Moffat County Bulldog hockey has Senior Night scoring spree
February 24, 2019
The wintertime has been heavy with wins for the oldest athletes of Craig Youth Hockey Association, and though they’ve been picking up victories largely on the road, a W at home Saturday night meant all the more.
Moffat County Bulldogs celebrated Senior Night at Moffat County Ice Arena with a sendoff for Grady Anson, AJ Barber, Wyatt Boatright, Jesse Earle, Logan Knez and Colton Lodato leading up to a match with the Northern Colorado Junior Eagles Yellow team.
Coach Tim Knez pulled goalie Jack Doane temporarily to begin the game to let all six seniors start. However, the opening faceoff surprised even him as Barber knocked the puck to Boatright, who took off like a missile and put it in the net only 18 seconds into the game.
“I truthfully did not expect to score that quick, but it worked for us,” he said.
It was the first of six total goals Boatright had throughout the evening in a season-best scoring spree. As the Bulldogs’ top goal-getter last year, he’s been eager to get back that status after missing six weeks for a broken leg, as well as last week’s Mile High Meltdown due to a minor concussion.
The double hat trick was a welcome marker to meet.
Recommended Stories For You
“I’ve been trying to get that for a while,” he smiled.
The goals by Boatright — who’s also suited up for Steamboat Springs varsity this winter — alone were enough to give the Dogs the game, though Lodato and Barber each flicked in a close wrist shot to light the lamp, whereas Logan Knez provided a high, long slap shot as part of the effort on offense.
“I kind of hate smoking teams by that much, but our passing was good, and everybody was skating well,” Logan said.
MoCo took the win 9-3 with two assists each for Barber and Clay Durham and one apiece for Lodato and Garett Stockman.
Doane had 14 saves in the crease, with each of the Eagles’ goals coming from a heavy rush on the net as opposed to the Bulldogs’ mix of marksmanship and multi-player approaches against the Northern Colorado keeper.
“That’s what it takes to win, and these kids have been doing it all year,” Tim Knez said.
The Bulldogs remain undefeated in conference play within the Colorado Recreational Hockey League’s 18 and under Midget level.
They moved to 18-3-1 overall, with a follow-up 8-3 win Sunday morning.
Despite only fielding seven players for the Mile High Meltdown, the roster is full once again, and they are the top seed in the CRHL playoffs, which grants them a first-round bye as they prepare for the two-day tournament in Denver March 2 and 3.
“As long as we don’t get cocky, I think they have what it takes to win the whole things,” Tim Knez said.
After the season tourney, the Bulldogs will spend the following weekend in Cheyenne, Wyoming before wrapping up the schedule.
For Boatright, it will hardly mean the end of hockey. He’ll be taking two years for church mission work after finishing high school but will also play the sport in Switzerland. He also looks to play at the college level in the next few years.
“There’s not any one team I want to play for, I just want to play,” he said.
As for this season, Logan Knez noted the group is not taking their success lightly; after multiple years of struggle, they want to do whatever it takes to keep things running smoothly.
“It’s just nice to have a winning season like this, especially for senior year,” he said.
The experience has been a rewarding one, Lodato said, noting that the entire roster’s skills within the game keep improving, as do their chemistry with one another.
“We’ve actually been playing like a team this year,” he said. “We’ve had a real connection.”