Steamboat U-19 strong in Gunnison

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Bucking the myth that more is better, the Steamboat Springs U-19 girls hockey team needed just eight skaters to win three out of four games in Gunnison last weekend.

Steamboat joined Gunnison and Los Alamos for the Gunnison Winter Carnival Tournament and played four games in two days, winning the first three before falling in the finale.

Steamboat outscored the opposition 16-8 through the first three games, defeating Los Alamos twice and Gunnison once.

In the first game Jan. 29, Steamboat's Jenna Hammerslag scored four goals, and Siara Atkinson picked up one goal and two assists to lead Steamboat. Nicole Balvanz made 19 saves on 22 Gunnison shots. This is her first year of hockey.

Miranda Schrock also scored a goal in Steamboats' 6-1 opening win. Jessica Fox and Angela Palaniuk each had an assist.

Steamboat defeated Los Alamos, 5-1, in its second game Jan. 29. Balvanz made eight saves, and her teammates countered with 24 shots on goal in the easy win. Hammerslag, Atkinson, Schrock and Adele Dombrowski all had goals. The four had assists, as well.

Steamboat came back to defeat Los Alamos by an identical 5-1 score Sunday. Balvanz made five saves. The offense once again was working for Steamboat. Despite having just 15 shots on goal, the girls got five past Los Alamos goalie Monika Kubicek.

Hammerslag and Schrock each had two goals. Hammerslag also had three assists. Dombrowski scored Steamboat's fifth goal, and Atkinson and Fox added assists.

But the fourth game in two days was too much for the eight skaters, and Gunnison, with 14 skaters, defeated Steamboat, 3-1, on Sunday.

Balvanz made 15 saves on 18 Gunnison shots, and Gunnison goalie Christy Forest turned away 20 of Steamboat's 21 shots on net. Hammerslag scored Steamboat's lone goal off an assist from Palaniuk.

The Steamboat U-19, U-14 and U-12 girls teams are in action this weekend at the annual Steamboat girls tournament hosted at Howelsen Ice Arena. The tournament opened Friday and continues through Sunday and is traditionally held to help kick off the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, which begins with the opening ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Olympian Hall.

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