Summit settles for 4-4 tie with Kent Denver
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Summit High head coach Chris Ruhly made sure his team understood the importance of the Tigers’ game Tuesday at Kent Denver. It was simple: If they won, they were in the playoffs.
And through two-and-a-half periods at Joy Burns Arena in Denver, the SHS hockey team looked like it had risen to the challenge. That is, until the wheels started to come off.
Kent Denver overcame a 4-1 third-period deficit to tie the game in the final minutes, leaving the Tigers with some work to do in order to qualify for the postseason.
“That was a game we really needed and a game we should’ve had,” Ruhly said afterward.
For the Tigers, it was the second such game in the past two weeks. They gave up two shorthanded goals in the final two minutes to lose against Standley Lake Feb. 4.
” … When you don’t have it in you to close out games, it’s very discouraging,” Ruhly said. “It’s very discouraging to have those kind of lapses this late in the season.”
Early on, though, it appeared the Tigers would roll to a win.
Junior Dylan Horan got Summit on the board early, and sophomore Evan Streit scored only minutes later in the first period on a shot that was intended to be a dump-in play.
Then junior defenseman Kyle Metzger put Summit up 3-1 in the first with a blast off a faceoff win from senior Shamus O’Neill.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second period, but Tiger freshman Peter Grotemeyer’s backhander midway through the third gave Summit a decisive 4-1 lead.
Then Kent Denver started chipping away at the Summit lead.
A couple quick goals slimmed the deficit to one goal, but when Kent Denver took a penalty with two minutes left, it looked like Summit had the game won.
Ruhly, with Thursday’s loss to Standley Lake still in the back of his mind, called a time out to make sure his players had their minds in the right place.
Once play resumed, it appeared that they didn’t. The Tigers took two penalties, negating their own power play, and when Kent Denver pulled its goalie, the home team had a 5-on-3 advantage.
The tying goal came only seconds later, and Summit was sent on its long bus ride home with a disappointing finish.
Junior goalie Andrew Dunlap made an astonishing 49 saves on the night, while his teammates were outshot 53-31.
“Andrew definitely came up big for us at times, but there’s not a lot of support in front of him when you can’t put a game away,” Ruhly said.
The Tigers (10-5-2) can still make the playoffs with wins in their final two regular-season games this week. Summit travels to play Mullen at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, before playing host to Valor Christian 12:15 p.m. Saturday at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.
“If tonight wasn’t enough of a wake-up call and we didn’t understand how important this game was, then Thursday’s even bigger,” Ruhly said. “We have to have a win or our season might be ending this week.”
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