Craig hockey teams stick with it as season progresses | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig hockey teams stick with it as season progresses

Midget team 1-4 in Glenwood tourney after shootout victory; Squirts 3-2

Members of Craig Youth Hockey Association's 18U Midget team played in the Grizzly Holiday Festival Friday and Saturday in Glenwood Springs. The Bulldogs placed fifth in the tournament, winning their final game, 6-5, in a shootout.

The weather may be getting colder, but Craig Youth Hockey AssociationCraig Youth Hockey Association teams are just heating up for the season in front of them. teams are just heating up for the season in front of them.

Craig Youth Hockey Association teams are just heating up for the season in front of them.

While most athletes were either taking a break or staying on top of practice time, CYHA's 18 and under Midget group started its schedule over the Thanksgiving weekend as part of the Grizzly Holiday Festival in Glenwood Springs.

Things started off less than merry for Bulldogs, as Friday brought dual defeats to both the hosting teams, 11-0 to the purple Grizzlies and 14-1 to Glenwood's silver squad, the lone goal by Wyatt Boatright, assisted by Kaitlyn Shrode.

The following Saturday was also a hard hit for Craig players, who fell, 16-0, to Arapahoe and 6-1 to Aspen, a penalty kill score coming from AJ Barber, aided by Shrode and Dom Bell.

Sunday was the final round, and the Bulldogs again faced off with the Glenwood purple team early in the morning. However, it was not the same lineup as last time.

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Coach Tim Knez said the Grizzlies filled out their roster in the opening round with Vail and Aspen subs and Glenwood varsity athletes.

"The Sunday game was a little more evenly matched," he said.

Craig won, 6-5, in an overtime that extended past the extra period and into a shootout. The Grizzlies put in a goal first, only to have it nullified by one by Shrode. Both sides cycled through their entire roster and went to 30 rounds before Shrode scored the go-ahead, and goalie Wyatt Bellio stopped Glenwood's final attempt to put the Bulldogs at fifth place for the weekend.

"They played as a team better got a lot more shots on net, and it sure made a heck of a difference," Knez said of the Sunday game. "The kids played with their hearts throughout the whole tournament."

The team's Sunday game included two goals by Shrode — not including the first shootout goal — two by Boatright and one apiece by Barber and Tristan Farquharson.

In assists, Barber, Boatright, Bell and Brayden Tuttle were each credited with one Sunday.

Bellio had 37 saves Sunday as part of 87 total in three games on the weekend. Josh Worster was also in the crease for two games, saving 65.

The Midget team will play its first home games during a Dec. 11 doubleheader against Summit.

Among the CYHA's younger groups, the 10U Squirts and 12U Peewee Cougar teams each played the weekend before the holiday, as did the 14U Bantams.

The Bantams, Craig and Steamboat Springs players flying the banner of the Northwest Colorado Blizzard, lost a series of three to Grand Junction, 6-5, 6-1 and 6-1 Nov. 18 and 19 in Steamboat and Craig.

Coleman Bohmer, Jack Cashen, Aidan Story each claimed goals in the trio of games, and assists came from Bohmer, Calvin Zuschlag, Ezra Moyer and Madison Coutts. Goalie John Doane recorded 74 saves in the series.

Nov. 18 and 19 also saw the 1-5 Peewees in Steamboat, Brant Gutierrez putting in Craig's single goal — aided by Logan Durham and Forrest Siminoe — in losses of 3-0 to the Sailors' black team and 7-1 to the red team.

While at Howelsen Ice Arena on Nov. 18, the Craig Squirts took a 2-0 victory over Steamboat. Caden Bugay and Mark Ryan Booker scored off assists by Patrick Neton, Wyatt Schell, Grant Sis and Kaidin Anthony, while Memphis Herndon took 10 saves in the shutout.

The next day saw the Squirts' first losses, falling 8-2 and 6-3 at home against Grand Junction.

"They gave us a bit of a reality check," Craig coach Jim Neton said of the Coyotes.

Sis and Patrick Neton each scored twice against Grand Junction, Joshua Neal earning two assists and James Neal one.

James Neal also had 18 saves in goal and Bugay 11.

The 0-6 Blizzard will play for the final time on home ice as part of the weekend's Ski Town Classic tournament in Steamboat, while 1-5 Peewees will host a triangular with West Elk and Steamboat Saturday and Sunday.

The 3-2 Squirts — who started the season with 8-3 and 7-1 wins over Summit — will take the weekend off before hitting the road for four games versus Vail Dec. 10 and 11.

Jim Neton said the team is already getting the hang of game speed and skating and passing skills.

"We're working on concepts we need to get like attacking, forechecking in the offensive zone and breaking out of the defensive zone," he said. "We really want them to be aggressive, get to the puck first, because that's where the game is won and lost."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.