Chix drop Cliffhangers in home finale

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After struggling offensively against Breckenridge, the Steamboat Chix with Stix women's hockey team routed the Denver Cliffhangers.

Steamboat defeated Denver, 4-0 and 6-0, on March 18 and Saturday at Howelsen Ice Arena. The two wins helped the Chix close the regular season in impressive fashion.

The Chix (6-13-1 overall) be-gin the end-of-season tournament in the Women's As--sociation of Colorado Hock-ey league April 8 in Boulder.

"It was nice to get some wins and be able to work on some things, things we had been working on in practice," captain Diane Dwire said. "We've always been able to do good things offensively, but being able to finish it off was the main thing. That was nice to score some goals."

On March 18, Steamboat goalie Carol Vittore stopped all 10 of Denver's shots. The Chix, meanwhile, generated 20 shots on goal, scoring on four of them. Dwire got the home team on the board first, 2 minutes, 20 seconds into the first period off assists from Lisa Owen and Sue Heineke.

Lee Cox added Steamboat's second goal three minutes later. Steamboat wrapped up its scoring with two goals in the second. The first came off Heineke's stick 4:20 into the period, and Owen added the final goal with 52 seconds left in the period off an assist from Lynne Bosley.

Neither team scored in the third.

The Chix notched their second shutout in as many days Saturday morning against the Cliffhangers. The Cliffhangers play in the WACH B1 league, which is a step below the A league that the Chix play in. Nicole Balvanz, a Steamboat Springs senior in her first year of hockey, stopped all 12 Denver shots for the win in goal.

"She did an excellent job," Dwire said. "Both goalies had to make some good saves in the two games. They weren't easy shutouts. They earned those shutouts. The other team had good opportunities."

The Chix amassed a staggering 36 shots on goal Saturday, scoring six times. Jen Travis scored just 1:04 into the game. Kit Rice was credited with the assist.

"If we can come out hard and fast and take control early, that works to our advantage," Dwire said. "We relax a little. Scoring is the key for us. It has been our issue."

Heineke scored her third goal of the weekend at the outset of the second period off passes from Bosley and Dwire. Steamboat added its third goal with 5:24 left in the second on Val Dietrich's first goal of the game. Owen and Renee Dupre were given assists.

Steamboat added three more goals in the third period. Dupre, Dietrich and Cox scored in the final frame, and Dwire, Dupre, Julia Wallace, Owen and Heineke were given assists.

Steamboat dropped two league games to Breckenridge on March 11 and 12. The Chix lost 4-0 in the first game and 2-1 in the second. Steamboat got on the board first against Breckenridge in the second game March 12.

Dwire scored off an assist from Sheila Henderson. The Blizzard added their game-winning goal seven minutes into the second.

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