“The first half of the season was tough to get through. But we finally started clicking towards the end. We felt like a team, instead of a bunch of individuals on the ice."
-Taylor Shrode, Craig hockey senior, about the team's improvement over the course of the season
The Craig Midget Hockey team closed out its league season in similar fashion to the beginning of the year in wins vs. losses, but those watching and playing could see a difference.
The local hockey team for 14- through 18-year-olds hosted four games at the Moffat County Ice Rink this weekend. They lost a pair of games to Crested Butte, 8-1 and 8-3, on Saturday, followed by two losses to Gunnison on Sunday, 7-0 and 6-2.
The Bulldogs finished their first year in their new league, the Colorado Competitive Youth Hockey League, 0-19, but saw improvement over a season in which they played against mostly teams that are on the ice year-round.
Sunday’s games did a good job of representing the season as a whole. The team's coach and players came away feeling much better about Game 2 against Gunnison than the first one.
“The first game we sucked, the second game was a complete turnaround,” Conner Pogline said. “We took them out of their game and it was much better.”
Saturday night’s game against Crested Butte doubled as senior night for the Bulldogs. They likely will play more games this season, but it will not count toward the league, coach Tanya Ferguson said.
The seniors from the team did not express any disappointment about going winless in the league this season but were more grateful just to be able to play.
“I just play to have fun,” Trent Parrott said. “I don’t play for anything else. Score doesn’t bother me. It’s a fun experience and it’s just getting to play, so that’s worth it.”
Taylor Shrode said the beginning portion of the season was difficult, but as the Bulldogs’ play improved, it became more fun.
“We had been so used to playing the same teams each year, then playing the Denver teams and watching their skills, it was rough,” Shrode said.
“The first half of the season was tough to get through. But we finally started clicking toward the end. We felt like a team, instead of a bunch of individuals on the ice.”
Ferguson talked about the difficulty of losing at times but also saw the improvement throughout the course of the season and was pleased with it. She wished it could continue.
“Being in the new league, playing the competition we’ve played, I think they’ve done very well,” Ferguson said. “We’ve got a lot to work on for next year. From the beginning of the season to now they’re playing much better. I wish the season was a bit longer to keep that going.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.