Steamboat hockey wins two championships
Steamboat Springs — ‘One would have been sweet. Two was unbelievable,” Steamboat Youth Hockey Association coordinator Corey Allen said this week after a pair of local hockey teams came away championships in a Denver tournament.
The boys Bantam team, with U14 athletes, and the midget team, with U19 athletes, both won the Presidents’ Weekend Tournament in Littleton.
“I’m proud for both teams,” said Allen, who coached the Bantam squad. “This is big for our association. Just being from Steamboat, going down to the Front Range and playing in competitive tournaments and winning, it’s great for the association as a whole.”
His squad finished the weekend strong after starting it erratically. It was 2-2 after the round-robin round, but it wouldn’t lose again, storming through a path that included wins against the top two teams in its bracket.
The closest call came against Littleton. Steamboat led 2-1 late but was forced into overtime, and eventually into a penalty shootout. Expert goalkeeping was essential as the squad emerged with the win.
In the final, the team beat a Denver University youth squad, 5-2.
“I wouldn’t call it a Cinderella story because our team has competed all year within our league,” Allen said of his team’s championship reversal of fortunes. “We lost two games early in this tournament and set ourselves up in that situation, but we knew we were a competitive team. We felt like we had a good chance if we played our style of hockey.”
He defined that style of hockey as finesse, focused on passing and off-the-puck play, and it certainly worked.
David LaPointe led the team with nine goals and four assists, but he had plenty of help in the scoring. Luke Borgerding scored five goals, Lucas Coon four, Will Eck and Cameron Colombo two and Gabe Aigner and Nate Kelly one each.
//Midgets run away with it//
Like the Bantam squad, Steamboat’s Midget team played its most exciting game in the semifinals, a 2-1 thriller that required Steamboat to score two third-period goals to win.
Both of those scores came in 30 seconds, a bang-bang attack that paved the way to the finals.
That was about the only exciting element of the team’s weekend, however, at least until the tournament was over, and Steamboat was celebrating the championship.
The squad outscored opponents 29-2 and won in the championship against a Denver squad, 7-0.
“They were dominating,” coach Jeff Brown said. “They played awesome.”
The team played with just seven skaters, missing athletes to sickness, injury and vacation. Still, it went 5-0.
“They were great,” Brown said. “It was unbelievable. Those kids, I just love the way they treat each other. They’re just a bunch of great kids and it was a great, fun weekend.”
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Things are normally pretty quiet around the base area of Steamboat Resort this time of year, but a lot has happened since the ski area closed following the 2020-21 season.