Summit, Sailors skate to 3-3 tie |

Summit, Sailors skate to 3-3 tie

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Summit County, Colorado

Coming into the season, the Summit High hockey team had a bit of uncertainty about its relatively inexperienced lineup.

Friday in the first round of the King of the Mountain Tournament and the team’s first game of the season, the Tigers got a lot of answers.

Behind two goals from senior sniper Shamus O’Neill, Summit earned a 3-3 tie against Steamboat Springs in Aspen.

“It was a very competitive, very evenly matched game,” SHS head coach Chris Ruhly said. ” … I’m very pleased with our performance and I’m very pleased with the performance or our underclassmen and the players that may not have had a whole lot of experience coming into this year.”

Although, early on, it looked as though the game would belong entirely to the Tigers.

O’Neill, the team’s top returning scorer, put the Tigers on the scoreboard on his very first shift, scoring a goal barely a minute into the game. He would add another tally only a few minutes later.

“With him being one of our leaders,” Ruhly said of O’Neill, “he came right out and got it done for us early.”

The Tigers continued to dominate early, and after Steamboat’s Jake Bayers cut the lead to 2-1, Summit’s Drake Blass netted his first career varsity goal.

Ruhly said his team was doing everything right early.

“I thought that first period was the best period of hockey I’ve ever seen a Tiger team have,” the coach said. ” … We did everything we needed to.”

The two teams skated to a stalemate in the second period, and the Tigers went into the third up 3-1.

Although, as the cliche goes, a two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey.

“We knew we could either jump to 4-1 lead and start to put the game away, or they could cut it to 3-2 and take the momentum,” Ruhly said. “Unfortunately, that’s what they did.”

Bayers struck twice more for the Sailors, and after the two teams failed to score in the eight-minute overtime, the game ended in a tie.

Junior Andrew Dunlap got the start between the pipes for Summit, and Ruhly said his goaltender had a “very solid game,” and the goals were simply extraordinary efforts by Steamboat’s star player.

“He is one heck of a hockey player,” Ruhly said of Bayers. “We knew that going in and we knew we had assignments to stop him, but he just continued to do what he was doing and score goals.”

The final result may not have been ideal for the Tigers, but Ruhly said it’s certainly something to learn from.

“We need to learn and understand how to finish games when we’re up by two goals like that,” he said. “We need to know we can close that out and come away with the win.”

The Tigers (0-0-1) want to figure it out in a hurry. They play twice today to close out the tournament, and neither game lacks any luster.

Summit first plays Aspen at 10:15 a.m., which is a game that will count toward the Tigers’ league standings. Then Summit takes on rival Battle Mountain at 2:30 p.m. for territorial bragging rights and possession of the Shrine Pass Trophy – given to the winner of the rivalry.

“All in all, I was pleased with how we played for our first game of the year, and now it’s time to look forward to the rest of the tournament,” Ruhly said.

Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at

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