Buzzer-beater propels Summit High School hockey to thrilling 3-2 home win over Glenwood
Tiger boys, girls basketball lose over weekend
BRECKENRIDGE — If you’re a sports fan in Summit County and not keeping up with the start of the Summit High School varsity hockey season, you’re doing it wrong.
Summit senior Max Bonenberger scored at the buzzer Saturday night at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge to lead the Tigers to a thrilling 3-2 win against Glenwood Springs. On the game-winning play, Bonenberger received a pass from Summit junior Ryley Cibula, who took a hit from Glenwood’s defenseman to create enough space for Bonenberger to have a one-on-one with Glenwood’s goalie. Bonenberger then went forehand, backhand, getting the Demons goaltender to bite, before shooting the game-winner for his second goal of the period as time expired for a 3-2 win.
The play was so last-second that Tigers head coach Joey Otsuka said he immediately looked at every referee on the ice to make sure there wasn’t a discrepancy. Once the score was official, the party was on, as the Tigers (4-2) proved they could defeat a tough, hard-hitting Glenwood team days after a dissapointing loss on the road at Battle Mountain in Vail.
Reflecting on the game, Otsuka said Saturday’s win showcased how this year’s Tigers team is special. They have several ways of beating you on the offensive end, he said.
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There is the line with Isaac Eland at the core, one that on Saturday leaned on Eland’s skills on the boards and in front of the net, which led to the first goal of the game at 11:46 of the first period for a 1-0 Tiger lead.
Then there’s the line with Finn Theriault and Hank Kasch, two highly skilled players who can create offense one-on-ones from their stick handling and shooting.
And then there’s the line with vets Bonenberger and Cibula as the anchor. Bonenberger and Cibula are a pair of competitors with experience at state-championship level competition in other sports, such as running, mountain biking and golf. On Saturday, it was Bonenberger who continued his torrid scoring start to the season, finding two goals in the third and final period to clinch the win.
“Since the second period, they were our best line. It was a no-brainer,” Otsuka said about going with that line to end the game. “They are flying, moving the puck great. We had to make sure they are going to be the last line to go out there at the end of the game. And sure enough, they get the puck in, Max goes to net, calls for the puck. Ryley had a ton of pressure, I think he was checked by three guys, and he took the hit to make the play. It was like he slid the puck in across the goal line as the buzzer goes to end the game.”
After some defensive mistakes earlier in the game Otsuka described as a “nail biter,” the coach said the Tigers didn’t panic. They kept play in their end, kept fighting, winning board battles. Guys were sacrificing their bodies, earning three five-minute major penalties for Glenwood. Though they didn’t execute on those power plays, that was an execution of the game plan heading into the night. In total, Glenwood committed 11 penalties for 28 minutes of infractions — nearly double that of Summit. And in net, Tigers goaltender Jacob Mallory stonewalled 34 of 26 shots.
In the end, Summit’s even-strength goals were enough, as they’ll now roll into their next game Jan. 4 at Mullen with plenty of momentum.
The Summit High School varsity girls basketball team fell to 2-3 on the season Friday night after a 65-18 loss at home to Green Mountain. Seniors Anna Tomlinson and Nicole Kimball led the Tigers, with eight and six points, respectively. Summit will next play at 6 p.m. Jan. 7 at D’Evelyn.
The Tigers varsity boys basketball team Friday night lost to Conifer 51-32 to drop to 2-5 on the season. Summit will next play at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 at home vs. JFK.
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