It took a whipping to wake it up, but the Craig Cougar midget hockey team hasn't looked sleepy since.
The midgets lost two games to Oak Creek the first weekend of January and since then they haven't allowed a goal in 15 consecutive periods.
"Malcolm (Hillewaert) has been 110 percent on," coach Darin Hickey said.
"He stoned a lot of guys tonight."
Hillewaert, the Cougar goalie, didn't allow any of the 22 shots on goal get past him and the Cougars were opportunistic on offense, scoring three times on 12 shots, for a 3-0 win Tuesday against Uintah High School from Vernal, Utah.
The Cougars are 5-0 since their two losses to Oak Creek.
"And Vernal is twice the team Oak Creek is," said captain Mike Armstrong, who had an assist.
Hickey agreed that Vernal was traditionally one of the better teams in the league. He thought his guys were a step better that night.
"It's going to be us or Vernal at the top of the North," he said. "They are just as good as us."
Armstrong found an open Mike Lefler for the first goal of the game with 4:48 left in the first period.
The Utes sent a shower of shots at Hillewaert the rest of the period, but none found the net.
Uintah continued to test the Cougar goalie in the second period. The visitors outshot the Cougars, 11-2, in that period.
"I've been feeling good with my positioning," said Hillewaert, who smothered four one-on-one opportunities for Uintah. "When you're on, sometimes teams force it, and that happened some tonight."
Despite being outshot by nine, the Cougars found the net in the second period. Chris Preston pushed a shot past Vernal's goalie as a defender shoved him down.
Brad Grinstead found Brett Lindgren with 9:41 left in the third period to give the Cougars a team hat trick and put the game away.
The Cougars weathered two 5-on-3 disadvantages at the end of the second period and with 7:35 left in the third to keep their shutout streak alive.
The midgets are now 10-2 in league play and will travel to Kremmling on Saturday for two games.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.