SHS hockey finishes strong |

SHS hockey finishes strong

BRECKENRIDGE – In lieu of going to the playoffs, the Summit High School hockey team focused all its fury on Saturday’s season finale. In so doing, it tripled its previous best offensive output and buried Colorado Academy 9-4 at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.

Summit scored more than two goals only twice this season – in a 3-2 win over Pine Creek and a 7-3 loss to Colorado Academy. It was that Colorado Academy game that proved to the Tigers they could score more than they had been.

“We had a little bit of personal anger with this team, so we just came out and let them have it,” said Ryan Clift, who scored a hat trick in his final game as a Tiger. “I only got one goal against them last time and I felt I was robbed of a couple of chances. So tonight I just wanted to go out there and make the best of it.”

Junior Jeff Noble and sophomore Max Miller joined Clift in the offensive surge with two goals apiece. Miller also had two assists.

“I told the seniors to go out with pride tonight, and I told the rest of the team to leave it all on the ice,” said Jake Quigley as he finished up his first year as Tigers head coach. “And they did. Everybody just played so well.”

Summit jumped all over the depleted Mustangs, some of whom didn’t make the trip from Denver for the game. The Tigers led 3-0 before the game was five minutes old. They were up 4-1 after the first period with Clift, Noble, Hawk Wathen and Jared Freeman getting the goals.

Things got interesting in the second when the Mustangs closed to within one goal at 5-4 with about five minutes to go in the period. Then the Tigers turned the tables on a scenario that’s plagued them all season. For the first time this year, they tallied a back-breaking goal in the final minute of a period instead of giving one up. Clift’s goal with 20 seconds to go in the second period made the score 6-4 and gave the Tigers the confidence to dominate the rest of the game. Summit scored three in the final period.

“It makes so much of a difference to go out like this, on a positive note,” Quigley said. “The guys will see this, rather than the rest of the season, going into next year hopefully.”

The Tigers battled through some injuries and lost a couple key players for personal reasons this season. They finished 2-13-1 overall and 2-8 in the Foothills Conference. They are the only team in the conference not advancing to the postseason, even though the state quarterfinals will be played at the Steve next weekend.

“This was our playoff game,” Clift said. “It was an up-and-down season all year, and it was a good way to end it tonight.”

It was the final game for seniors Clift, Freeman, Daniel Kincaid, Chris Shult, Chad Blackman and goaltender Tyler Lantz.

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