13-14 bantams take one of two games from Steamboat | CraigDailyPress.com
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David Pressgrove

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13-14 bantams take one of two games from Steamboat

The rivalry on ice has been renewed.

The Craig Youth Hockey 13-14 bantam team opened up its season Saturday with a double-header against Yampa Valley rivalry, Steamboat Springs. Craig started its season on a scoring spree with a 5-1 win and then tied in the second game, 2-2.

“We only had two players returning from last year’s team,” said head coach John Pearson. “I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew this team was talented and they showed that.”

The team, which has 16 members compared to last year’s eight, came out aggressive in its first game. Tyler Menge had two goals and an assist. Bo Boatright, Chris Preston and Scott Smith all had one goal each, while Bryan Wojtkiewicz contributed an assist.

“This team can really skate and play when they set their minds to it,” Pearson said. “Steamboat brought a good team and to open up 5-1 is pretty impressive.”

In the second game, Craig was ahead, 2-0, on goals from Jacob Pearson and Tyler Menge until 3:15 remained in the third period. Steamboat brought it to 2-1 on a goal during a one-man advantage. A minute later, Pearson said his team had a break down on defense and gave up another goal with 2:10 remaining in the game.

“We only allowed a combined eight shots in the two games,” Pearson said. “But the two errors at the end of the second game hurt us.”

Craig took 52 shots at the Steamboat goalie, who Pearson credited with being solid in the crease.

“Their goal tender was tough,” he said. “He turned back a lot of shots and kept them in the second game.”

While the league is different every year, Pearson said Steamboat is generally one of the tougher teams in the 13-squad league and that he was impressed with his team.

“This age group can produce the best hockey team that Craig has ever seen,” he said. “They have really benefited the most from have the frozen ice so far.”

The team will compete in 20 games throughout its season with games against Telluride, Crested Butte, Vail and Breckenridge, to name a few.

“If this team can continue to click,” Pearson said, “we’ll have a good season.”

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.