Steamboat Springs When the Chix with Stix hockey team looks back on this season, its players will remember more than finishing second. They will remember their highly fortified roster and how they connected on and off the ice.
The Chix were the only team in last weekend's Women's Association of Colorado Hockey's B1 Division Tournament not fielded by a major metropolitan city, yet they brought the largest roster with 18 players and two coaches.
The Chix also brought 17 years of memories, many of which they reminisced about during the weekend. The players remembered past players, coaches and games. They also recalled their first season, when they had to shovel snow off the rink for 50 minutes to practice for 10 minutes.
They have come a long way.
The Chix were ranked first going into the tournament, and with only five of the seven B1 teams competing, the Chix played all four teams in a round robin format.
The Chix dropped their first game to the Angry Beavers, of Denver, on Friday, 2-1.
On Saturday, the women faced the Northern Colorado Comets. All four of the Chix's forward lines scored, and the fourth line capped it off for a 5-2 victory.
"This is hunger; this is desire; this is how games are supposed to be played," Chix coach Tim Shorland said after the win.
On the afternoon of March 28, the Chix shut out the Fort Collins Flames, 3-0.
The Chix needed a win or tie against the Denver Renegades to advance to the championship game.
On the morning of March 29, the Chix and Renegades remained scoreless until the third period. Defensewoman Diane Dwire then took a shot from the point. The puck hit the far post and went in.
In the final minute on a power play, the Renegades pulled their goalie for a 6-on-4 opportunity and tied the game with 40 seconds remaining on the clock. The Chix held on to the tie and a ticket to their first championship game in team history, where they had a rematch with the Angry Beavers.
The Chix scored first and traded goals into the second period. With the game tied at two, Chix goalie Nikki Knoebel came out to play a one-on-one breakaway. Knoebel made the save but a penalty shot was called. The Beavers capitalized and took the lead.
The Beavers added one more on a 5-on-3 power play in the third. With 1:43 left, the Beavers gave the Chix a power play opportunity. Shorland pulled Knoebel for the 6-on-4. Heidi Chapman-Hoy scored with 8 seconds on the clock, but the Beavers won, 4-3.
Although disappointed in defeat, the Chix were proud to play in the championship. They were similarly proud of their season accomplishments.
Polumbus is a Steamboat Springs resident and member of the Chix with Stix women's hockey team.