A silver lining in the sweep

Bulldog junior varsity team gets experience on ice during non-league losses

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The Bulldog junior varsity club hockey team played in two non-league games Friday night against Oak Creek. The Bulldogs lost game 1, 5-2, and game 2, 5-1.

But the Bulldog coaches were happy to have a game.

"It gave some of these younger players a chance to experience the level they need to play at to compete in the Rocky Mountain League" Bulldog coach Jay Oxley said.

Oak Creek appreciated the competition.

"We just got ice, we are not as fortunate to have a nice refrigerated rink like the one in Moffat County. We rely on cold temperatures and natural ice," Oak Creek head coach Wayne Olsen said.

The first game started hard and fast, and the Bulldogs were up to the challenge.

With no score in the first period, Moffat County worked to make something happen in the second. The Bulldogs struck when center Bo Boatright received a pass from wing Thayne Anderson and found the back of the net at 8:46.

The Kodiaks scored later in the second period to tie the game, 1-1.

Less than a minute into the third period, Bulldogs' defenseman Zach Beckwith fired a shot from the blue line that found its way through traffic and into the net for a 2-1 Moffat County lead.

Up in the third period, Moffat County let up, and it cost the team.

"We were leading in the third period, we out-shot Oak Creek 13-8 in the third but still came up short," Oxley said. "We had a serious breakdown in our defense, Oak Creek had so many quality shots our goalie was hang out to dry. Our defense needed to harass the shooters coming into our zone so they would not be able to make quality shots."

The Kodiaks capitalized, scoring four times in the third.

"We only had one penalty in the third and Oak Creek did not score on that power play so that was not the problem," head coach Darin Hickey said. "This was a good example that you must give 110 percent the whole game."

The Bulldogs put 26 shots on goal and Moffat County goalie Curt Ellgen faced 24 shots from Oak Creek.

The second game Oak Creek came out strong.

"If we can get the first goal we feel more confident," Kodiak coach Bill Honeyford said. At 1:03 in the first, the Kodiaks found the back of the Bulldogs' net with their first shot on goal.

But Moffat County fired back.

About 2 minutes later, with a player in the penalty box, the Bulldogs' Boatright scored short-handed on an intercepted pass in Moffat County's defensive zone. His shot, a hard slap shot from the top of the circle, went over Kodiaks' goalie Nate Halverson's right shoulder and tied the game at 1-1.

Moffat County out-shot the Kodiaks 13-5, but by the end of the first found themselves down by a goal.

Oak Creek turned up its physical play and with four seniors over 6-foot they penetrated into the Bulldog defensive zone.

The Kodiaks scored once in the second and twice in the third for a final score of 5-1.

"Even though we lost both games they were non-league games, and a great learning experience for some of these players," Hickey said. "We had good performances from our special teams, we scored a total of three goals tonight, two short handed goals from Boatright and a power play goal from Beckwith."

The Bulldogs' next game is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan.4 against league rival Steamboat Springs.

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