The Steamboat Bantam A team celebrates after winning its league championship during the weekend. The team, along with three other Steamboat Youth Hockey teams, is preparing for the state championships at The Edge in Denver on Friday and Saturday.

Courtesy photo

The Steamboat Bantam A team celebrates after winning its league championship during the weekend. The team, along with three other Steamboat Youth Hockey teams, is preparing for the state championships at The Edge in Denver on Friday and Saturday.

4 youth hockey teams headed to state

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— Four Steamboat Youth Hockey teams advanced through their respective league tournaments during the weekend and into Friday and Saturday's state championships.

The Squirt B and Bantam A teams each won its league tournament, while the Pee Wee A team finished second to advance and the Bantam B team got in as a wild card. All the single-elimination tournament games will take place at The Edge in Denver.

Here is a look at each team preparing for the state championship tournaments.

Bantam A

Despite having just 11 players, the Steamboat Bantam A team didn't lose a game all weekend. Steamboat Springs beat Glenwood, 1-0, in overtime and the Greeley Renegades, 1-0, to advance to the finals, where Steamboat beat Greeley, 8-2, to advance to state.

"The expectation is to do as well as they can," assistant coach David Hill said. "To get as far as they did in league is a great accomplishment. To continue beyond that is a great accomplishment."

Steamboat will open against a team from Colorado Springs it hasn't played before. Still, Hill said, the expectations for the second-seeded Steamboat team will be high.

Squirt B

The Squirt B team showed why it hadn't lost a game all season and entered the league tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.

The team cruised through its portion of the bracket and heads into the state championships as possibly the hottest Steamboat team. In the regular season, the team outscored its opponents, 80-18, with every player on the team recording at least four points.

Pee Wee A

The Pee Wee A team advanced to the state championships after finishing second in its league tournament, dropping a 3-2 overtime game to the Denver Junior Eagles.

Steamboat started the league tournament 1-1 with its lone loss coming against the Denver Junior Eagles. After beating Aspen, 1-0, Steamboat beat the Junior Eagles, 9-2, to set up a championship showdown.

The two teams skated to a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation, before Denver scored with two minutes remaining in overtime.

"I think we can skate with these guys," said coach Bob Milne, whose team lost to Greeley in the state championship game last year. "It's a matter of who is fortunate to have the puck go into the net."

Steamboat comes in as the third seed, behind No. 1 Arapahoe Navy and the second-seeded Junior Eagles. The Littleton Black team is the fourth seed.

Milne said he's confident Steamboat can do well considering this is the second trip to a state championship for most of the players.

"We've got a good, strong game plan," Milne said. "If we stick to it and come out and skate hard, we can play with anyone."

Bantam B

Despite finishing second in its league tournament, the Steamboat Bantam B team got into the state playoffs with a wild-card berth.

Steamboat lost, 3-2, to Greeley in the league playoffs and starts out this weekend with the No. 1 seed, undefeated Highland Hills.

"This last tournament, we came a long way," coach Brent "Benny" Tollar said. "We worked through a lot of discipline, and I couldn't be more proud of how hard they worked to get to this position."

Tollar said this weekend will come down to how well the team focuses and knowing the team can play with anyone.

"Looking at the grander stage, these are all good teams we'll be playing," he said. "They have to know they match up to them just like anybody else."

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