Summit hockey defeats Steamboat Springs, 3-1, for first win of season
Freshman stops 26 of 27 shots in first game minding the net
Defensive pressure and success out in the open ice propelled the Summit High School varsity hockey team (1-2) to its first win of the season Monday night, 3-1 versus Steamboat Springs High School (0-2).
Tigers head coach JR Engelbert said that in the first period, the Tigers and Sailors came out flat after the game was rescheduled from Saturday night due to adverse weather conditions affecting Steamboat transportation. Once Summit turned up the effort, Engelbert felt the Tigers played hungrier than in their losses to Crested Butte and Battle Mountain.
“We were winning puck battles, we were more responsible with our assignments and positions, we had success on the defensive end, and we got stronger play from our wingers, which helped get the puck up and out of the neutral zone and into our offensive zone to create offensive opportunities,” Engelbert said.
With Summit’s forwards finding open space in more dangerous positions on the ice, the Tigers outshot the Sailors, 35-27, including a 13-6 margin in the second period when Summit took control of the game. The Tigers received all three of their goals from first-line players, beginning with a power-play goal by Ranger Stone just over a minute into the second period assisted by Zach Carleton and Caleb Mallory — the only Tigers power-play goal on six man-advantage opportunities of the night.
Summit then extended its lead to 2-0 at the 14:14 mark of the second period, when Boone Steinberg mustered a transition short-handed goal when the Tigers had a man in the penalty box.
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“Our Line 1 of Ranger, Boone and Caleb, they are going pretty good right now,” Engelbert said. “Not only did they each have a goal last night, I think all three were out on the ice for all three goals. And the way they did that was by spreading out the ice and working hard. And Boone’s came on a penalty kill. The puck hit off a (Steamboat) forward’s shin pad, and he raced to it in the neutral zone, had an opportunity and was able to finish it.”
Engelbert also complimented the Tigers’ third line of Graham Begley, Calvin Hanson and John Weldon, who the coach said stepped up in terms of consistency and trustworthiness. That, in turn, Engelbert said, helped the Tigers’ top two lines stay fresher and play harder.
Freshman Finn Schroder saw his first action in net at the high school level Monday, and Engelbert said his size and positional soundness did not provide the Sailors much area to shoot the puck. Engelbert described the Sailors’ only goal of the night, which came at the 12:25 mark of the third period on a power play from Aiden Story, as a “dirty goal” that came from in front of the Tigers net when Summit defensemen were unable to clear the puck from the zone.
“Finn did an amazing job (Monday) night,” Tigers senior Foster Krueger said. “He had some saves that really kept us in that game. I’m super proud of him for a freshman in his first-ever varsity game. We were all really stoked to see him perform so well.”
Looking ahead to their next game at home at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, versus Crested Butte, Engelbert said the Tigers will need to have their forwards back-checking and applying pressure on the defensive end. The coach also said Tigers defensemen will need to continue to maintain gap control and angling and that all Tiger players must be smarter with their line changes. Engelbert said the Sailors earned some man-up opportunities due to three too-many-men penalties on the Tigers.
“And that’s just part of the mental game,” Engelbert said. “Even when you’re not playing, when your line is not out there, you still have to be mentally focused so there’s no confusion. Everyone has to know their responsibility. Against a stronger team, we have to play clean hockey games. And that means staying out of the penalty box with physical play or mental mistakes. If we give Crested Butte opportunities, they’ll eventually bury them, and that makes it hard to catch up.”
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