Grizzlies take 2nd place at Littleton
LITTLETON — The Glenwood Grizzlies brought home second place in the annual Littleton Slapshot Tournament this past weekend, coming just two goals away from winning an event with some of the nation’s best teams.
The round-robin tournament started on Friday night with a 3-3 tie against the Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Moose. Fruita Momument High sophomore Lyle Wilkens, Roaring Fork senior Nate Nieslanik and Coal Ridge junior Chaz Apostolik each scored a goal.
Next up, the Grizzlies put together a 3-2 comeback win against the Seattle Junior Admirals. The first two goals were from Glenwood High senior Jackson Wilson, who tied the game in the span of one shift. The winning goal was put in by Apostolik just two minutes after Wilson’s first goal. Glenwood sophomore Jake Fegan was a brick wall in net for the Grizzlies, solidifying his first shutout of the season.
In the Grizzlies’ first game of the year against the San Juan Wild team from Durango/Telluride, the 2-0 win turned into a physical grudge match with big hits by Nieslanik and Grand Junction junior Chance Mundorf. The Grizzlies took the early lead with a one-on-two goal from Wilson, with the play developing from a blocked shot by Basalt junior Cole Guy. Glenwood junior Sam Carmer sealed the victory with a well-timed tip in goal.
“Cole Guy had a nearly perfect weekend, sometimes perfect defense can be overlooked by goal scoring, there were many shifts that Cole’s defensive abilities lead to offensive chances in the other end,” Grizzlies assistant coach Bryan Gonzales said.
In the fourth game of the round robin, the Grizzlies played the host team from Littleton and came up short with a 2-1 loss. The only goal came from Wilson. Fruita junior and Grizzlies goalie Schyler Stratton kept the game within reach.
The Grizzlies returned Jan. 19 to face the Wild once again in the tournament semifinals. The Grizzlies faced much adversity, but were able to come through and win, 2-1, with goals from Glenwood junior Roger Gauthier and Roaring Fork junior Steele Featherstone.
Although the Hawks outgunned the Grizzlies the day before in the round robin, the Grizzlies believed they had the tools to give Littleton their first defeat of the tournament in the championship game, however, it was not meant to be. Despite the absence of Wilson, the Grizzlies fought valiantly, but came up short, 2-0, in their sixth game in 72 hours.
Glenwood (8-2 overall) welcomes Littleton and Arapahoe this weekend with home games at the Glenwood Springs Community Center ice rink, starting at 8:15 p.m. tonight with games also on Saturday and Sunday.
“We knew going in that the tournament was going to be a challenge, mentally and physically,” Grizzlies coach Tim Cota said. “Six games over the course of four days would test our endurance, some of the boys played in nine games, which is an accomplishment in it’s own right, they played both minor and major games.”
The Midget Minor A team also played in the tournament.
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