Grizzlies squirts compete at Aspen Fall Faceoff
Opening up the hockey season at the Aspen Fall Faceoff tournament for Squirt level teams, the Glenwood Grizzlies’ Squirt C Black and Squirt C Purple teams made the trip up to Aspen this past weekend for some high-level hockey early in the season.
Unfortunately for the two Squirt teams, just one win was achieved on the weekend as both squads faced stiff competition despite having just a few practices under their belts this season, while much of the competition at the tournament has had ice for a few weeks.
“Our competition consisted of second and third year players, so expectedly our first-year kids were a little out gunned,” Squirt C Black Head Coach Bryce Olson said. “Regardless of the outcome, I think the kids did great. I was extremely proud that they maintained their enthusiasm and never quit, but I was most impressed by their positive upbeat attitudes. Aspen has a first class organization and did a fantastic job with the tournament. Most of our players had never even played a full ice game before, so for them to receive an introduction at such a high level of competition will no doubt catapult them into the next level.”
At the weekend tournament, the Grizzlies’ Squirt C Black team was held scoreless until the final game of the tournament when Logen Morganstein found the back of the net on an even-strength goal off of an assist from Jace Olson in the second period.
“It is really exciting not only to see them have fun, but also to watch them recognize the level at which they are competing. It was an almost instantaneous shift from, ‘wow that kid is fast’, to ‘hey, I can skate that fast too.’” Olson said. “Seeing their confidence increase even when they were down on the scoreboard was extremely rewarding. We knew going in that it was going to be tough, so rather than setting the bar too high we chose instead to set small achievable goals for the kids. One game our only goal was to simply keep the feet moving. Another game was to take a breath when you get the puck and try to create a little time and space. In the end they were rewarded with their first goal of the tournament. Our bench erupted when it happened, as it was quiet the moment.”
While the Squirt C Black team struggled throughout the weekend against great competition, the Squirt C Purple team had better success in terms of scoring, while also winning a game over the COS Tigers Squirt C team by a score of 3-1.
In that win, Jacob Roggie netted a big-time hat trick as netminder Devon Blanchard stopped 18 of 19 shots to backstop the Grizzlies to the win.
In the final game of the weekend, Glenwood battled to a 3-3 tie with DCC Squirt C Red as Roggie found the back of the net twice in the first period before teammate Isaac Hall added a goal, giving the Grizzlies a 3-0 lead after one period of play.
However, DCC would battle back, scoring two third-period goals to force the tie.
Although the scoreboard from each game won’t tell the whole story, the Grizzlies’ Squirt teams were made up of mostly first-year players who were playing full ice hockey for the first time in their careers.
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A coalition of northwest Colorado local governments want more say-so in the plan to reintroduce wolves in the state, especially as it relates to the Western Slope.