Bantam A hockey team edged out at home

Steamboat Springs squad earns 2nd-place finish in Ski Town Classic

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— Given the second chance it wanted, the Steamboat Bantam A youth hockey was disappointed to find the same result.

The squad lost twice to a team from Hyland Hills, including a 4-2 game in the finals of the 13th annual Ski Town Classic Youth Hockey Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Howelsen Ice Arena.

“We were really confident, but they were a really good team,” Steamboat coach Bob Milne said. “It could have gone either way.”

The Steamboat squad had little trouble with its other opponents on the weekend. It beat up on the Front Range Panthers, 6-1, to open the tournament Friday afternoon. Then, on Saturday night, Steamboat skated past the Foothills Flyers, winning, 5-1, to secure a spot in the finals after a 2-1 Saturday-afternoon loss to Hyland Hills.

In the finals, Steamboat hung right in the game until the waning minutes of the third period.

First, Tyler Scott got Steamboat on the board with a first-period blast.

“That was from the blue line, a perfect laser 2 feet off the ground the whole way,” Milne said.

Later, Patrick Milne scored in the second period to tie the game at 2.

At one point it appeared Steamboat actually had taken a 3-2 lead. The puck flew into the net, but the referee had lost track of the puck before the shot and ruled the goal didn’t count.

Hyland Hills took the 2-1 lead in the first game with just one minute, 40 seconds remaining in the third period. It jumped ahead late again in the rematch, scoring twice in the final minutes. The first and most crushing goal came with about three minutes remaining in the final period. With time running out, Steamboat pulled its goalie. The strategy almost worked as the squad pushed the puck down the ice and right up to the net. It couldn’t get the hard shot it needed, however, and Steamboat didn’t score.

Hyland Hills took advantage of the empty net and scored from nearly halfway down the ice with just 9 seconds remaining.

“They really get up for this tournament, and they’ll be really disappointed they didn’t win,” Milne said.

The Bantam A team represented Steamboat’s best performance in the hometown tournament. Elsewhere, the Squirt C team finished sixth, losing to Arapahoe, Hyland Hills, Northern Colorado Youth Hockey and the Denver University Junior Pioneers.

The Bantam B squad was fourth, losing games to the Foothills Flyers, Littleton Black and Aspen.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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