Craig With seven league games remaining before the postseason begins, it's crunch time in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League.
Playoff seeding is up for grabs to see which four teams will move forward into the Frozen Four.
Moffat County took a big step in the right direction Wednesday night, dispatching regional rival Steamboat Springs, 6-3.
"This team has finally showed up," coach Gene Carson said. "We've had the talent all along; it was just a matter of time."
The Bulldogs (5-5-3 RMYHL) entered Howelsen Ice Arena trailing Steamboat (5-2-2 RMYHL) by one point in the league standings for the fourth and final playoff spot.
"I told the kids before this game started, the road to the playoffs starts right here in Steamboat tonight," Carson said. "If we don't get the 'W' column here, we're just playing for fun the rest of the season."
Colt Criswell tallied his team-leading 10th and 11th goals of the season, John Strahan scored his 10th, Ian Forgay tallied a goal and two assists and C.J. Walt also lit the lamp behind Steamboat's net.
Moffat County's triangle offense even produced a goal from the third line late in the game, when Sean Southard and Jacob Blevins assisted on Ethan Omailia's second goal of the season.
"The kids knew we had to come out and win this game," Carson said. "We had to come over here and do what we needed to do, and we got it done."
Moffat County next plays a nonleague doubleheader Jan. 16 at Vernal, Utah. The Bulldogs next league game is Jan. 18 at Telluride.
Notes: Defensemen Nick Bulla returned to the team Wednesday from a 60-day suspension imposed by the league for a two-handed slash Nov. 9 against Grand Valley. : Jacob Blevins, who reinjured his knee Sunday in Gunnison, played and tallied an assist. : Nathan Tomlin, who played with a bruised femur, assisted on Criswell's first goal of the night.