Steamboat Springs Bantam A Team brings home a state title
Steamboat Springs — Nate Kelly’s game-winning goal late in the fourth, and final overtime period, of Friday’s state semifinal game against the Littleton Black at the Edge Ice Arena provided a thrilling moment in what has been an exciting season for the Steamboat Springs Bantam A hockey team.
“Our goal was to get our players to believe in a system where one player is dependant on the other four,” coach Corey Anderson said. “Our success was dependent on the players without the puck, and they are the reason we won last weekend.”
The Steamboat Bantam A Team, which finished with a 15-2-4 season record, returned to the ice Sunday where they beat Boulder 4-1 to earn this year’s Federation Cup, which goes to the state champions.
In that championship contest, Steamboat’s David Lapointe scored the game’s first goal in the second period, and Luke Borgerding added another at the start of the third to give the Steamboat team a two-goal advantage.
Boulder made things interesting with a goal early in the third period making the score 2-1. But Steamboat pulled away to the win with Borgerding’s second goal and another by Cameron Colombo later in the period sealing the victory and bringing the state trophy back to Steamboat Springs.
The Federation Cup is an end-of-season championship featuring the top teams from the Continental Divide Youth Hockey League and the Colorado Competitive Youth Hockey League. The games were played last weekend at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton and featured four teams competing in a must-win format.
The No. 1 seed from the CDYH, Aspen went up against Boulder, the No. 2 seed from the CCYHL, in one of the semifinal games. Steamboat, the No. 2 seed from the CDYHL, faced off against Littleton Black, the top seed from the CCYHL, in the other semifinal contest.
In what proved to be the most entertaining game of the tournament, Steamboat defeated Littleton Black in a Friday night contest. The teams played seven periods of hockey before Steamboat skated away with the win.
Steamboat took the early advantage in that game getting a goal from Lapointe, who led the team in scoring this season with 32 goals and 18 assists, and two from Nate Kelly to give the team a 3-0 lead at the end of the second period. But Littleton rallied in the third with three unanswered goals from Samuel Hunt, Shane Ott and Quinn Jurkiewicz to tie the game.
Lapointe helped the Steamboat team pull away with back-to-back goals. However, Steamboat couldn’t stop another later period rally by the Littleton team. Ott scored again for Littleton and then a goal from Corbin Divita tied the game at 5-5 at the end of the third period. Steamboat and Littleton battled through four overtime periods (playing four-on-four and then three-on-three) before Kelly gave Steamboat the win with an even-strength goal wth less than a minute left in the period.
Anderson split time with Patrick Sumner and Peyton Trtz in the goal. Sumner played 34 minutes between the pipes and turned away 13 shots on 16 attempts. Tritz played eight minutes in the closing part of the contest and turned away 34 shots on 36 attempts.
Littleton had 52 shots on goal in the game — most of which came in the closing minutes of the third and in overtime. Steamboat only had 37 shots on goal by comparison but got the biggest of the night in the fourth overtime period when Kelly beat Littleton goalkeeper Michael Varveris for the win.
Most of the players on Steamboat’s Bantam A Team were also a part of a state championship peewee team that brought home a title in 2013.
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All spring, the Steamboat Springs High School baseball team has been the subject of smack talk and abuse because it has always been the away team.