Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team places 3rd in Frozen Four |

Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team places 3rd in Frozen Four

Joshua Gordon

Michael Samuelson, left, goes one-on-one March 6 with a Crested Butte goalie in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League Frozen Four in Gunnison. The Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team took third place in the tournament after a shootout loss to Crested Butte.

The Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team entered the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League Frozen Four on March 4 as the fourth and last seed.

On March 6, the Bulldogs were one shootout goal away from playing in the championship game.

After penalties hurt the Bulldogs' chances in the first game against Gunnison, the team rebounded with back-to-back overtime wins against Kremmling and Crested Butte.

The first game went the Bulldogs' way.

The second didn't.

"I think our team had a lot of fun and we played great," head coach Mark Samuelson said. "The players' effort level was awesome and they played with a lot of intensity."

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The third-place finish marked the end of the Bulldogs' 10-9-1 season.

In the team's first Frozen Four game against Gunnison on March 4, Samuelson said his team played the number one seed tough to a 1-1 tie after the first period.

The second period is when penalties started to pile up.

Two checking from behind misconduct penalties and five minor penalties added up to 28 penalty minutes for the Bulldogs in the second period.

"The penalties put a kink in our ability to hang with Gunnison," Samuelson said. "The wheels fell off and we can't play shorthanded against a team like Gunnison because we have to battle to play with them even at full strength.

"They are a big, strong, fast, deep team that plays really good hockey."

Gunnison put in nine goals in the second and won the game, 11-1.

The second game March 5, however, went the Moffat County's way.

After trading goals with Kremmling, CJ Walt scored a goal to tie the game at 4-4 halfway through the third period to send the game to overtime.

With just over a minute left in overtime, Michael Samuelson put the puck in the net to eliminate Kremmling and keep the Bulldogs alive.

"We have been pretty evenly matched with Kremmling as the season went on," Samuelson said. "We did a better job at staying out of the penalty box and everyone played really well."

Samuelson said both Kremmling and the Bulldogs came into the game in better form than previous games.

Kremmling lost to Crested Butte, 3-1, in the first round.

"We knew we would need our best effort against Kremmling," Samuelson said. "It was a tough game, but we were ready and we outplayed them."

On March 6, the Bulldogs played Crested Butte in their second straight elimination game after the Wolfpack fell, 5-1, to Gunnison.

Moffat County got on the board first with a goal from Michael, but Crested Butte fought back and took a 3-2 lead early in the third period.

But, another late goal from Walt again put the Bulldogs into overtime.

"We jumped to an early 1-0 lead and it was just a great hockey game," Samuelson said.

The overtime period ended without a goal, sending the two teams to a shootout.

After the first five shooters, both teams scored two goals.

With the game still not settled, the two teams had to continue to their sixth shooter.

The Bulldogs missed, but Crested Butte didn't.

"I feel we were evenly matched with Crested Butte in this game, but they scored and we didn't," Samuelson said. "We just missed the championship game by a shootout."

Samuelson said his players took advantage of opportunities they were given over the weekend.

"The players' passing and ability to finish were great all three days," he said. "They had a lot of opportunities to put the puck in the net, and they took it."

Losing five players in the offseason, Samuelson said his three seniors next year — Wyatt Villa, Ethan O'Mailia and Taylor Bangs — will have to step up.

"We talked about next season after our last game was over and I told the guys they have to get in the weight room and put on some size," he said. "If everyone comes back, we will be in good shape."

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Results from the Moffat County Bulldogs club hockey team’s games in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League on March 4, 5 and 6:

• Friday, March 4

(Team — 1st — 2nd — 3rd — final)

Moffat County — 1 — 0 — 0 — 1

Gunnison — 1 — 9 — 1 — 11

• Saturday, March 5

(Team — 1st — 2nd — 3rd — OT — final)

Moffat County — 2 — 0 — 2 — 1 — 5

Kremmling — 2 — 1 — 1 — 0 — 4

• Sunday, March 6

(Team — 1st — 2nd — 3rd — OT — final)

Moffat County — 1 — 1 — 1 — 0 — 3

Crested Butte — 2 — 0 — 1 — 1* — 4

  • Goal scored in a shoot-out

Overall leading Bulldog scorers for the weekend:

(Name — goals — assists — total)

• CJ Walt — 3 — 2 — 5

• Michael Samuelson — 3 — 0 — 3

• Jarret Walt — 1 — 2 — 3

Goalie statistics:

(Name — saves — goals)

• Trent Parrott — 74 — 18

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