Hockey teams shine in trio of tourneys
November 17, 2015
Steamboat Springs — Hockey is well underway for local youth teams, many of which kicked off their seasons with the start of league play last weekend.
Even with a whole season still to unfold, the local program may be awfully lucky if it enjoys another weekend as it did Nov. 6 to 8.
With teams traveling for tournaments, the Steamboat program brought home two championships and one second-place finish.
"A great weekend of hockey," Steamboat Youth Hockey Association Director Corey Allen said.
At the top was the program’s Bantam A team, which went 4-0 in a tournament in Park City, Utah.
The squad cleaned up in pool play, winning its three games, then built a fat lead against the Park City Eagles. All that momentum seemed to vanish in a hurry, however, as the Eagles rallied with three goals to tie the game with less than a minute remaining in the third period.
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After a scoreless overtime period, it came down to penalty shots, and that's where Steamboat goalie Patrick Sumner shined his brightest. He stopped all five Eagle attempts and, with his team's last opportunity, Matthew Kempers gave Steamboat the victory with a tournament-winning penalty shot.
"Being the first time everyone had played together this season, each player worked extremely hard and competed at every end of the ice," coach Nicholas Carelli said in an email. "It was fun to see the early season chemistry come alive through unselfish play and a relentless work ethic."
Steamboat picked up another championship from its Squirt B team, playing at home in the Rocky Mountain Rumble Tournament, and it too required some jaw-dropping dramatics.
The team got an excellent weekend from Easton Eckroth, who scored five goals in the team's first two games. Dylan Gormley and Andrew Kempers had two more each as the team advanced to a championship game versus a Vail team it had already tied once, 1-1.
It didn't seem likely to be another tie as Vail carried a 2-0 lead into the final minute of the game. With 56 seconds remaining, Steamboat found just enough offense.
Nick Nealy and Eckroth both scored to force overtime. There, Kodiak Kretzschmar capped the huge comeback with a game-winning goal on a breakaway.
Steamboat's luck finally ran out as the Peewee A team battled for a championship, but that squad too enjoyed a very successful weekend.
After going 3-0 in pool play, the team trailed its opponent, the Outliers, from Salt Lake City 6-3 in the championship.
Joe Neal, Walker Ripley and Max Kenney all scored late to even things up. Steamboat controlled much of the ensuing overtime period but couldn't quite get the goal it needed. The Outliers took advantage and won the game with penalty shots.
"We had a few bad bounces with the puck and couldn't quite time them in the shootout," coach Brian Ripley said. "We finished second, but I am extremely proud of how the team played and truly dominated the five-on-five play all weekend."