Bulldogs battle to tie with Steamboat | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs battle to tie with Steamboat

John Vandelinder

Moffat County High School senior Ian Forgay cuts past the visiting Steamboat Springs defense Wednesday at the Moffat County Ice Arena. The Bulldogs battled to a four-all tie with their rival, earning a point in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League standings.

Nearly a month removed from its last league game, the Moffat County Bulldog Hockey Club welcomed rival Steamboat Springs to the Moffat County Ice Arena on Wednesday evening.

Not much was decided on the ice, as the teams battled to a four-all tie.

“No, I’m not happy with the tie,” Moffat County coach Gene Carson said. “We were getting beat to the puck. It looked like we were in molasses there for a while. Our lines just didn’t really work well for us.

“This is a game that I think we definitely could have, and should have, won.”

Short two defensemen, Carson and his staff experimented with different first and second lines in attempt to ignite the Bulldogs offense.

The tactic worked at the start of the game, as Ian Forgay – a former defensemen – scored midway through the first period, putting the home team on top, 1-0.

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Forgay has scored two goals and assisted with four others since being moved to the wing position Sunday at Rock Springs.

But, the lead didn’t last long.

Curtis Ellgen – who started in goal for Moffat County – stopped a penalty shot to keep the home team in front, but Steamboat answered less than four minutes later.

Clayton Patrick slapped a bouncing puck past Ellgen to tie the game and beat the junior on a breakaway with less than a minute left in the period, vaulting the visitors to a 2-1 lead.

The Bulldogs repaid the favor, scoring twice in the second behind goals by John Strahan and Colt Criswell.

Up 3-2, Moffat County couldn’t hang on.

Connor Birch deposited a wrister past Ellgen during a Steamboat two-on-one, tying the game once again, this time with less than three minutes left in the second period.

Having stole the momentum, Steamboat struck 1:55 into the third period, coming full circle from a one-goal deficit to a one-goal lead.

“We kind of got in panic mode,” Strahan said. “We knew we had to get it done.”

They did, but not when it was the most opportune.

The Bulldogs had a five-on-three power play and managed just one shot.

But, 12 seconds after the teams were at full strength, Strahan lived up to his words.

Criswell fed Strahan in front of the Steamboat net, and the forward calmly found the back of the mesh, tying the game at four.

Criswell had a backhand shot hit the post as time expired, and the game ended in a tie.

“It was a really good game,” Steamboat coach Mike McGlone said. “It was close and both teams get a point.

“What more could you ask for?”

Carson knows.

“I’d like another chance in that five-on-three,” he said. “We really needed to capitalize there, and we couldn’t.

“Boy, I’d like to do that over again.”

He’ll get his chance Friday.

The Bulldogs host Durango (5-0 league) at 8:45 p.m.

Notes:

Defensemen Nick Bulla, suspended by the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association 30 days for a slash on a Grand Valley player, had his suspension extended another 30 days by the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League. : Carson said he hopes to have Bulla back for the Jan. 4 game at Gunnison. : Defensemen Bubba Ivers transferred from the Bulldogs (Midget Major A) to play for the Steamboat Springs bantam team.