‘They fought to the end’: Goaltender Kretzschmar keeps Steamboat competitive in semifinal loss to Cheyenne Mountain
DENVER — Steamboat Springs High School senior goaltender Indiana Kretzschmar stopped 19 shots before one finally slipped by him.
He was everything the No. 4 Sailors needed him to be in a state semifinal game against the No. 1-ranked team in the state. Kretzschmar recorded 29 stops Thursday, March 3, giving the Sailors a chance against Cheyenne Mountain, which prevailed 6-0 to advance to the 4A state title game.
“They were just a really good team,” Kretzschmar said. “I thought we played well. I’m happy with the last game of the season. I’m happy for all my teammates. They fought to the end.”
During the regular season, the Red-Tailed Hawks averaged almost seven goals a game and scored more goals in the first than in any other period. Kretzschmar shut that down.
He saw 12 shots in the first, many of which were high-chance scoring opportunities, including a couple breakaways. If he didn’t catch the puck flying at him, he deflected it up and away from danger.
On the other end of the ice, there was little action with the Sailors mustering just two shots in the first period. Kretzschmar kept buying time, one big save after another.
He even did so using another goalie’s blocker, since he left his back home in Steamboat.
“In order to even be here at the semifinals, you have to have good goaltending. He’s been so consistent all year long,” said Steamboat coach Brian Ripley. “That zero-zero first period, it was zero-zero because he kept it zero-zero. He kept us in that game. The end score doesn’t reflect his play at all. He was outstanding and he was all year long.”
The Hawks wouldn’t be discouraged so easily, though. They kept pelting pucks at the Sailor between the pipes. When a puck rang off the post, the sound was music to the Sailors’ ears, but it also hinted that Cheyenne Mountain was getting closer to scoring.
While on a power play, Cheyenne Mountain senior Noah Bonnett skirted the puck around the back of the Steamboat net. Kretzschmar glided across the crease to meet Bonnett on his right, but Bonnett had stopped behind the net. Before Kretzschmar could stretch back left, Bonnet squeezed the puck between the post and the Sailor’s left foot.
That put a chip in the wall, which crumbled over the next 90 seconds, as junior Wyatt Furda and senior Drew Elwell scored to give the Red-Tailed Hawks a 3-0 lead.
“The first one went in, and I was like, ‘not a big deal,’” Kretzschmar said. “Then the next one came, and I feel like the team all around got a little bit slower; we got a little bit tired. … Third period came around and the same thing happened. It’s just kind of how hockey is. Sometimes they put in a bunch of them real quick.”
Cheyenne Mountain ended up scoring three more in the third, including two within 16 seconds of each other, but Kretzschmar still ended the day with 29 saves. It was the most shots he has seen since an early season loss against Ralston Valley.
The Sailors totaled just 12 shots on goal against Cheyenne Mountain goalie Jeremy Renholm. The Red-Tailed Hawks defense challenged the Sailors’ every move.
“Their defense was just sticking on us like glue,” said senior Giovanni Desmussis.
A goal would have been nice, and a win even better, but the Sailors were still happy with how they performed Thursday and throughout the season.
“I don’t think people expected us to do what we did,” Desmussis said. “It felt good that we did this good this season just because of how last season ended with COVID. To come out and stand our ground, play good against all the mountain teams felt good.”
No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain 6, No. 4 Steamboat Springs
SS 0 0 0 – 0
CM 0 3 3 – 6
CM – Noah Bonnett, PP, 10:31
CM – Wyatt Furda (Mitchell Lewis), 10:55
CM – Drew Elwell (Nick Hallee), 12:13
CM – Lewis (Furda), 1:25
CM – Furda (Philip Bramble, Lewis), PP, 11:28
CM – Cole Taylor, 11:44
Saves: SS, Indi Kretzschmar 29. CM, Jeremy Renholm 12.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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