Third-period meltdown leads to Tiger hockey loss |

Third-period meltdown leads to Tiger hockey loss

BRECKENRIDGE – When Drake Blass tucked a rebound into the open net with 12:27 left in the third period, the Summit High hockey team looked to be in control, up 3-1 at home against Mullen.

However, looks can be deceiving.

Mullen scored four unanswered goals, all coming on defensive breakdowns, and stunned the Tigers by handing them a 5-3 loss.

So, despite controlling the play for the majority of the game, Summit had to settle for its third straight defeat.

Head coach Chris Ruhly didn’t mince words about how his team played.

“It was a terrible, terrible game from a Tiger hockey team,” he said. ” … We had them up 3-1 and thought we were superstar hotshots who didn’t have to play the game anymore.”

Summit was outshot 19-8 in the final period, often leaving goalie Andrew Dunlap to fend for himself on breakaways and goal-mouth scoring chances. While the senior netminder made a number of sprawling saves, he simply couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of offense Mullen threw at him.

After Blass’ goal, which was his second of the night, Mullen scored twice in a one-minute stretch. The first came on a breakaway after a Summit defenseman misplayed the puck pinching in at the point. The second tied the game at 3-3 with 10:52 remaining, when a Mullen forward buried a backdoor pass off a 2-on-1.

The Tigers called time out and seemed to turn it around, pressuring the Mullen defense and peppering the opposing goalie with a number of close-in shots.

Then, Mullen struck again with an unchecked player tapping in a rebound after a shot from the point. The goal came with 5:22 left, and when the Tigers took an ill-advised penalty just 30 seconds later, Mullen put the game out of reach with a powerplay goal.

“Lack of pride, lack of passion, lack of discipline. We let that game slip away from us,” Ruhly said.

Dunlap made 31 saves on the night, including three breakaway stops.

Early on, the Tigers seemed poised to end their two-game skid.

After losses to both Kent Denver and Steamboat Springs last weekend, Summit came out firing. Mullen scored the game’s first goal at 5:30 of the first (on only its second shot), but the Tigers answered right back with Evan Streit finishing off a breakaway to tie the game at 1-1.

The Tigers outshot their opponent 13-8 in the first, and the game didn’t look as close as that.

Blass scored his first goal on a power play early in the second period. Summit failed to convert on a number of prime chances as the period went on, and the Tigers were left with a slim lead heading into the third.

Then it all fell apart.

Each of Summit’s three losses in the last week have been in heart-wrenching fashion. The Tigers gave up two third-period goals against Kent Denver Jan. 7 and lost the game 3-2. Then, on Saturday, Summit had a pair of would-be goals called back by officials in a 2-1 loss to Steamboat.

Now, the Tigers (5-4, 2-3) will look to rebound today, when they travel to take on Pueblo County. The game is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. at the Pueblo Ice Plaza.

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