Tigers hockey feasts on Buffaloes in regular season finale
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE ” If you could script a perfect way to finish the regular season before heading into the state playoffs, it would go a lot like the third-period performance displayed by the Summit High School hockey team in its finale Saturday afternoon.
Tied 4-4 with visiting Bishop Machebeuf heading into the final 15 minutes of play, the Tigers pounced on their Buffalo prey, scoring five times in seven minutes to turn a close game into a 9-4 rout at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.
Three players scored twice for Summit ” Jake Motz, Scott Noble and Tommy Moles ” and three more added one goal apiece ” Jeff Montepare, Braxton Campbell and Max O’Neill. Nick Springer secured the win between the pipes before giving way to backup Ricky Gamblin for the final eight minutes of the game.
Saturday’s victory was significant for a couple reasons. One, it set a new school record for regular-season wins; the Tigers improved to 8-11 overall (6-5 in the 5A Foothills League), surpassing last year’s seven-win total when they went on to upset two teams in the postseason and advance to the Frozen Four.
The win was also important because it means Summit should enter next Friday’s first round of the state playoffs with a respectable seed, making it potentially easier to advance to the quarterfinals. The Tigers were selected before the season as a host site for the first two rounds of the playoffs, making their confidence heading into the weekend even more pronounced.
“I think they’re capable of again upsetting somebody, or a lot of teams,” second-year SHS coach Bryan Smith said of his team, which also upset Standley Lake 20 hours prior to Saturday’s win. Summit scored four unanswered third-period goals in that victory, making it a 9-0 third-period advantage in those two contests.
“The thing we’ll have working against us is last year everybody overlooked us; this year teams will not overlook us,” Smith continued. “They know who we are, they know how our season has been. We’re going to be respected.”
This is understandable, considering the balanced offensive display the Tigers exhibited Saturday afternoon. Summit scored in every manner possible ” beautiful give-and-gos, calculated redirects, rippers through traffic ” and with six goal scorers, undermanned Machebeuf had little chance but to hope the ice melted.
“Everyone’s producing,” said Noble, who has three goals and two assists in the past two games. “If they’re not getting goals they’re getting assists. If they’re not getting assists they’re pulling pucks out of the corner, working hard.”
Eleven players tallied at least one point for Summit, led by Braxton Campbell’s goal and three assists. Alex Gutierrez added three assists, Montepare tallied an assist and the team’s second goal, and TJ Fisker, Jimmy Keeling, Shamus O’Neill, Matt Stoffel and Max O’Neill all added one assist apiece.
Summit jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Noble and Montepare in the last two minutes of the first period, but the Buffaloes outscored the Tigers 4-2 in the second period before Summit erupted in the third.
Now, as the Tigers turn their attention toward next weekend’s first round, the optimism has begun to flow like Wolf Creek’s snowfall.
“I think we’re capable of going as far as we want to, as far as we push ourselves,” said Moles. “A state championship is not out of the picture at all.”
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