Summit High School hockey rallies to defeat Steamboat Springs 6-3
BRECKENRIDGE — In front of an energized student section at its first home game of the season, the Summit High School varsity hockey team fought back from an early 2-0 hole to defeat Steamboat Springs 6-3 on Wednesday evening at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge.
Tigers head coach Joey Otsuka said the team came out flat early, executing its system and game plan but lacking the necessary grit and energy, to seize control of the game early against the Sailors. As a result, Summit trailed 2-0 after one period and forced the team to reconsider its approach to the game.
“We started off like the game was going to open up for us and give us chances,” Otsuka said. “And just in the conversations between the first and second period with the coaching staff (assistant coach) Wren (Arbuthnot) had the great idea, ‘We need to call them out on what they are doing,’ and that’s what we did for the rest of the game.
“We’re doing the Xs and Os pretty correct. He said it the best, ‘We just have no grit. We have no sandpaper. We are executing the moves, but we are not finishing with good contact or that battle to get that puck back.’ That made the difference.”
With a reinvigorated focus on bringing effort to each play, the Tigers got on the board fewer than two minutes into the second period when senior winger Max Bonenberger scored on an assist from Finn Theriault, with Bonenberger finding the top corner of the net on a left-handed breakaway shot.
Down 2-1 after Bonenberger’s goal, Summit already had a 14-8 advantage on shots on goal. After a great save by goaltender Marco Vogelbacher a few minutes later on a sudden change of possession play, the Tigers had one of the moments of grit Arbuthnot and Otsuka were looking for. Down a man due to a Tigers penalty, Summit’s Ryley Cibula hustled to the Steamboat net and drew an interference penalty, forcing the game back to even-strength hockey four vs. four.
Then with 5:30 remaining in the second period, Summit found the equalizer when sophomore Hank Kasch scored on a Rudy Burki assist. During good offensive action for Summit in Steamboat’s zone, the puck trickled over to Kasch’s skates, and the sophomore put it in the back of the net with his left hand. The goal secured all of the momentum in the game for Summit as it had a 21-11 shots-on-goal advantage at that point.
Summit for a moment dodged a miscue with just under four minutes left in the second period, when Vogelbacher made a glove save after a Summit defender let the puck behind him for a Steamboat transition opportunity. It led to a Steamboat faceoff in the Summit zone, and the Sailors soon scored for a 3-2 lead.
Entering the third period down 3-2, Bonenberger provided another goal for the team to tie the game back up. Just about five minutes into the period, Bonenberger again made the Sailors pay after he secured the puck in transition on a power play, making a deft offensive move to open up a crease to get another left-handed shot past the Steamboat goaltender.
“We can just give him the puck in the neutral zone, hopefully in stride, and there’s not a defender out there who can turn the corner,” Otsuka said about Bonenberger’s transition offense. “To even do that starts in the defensive zone. He was reading his linemates very well.”
Summit then pulled away for the 6-3 victory with a rash of goals in the final 10 minutes. The Tigers exuded their confidence with the go-ahead goal from Nick Davis assisted by Bonenberger and Kasch about halfway through the third period.
Moments later, the Tigers scored again on a Tyler Wilson shot attempt, assisted by Caleb Mallory for the 5-3 lead. And with 3:33 remaining in regulation, the Tigers doubled-up the Sailors 6-3 with Kasch’s second goal of the night, assisted by Bonenberger and Theriault.
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