The Glenwood Springs Grizzly Hockey Bantam Silver team placed second at the Continental Divide Youth Hockey Association tournament in Steamboat Springs, and its 2-2 record in the three-day tournament earned the Grizzlies a state tournament berth.
The action started on Friday on the Olympic-sized ice of Howelson Arena. Glenwood bested the third-seeded host team of Steamboat Springs, 6-1. Three players scored two goals each — Mathew Thrun, Erich Albrecht and Hyland Barabe. Assists were provided by Brody Bittner, Keenan Winger and Christopher Braklow. Goalie Lucca Trapani stopped four of the five shots on net, and the Grizzlies put 48 shots on the Steamboat goal.
The Grizzlies then faced off against their local rivals Aspen, resulting in a 4-2 win by the Leafs. Glenwood goals were scored by Gavin Olson — assisted by Jeff Hicks — and Bittner, assisted by Albrecht. Aspen’s final goal was on an empty net as the Grizzlies pulled their goalie in the waning minutes and put an extra attacker on the ice. Trapani had 16 saves, as Glenwood outshot Aspen, 30-16.
Glenwood then faced a must-win game, against Steamboat again, to advance out of the loser’s bracket, which they did decisively, winning 4-0. The Grizzlies again outshot Steamboat, this time 24-6.
Aspen and Glenwood met again early Sunday morning with the tournament title on the line. Glenwood had one additional game in their legs while Aspen rested on Saturday afternoon. The Grizzlies have a tight-knit squad of just 10 skaters, while Aspen brought their full contingent of 15 skaters to the playoffs. If Glenwood won, they would have to win again later in the day to earn the title. Alas, it was not to be, as the Grizzlies came up short, falling 4-2 to Aspen. The game was exciting nonetheless, with the Grizzlies putting up the first goal, by Thrun as the selected shooter in a shootout, after Albrecht was tripped on a breakaway. Olson then put the Grizzlies up 2-0, assisted by Barabe and Winger.
Aspen rallied with four unanswered goals, however, to earn the tournament title. Though disappointed at taking the runner-up position, the Grizzlies will go to Denver this weekend for a shot at the state championship.
Action starts Friday at the Edge Arena in Littleton. If they win, the Grizzlies will advance to play at the Pepsi Center on Sunday morning.