Playoffs begin for Premier Adult Hockey League

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— After years of playing adult hockey at Howelsen Hill, local player Peter Van De Carr has learned his lessons well.

"Anything can happen in the playoffs," Van De Carr said.

Van De Carr's Backdoor Sports/Team Mad Dog dominated the Steamboat Springs Premier Adult Hockey League this winter en route to an 11-3 record. But that will not mean a thing when the team takes the ice this Sunday night for a first-round playoff game against Steamboat Engineering & Design/KFMU.

"Sure, we dominated this winter, but that doesn't mean we can't be beat," Van De Carr said. "KFMU beat us just the other day -- and they finished in last this year."

Sunday's matchup at Howelsen will pit the first-place Mad Dogs against KFMU in the 8:30 p.m. semifinal game. The other semifinal contest, which begins at 10:15 p.m., will pit the league's No. 2 team, Minglewood Timbers, against No. 3 Westside Auto. The winners of the semifinals will advance to the championship game, which will be held March 2 at Howelsen.

"The guys play a little harder this time of year," Van De Carr said. "They know this could be their last game of the season and they also know that any team can win the title.

The championship game will mark the end of the winter season for the Adult Premier League.

Van De Carr said most of the players will take a couple of weeks off before returning to play in the city's spring leagues.

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