Peewee power: Craig Cougars start hockey season with Saturday split
12U team comes back from 7-0 loss to win 4-3 vs. Grand Junction Coyotes
The first game of the season didn’t quite go the way the Craig Cougars wanted, but it didn’t take long for them to heat up the ice from there.
The 12 and under Peewee team for Craig Youth Hockey AssociationCraig Youth Hockey Association split two Saturday games against Grand Junction as their opener to the schedule as well as the first overall hockey event of the winter at Moffat County Ice Arena. split two Saturday games against Grand Junction as their opener to the schedule as well as the first overall hockey event of the winter at Moffat County Ice Arena.
Craig Youth Hockey Association split two Saturday games against Grand Junction as their opener to the schedule as well as the first overall hockey event of the winter at Moffat County Ice Arena.
The Coyotes took a 7-0 victory in the morning, a game that was rife with penalties for a small Craig roster.
“We’re pretty shorthanded getting the puck out of the zone,” said coach Cary Herndon, noting that kids “skated hard” to make up the difference.
As the zamboni smoothed over the rink between games, so did the Cougars hope to start fresh that afternoon, and that’s just what happened.
“We just had more energy and knew we needed to win,” Forrest Siminoe said. “With their defense, it was hard to get through. They squeezed in on us.”
Grand Junction lit the lamp early in the first period, but it was a rebound shot by Carter Behrman that got Craig’s confidence back with their first goal of the year to tie it at one apiece.
The Coyotes reared their heads back, howled and pulled ahead again in the second period, but the attack on the Grand Junction goal increased in the third.
Brant Gutierrez tied it at 2-2, then put in another for good measure a few minutes later.
A hat trick was in store for him as he got his third goal off a backdoor, second-chance shot that prompted his excited teammates on the bench to throw their gear onto the ice in celebration.
Gutierrez said it was much easier to read the Coyotes’ cues in the latter game.
“We knew what they were gonna do,” he said.
Grand Junction was able to make it 4-3 with 16 seconds left in the game and called a timeout to strategize. However, Cougars were in no mood to allow overtime and kept their opponents at bay to finish with the win.
The 1-1 Cougars next play in Breckenridge, and coach Greg Neal intends to have players keep improving on skating and pressuring the puck as the season goes.
“If they can be the first to the puck and win those battles, it’s gonna be a really good season, that’s the bottom line,” he said.
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.
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