Grizzlies drop two to state champs

Joelle MilholmPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – As if playing the defending state champion with an 11-0-2 league record isn’t challenging enough, throw in a handful of injuries and some players out of town and you’ll find yourself in the Glenwood Grizzly Midget Major A hockey team’s shoes. On Saturday the banged up, depleted Grizzlies took on the Colorado Junior Eagles, and the results were two losses. The first was 6-0 and the second was 12-0 for a Glenwood squad that fought hard all the way to the final buzzer.”This is the team to beat. They are the best team in state,” Glenwood head coach Tim Cota said of the Eagles. “We did what we could do to try and match them today, but we are kinda scattered all over.”With a handful of guys injured or sick, including strong defenseman Soren Phibbs, Glenwood (2-8) was forced to bring up a few players from the Grizzlies’ younger bantam team – a squad for 13-14-year-olds.

“We are young anyway, but when we start using bantams we are really young,” Cota said.Despite some inexperience on the floor, Cota was happy with how the Bantams battled.”There were some nerves out there with the younger guys,” he said. “We’ve got two Bantams that are first-year bantams. Last year they were playing PeeWee (11-12-year-olds) and now they are playing midget major A against the state champions. They did OK for that.”Both Glenwood goalies, Seth Carmitchel and Michael Brunk, a bantam who has played a few games at the midget major A level, saved numerous goals considering pucks were flying at them like bullets out of a machine gun. In game two, Brunk made 52 saves. In game one, penalties killed Glenwood as four of the Eagles’ goals were scored on power plays and another during a four-on-four.

“Five-on-five play it was a 1-0 hockey game,” Cota said. “We’re OK when we are five-one-five, it’s when we start taking those penalties, we shoot ourselves in the foot.”Carmitchel keptGlenwood in it, keeping the puck out of the net the final nine minutes of the contest. Chris Abshire took advantage of the help on defense to generate some offense. He managed to get three shots on goal in the final seven minutes, but none found their way through.In both games, Tyler McCoy’s on-the-mark passing set up a few scoring chances, and Nate Miller got three shots on goal in the second game, but all were void of the finishing touch.”We did fairly well in the first game, stuck in there in the second, it just didn’t go our way in the second game. We lost our legs. Running two lines and three D just isn’t going to cut it,” Cota said. “It just seems right now that this hockey team hasn’t been able to put three solid periods together in a row.”While the Grizzlies don’t have a league game until Jan. 5-6 when they go to Greeley, which will be good time spent healing for the injured, they will be back on the ice the day after Christmas for an alumni game. Former players will take on the current players in a good-time game at the Glenwood Springs Community Center Ice Rink, and the puck is set to drop at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

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