Craig hockey teams hang tough heading into season’s end
February 8, 2018
The unseasonably warm stretch for Northwest Colorado hasn't slowed down winter sports teams, and even those who specifically need to keep it cool to play are staying the course.
Craig Youth Hockey Association's 10 and under Squirts and 18U Midgets will host home games this weekend as the end of the season looms.
Most recently, the Squirts swept Steamboat Springs Jan. 27 and 28 with wins of 6-2 on the road and 10-4 at home.
Grant Sis had one hat trick as part of six total goals, while Hayden Urroz had three and Jaryd Presten two. Patrick Neton, Ian Felix, Boston Armstrong, Tristin Smith and Eric Warrior all netted one.
In goal, Wyatt Schell and Quinn Allen combined for nine saves in the two games that the Cougars vastly outshot their opponents 43-15.
At 8-2 overall, Craig ranks third in the Continental Divide Youth Hockey League's Squirt B division, but their upcoming home games — 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. Sunday — will be against non-league teams from Rock Springs, Wyoming, who will also play Steamboat and Oak Creek.
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"It was a good way to get extra games in a big lull in our schedule," coach Jim Neton said.
Home closers against Glenwood Springs will take place in late February followed by a league tournament in March, hosted by Aspen.
The 18U Bulldogs stand at sixth in the Colorado Recreational Hockey League Red rankings with a 3-6-1 league record, most recently bolstered by a 3-3 tie and a 6-1 win against Northern Colorado Youth Hockey Feb. 3 in Fort Collins.
"We really should have on both of them, we let them come back and tie it up in the first game," said coach Tim Knez. "Despite being shorthanded the kids played very, very well."
AJ Barber earned a hat trick in the Bulldogs' victory, as well as another goal during the draw, with Wyatt Boatright scoring three times across both parts of the doubleheader.
Colton Lodato and Dom Bell each put in one during the weekend, while keeper Jack Doane recorded 28 saves.
Two games the following day with Fraser were also scheduled but called off due to weather.
"Their ice melted up there, kind of an extremely warm winter for them with standing water in the rink," Knez said.
As a result, the Dogs will play Fraser at 4:30 p.m. Sunday following dual games against Arvada at 5:45 p.m. Saturday and 8:45 a.m. Sunday.
The Moffat County crew got a roster bump during Jan. 27 scrimmages against Uintah, when Bantam-aged players Clay Durham, Garrett Stockton and Ryan Duzik suited up in Bulldog attire and all made an impact with a goal by Durham and Stockton and Duzik adding three assists between them.
Unfortunately, the three of them must wait another year to join the Midgets in official games due to registration requirements, Knez said.
Even so, the group he's got on hand to finish out the season are playing at their peak right now.
"We should be very competitive, and we should be able to come out with three victories this weekend," he said.