Tigers drop to 0-3 with tight home loss
BRECKENRIDGE – Chase Underbrink swore he’d picked just the right spot. His coach thought he was due. The crowd of some 400 standing fans was ready to erupt. But when Underbrink skated in and rifled a wrister just high of the net, the penalty shot that could’ve tied the game with 24 seconds to go became just another near-miss on a night full of them for Summit High School’s hockey team.”I thought I was gonna score, for sure,” Underbrink said of his penalty shot, which came because of an intentional goal displacement call. “I was really confident I had it, but I just messed up. I really feel like I let the team down.”The Tigers succumbed 2-1 to visiting Pueblo at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena Friday night, dropping to 0-3 on the young season. Underbrink’s shot was one of two Summit chances late in the home opener that would’ve tied the game, but instead served as crude reminders that this really is a sport of inches.
With 3:10 to go in the third period, Tigers captain Billy Barto fired a snap shot at backup Hornets goalie Andrew Carlson, and the ensuing rebound appeared to trickle into the net. But the referees signaled that it hadn’t, much to the dismay of the large home crowd.Summit might not have been in that position in the first place had it not been for a flat opening period. Pueblo (3-0) shook off the effects of its four-hour bus ride to take a 1-0 lead on Drake Dinero Pisciotta’s backhander.The Tigers tied it 2:29 into the second period when Barto stole the puck from a Hornets defenseman and banged it home on Summit’s 15th shot of the game.But after the two teams traded unsuccessful scoring chances for the next 23 minutes, Greg Fagulski poked the puck past sophomore goalie Nick Springer for Pueblo’s game-winner.”It’s mandatory that we learn how to play three periods of hockey,” SHS coach Bryan Smith said. “First period we were flat, it was opening day, the ceremony, jitters, they were nervous, you could see it in ’em. They weren’t handling the puck right, passes weren’t tape to tape.
“That’s why we lost this hockey game.”Springer was easily the bright spot, despite the result. Since taking over for starter Seth Wickham, who has been ineligible since the beginning of the season, Springer has made big strides in the three games. He even learned to juggle this week to improve his hand-eye coordination.Friday night, he saved 28 of the 30 shots he saw.”I’m really starting to get in the groove of high school games,” he said. “The pressure’s off. And the crowd tonight was great.”Now Summit must rebound overnight and get ready for today’s home matchup with Colorado Academy at 3:30 p.m.
“We’ve gotta be hungry,” Smith said. “We’re putting everything that’s happened so far behind us. We’re 0-3. We wanna win tomorrow.”There’s definitely a sense of urgency to put a win up on the board to keep the morale high on this team.”Late hits: SHS senior Jonathan Walsh was not in uniform Friday night because he has been suspended indefinitely, Smith said, for a violation of team rules. It is up to school officials on when he will be able to return. … Pueblo outshot Summit 30-29. … Before the game SHS freshman forward James Lowrey was presented with the prestigious David Olbright award for his play and sportsmanship on the Bantam level last season.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at email@example.com.
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