Midget Grizzlies win Slap Shot Tournament
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
The Glenwood Grizzlies Midget Major A hockey team arrived in Fort Collins last Saturday afternoon with its sights set on the first-place plaque for the 2011 Slap Shot Tournament.
The Grizzlies began right away with a hot start.
In the first game against the Sharks, which hail from Aurora, the Grizzlies showed off their defensive capabilities.
With 29 shots on goal, the Grizzlies’ Quenton Henry, Quinn Zamora and Michael Porter found the net to take a win, 3-0. The Sharks had only eight shots on net and goaltender Alex Parrish stopped them all to come away with a shutout.
The Grizzlies did not play again until the following morning at 7:45 a.m.
This time, they battled against an Arvada team. Once again, the Grizzlies defense came to play. This time, however, the offense played the same role. The Grizzlies dominated with 36 shots on net compared to only six for the Arvada team.
The Grizzlies won, 6-0, with goalie A. J. Hammon earning the second shutout of the tournament.
After a long wait between games, the Grizzlies set out against their toughest opponent so far at 5:45 p.m. that day.
The Northern Colorado Youth Hockey Association (NCYHA) team came to play as well. This was just one of the five teams that the NCYHA had put into the tournament.
The game began slowly for Glenwood as NCYHA scored a first-minute goal, grabbing the momentum. The battle continued with Glenwood behind until the third period when the Grizzlies found the back of the net twice within five minutes, grabbing the lead, 2-1.
However, NCYHA was not ready to give in, and scored a goal with 30 seconds left in the game to tie it up. The game ended in a 2-all deadlock.
After the points were added up from the preliminary games, Glenwood found itself as the No. 2 seed in the finals. They were set to take on the No. 4 seed.
The Grizzlies prepared for battle again against yet another NCYHA team. This game started in the same fashion as the last, with the Grizzlies behind early in the first period.
The Grizzlies tied it up halfway through the second period. Glenwood was able to take the lead with two minutes left in the second when Porter scored with assists from both Tanner Wood and Cam Dacuma.
Glenwood was able to hold the lead and win the game, 2-1, allowing only 11 shots on goal, while hammering the opposing goalie with 24 shots.
The championship game was against the top seed from the NCYHA.
This time however, the Grizzlies were more pumped up than ever. They were the team to come out strong and get a quick first goal. Joseph Capraro was able to pound one in with assists from Wood and Guy Sappington.
The 1-0 lead was maintained until four minutes into the second period when NCYHA scored to tie it up. However, the NCYHA team began getting penalties and lost its composure.
The Glenwood coach, Tim Cota, reassured his team that, if Glenwood kept its composure, they would win.
That is exactly what happened. NCYHA continued to get penalties while the Grizzlies stayed disciplined.
Four minutes into the third period with the score tied at 1, Wood found the net twice in 40 seconds with assists by Porter and Dylan Cook. This put the Grizzlies up, 3-1, with more than 10 minutes still left on the clock.
With the NCYHA team continuing to be penalized, and its top player ejected, Glenwood scored a power-play goal with four minutes remaining. Defenseman Zamora got it by the NCYHA goalie on a pass by Cam Avery.
The game was in hand when Glenwood scored its fifth goal as Porter snuck one in with assists from Wood and Jake Bair.
When Cota was asked about the keys to the tournament success, he said there were positive contributions from every player, balanced attack and the ability to stay healthy by utilizing our team depth.
He added: “I don’t think there was a turning-the-corner point, per se, but rather a staying the course, with minor navigational fine-tuning. We got better as the tournament progressed.”
Glenwood travels to Denver Jan. 22-23 to take on Littleton and Arvada in league play.
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A restriction on outdoor water use for Glenwood Springs city water customers is in place Saturday night until 8 a.m. Monday following heavy weekend rains over both the Grizzly Creek and Lake Christine burn scars.