Steamboat Springs After not playing up to the team's ability in the state tournament, the Steamboat Midget Major A hockey team again was struggling through another tournament.
This time, it was in the Spring Fling Tournament in Westminster, and after two slow periods in its opening game against Kremmling, coach Mike McGlone was ready to burst.
Then everything came together. Steamboat beat Kremmling, 4-1, and proceeded to finish the tournament 5-0, outscoring its opponents, 25-6, and coming home as tournament champions.
"I think we just started having fun," McGlone said of his team of 18-and-younger players. "I don't know. Everyone had more fun. The whole team was having more fun, and we were playing using each other."
Steamboat had 12 players record points in the tournament, led by Jack Verploeg (10), Brendon Taylor (nine) and Clayton Patrick (seven).
Taylor, Verploeg and Austin Fedewa kicked in hat tricks as well. Goalie Sean Kuusinen picked up three wins, while Ian Berry had two.
"They had their heads up. They were making the passes," assistant coach Bob Kuusinen said. "It wasn't so much the individual play as just great team hockey."
The tournament concludes the season for the Steamboat Major Midget A team. Berry, Vladen Chase and Charlie Smith will travel to Grand Junction this weekend for the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League all-star game. The game pits teams from the north - Kremmling, Craig, Oak Creek and Steamboat - against the league's southern teams.
Although there were times McGlone said he wished his team could have won some more games, he said the tournament was the perfect way to end the year.
"We won a little over 60 percent of our games this year," McGlone said. "It's definitely nice to go down there and finish out the season strong. Seeing them dominate makes me excited for next year."
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