Bulldog Hockey team prepares to face old foes in Frozen Four
Results from the Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team’s games Friday and Saturday at Moffat County Ice Arena:
(Opponent — result)
• Glenwood Springs — 6-1L
• Grand Valley — 6-3W
• Grand Valley —4-3W
— Season record: 4-13
Playing a sport that involves constant physical contact, Dylan Villa is used to getting his fair share of hits on the ice.
A hockey stick to his Adam’s apple Saturday night resulted in the Moffat County High School sophomore being led out of the rink bent over a bucket in the second period.
Though his neck showed a glaring reminder of his injury, he was back in the game minutes later, ready to finish the first of two victories that would drive his team to the postseason.
The Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team finished its regular season over the weekend with a pair of victories against the Grand Valley Mavericks.
Though the Bulldogs had little trouble in the Saturday night and Sunday morning games at the Moffat County Ice Arena, their first match of the weekend set a poor tone for the games ahead.
Following a 6-1 loss to Glenwood Springs Saturday afternoon, the team was angling for a win and unwilling to let the alternative happen.
“We weren’t in the zone for the first game, but when we got out there for the second game it was just a lot happier, a lot more fun,” junior Taylor Shrode said. “We were working together more.”
Slow going at first, the game eventually tilted in Moffat County’s favor with only 30 seconds left in the first period, when senior Wyatt Villa put in the first goal of the game.
Villa followed with another goal five minutes into the second period, but the Bulldogs’ were then hit with a barrage of penalties.
“We were doing everything we could to get it out of our zone,” Shrode said.
With one blue jersey after another stuck in the box, the squad went into penalty kill mode for the majority of the period.
With the Power Play on their side, the Mavericks scored twice, though senior Ethan O’Mailia kept the Bulldog lead intact with his own goal in the period.
The penalty issue continued into the third, but the Bulldog defense stepped up.
Junior goaltender Trent Parrott pulled out all the stops. Even with his stick temporarily knocked away, Parrott’s glove stopped Grand Valley’s shots cold.
The goalie finished the game with 32 total saves.
“It was definitely a lot better game than Glenwood,” he said. “We haven’t loss to Grand Valley yet.”
A surge of three goals in the final period sealed the game, 6-3.
“It feels pretty good to get out there and win,” Dylan Villa said. “After I got hit, I just wanted to get back in and play.”
The same winning feeling carried over to Sunday’s match, a closer but still triumphant result of 4-3.
Finishing the season 4-13, the Bulldogs qualify for the Frozen Four tournament later in the month.
Head Coach Rick Villa said the team will work on bringing its best effort every night as it prepares for the post season.
“I’m hoping they come out hard with everything they’ve got,” he said. “It’s not 100-percent in every game. Some games we get it, some we don’t. The penalties almost killed us, but the penalty kill stepped and they still played well and we need to keep doing that.”
Though the team has suffered defeats against all their potential Frozen Four opponents, one group will prove especially problematic.
“Crested Butte is going to be really tough,” Dylan said. “They’ll be the ones to beat.”