The Craig Cougar's Bantam team had a long weekend of play, skating in four hockey games, two in Craig and two in Vail.
The Cougars hosted the Braves from Steamboat Saturday at the Loudy-Simpson Ice Arena. The Cougars took an early lead in game one, when winger Kevin Oxley went top shelf on the Braves' netminder at 13:30 in period one. During the second period the Braves tied it up at the 12:20 point and the Cougars knew they were in a dog fight both teams were hustling up and down the ice with some big hits coming from both teams. The Cougars' "never quit" attitude paid off when center Nick Goodenow lit the lamp with 50 seconds left in the period. Goodenow's goal was assisted by Nick Raschke.
Down by a goal, the tough Braves team came charging out for the third period and scored at the 13:30 mark to make the score even at two goals apiece.
The Cougars stepped up their play, and it paid off with 2:01 left in regulation. Oxley scored for the second time, with an assist from Trey Gorham. The Cougars held off other attempts by the Braves, and went on to win a nail-biter 3-2. The Braves had 16 shots on goal while the Cougars fired on goal 41 times.
The second game was different. The Cougars let the Braves jump to an early lead one minute into the contest. Up against the wall, the Cougars finally scored when defenseman Jacob Wood deked the goalie and rippled the Braves net at the 1:21 point of period one. During the second period, Goodenow added two goals at the 8:21 and 7:55 marks to spark the Cougars. Goodenow's goals came with assists from Harvey Preston, and Raschke. Up by one goal, the Cougars went into the third period, played with great intensity and added three more goals. Kevin Oxley, Mike Armstrong and Aarick Seick all lit the lamp with goals at the 7:20, 2:18, and 00:02 point of the final period. The Cougars again outshot the Braves by a 32 to 9 margin for the game. For their effort, the Cougars came out on top 6-1.
Sunday found the Cougars in Vail at the beautiful Dobson Ice Arena for two games against the Eagle Valley Devils. The Cougars jumped all over the Devils, and lit the lamp early and often. Raschke was first to score at the 13:40 mark, with an assist from Wood. The Devils came back and tied at the 7:20 mark. Center Groham broke the tie at the 3:49 mark with an assist from Daniel Kinkaid. Wood opened the scoring in period two with an unassisted goal at the 11:55 point. Goodenow was next to score at the 6:30 mark and Seick finished the second period scoring at the 1:00 mark, both goals were unassisted. Period three saw the Cougars go into hibernation they didn't score a goal until the 00:50 mark, when Armstrong added a point to give the Cougars a 6-1 win over the Devils. The Devils were held to 10 shots on goal and the Cougars had 24.
Game two started with the Cougars scoring first. Brett Lindgren beat the Devils' netminder at the 9:35 point to put the Craig team up by a goal. Period two saw more Cougars light the lamp, while holding the Devils in check. Kinkaid scored unassisted at the 8:00 point to give the Cougars a two-goal cushion. Armstrong added one at the 2:40 point with an assist from Goodenow. Wood finished the scoring with one second left in the period with and assist from Gorham.
The Cougars had shutout on their minds, and were hoping to give goalie Boe Boling his first of the season. The Vail team had devilish plans however, and broke the hope of a Cougar shutout when they scored at the 12:50 point of the final period. Armstrong added a goal at the 5:20 point with an assist from Seick to hold on and win the contest 5-1. The Devils were held to 6 shots on goal, while the Cougars ripped 27 shots toward the net. The Cougars next game is Jan. 6 in Gunnison.
(Jim Wood is a Craig Youth Hockey Association coach.)