Youth hockey scores a title | SteamboatToday.com

Youth hockey scores a title

Steamboat players win at Frightfest

The members of the Steamboat Springs Bantam A team include, back row, from left, Michael Samuelson, Zach Watts, Jarret Walt and Coach John Worden. Middle row, from left are head coach John Munshaw, assistant Russ Cagnoni, John Wharton, Brady Bender, Alex Elliott, Mason Bates, Errik Hill and assistant David Hill. Front row , from left, are Tyler Scott, Christian Ramirez, Ryan Cagnoni, Jace Worden and assistant John Lupori

Nothing could scare the Steamboat Springs Bantam A team at the Foothills Frightfest Hockey Tournament in Littleton.

After finishing pool play with a 1-1-1 record, the young Steamboat players put fear aside and started playing for the title. The tournament took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Edge Ice Arena.

Steamboat defeated Foothills, the only team that beat Steamboat in the opening round, to advance to the championship game. Steamboat then survived a shootout in the championship game with Wyoming to skate away with the title in the season-opening tournament.

“We just kept stressing to the players that we wanted them to shoot the puck more,” assistant coach John Worden said. “They did that and our shot totals went up every game, our chances went up every game and our goal production went up every game.”

The assistant said making the most of every opportunity was often the difference between winning and losing at the Frightfest. He said all four teams were very evenly matched and that most games were decided by a single goal.

In the finals, Steamboat defeated Wyoming in a heart-stopper that was tied at 2 at the end of regulation. Steamboat’s goals came off the sticks of Zach Watts and Ryan Cagnoni. The two teams battled through a scoreless overtime, but the title came down to a shootout.

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Steamboat scored on three of the team’s first four shots in the tiebreaker with the goals by Watts, Cagnoni and Jace Worden giving the Steamboat team the cushion it needed. But the play of Steamboat goalkeeper Jack Lupori proved to be the difference. Lupori stopped three of the four Wyoming shooters to give the Steamboat Bantams (eighth and ninth graders) the tournament title.

“It was an exciting hockey game,” coach Worden said. “Our guys played great, and really put the game away in the shootout.”

Steamboat, 3-1-1, survived the round robin by tying Colorado Springs (3-3) and beating Wyoming (3-2). The Steamboat team lost to Foothills (3-2) in the round robin.

“We played well enough to win,” coach Worden said. ” But we had way too many penalties and couldn’t get on track.”

However, Steamboat advanced to the second round, where the players got another shot at the Foothills team, and made the most of it.

“We were a lot more aggressive and we didn’t make as many mistakes,” the coach said.

Steamboat’s shooters were also able to find the back of the net, and helped the team skate away with a 5-3 win and a shot at Wyoming in the finals.

During the weekend, Steamboat got goals from a number of players including Cagnoni, Watts, Worden, Mason Bates, Brady Bender, Alex Elliott and Errik Hill. In the opening game against Colorado Springs, Christian Ramirez scored all three of Steamboat’s goals and kept the team in the running for the tournament title.

The team will open league play in the Continental Divide Youth Hockey League this weekend in Greeley. The Steamboat Bantams are scheduled to play 16 league games this winter, in addition to tournament play.

– To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com