Steamboat Springs Steamboat’s Bantam A youth hockey team won a state title Sunday, following up a Pee-wee title last year and capping a thrilling weekend on the Front Range.
The Bantam A team, made up of players ages 13 to 15 years old, defeated the Colorado Junior Eagles of Lakewood, 2-1, in overtime at the Pepsi Center. It was the seventh meeting between the teams this season, and although the Junior Eagles had the upper hand previously — with four victories, including a recent overtime win for the league championship — Steamboat finished on top in the state championship Sunday morning when Patrick Milne scored the winning goal after a scramble in front of the Junior Eagle’s net.
“I just was able to get it in front of me, and I kind of dove to take a shot, and I didn’t really see what happened,” Patrick said. “I was told it went in the five-hole.”
The five-hole is the space between a goalie’s legs. Patrick set off a similar celebration a year ago, scoring a game-winning goal in the second overtime against Littleton PWA Black to give Steamboat Springs a Pee-wee A state hockey championship.
Asked how he was doing after the game Sunday, Patrick simply said: “I’m doing amazing.”
Many of the Steamboat players on this year’s Bantam A team played on the Pee-wee team last year. Bob Milne, PJ Wharton and Bill Schwartz coached this year’s Bantam A team.
Tyler Scott had Steamboat’s first goal Sunday, receiving a pass from Christian Ramirez and firing a shot into the back of the net.
“It was right out of the pros — perfect pass, perfect shot,” Bob Milne said.
The Junior Eagles tied the game on a third-period power play. Bob Milne said goalie Jesse Draper had a stellar performance in net, stopping 24 of the Junior Eagle’s 25 shots and keeping Steamboat in the game.
Steamboat was the No. 4 seed in the weekend tournament. To earn the bid in Sunday’s championship game, Steamboat defeated the No. 1 seed, the Colorado Springs Junior Tigers, by a score of 5-4 Friday night in Littleton.
That also was a thrilling overtime game.
The second period of that game ended with the score 2-1. Christian Ramirez scored two third-period goals to put Steamboat ahead, 3-2, but Colorado Springs responded with two goals of their own to take back the lead.
Steamboat scored with 0.2 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at four and force overtime, where Ben Wharton scored on a pass from Bobby Elliott to give Steamboat the win. Trent Trask played goalie Friday night for Steamboat.
“He made some great saves in overtime to keep us in it,” Bob Milne said about Trent.
The weekend’s games were as exciting for Steamboat parents and coaches as they were for the players.
“I am so exhausted, and I haven’t played a stitch of hockey,” Linda Sobeck, team manager and the mother of Bantam player Erik Sobeck, said Sunday.
Bob Milne praised the effort of all of Steamboat’s Bantam A skaters.
“It’s a great thing for Steamboat hockey,” he said. “It takes a team to win a state championship.”
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org