While some Craig Youth Hockey Association teams are done for good this season, others have their minds set on postseason goals and more still seek to come back strong for next year.
CYHA’s 12 and younger Peewee and 18U Midget squads hosted home games Saturday and Sunday in the last league games for the Midget Moffat County Bulldogs and the last set of the season altogether for the Peewee Cougars.
Peewees met with the Telluride Lizardheads, splitting the weekend with a 3-2 win and a 4-1 loss.
The Saturday victory was cause for celebration largely due to Craig’s bench of only eight players compared to Telluride having about twice that.
“They’ve got a lot of heart,” said coach Cary Herndon.
Brant Gutierrez scored twice, Carter Behrman and Logan Durham each once in the series, with Gutierrez, Durham and Baryn Suessmeier. Goalie Evan Allen recorded 57 saves in his final weekend at the Peewee level, Cougars finishing the season 5-13 in the Continental Divide Youth Hockey League.
“I think we have some of the best players in the league, and we do the best with what we’ve got,” Allen said. “It’s the best team a goalie could ask for.”
The Midgets had a tougher weekend as they rounded out their league schedule in the Continental Divide Colorado Competitive against top team Hyland Hills.
“They pass very well, a very fast team, and they know how to move the puck,” Moffat County coach Tim Knez said of Hyland Hills.
The Jaguars dominated with a 10-1 Saturday victory, a late goal by Wyatt Boatright assisted by AJ Barber the only Bulldog entry on the board. An 11-0 loss Sunday followed to put the Dogs at 0-10 in CDCC play.
A series of home games this weekend against Hyland Hills’ house team will not count for the league record, though it will give certain athletes a few more rounds on the ice.
The Midget group also celebrated Senior Night on Saturday with framed, autographed pictures and a pre-game presentation for its oldest members: Dom Bell, Jadon Coutts, Kaitlyn Shrode, Zach Soron and Wyatt Bellio, who had 46 saves as keeper during the weekend.
“It’s been a very tough year, but I’m very proud of the kids, and they’ve made leaps and bounds this year,” Knez said.
CYHA’s remaining teams had varied games. The 14U Bantam group, Northwest Colorado Blizzard — composed of Craig and Steamboat Springs players — took three road losses, 2-1 to Summit and 7-0 and 4-1 in Vail.
Alex Colby and Aidan Story each scored once, with one assist for Ezra Moyer. In goal, John Doane had 68 saves in three games. The team finishes 2-12-1.
Elsewhere, a doubleheader in Aspen for the 10U Squirts was owned by the Cougars, sweeping the Leafs in 3-2 and 8-1 wins. Josh Neal had a breakout second game, earning a hat trick and then some with four goals. Jim Neal put in three during the weekend, Memphis Herndon two and Hayden Urroz and Grant Sis one each.
In the net, Urroz had six saves and Caden Bugay 10.
At 14-5-1, Craig ends the regular season third in the CDYHL Squirt C division, qualifying for the playoffs of the state tournament, which have yet to be scheduled for early March.
A pair of games against Oak Creek will also take place later this month but have not been finalized.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.