Red Dogs hockey team goes 0-2-2 in tourney that included younger players | CraigDailyPress.com
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Red Dogs hockey team goes 0-2-2 in tourney that included younger players

Joshua Gordon
Colt Criswell, a forward for the Craig Red Dogs men’s hockey team, looks for help in front of the opponent’s net Saturday in the 17th Annual Yampa Valley Invitational. Greg Neal, team manager and player, said a couple of bad breaks caused the Red Dogs to miss Sunday’s medal round.
Joshua Gordon

Craig Red Dogs men’s hockey team results from the weekend’s Yampa Valley Invitational:

Friday

Grand Junction 6, Craig 3L

Saturday

Craig 3, Rock Springs (Wyo.) 3T

Craig 2, Laramie (Wyo.) 2T

Denver II 5, Craig 3L





Colt Criswell, a forward for the Craig Red Dogs men’s hockey team, looks for help in front of the opponent’s net Saturday in the 17th Annual Yampa Valley Invitational. Greg Neal, team manager and player, said a couple of bad breaks caused the Red Dogs to miss Sunday’s medal round.
Joshua Gordon

Craig Red Dogs men’s hockey team results from the weekend’s Yampa Valley Invitational:

Friday

Grand Junction 6, Craig 3L

Saturday



Craig 3, Rock Springs (Wyo.) 3T

Craig 2, Laramie (Wyo.) 2T



Denver II 5, Craig 3L

A “B-plus” team playing in an “A” tournament.

That’s how Craig Red Dogs men’s hockey manager and player Greg Neal described his team’s weekend in the 17th Annual Yampa Valley Invitational.

After going 0-2-2 on their home ice at the Moffat County Ice Arena, Neal said the Red Dogs played well considering the tough competition.

“After the tournament, we all felt we played four games of check hockey, really physical games,” he said. “We definitely could walk out of there with our heads held high.”

The three-day tournament, which took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, consisted of 10 teams in two different pools.

The Red Dogs were in the second pool and started things off Friday against the eventual tournament champions, Grand Junction.

“We came in fired up and we played tough right up through the end,” Neal said. “Unfortunately, Grand Junction squeaked out two more goals in the third (period) to win.”

Grand Junction won the game, 6-3.

Neal said the Grand Junction team had many collegiate players from Mesa State College, so the youth allowed Grand Junction to step it up at the end.

In the second round Saturday, the Red Dogs started the day at 6:45 a.m. against Rock Springs, Wyo.

After a late goal in the third period by Rock Springs, the game ended in a 3-3 tie.

“We were disappointed because we all felt we should have beat the team,” he said. “A couple bad breaks and a couple shots of the post allowed them to tie it up.”

The Red Dogs third game was against Laramie, Wyo., another team that had many college players, this time from the University of Wyoming.

In a 2-2 tie with less than 10 seconds left, Spencer Wayman, the Red Dogs goalie, faced a breakaway by a Laramie player.

Wayman had saved 67 shots already in the game, and that last second save put him at 68, his best game as a Red Dog, Neal said.

Getting into a comfort zone is key, Wayman said, to allow a kind of flow throughout the game.

“It felt pretty good to save that shot,” Wayman said. “We wanted to win that game, but a tie was better than a loss.”

Neal, however, was content with the outcome.

“If there is such a thing as a good tie game, the Laramie game was definitely it,” he said.

Going into the team’s last game Saturday against Denver II, the Red Dogs had already been eliminated from advancing to Sunday’s third- and first-place games.

Neal said the team went in flat because they already knew they couldn’t advance.

“We didn’t play as hard against Denver II as we had the other games because we kind of hung our heads,” he said. “A couple of small breaks and we could have made it to Sunday, but that just didn’t happen.”

The overall outcome aside, Neal said he was proud of the team and the effort players put forth.

“We averaged over two goals a game and everyone played great on offense and defense,” he said. “Our older guys are seasoned hockey players, so I think we hung with all the young teams.”

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