Summit High School hockey team begins season with 5-2 loss to 5A’s Chaparral High School, team remains hungry for state title

Eli Powers lines up for the opening draw during Summit High School's home opener against the Chaparral Wolverines at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge on Friday, December 2, 2022.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

Hockey season has returned to Summit County as the Summit High School boys hockey team took on Chaparral High School for its 2022 season opener at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Summit’s season opener was originally scheduled for Friday night, but a powerful snowstorm postponed the game to Saturday afternoon. 

Despite the Tigers having to wait an extra day to get their season underway, the team took to the ice ready to return to the 4A state hockey playoffs. Last season, Summit was eliminated by fellow 4A Mountain league rival Steamboat Springs in the first round of the playoffs.

Summit is also looking to improve upon its 11-8-1 overall record and 5-5-0 4A Mountain League record from last year. 

The Tigers were challenged in its first game of the season, tallying its first loss of the season by falling to 5A’s Chaparral Wolverines 5-2.

In the first period of play, Summit wasted no time proving that it meant business this season.

Within the first two minutes of play, the Tigers rattled off several shots on net and around three minutes into the game Roman Berger, a recent transfer student from New Jersey, made the score 1-0 with a snipe past the Chaparral goalie.

Roman Berger scores the first Tigers goal of the season during Summit High School’s home opener against the Chaparral Wolverines at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

Chaparral immediately responded to the Summit goal by increasing its offensive pressure. Chaparral fired a couple shots, but Micheal Tater remained stoic in goal for the Tigers.

With three minutes left in the first period, Chaparral evened the score at 1-1 off of a second chance shot that rebounded off one of Tater’s blocking pads.

Summit ended the first period by successfully killing a two minute penalty to go into the first intermission tied, 1-1.

To start the second period, Chaparral remained on the attack and a little over seven minutes into the fresh period scored a go-ahead goal while on the power play.

Minutes later, Chaparral scored again after Tater was ran into, but no call was made for goalie interference.

Summit brought the score to 3-2, when Karsten Kerr slipped the puck past the Chaparral goalie on a breakaway chance.

Going into the final period of play, Chaparral led 4-2 and with 31 shots on net.

Although the Tigers limited the Wolverines’ shots on net in the third period, they failed to match the energy and skill of Chaparral. Chaparral got several chances in their offensive zone over the final period, setting up a final Wolverines goal to defeat the Tigers 5-2.

“I think we started pretty good but I think we let up a little bit as the team went on,” Boone Steinberg said after watching the game from the sidelines due to an injury in the preseason. “We lost a lot of intensity and energy.”

Despite the loss, Summit head coach JR Engelbert was encouraged by the play he saw from his team on Saturday and hopes that the loss will help fire the team up for its slate of games heading into the new year.

“It was a little bit of a frustrating game, but I though the third period was good,” Engelbert said. “We obviously need to work on some things over the next two weeks, but I think we will be fine. It was a good first test.”

This season the team will mostly rely on leaders like Berger, Steinberg, Graham Begley and Graham Schuman to lead a young Tigers squad back to the 4A state playoffs this year. 

“Graham Begley came out of the summer with a completely changed attitude,” Engelbert said. “He’s been leading us motivation wise. We have all the pieces, we just have to finish putting the pieces together.”

Ultimately, Engelbert and the Summit hockey team hopes that it can not only return to the 4A state playoffs, but make an extended playoff run.

Roman Berger fights for position during during Summit High School’s home opener against the Chaparral Wolverines at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge on Friday, December 2, 2022.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

“I think it would be remiss to say that our goal is to win a state championship,” Engelbert said. “Showing up for anything else is a little bit of a mute point. We shoot for the stars and however it falls, it falls.”

“Our mentality is banner or bust,” Schuman said.

Summit will play again on Friday, Dec. 16, when it faces Cherry Creek High School in Denver. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:50 p.m.

2022-23 Summit High School boys hockey schedule

Dec. 3 vs. Chaparral, 3 p.m.

Dec. 16 at Cherry Creek, 7:50 p.m.

Dec. 17 vs. Monarch, 4 p.m.

Jan. 6 at Durango, 5 p.m.

Jan. 13 vs. Crested Butte, 4:30p.m.

Jan. 14 vs. Kent Denver, 10 p.m. 

Jan. 20 at Battle Mountain, 5:15 p.m.

Jan. 21 at Steamboat Springs, 6 p.m.

Jan. 28 at Crested Butte, 1 p.m.

Feb. 3 at Liberty, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 4 at Pueblo County, 4 p.m.

Feb. 7 at Glenwood Springs, TBA

Feb. 10 vs. Steamboat Springs, TBA

Feb. 11 vs. Battle Mountain, 3 p.m. 

Feb. 14 at Mullen, 6:15 p.m.

Feb. 17 vs. Glenwood Springs, 7 p.m.

Feb. 18 at Air Academy, 6 p.m.

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