Moffat County hockey keeps battling in Senior Night matchup with Lafayette
The 18-and-under Bulldogs hockey team stayed cool during its final home series Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Moffat County Ice Arena, hosting the league-leading Lafayette Locomotives.
Leading into the first game Friday night, the group paid tribute to its five seniors: Garrett Anson, Easton Eckroth, Brant Gutierrez, Dylan Herndon, and Forrest Siminoe.
The upperclassmen were joined by family members at center ice for the salute, which ended with Eckroth and his mother, Jamie, taking a final lap around the rink together.
Lafayette came to play in the opening round, leading the full game as they won it 7-1. Still, Gutierrez prevented the Dogs from getting a goose egg with a second period goal off the assist by Brayden Dudley.
“I think we can do a lot better than we did, but we didn’t do bad,” Gutierrez said.
The Saturday game was indeed much more promising. With the Bulldogs down one goal, Eckroth knocked one into the back of the net, assisted by Hayden Urroz, early in the second period.
However, the Locomotives steamed ahead on a power-play goal in the third to win it 2-1.
The Bulldogs’ scoring struggle wasn’t exactly indicative of their past month playing in the Colorado Recreational Hockey League, which Lafayette currently leads.
In Front Range tournament play a weekend earlier, the squad went 1-1-1 with a 3-0 win over Arvada, a 4-1 loss to Hyland Hills, and a 5-5 draw against Boulder.
This weekend will see Moffat County — ranked sixth of eight teams in the league — skate in Greeley leading up to the playoffs.
The season has flown by for all the Bulldogs, yet certainly for the oldest members of the team.
Herndon noted that she’s been in the net almost exclusively since playing at the Peewee level.
“My first two years of hockey, I started out at left wing, but then we ran out of goalies.” she said. “I was like, ‘oh, I’ll try that. I could be good at it,’”
Herndon, who has shared the keeper position with Caden Bugay in recent years, has been working on her goalie tactics throughout the years.
“One thing I found intimidating was dropping into my butterfly, but now it’s all a lot more comfortable,” she said.
The current seniors have been competing alongside each other for the better part of a decade.
“The thing I’m going to miss is coming together three nights a week and being around them the whole time,” Gutierrez said.
Herndon noted that she’ll miss being coached by her father as well as suiting up with her younger brother, Memphis.
“The camaraderie with the teammates is what I’m going to miss,” she said.
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