The Craig Cubs put up a good fight Saturday during the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League Tournament at Loudy-Simpson Ice Arena in the 10-to 11-year-old bracket, but settled for third place among six teams.
Playing in the squirts division, the Cubs were seeded No. 4 and started the tournament by pounding the Kremmling Cattle Kings, 9-2.
Craig goals were scored by Tyler Menge, who had a hat trick (three goals), Bo Boatright finished with two and Brandon Seick, Justin Hegwer, Joel Pomeroy and Landon Schwindt all finished with a goal apiece.
With the win, the Cubs advanced to the semifinals with a match against the No. 1 seeded Steamboat Springs White team.
Steamboat Springs White managed to score five goals while the Cubs only scored one from Pomeroy with an assist by Brice Boling. The loss knocked Craig into a loser-out game, while the Steamboat Springs White team earned a spot in the title game.
The Cubs bounced back strong against the Oak Creek Kodiaks. Craig was the first to score with a goal by Schwindt, followed by another goal by Shawn Preston to make it a 2-0 game.
In the second period, Seick put the puck in the net and Oak Creek managed to score one at the 7:31 mark for a 3-1 Cubs lead going into the final period.
In the third period, the Cubs were busy with their offense, scoring four goals. Menge began the scoring outburst two minutes into the period.
Twenty-seconds later Menge again scored, leaving the Oak Creek goalie shaken.
Chris Preston lit the lamp with a goal at the 4:45 mark, and Seick finished the scoring for the Cubs making the score, 7-1. Oak Creek scored one late in the third period, but the win was 7-2 in favor of the Cubs.
With the win, Craig advanced to the third- and fourth-place game against the Steamboat Springs Blue team, the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
The underdog Cubs started hot with a strong desire to win. A goal late in the first period by Hegwer with an assist from Menge began the scoring for the Cubs.
In the second period, Pomeroy scored at the 10:57 mark with an assist from Chris Preston and Brandon Seick to make it 2-0. Craig went up 3-0 when Menge slapped one into the back of the net.
In the third period, the Craig defense stepped up play behind goalie Elias "Little Wall" Wood and defense from Zach Pearson, Schwindt, Mark Oxley, Neilson and Boling who shut down Steamboat Springs Blue team offense for most of the period. Steamboat Springs did get one goal late, but the Cubs claimed third place with a 3-1 win.
In the title game, Steamboat Springs White blanked Steamboat Springs Gold, 4-0.
On Sunday in the mite division, the Cougars, a 5- and 8-year-old team hit the ice for its first tournament action.
The standings at the end of the regular season for the mite division were No. 1 Steamboat Springs White, No. 2 Steamboat Springs Gold, No. 3 Oak Creek Kodiaks, No. 4 Steamboat Springs Blue, No. 5 Summit County, No. 6 Kremmling Cattle Kings and No. 7 the Cougars.
In the opening round game, the Craig Cougars squared up with Steamboat Springs Gold and nearly pulled off the upset.
Craig scored first, late in the first period with John Strahan shooting one past the Steamboat Springs goalie at the 1:07 mark.
The teams seemed evenly matched, gave the crowd some exciting hockey to watch and fans from both teams recognized the efforts.
In the second period, Steamboat Springs scored at the 1:34 mark to tie the game, 1-1.
In the third period, Steamboat Springs added one more goal to finish the scoring and earn a 2-1 win.
The loss sent the Cougars into the consolation bracket.
The Cougars faced off against the Kremmling Cattle Kings and both teams had winning on their minds.
In the first two periods, both teams battled to a scoreless tie.
In third period, Kremmling scored its only goal at the 10:55 mark to take the lead, 1-0.
Colt Criswell lit the lamp for Craig with a goal with only 10 seconds left in the game to tie things up and send the game into a shootout.
With sharp shooters from both teams and tough goal tending by Spencer Wyman from Craig and Louie Farrell from Kremmling, tensions were running high. It ended with Kremmling scoring twice in the shootout while Craig was unable to shoot one past Kremmling's goalie. Kremmling won, 3-1, and ended the young Cougars season.
In the championship game, Steamboat Springs Blue edged Steamboat Springs Gold, 4-2. In the third- and fourth-place game, Steamboat Springs White skated past Oak Creek, 5-1. (Game information provided by youth hockey coach Jim Wood.)