Summit hockey ends season in Steamboat with 6-3 loss in 4A playoff quarterfinals
Playoff hockey games are intense. They are even more intense when you take on a league rival.
The Summit High School Tigers faced off against the Steamboat Springs Sailors on Friday, Feb. 25, in Steamboat for the quarterfinal round of the 4A state hockey playoffs.
The two teams played one another in their final regular season game Feb. 19. In that game, Zach Carleton scored the game-winning goal to give the Tigers the win, 4-3, with fractions of a second left.
On Friday night, the game started with lots of back-and-forth play as the puck changed possession between the two teams frequently.
However, Summit delivered the first blow as Boone Steinberg scored the first goal of the game. Steinberg found a loose puck in the neutral zone and broke away to face the Steamboat goalie one on one. Steinberg fired the puck past the Sailors goaltender to put the Tigers up 1-0.
The Steinberg goal resulted in an influx of energy by the Tigers, but the Sailors evened the score at one goal a piece as a puck found its way past the Tigers’ goalie, Finn Schroder.
Toward the end of the first, Summit had a few chances on the power play and executed on the tail end of a 5-3 when Blaze Ebbinghaus scored on a fiery wrist shot.
Going into the first intermission, Summit led Steamboat 2-1.
Summit found itself in the penalty box a handful of times to start the fresh period. The Tigers killed off the first few penalties, but the Sailors found success at the tail end of the final penalty to even the score at two goals apiece.
The Sailors went up 3-2 when the team fielded a series of rebounds off the pads of Schroder until one went into the net. After the third Steamboat goal, the Sailors really started to dominate and carry play as the Tigers looked a little shocked.
The Tigers rallied to hold the score at 3-2 going into the final period.
“We played a pretty nice first period, I thought,” head coach JR Engelbert said. “The second period, as far as that went, we rode the emotional roller coaster a little bit in the wrong direction as far as taking penalties and letting our emotions dictate that.”
The start of the third period was highly contested by both teams as Summit searched for a goal and Steamboat looked to continue to run up the score.
Both teams got good looks at the net, but it was the Sailors who scored again on the power play six minutes into the third to extend their lead to 4-2.
Minutes later, the Sailors scored their fifth goal of the game with 10 minutes remaining in the third period.
Summit didn’t back down, kept its energy high and searched for an answer. The Tigers went on a 5-3 power play, but the Sailors worked hard to kill off the penalty and maintain the team’s three-goal lead.
A sixth goal from Steamboat was the dagger for Summit as Steamboat sat on a 6-2 lead with close to three minutes remaining.
Ebbinghaus ended up scoring his second goal of the game, bringing the score to 6-3, but it was not enough to pull out the win.
Steamboat Springs closed out the game to win 6-3 and advance to the semifinals of the 4A state playoffs, where it will face the winner of Cheyenne Mountain versus Aspen.
The Tigers walked off the ice with their heads held high, giving a final salute to the friends and family who made their way to Steamboat to support the team one last time this season.
Summit ended its season with a record of 11-8-1 and will graduate 10 seniors.
“I thought the season as a whole was tremendously successful — the way the team came together, the way they cared for each other, the way they became a family,” Engelbert said. “Obviously, for the seniors, it is emotional to play that final game, but I think a lot of them were able to hold their heads high knowing that they left everything they had out there, and so did everybody else.”
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