After a crushing 5-1 loss at home to Steamboat Springs Friday night, the Summit Tiger hockey team rallied to their first win of the season Saturday, away against Kent Denver 8-3.
It was a tale of two third periods in the two games, according to Tiger head coach Bobby Dore.
“Friday night we played the best two periods of hockey I’ve seen them play this year,” he said of Friday’s opening effort. The Tigers kept the game within one goal, headed into the third period down 2-1. “Then the wheels fell off,” Dore said. “They came out flat in the third.”
Steamboat closed out the final period scoring three more goals and keeping the Tigers scoreless.
“They could have held on if they hadn’t lost focus,” Dore said of the game Friday. “On Saturday, it was the opposite.”
After Summit jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period of their second game of the weekend, Kent rallied back to a 3-3 tie in the second. Goals by Summit’s Jack Nevicosi and Carter Flavell put the Tigers 5-3 headed into the third period. And, unlike Friday, the Tigers held on, closing the game with three more goals in the final period.
“They definitely stepped on the gas in the third,” Dore said. “We’re happy to have one under our belts. I think it’s going to get better from here. Hopefully they’re figuring it out.”
It continues to be a learning year for the young Tiger team headed into the second half of their season. Dore said the team just needs to start playing a full three periods.
“Everyone has an assignment, and when they do them they’re going to be successful.”
And when they don’t they’ll have more third periods like they did against Steamboat. But Dore continues to see the potential in his squad, it’s just the consistency that’s missing. All and all, he said, “I’m proud of our kids.”
With their first win now behind them, he added, “I think it’s going to make the kids a little more confident.”
They’ll need that confidence headed into the middle of their in-conference schedule. The team will play away against Ralston Valley Tuesday before returning home for games against Regis Thursday, Jan. 23, and Valor Christian the following Monday, Jan. 27.
“We’ve got a tough week ahead of us. The focus and commitment has to be there. If it’s not there it’s going to be a long week.”