Steamboat Springs Clayton Patrick's hat trick helped lead the Steamboat Springs Blades past Gunnison during the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League's peewee championship last Sunday.
But head coach Don Worsley said the key to the Blades' success in the tournament was teamwork.
"I wasn't surprised that we won," Worsley said. "We've been stressing teamwork all season and that's why we did so well last weekend."
Still, it was Patrick's three goals, plus one from Luke Hottenroth that helped the 11- and 12-year-olds capture the title with a 4-2 win over Gunnison.
Hottenroth and Austin Fedewa had assists in the victory.
The win marked the end of the Blades' championship run, which started in Breckenridge on March 8. The Steamboat team finished fifth in the league standings, but managed a first-round upset of top-seeded Summit.
"That game was really grueling," Worsley said. "We had a 4-3 lead with 3 minutes left to play."
But the Blades inadvertently scored on themselves in the closing minutes, tying the game and forcing a shootout.
Steamboat's Scott Frank, Patrick, Courtney Garth and Cole Worsley all found the back of the net during regulation.
In overtime, Ben Vonthaden provided the game-winning goal in a hard-fought shootout. Worsley credited goalkeeper Tate Tellier for keeping Steamboat in the game and coming through in the overtime period.
Steamboat returned to Howelsen Hill March 15 to begin the second round of games and continue its drive to the championship game.
The Blades knocked off Glenwood to earn the championship berth in a 2-1 game. Once again, teamwork provided the spark and led to goals from Patrick and Vonthaden, which secured the win. Parker Stegmaier and Kevin Stokes provided assists.
Gunnison defeated Kremmling, a team that shared the regular season title with Summit, and Oak Creek en route to the title game.
Worsley, Josh Davies and Damian Schmidt coached the Blades team this season.