Girls hockey team skates strong |

Girls hockey team skates strong

Luke Graham

— The Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association U-19 girls team opened the season 1-0-1 this past weekend in Denver.

Steamboat tied the Colorado Select U-19 A team, 1-1, Sunday morning, with an unassisted goal late in the game by Megan Stabile. Steamboat outshot Colorado Select, 32 to 10, in the game.

In Steamboat’s second game, against the Colorado Select U-16 AA team – a squad one classification higher – Steamboat pulled out a thrilling 4-3 win.

“It was awesome. It was wonderful,” Steamboat coach Alexa Pighini said. “We were up against bigger talents, but our girls played really, really well.”

In the second game, Steamboat fell behind, 2-0, before Meghan Lukens scored two goals to knot the score up.

Steamboat took the lead late in the second period when Courtney Garth scored on a feed from Lukens.

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After the Colorado Select tied the score at 3, Steamboat capitalized on a power play opportunity.

Steamboat won a face-off, with Garth taking the puck wide. Defenseman Kate Verploeg skated down the middle and received a pass from Garth. After Verploeg’s first shot was denied, she picked up the rebound and scored at the buzzer to give Steamboat the win.

“We have a lot of new players that haven’t been on this older team,” Pighini said. “It’s different dynamics this year. It’s going to be interesting.”

After finishing 16-6-1 in the B division of the Mountain State Girls Hockey League last year, Steamboat moved up into the more competitive A division this year.

The Mountain State Girls Hockey League comprises teams throughout Colorado and New Mexico.

Pighini said after the first weekend of play, she is expecting another successful season for Steamboat.

“My goals stayed the same,” Pighini said. “I want the girls to have fun and succeed. I think we can achieve that again, and this weekend reassured that for me.”

Steamboat next plays this weekend at Aspen in the Fall Face-off Tournament. Pighini said the 10-team tournament will give her a chance to scout the rest of the league, while learning more about her team.

“I think if we keep playing hard, doing well, focus on the team and the team’s goals,” she said, “in the end, that’s what will bring us success.”