Steamboat Springs The dream of winning a state championship came to an end Sunday in Littleton for members of Steamboat’s Pee-wee A team, but that didn’t stop them from celebrating.
“You know, my players taught me a lesson,” coach Blair McNamara said Monday. “My kids celebrated second place. They pumped their hands in the air and there were plenty of high-fives to go around. After watching those players on the ice, I realized that second place in the state tournament is something worth celebrating.”
McNamara said his players never stopped competing in the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association’s 2011 Avalanche Cup title game, but they simply were overpowered by the Boulder Blue team in Sunday’s 4-1 loss.
The team from Boulder didn’t lose a game all season and finished with an impressive 32-0-1 record. Steamboat’s Pee-wee squad also enjoyed a strong season, finishing with a 26-8-2 record.
“Boulder had more players on the bench than we had on our entire team,” McNamara said. “We reached many team and individual accomplishments this season and someday, I believe this group is going to help our high school team win a state title. Until then, we’ll just keep believing.”
Steamboat advanced to Sunday’s finals by topping the Boulder White team in a come-from-behind effort Saturday. Steamboat trailed, 2-0, in the first period before Steamboat’s Bryce Sullivan and Will Firestone each netted goals to tie the game.
Boulder White went ahead at the start of the third period, but a goal from Steamboat’s Joe Borgerding tied the game once again. Steamboat’s Chris Kaminski scored the go-ahead goal, and Jack McNamara scored an empty-netter late to give Steamboat a 5-3 victory.
Steamboat returned to the ice Sunday to face the high-powered Boulder Blue team. Boulder’s Mason Peterson, Connor Fox and Ryan Uhland each scored a goal in the first period to give the Blue team the early advantage. Sean McGann added another goal in the second period to put Boulder Blue up, 4-0. Steamboat didn’t go down without a fight, however. Jack McNamara scored in the third period, but Steamboat could get no closer.
“It was a great season,” Blair McNamara said. “I think we started six months ago, and I can’t say enough about the effort these players have shown all year. I couldn’t be prouder.”
To reach John F. Russell call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com