Tightening the laces | CraigDailyPress.com

Tightening the laces

Bulldogs Hockey Club puts seven-game win streak on the line against Grand Valley

John Vandelinder

— Bulldogs hockey club coach Jim Hall has been around hockey his entire life.

He’s been through the ups and downs as a player and coach, so despite the Bulldogs’ seven-game winning streak, he’s not overly confident in regard to what the remainder of the season has in store.

“We have had an easy first half,” Hall said. “Now we have to get ready for the hard half.”

The second half of the Bulldogs’ season begins Saturday, when Moffat County hosts the last team it lost to, Grand Valley, at the Moffat County Ice Arena.

The Bulldogs (7-0 Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League, 8-3 overall) will attempt to exact a bit of revenge against the team responsible for all three of the team’s losses.

“Grand Valley beat us three out of four games when we played them earlier this year,” Hall said. “It’s going to be a tough match-up for us. We are going to have to play well if we want to make up for those early season losses.”

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Grand Valley and Moffat County are in different leagues, so regardless of the double-header’s outcome, the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes won’t be affected.

Hall expects a physical contest, something he said his team was baited into the last time the teams met.

“We got caught up in a physical, checking-type game,” he said. “We are going to have to pick our speed up and skate around them so they can’t take us out of our rhythm.”

Third-string goalie Curt Ellgen is scheduled to start in net for the Bulldogs.

“Ellgen has been playing well lately,” he said. “He is very capable of stealing a game or two for us. He’s ready.”

Moffat County hasn’t played a game since it swept Kremmling on Dec. 8, but Hall said the team has been working hard in practice in an effort to keep the rust from forming on his players skates.

“We have been working really hard defensively and offensively,” he said. “They are still learning something every time they step on the ice, whether it’s in a game or during practice.”

The Bulldogs have outscored the opposition, 42-4, during its current win streak, five of the victories via the shutout.

Hall said Moffat County’s defense has been the key to its recent success, a trait he sees remaining strong.

“Our defense has really been getting after the puck,” he said. “Our goaltending has been superb, and we’ve been protecting the blue line very well.”

Hall said the team camaraderie has been “outstanding” and the players have “been feeling good about themselves.” It’s something he said should continue if the team wins this weekend.

“I don’t think we should win,” he said. “I think we will win.”

If you go

What: Bulldog Hockey Club versus Grand Valley

When: 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Saturday

Where: Moffat County Ice Arena

Call: 824-3011