Youth hockey skating hard

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— As the new year dawns, many of Steamboat Springs' youth hockey teams enter the second half of their seasons geared toward a playoff push. Most of the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association squads are well poised to secure berths in their respective age-bracket tournaments by the end of the month. In addition to Steamboat Springs High School games, Howelsen Ice Arena will host 32 youth home games in January. February will see the SSYHA teams make their final playoff runs, as well as the Adele Dombrowski Girls Hockey Tournament and the Skatin' the 'Boat Mite Jamboree in March.

Girls U-19

Emily Birch (16 goals, 5 assists, 21 points) and Rashelle Stetman (1.17 goals against average, .894 save percentage) lead the girls U-19 squad, having equal success as Steamboat's Midget Major A team, standing at 5-1. The girls travel to New Mexico to play the undefeated Hilltoppers team Jan. 12, to see who will claim first place in the Mountain States Girls Hockey League.

Bantam A

The most competitive division a Steamboat team competes in could be the Continental Divide Youth Hockey League, which the Bantam A's play in. The Steamboat team has a 7-2 record but stands in fifth place, currently not enough to qualify for a playoff berth. Jonathan Milne (8, 8, 16) and goalkeeper Connor Brown (1.09, .935) pace a team that is only one point from qualifying and only four points out of first place.

Bantam B

Alex Elliott (4, 2, 6) and Jack Lupori (3.0, .859) lead a Bantam B team that has played significantly fewer games and currently stands at 2-2, but still holds fourth place. A busy late-season schedule should provide the team an opportunity to solidify itself as a serious contender for the division.

Girls U-14

In other girls team news, the U-14 group has only one win in a 1-4-1 start. But points leader Meghan Lukens and goalie Ellana Williams are keeping the rest of the division in sight as they are a single point from fourth place and only six points from division-leading Aspen.

Girls U-12

The U-12 girls squad currently holds down second place with a 4-2 record. The U-12 squad travels to Crested Butte, Gunnison and Aspen before finishing the season at home against Gunnison, positioning the team for a serious run at the division title.

Peewee A

Steamboat currently holds second place in the Peewee A division at 6-2. Andrew Farny (9, 6, 15) and Patrick Milne (5, 9, 14) are leading a squad that trails Greeley's Renegades club by only two points. These two teams will square off Feb. 23 at Howelsen Ice Arena, possibly with the division title on the line.

Peewee B

Team captain Koby Bishop (5, 4, 9) is pacing a Peewee B team that is holding onto fourth place. Goaltenders Trent Trask and Connor Glynn have combined for only one loss in a 3-1-4 campaign. The Peewee B team controls its own destiny in the second half of the season, as the team plays all three teams ahead of it in the standings.

Squirt B

Jordan Gorr (10, 4, 14) is leading the Squirt B club to a 5-4 record that ties it for second in CDYHL play with Aspen. Lars Berntsen has recorded one shutout while making 88 saves.

Squirt C

Finally, Squirt C play has seen Steamboat get out to a 4-6 start. Scott Brown (11 goals) leads the team in points, while Jackson Draper and Liam Hahn have served well as goaltenders. The Squirt C team currently holds down third place behind Pueblo and Aspen.

- Steamboat Pilot & Today staff contributed to this story.

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