In the middle of the pack |

In the middle of the pack

Bulldogs split 4-game season-opening home stand

John Vandelinder

Above the bottom, but not quite at the top.

To coach Gene Carson, that’s right about where he said he feels his team is after splitting a four-game home stand with Grand Valley on opening weekend of the club hockey season.

“We played like a hockey team” today, Carson said after Sunday’s 11-0 and 10-1 victories. “We ran our offense, trapped, fore checked and just played fundamental hockey.

The Bulldogs avenged a Saturday sweep at the hands of the Grand Valley A team with the dominance of the Grand Valley B team Sunday.

Moffat County (2-2 Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League, 2-2 overall) took its time to score its first goal Sunday, but when it came, many more followed.

Leading, 1-0, at the end of the first period in Game 1, the Bulldogs scored four unanswered goals in the second, and six more in the third, cruising to an 11-0 win.

Recommended Stories For You

Jarrod Stillion, Cole Dubois, Colt Criswell (2), John Strahan (2) Ty DeGuelle, Steve Wagner, Ethan Omailia, Colin Walt and Jacob Blevins lit the red lamp behind the Grand Valley net, as the home team out shot the Junior Mavericks (0-2), 50-9.

Senior goalie Spencer Wayman stopped all nine Grand Valley shots to earn his first shutout of the season.

Much was the same for the Bulldogs in Sunday’s Game 2, as Moffat County skated to a 10-1 win in the fourth and final game on opening weekend.

The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead in the first period behind goals from Strahan, Walt and DeGuelle.

Grand Valley found the back of the Bulldogs net – scoring its lone goal of the series – when Grayson Plunk scored on a wrister with less than a minute to play in the second period.

Problem was, Moffat County had scored five more times behind goals from Criswell, Sean Southard, Deguelle, Bubba Ivers and Jarred Blevins, as the Bulldogs carried an 8-1 lead into the final period.

Deguelle completed a hat trick 4:56 into the third, and Strahan tipped in a rebound to account for the final margin of victory.

“We played like a different team,” DeGuelle said. “Scoring goals, no matter who it’s against, gives us confidence. We know we can score, and it’ll help us in other games down the road.”

The Bulldogs had trouble scoring in Saturday’s doubleheader with the visiting Grand Valley A team.

In Game 1, Moffat County couldn’t find any offensive rhythm until it was too late.

The Junior Mavericks (2-0) took a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period behind goals from Dan Weidman, Casey Rodgers and Michael Porter, and they picked up right where they left off in the second, pushing the lead to four on a goal by Bradley Walter, 24 seconds in.

The Bulldogs got on the board with less than a minute remaining in the frame when Criswell scored his first goal of the season on a backhand shot.

“We have a new style of offense that no one is used to yet,” Criswell said. “We’re trying to play a more methodical passing game, and it’s going to take a little time.”

Trailing, 5-1, entering the third period, the Bulldogs couldn’t solve the Grand Valley defense.

Wiedman scored for the visitors to account for the final margin of victory.

Game 2 on Saturday wasn’t much better offensively for Moffat County, as Grand Valley skated to a 6-1 victory, completing the Saturday sweep.

Walter and Weidman scored for the Junior Mavericks in the first, but Bubba Ivers’ first goal of the season pulled the Bulldogs within one at the break, 2-1.

But Ivers’ goal would prove to be all the Bulldogs could muster.

Grand Valley received goals from Rodgers, Porter and Garrett Jones in the second, and a goal by Chandon Quarles in the third period effectively ended the game.

“We were getting beat to the puck, like we playing in molasses,” Carson said of Saturday’s back-to-back losses. “They just beat us to the punch both games. We have to settle down and pass the puck.”

The team responded, scoring 20 goals Sunday after tallying two Saturday.

Criswell led the team, tallying four goals and five assists, DeGuelle scored four goals and assisted on three others, while Strahan recorded four goals and two helpers throughout the four-game home stand.

When the dust had settled on opening weekend, Carson was pleasantly surprised.

“We came together and played a lot better the last two games,” he said. “Right now, I’d say we are right in the middle” of the league. “We are obviously not at the bottom, but we’re not at the top yet. We will be though.”

Weekend results

Saturday Game 1

Moffat County vs. Grand Valley A

Team 1 2 3 F

Grand Valley A (1-0) 3 1 1 5

Moffat County (0-1) 0 1 0 1

First Period – 1, GV Story 1 (Wiedman), 1:11. 2, GV, Rodgers 1 (Link, Smatla) 5:35. 3, GV, Porter 1 (unassisted) 12:00.

Second Period – 4, GV, Walter 1 (Porter, Jones) 0:24. 5, MC, Criswell 1 (Strahan) 14:10.

Third Period – 6, GV, Wiedman 1 (Koos, Story)

Shots on goal – Grand Valley A 20, Moffat County 12

Saturday Game 2

Moffat County vs. Grand Valley A

Team 1 2 3 F

Grand Valley A (2-0) 2 3 1 6

Moffat County (0-2) 1 0 0 1

First Period – 1, GV, Walter 2 (Wegner), 2:37. 2, GV, Wiedman 2 (Story, Koos) 4:19 (PP). 3, MC, Ivers 1 (Dubois, Criswell) 6:14 (PP).

Second Period – 4, GV, Link 1 (Rodgers) 3:18 (SH). 5, GV, Porter 2 (Walter) 9:05. 6, GV, Jones 1 (Story, Weidman) 10:25.

Third Period – 7, GV, Quarles 1 (Walter) 6:11.

Shots on goal – Grand Valley A 27, Moffat County 16

Sunday Game 1

Moffat County vs. Grand Valley B

Team 1 2 3 F

Grand Valley B (0-1) 0 0 0 0

Moffat County (1-2) 1 4 6 11

First Period – 1, MC, Stillion 1 (Dubois), 4:15.

Second Period – 2, MC, Dubois 1 (Criswell, Tomlin) 2:28. 3, MC, Criswell 2 (unassisted) 10:05. 4, MC, Criswell 3 (Dubois, Stillion) 14:18 (PP). 5, MC, Strahan 1 (Southard) 14:41.

Third Period – 6, MC, DeGuelle 1 (Baron) 6:43. 7, MC, Strahan 2 (Southard, DeGuelle) 6:57. 8, MC, Wagner 1 (Stillion) 8:20. 9, MC, Omailia 1 (Wagner) 13:45. 10, MC, Walt 1 (Criswell) 14:46. 11, MC, Blevins 1 (Bangs) 14:56.

Shots on goal – Grand Valley B 9, Moffat County 50

Sunday Game 2

Moffat County vs. Grand Valley B

Team 1 2 3 F

Grand Valley B (0-2) 0 1 0 1

Moffat County (2-2) 3 5 2 10

First Period – 1, MC, Strahan 1 (Ivers), 4:54. 2, MC, Walt 2 (unassisted) 6:35 (SH). 3, MC, DeGuelle 2 (unassisted) 11:33 (PP).

Second Period – 4, MC, Criswell 4 (Tomlin) 1:32. 5, MC, Southard 1 (DeGuelle) 5:20. 6, MC, Deguelle 3 (Southard, Stillion) 5:50. 7, MC Ivers 2 (Criswell, Baron) 7:52. 8, MC, Blevins 2 (Criswell) 12:00. 9, GV, Hicks 1 (unassisted) 14:19.

Third Period – 10, MC, Deguelle 4 (Strahan) 4:56. 11, MC, Strahan (Southard, Deguelle) 11:10.

Shots on goal – Grand Valley A 20, Moffat County 39