Steamboat Springs Memories of the Slap Shot tournament were still fresh on the minds of the members of the Steamboat Springs Bantam A team Sunday as they took the ice to face Fort Collins.
The Fort Collins team had come from behind by scoring three late-game goals in the championship tilt at the Slap Shot Tournament in October to take the title away from the Steamboat team in a 3-2 contest. Steamboat coach Dan Haggarty said it was the kind of loss that leaves a lasting impression.
"We had the championship in our hands," Haggarty said. "But then we gave it away."
But the Steamboat team paid back Fort Collins Sunday, winning 2-0 to capture the championship.
"It was a very physical game," Haggarty said. "The guys played really well and our goalie stopped all the shots when he needed to."
Haggarty said the game puck went to goalkeeper Jeff Dawes who stopped 15 Fort Collins' shots. The biggest came in the second period when Dawes stretched out to make a glove save on a shot that could have turned the momentum.
"He was outstanding," Haggarty said. "He made the big plays when we needed them."
Steamboat also got a lot of help from its offense, which unloaded 32 shots in the game. The biggest came from Sam Yokubonis who scored with 9 minutes, 55 seconds left to play in the first period. He got an assist from Cameron Fritz.
Fort Collins then held off the Steamboat offensive attack until midway through the third period. But with 5:41 remaining, Jake Stanford netted a goal after getting an assist from teammates Tanner Stillwell and Greg Ingalls. The score iced the game for the Steamboat team and helped it capture its first tournament title of the season.
The Bantams will host Foothills this weekend and play at Aspen the next weekend. Both teams are right behind the Steamboat team in the league standings.
"We are hot right now," Dawes said. "It's good timing, because we have got to win those four games."
The Steamboat Springs Midgets also had a shot at a tournament trophy, but Denver University defeated Steamboat in the championship game, 4-2.
Fort Collins took the Ski Town Title in the Squirt division and Arvada was the top team in the Peewee division.
The Ski Town USA Hockey Festival is the primary fund-raiser for the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association and one of the biggest youth hockey tournaments in Northwest Colorado.
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