Steamboat Springs Six Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey teams have qualified for the playoffs.
The fourth-seeded Bantam B team heads to Foothills arena in Denver for a contest against the top-seeded Greeley Stampede. Led by assists leader Charlie VonThaden and top goal-scorer Alex Elliott, the Steamboat team hopes to avenge two earlier losses to the Stampede. Goaltender Jack Lupori will need to stand tall against a team that averages nearly five goals a game.
Steamboat's Peewee A (11-4) team fought for the No. 1 seed in its tournament but lost to eventual No. 1 seed Mountain States Renegades in the last week of the regular season. As a result, the Peewee A team will travel to Greeley to take on the No. 3 Summit team. A well-balanced attack led by Andrew Farney (12 goals) and Patrick Milne (13 assists) hopes to keep the pressure off the goaltending tandem of Jesse Draper and Thomas Tarcha, who have combined for a 2.23 GAA while saving 86.7 percent of the shots they have faced. Steamboat and Summit split their regular season series in two very even games played in early December.
Steamboat's Squirt C (6-8-0) representative heads to Pueblo as a No. 3 seed to face the second-seeded Aspen Leafs (6-7-1). Although much of the league was very competitive, the winner of this game needs to be prepared to face the winner of the top-seeded Pueblo Panthers (13-0-1) and the fourth-seeded squad from Laramie (5-6-1).
Although boys Continental Divide Youth Hockey League playoffs kick off this weekend, Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League playoffs already have taken place. Steamboat's Midget Major A team dropped its first-round matchup at Gunnison with 7-2 and 4-3 losses. Steamboat's Sean Kussinen and Ian Berry played outstanding in goal as Steamboat was outshot, 93-29, in those two contests.
Girls play also heats up in the Mountain States Girls Hockey League. The U-12 girls posted a 6-5-1 record to garner the fourth seed. This earns them a playoff matchup against an 11-1-0 Colorado Select team in the first round.
Leading scorer Emily Birch (21 goals, 8 assists, 29 points) and goaltender Rashelle Stetman (.83GAA, .913 saves) lead the girls U-19 team entering the playoffs as Steamboat's only No. 1 seed. An outstanding 10-1-1 record earned them a playoff tilt against a New Mexico Hilltoppers squad that played Steamboat close in the regular season, falling to Steamboat 4-1 and 2-0.
Three of Steamboat's teams - girls U-12 (5-7-2), boys Squirt B(5-9-2), and boys Bantam A(11-7-2) - ended up just missing the playoffs as the fifth-place teams. The Peewee B team (3-10-5), ended in seventh place.
Follow Steamboat's playoff progress online at www.steamboatyouthhockey.com