Summit High hockey not panicking despite 4-9 record
PUEBLO For a team that stands at 4-9 overall, there’s still plenty of optimism to be found within the Summit High School hockey squad.That’s because the Tigers still control their own postseason destiny, even after losing a “frustrating” 5-4 nonleague contest at Pueblo County on Monday, as described by SHS coach Bryan Smith.Summit jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period – the third straight game in which the Tigers have built a multiple-goal advantage in the opening period – before their shots stopped finding twine and their opponents’ did not.The Tigers outshot Pueblo by a ratio of more than 2-to-1, but five consecutive goals by the hosts buried Summit’s hopes and offset strong offensive games from Scott Noble (two goals) and Braxton Campbell (a goal and two assists).
“That was a team we definitely should’ve beaten,” Smith said. “I can’t really give you a reason why we didn’t; we just had a really lame second period and by the third period it was too late.”The loss ended a three-game stretch that saw the Tigers go 1-2, with a 4-2 loss at Regis Friday night and a 5-4 win over Chatfield on Saturday preceding the Pueblo defeat.Smith was forced to watch the Chatfield victory from the stands after his team accumulated 16 penalties in the loss to Regis – which the Tigers led 2-0 after the first period, but eventually lost due to the hosts’ power-play goals that came as a result of Summit’s “terrible discipline,” Smith related. Anytime a squad totals 15 or more penalties in a game, it’s an automatic one-game suspension for the team’s head coach.”It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to go through as a coach, and I was absolutely livid,” Smith said, though he noted that he believes the suspension woke his team up in a positive manner.
Summit has a few things on its side as the playoffs loom ever nearer. For one, the Tigers’ next two games are against a pair of Foothills League bottom-dwellers: at Colorado Academy (3-7) on Friday and at Dakota Ridge (3-10) on Saturday.In addition, the Tigers are in the middle of a seven-game stretch that includes six road games – no easy task, but also a positive because of the “automatic team building” opportunities road trips afford, Smith pointed out.”I think that we definitely are going to get into the postseason,” the SHS coach said. He planned to tell his team at practice Tuesday that they need to win the rest of their games, but he admitted earlier in the day that they can afford to lose one (or two) and still be in good position.Last year, the Tigers entered the playoffs with a losing record and corresponding low seed before upsetting some of the state’s heavyweights to advance to the Frozen Four.
Summit, which has suffered six of its nine losses by one goal, was led over the weekend by a number of scorers. Campbell and Jeff Montepare each tallied a goal and an assist versus Regis, while defenseman Michael Dudick scored twice and Tommy Moles, Max O’Neill and Alex Gutierrez all scored a goal apiece in the win over Chatfield.Nick Springer started the first two games in net for the Tigers – and played brilliantly in the loss at Regis, according to Smith – while Ricky Gamblin started the Pueblo game before giving way to Springer late in the contest.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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