On thin ice

Chix with Stix lose two in opening round of women's state hockey tourney

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— Breakfast will be served on ice for the Chix with Stix after the home team dropped its opening two games of the Division "A" Women's State Hockey Tournament Saturday.

As the third-place finisher in the Puck Pool, Steamboat will face Fort Collins, the third-place finisher in the Stick Pool, today at 6:30 a.m. at Howelsen Ice Arena.

The Chix fell to Aspen 6-0 Saturday morning before losing 3-2 to Breckenridge in a game that appeared headed for overtime Saturday night.

In the first game, falling behind 2-0 in the opening minute of play against Aspen did little to calm the nerves of the host team. After one period, the score was 4-0. The Chix did hold the No. 2 seed to just two goals in the remaining two periods, but they were unable to get a shot past Aspen goalie Margo Cuttitta.

"We love night games," Steamboat's Carol Vittore said. "We're night owls. We came out sleepy (Saturday) morning."

With the score tied at 2-2, Breckenridge's Syrae Weikle found a way to sneak a goal past Vittore with exactly 1 minute remaining in the game.

Coach Tim Shoreland promptly pulled Vittore to insert an extra attacker with the hopes of evening up the score once more to force a sudden-death overtime.

"He works a play for those six specific attackers," Vittore said. "We have scored with it before. We know we can do it."

Several last-second shots at Blizzard goalie Jamie Headley were unsuccessful, however, leaving the Chix winless through the opening day of the state tournament.

Steamboat's overall play was clearly sharper Saturday night against Breckenridge than it was Saturday morning against Aspen.

The Chix fell behind again to Breckenridge Saturday night, but they didn't allow the Blizzard to pull away and control the game.

Down 1-0 in the closing seconds of the second period, Renee Dupre scooted the puck past Headley to even the score at 1-1.

A pile-up in front of the net caused Headley to lose track of the puck. Once it fell behind her off Diane Dwire's original shot, Dupre approached the crease to put the rebound in uncontested.

The Chix second goal came in the third off a beautiful pass from Dwire to Heidi Chapman.

Dwire took the puck the length of the ice before a pair of Blizzard defenders cut her off. Dwire dumped the puck behind her to a streaking Chapman who quickly fired a shot high into the net in response to Breckenridge's goal scored by Holly Tallman one minute earlier.

"It's very even with these two teams," Vittore said. "We knew we could play with them."

Steamboat's next opponent is Ft. Collins this morning. The Flames entered the state tournament as the No. 4 seed but lost to Vail and tied with the Bandits to finish with one point in the Stick Pool. Denver finished with three points and Vail finished with two points after defeating Denver.

Breckenridge finished atop the Puck Pool with four points, while Aspen was second with two points.

Steamboat's 6:30 a.m. game today will be followed by the consolation game at 8:15 a.m. and the championship game at 10 a.m.

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