Puck Ewes take one on the chin | CraigDailyPress.com

Puck Ewes take one on the chin

Craig women's hockey team finishes 1-2 in Utah

John Vandelinder

— As the two-time defending champions of the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey, the Puck Ewes have been tearing through the local competition.

Head coach Jerry Strahan decided to bring his club to a tournament in Utah to face tougher competition.

The champions were humbled this past weekend, finishing the tournament with one win and two losses across the state line.

The tournament took place in two venues: Park City and Salt Lake City.

The event started Friday morning, and according to goalie Kandice Torno, the drive up was miserable.

“The roads were snowy, icy, slushy and had really low visibility,” she said. “We were all thinking in our heads, ‘What are we doing driving to Park City, Utah to play hockey in December?'”

The tournament was split into three divisions: A, B and C.

Craig participated in the “B” division, which included a pool of teams from Arizona, California, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

The Puck Ewes drew the squad from Arizona in its first game Friday, losing 1-0 to the Scorpions in Park City.

“Phoenix was much tougher than we anticipated,” Torno said. “But, after the game was over, we felt really good about it even though it was a loss. Phoenix ended up playing in the finals.”

Torno said the Ewes had trouble adjusting to the Olympic-sized rink in Park City in the first game, and the second game was no different.

Craig was shut out once again, falling to the Chuters of Jackson Hole, Wyo., 4-0.

“We were tired on the big rink,” Torno said. “That, and a couple of errors, led to our demise.”

Craig weathered the elements for game three, this time traveling to Salt Lake City for a contest against the tournament hosts, the Ice Vixen.

Back on the smaller ice, the size of the local team’s home rink, the Ewes were more comfortable, resulting in a 3-0 tournament-ending victory.

Craig was eager to score after being blanked its first two games, out-shooting the Vixens, 27-13.

Stephanie Beckett scored on a feed from Terri Jourgensen for the first goal, and Shannon Young scored from her belly, while sliding on the ice, for a 2-0 lead.

“Shannon was pulled down from behind on the power play,” Torno said. “It was a really sweet goal.”

Annie Abdella fed Young on a breakaway, and Young deposited the assist for her second goal of the match to account for the final margin of victory.

The Puck Ewes were fairly even in shots throughout the tournament, ending up on the short end, 59-58.

Craig finished fifth.

The Puck Ewes have a month of practice ahead. The team won’t suit up until Jan. 11 against visiting Steamboat Springs at the Moffat County Ice Arena.