Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs girls U19 hockey team entered the Mountain States Girls Hockey League tournament during the weekend as the consensus No. 1 team, firmly with a gigantic bull’s-eye on its chest.
What transpired was two days that included four games won by one goal, the final taking two overtimes for Steamboat to wrap up its second consecutive state title.
“We talked about previous games and knew the teams,” said Steamboat coach Kent Foster, whose team finished the season 28-3. “I told the girls they’d have to play their best hockey of the season because we did have that bull’s-eye on our chest.”
Steamboat had a relatively easy win in its first game against Aspen. Despite winning just 2-1, on goals from Kendall Yeager and Monica Patten, Steamboat had a 2-to-1 shot advantage.
In the second game against Telluride, one team to beat Steamboat in the regular season, Hannah Samlowski knotted up the game at 1, and Olivia Gorr got the game-winner in the second period for Steamboat.
Having already advanced to Sunday’s championship game, Steamboat played second-seeded Gunnison. Meghan Lukens and Gorr gave Steamboat a 2-1 lead with three minutes remaining in the game, when Gunnison tied it up.
But with 1:46 to go, Lukens fed Gorr on the power play for the game-winner.
“I love the game where it’s intense and you have to work for it,” said senior co-captain Lukens. “We had to work hard every game, and it was worth it in the end.”
In the championship game, Steamboat jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from Gorr and Teagann Yeager.
But Gunnison responded with two power-play goals in the second to tie it up. After a scoreless third period and first overtime period, Steamboat found its chance.
On the power play, Gorr sucked in the Gunnison defense before feeding it to Megan Stabile in the left faceoff circle. Stabile buried a shot high, giving Steamboat the win.
“Hannah passed it off the boards to me,” said Gorr, who led the tournament in scoring with six points, including four goals. “I didn’t think it would go through all the other team’s feet, but it did.”
The Steamboat U12 and U16 girls teams also competed, finishing in third and fourth place, respectively.
“It’s great. It’s awesome,” Foster said. “To be able to follow through and overcome a few bumps in the road, it was a really successful season. To go to a tournament and you don’t meet those expectations would have made for a long summer. For this, it doesn’t get any better.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@SteamboatToday.com