Third period kills SHS hockey again
BRECKENRIDGE – For the third time in three games this week, the Summit High School hockey team found itself tied in the third period. And for the second of those three instances, the Tigers couldn’t find a way to pull it out.Summit dropped to 3-8 Saturday with a 4-1 loss to visiting Palmer, ending its four-game post-holiday break homestand at 1-3. The Terrors scored three goals in a span of three minutes midway through the final period, ruining any hope the Tigers had of building on their dramatic overtime win Friday night.Breakdowns in defensive positioning, turnovers and solid play by Palmer all contributed to the sudden swing in play that decided Saturday’s game. But SHS coach Bryan Smith saw one common theme tying the fateful period together.”I would never want to think that they didn’t want it,” he said of his players, “but with the score 4-1, to me that says, Yeah, we didn’t want it. We didn’t play hard enough, we didn’t play the systems.”
After rethinking his comments, Smith continued, “In a nutshell, I think they did want it, but they didn’t prove it to themselves. And that’s the thing that they need to figure out.”It was a bad game.”Summit’s only score came from senior Chase Underbrink, who buried a beautiful breakaway shot with 11 seconds left in the second period. Underbrink collected a loose puck with time running down, then deked Terrors goalie Jeff Wolfe before putting in a backhanded flip.Still, while the momentum seemed to be on Summit’s side entering the final 15 minutes, Palmer (6-6 overall, 2-3 in the Metro League) soon returned it to the visitors’ bench. Kyle Tolibas swatted in a bouncing puck with 6:31 remaining; then Mark Price scored twice in a minute and a half – the first one shorthanded – to kill whatever hope remained in the home team’s stands.
Sophomore Nick Springer gave up all four Palmer goals while saving 13 shots, but the scores were hardly all his fault. Time and again Summit’s defensemen failed to clear the puck or were caught out of position, allowing the Terrors easy scoring chances.In part to combat the consistent defensive letdowns that have plagued his team this year, Smith said he plans on bringing in adult league players from the community to scrimmage SHS in the next two weeks. Summit is off for 10 days after Monday’s game against Liberty.”It’s not so much to toughen them up,” Smith said. “They just need to play against big, strong, fast people to understand. And I’m going to get the people in my mind that I know will forecheck and backcheck and skate as hard as they can for an hour.”Summit, which stands at 1-3 in the Metro League, needs to start winning league games in order to get into the postseason. Its players and coaches are well aware.
Smith hopes the week and a half of practice will help lift the Tigers’ intensity.”That’s the thing that we’re lacking on this team, is the full speed,” he said. “I’ve got kids on this team that have the fire in their eye, but it’s not everybody. And it has to be everybody.”Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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