Cade Bang, of the Craig Bulldogs hockey team, races for the puck Saturday at the Moffat County Ice Arena. In the second game of their doubleheader against the Rock Springs Miners, the Bulldogs surrendered a late lead for a 4-4 tie.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Cade Bang, of the Craig Bulldogs hockey team, races for the puck Saturday at the Moffat County Ice Arena. In the second game of their doubleheader against the Rock Springs Miners, the Bulldogs surrendered a late lead for a 4-4 tie.

Craig hockey loses late lead for tie in early-season game

— For most of the game, the Craig Bulldogs hockey team played top-notch hockey. It didn’t close out the final 10 minutes, however, and came away with a 4-4 tie in its second game of the season.

The Bulldogs high school group of hockey players took on the Rock Springs Miners in two games at the Moffat County Ice Arena on Saturday and showed they will be more of a force this season, even with one loss and one tie.

The Bulldogs have started slow in recent seasons, often being at a disadvantage with a month or less of ice time when their first game rolls around. But on Saturday, the Bulldogs looked sharp skating and passing.

After losing 5-2 in the first game of the day, Craig came back in the evening and jumped all over the Miners. Sarah White got the scoring started with 8:38 remaining in the second period, and Brenden Spencer scored just 30 seconds later to give Craig a 2-0 lead.

Kearn Gerber made it a three-point period for the Bulldogs later in the period, and the team was looking tough.

“We played good today; we made a lot of good passes,” Gerber said after the game.

But penalties got the best of Craig in the third period. First, Brodey Gutierrez scored shorthanded for the Bulldogs on a breakaway, but the Miners came back with a goal of their own to make it 4-1.

The Miners got a hat trick from William Leibee in the third period. Leibee’s final score came on a power play with 40 seconds left in the game, capping a stunning comeback.

“I’m really not sure what happened that we kind of fell apart,” Gerber said. “We need to cut back on the penalties, though. Getting penalties just wears everybody out.”

Garrett Ferguson had a shot go into an empty Miners’ net after the final buzzer sounded, and the game ended in a tie.

Despite the disappointing finish, head coach Todd Bellio saw plenty of encouraging signs from the team in this early-season matchup.

“They beat us 5-2 this morning, and we came back and dominated them up through the final couple minutes,” he said. “I’m looking at them playing really well right now, for this stage of the season. I think our conditioning is a lot better right now and being in shape, you make less mistakes.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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