Moffat County Bulldog hockey earns 3 straight shutouts in league title weekend
With myriad changes to the 18 and under Moffat County Bulldogs hockey team this winter, coach John Doane joked that if someone had told him at the beginning of the season they’d be bringing home a championship banner, he would have suggested that person get their head examined.
But, no one was in better spirits than Doane when it actually happened this weekend.
The Midget team for Craig Youth Hockey Association claimed a championship title in the Colorado Recreational Hockey League with three straight wins during games Saturday and Sunday on the Front Range.
With six squads in the mix, MoCo was seeded third as top two teams Lafayette and Littleton earned a bye round.
The Dogs started with a Saturday pairing against Arapahoe Warriors’ White team, No. 6 in the rankings, at the Greeley Ice Haus.
The Bulldogs moved on to the semifinals easily with a 5-0 victory, as goals by Garett Stockman, Brant Gutierrez, Clay Durham, Caden Bugay and Ryan Booker kept them well ahead after two periods.
Garrett Anson gained two assists in the win, with one each for Stockman and Clay Durham.
In the crease, goaltender Jack Doane took 17 saves against the scoreless Warriors.
“They were a young team, but they played really well,” coach Doane said.
The shutout trend continued Sunday morning as the Dogs faced No. 2 seed Littleton, who couldn’t get the puck in the Moffat County net with 13 saves by Jack Doane.
On the other end, scoring by Gutierrez and Durham aided by Stockman and Booker gave MoCo a 2-0 W on the way to the afternoon finals.
Top-seeded Lafayette had the rights to the home rink and were fresh off a 3-2 win over Arapahoe’s Navy team.
However, a 5-2 victory in one of Moffat County’s few home games in early February had the Dogs at an advantage over the Locomotives.
It was far closer this time as both teams were on lockdown in goal, but Logan Durham found a window for the lone score of the round, enough to give Bulldogs the 1-0 win and the title.
“Our young defense played just unbelievable,” coach Doane said. “They had four seniors on their team, and it was really, really clean, good hockey. They played it the way it should be played.”
The roster’s mix of high school and middle school ages went crazy in celebration, a well-earned one, coach Doane noted, as a season that started with a new format and constant adjustment ended in unity.
Doane said the second line of Booker, Bugay, Zane Durham, Forrest Siminoe continued to grow as each game went, while the first line players who have excelled throughout the season also stepped up their aggressiveness while in playoff mode.
“These guys kicked butt. These last two games I think were some of the best teams we’ve seen all year, and our kids still found a way to win,” he said.
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