat and DU skated to a 4-4 tie.

Heading into today's championship games, Steamboat's Midget and Bantam A teams are a combined 4-0-2. The Midget team is Steamboat's best group of high school-age players not competing for the high school.

Steamboat's younger hockey players -- the Pee Wees and Squirts -- also play today. Though they aren't in the finals, they want to finish strong.

"This tournament has been real fun," Pee Wee goalie Matt Dawes, 12, said. "Our team is starting to come together."

Steamboat's Pee Wee team will play NCYHA at 7:30 a.m. today to determine third and fourth places. Steamboat defeated NCYHA 5-0 earlier in the tournament.

Steamboat's Squirt team gets its second crack at Arvada in the 6 a.m. consolation game.

On Thursday, in the Ski Town tournament's opening game, Arvada scored the game-winning goal with just seconds on the clock.

The other championship games set for today are the Squirt title game at 9 a.m. between NCYHA and Littleton and the Pee Wee title game at 10:30 a.m. between Wyoming and Arvada.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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