Craig Cougars end season at Loudy-Simpson

The Craig Cougars Bantams team played its end-of-the-year tournament March 18, at the Loudy-Simpson ice arena.

The Cougars finished the regular season with a 17-6-1 record, which seeded them No. two in the brackets.

With the score tied at one apiece, the first game against the Eagle Valley Devils looked as if it was going to be decided by a shoot-out, with an extremely stingy goalie in Eagle Valley's net.

The threat of shoot-out, though, was snuffed in the last 10 seconds of the third period when Cougar Trey Gorham assisted Mike Armstrong on a hard shot sent past the Devils goalie.

The Cougars won the game 2-1, advancing to the next round.

The Cougars faced the Oak Creek Kodiaks in the next game, which resulted in another nail bitter for Craig.

After two periods of physical play the game remained scoreless.

In true playoff fashion, the players let it all hang out, and both teams entered the third period looking for the tie breaking goal.

Late in the third period, the Kodiaks broke the stalemate with a goal, only to have the Cougars re-tie the game in the last 31 seconds.

Kevin Oxley scored a rebound goal, with the assist coming from Armstrong, sending the game into a shoot-out.

The Kodiaks opened the shoot-out with a goal, but that was answered immediately by the Cougar's, Trey Gorham.

Boe Boling, the Cougar's goalie, became a wall, blocking all but one of Oak Creek's next four shots. Armstrong was the only Craig player to make a goal, keeping the score tied. Boling then turned away the first Kodiak player in the sudden death shootout.

Hunter Hayes ended up the hero of the game, squeaking a shot past the Oak Creek goaltender, ending the game 4-3.

The two wins by the Cougars were enough to advance them into the league championship game against the Gunnison Blades.

The Blades took the lead at 8:53 of the first period and never looked back. They added another goal at the 1:15 mark.

Gunnison's Sean Mullen, the leagues leading goalie, holds a goals against average (GAA) of one for the regular season.

The Blades added a goal in the second period, while the Cougars were deterred by Mullen.

The Blades were too much for the Cougars, though, as they added another two goals in the third, and ended the game with 5-0 victory.

The Blades were crowned champions of the bantam age group, while the Craig Cougars, last year's defending champions, were awarded the second-place trophy.

The Craig Cougars pee-wees finished their season March 17th at the Loudy Simpson ice arena.

The Cougars finished their regular season in third place, pitting them against the Kremmling Cattle Kings in their first game.

The Kings got on the board early at the 11:50 mark of the first period. The Cougars were able to tie-up the game with 9:48 left in the period, when Tyler Menge lit the lamp.

The Kings, though, came back at the 8:19 mark, as they added two more goals during the period, putting the Cougars back on their heels.

Going into the third period and down by three goals, the Cougars knew what they needed to do.

At the 14:05 mark, the Cougars' Jacob Pearson found the net, with an assist coming from Brandon Seick.

The Kings, however, went on to add two more goals. They were able to hold the Cougars scoreless the remainder of the game, preserving the 6-2 win.

The Cougars second game of the day came against the Steamboat Braves Blue team.

The Cougars opened the scoring at the 12:08 mark when Brandon Seick got the breakaway and put it in the net.

The second period saw the Cougars netting two goals, the first coming from Bryan Wojtkiewicz at 14:18, with Justin Hegwer on the assist, and the other coming at 2:39, as Klein Nielson off a Brice Boling assist.

During the 2nd period, the Cougars held the Braves scoreless.

During the third period, the Cougars Landon Schwindt rippled the rope at the 10:10 mark, giving the Cougars a four-goal cushion.

The Braves came back, scoring at the 2:52 mark, but it ended up being too-little, too late, as the Cougars went on to win by a score of 4 to 1.

The Cougars then faced the Oak Creek Kodiaks in the consolation match-up.

The Cougars got the first score at the 9:59 mark when Jacob Pearson got one past the Kodiaks netminder.

The second period saw the Kodiaks scoring a pair of goals at 3:06, and :42, respectively, leaving the Cougars stunned.

In the third period, the Cougar's Jacob Pearson tied the game at the 8:00 mark with a goal, and an assist coming from Klein Nielson.

The Kodiaks, though, came right back, tying the score at three goals apiece, at the 6:12 mark.

At this point, the Cougars called a timeout, rallied the troops, and it paid huge dividends, as the Cougars went out and scored three unanswered goals.

Tyler Menge earned the hat trick, scoring three goals at the 3 :45, 1 :46, and :44 mark.

Menge's scoring assault helped the Cougars take the third-place trophy for the second year in a row.

During the trophy presentation, the Cougars goalie Elias "Little Wall" Wood, was awarded the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League Leading Goalie Award, which is given to the goalie with the Lowest Goals Against Average (GAA) in the Peewee age group, with 2.0.

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